Any pastoral advice for when I feel insecure or battered by life, Meister Eckhart? What should I do?’
‘What should you do then?’ says Eckhart. ‘Do exactly what you would do if you felt safe. Learn to do the same when you are in greatest distress; behave just as you behaved in safety.’
This is not a call to ‘fake it until you make it’. Rather, Eckhart says keep trying, don’t despair. Notice always your state and the way it determines your behaviour.
Insecurity does not bring out the best of us – while security does.
When we feel insecure, when we feel the panic rising, our behaviour becomes careless of other people and damaging to ourselves, as we anxiously seek some sort of control.
‘The more I’m in control, the less anxious I’ll be!’ is the lie we might tell ourselves.
So instead, we are to imagine ourselves secure. We note the panic, invite it to leave – and do what we would do if we felt quite safe.
Finding God in such moments, says Eckhart, requires ‘a clear perception of the interior life, and a watchful, true, wise and real knowledge of what the mind is occupied with among things and people.’
Stay watchful. Stay aware. Stay safe.