‘Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.’
You may have noticed there’s a lot of letting go in Eckhart’s thought. For him, letting go was fundamental to spiritual growth, as if truth is simply the removal of lies.
Here he’s asking us to let go of, or erase, attitudes which are no longer helpful.
He’s aware how the outside world (or the ‘creaturely world’) gets inside us when we are young – whether it’s internalised fear, anxiety, despair.
And it writes untrue things across our lives.
Like sponges absorbing poison, the outside world gets inside us and we spend the rest of our lives recovering and making good.
As John Maynard Keynes said, ‘The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas but in escaping old ones.’
So gently, we erase. It’s OK to do this; I see it often – to rub away at old markings until they can no longer be read.
There’s so much we have no need of; and we don’t need these untruths.
Slowly, we squeeze the poison from the sponge and what is left is good; indeed, nothing could be better.
Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.