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An Eckhart quotation (Jacob's Ladder)


Leopard writes: 

I was hoping you could tell me which Eckhart text is the source for the now-famous quotation of him in the movie, Jacob's Ladder. The quote runs: "The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they're not punishing you, they're freeing your soul. If you're frightened of dying and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels freeing you from the earth."

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This is not a quotation, rather a (bad) attempt for relevant teachings of Meister Eckhart to be interpreted and summarized for the needs of the movie.

Here are quotations (which are indeed by Eckhart) related with this subject:

"They ask, what burns in hell? Authorities [the Fathers] usually reply: “This is what happens to willfulness” [to individual will, self-interest]. But I say it is “Not” [it is the Nothing] that is burned out [that burns] in hell. For example: suppose a burning coal is placed in my hand. If I say the coal burns me I do it a great injustice. To say precisely what does the burning, it is the “Not”. The coal has something in it that my hand does not. Observe! It is just this “Not” that is burning me – for if my hand had in it what the coal has, and can do what the coal can do, it, too, would blaze with fire, in which case all the fire that ever burned might be spilled on this hand and I should not feel hurt." (Speech 5b, DW É)

"Whatever state we find ourselves in, whether in strength or in weak-ness, in joy or in sorrow, whatever we find ourselves attached to, we must abandon. . . . You must give up yourself, altogether give up self, and then you have really given up ... By renouncing yourself first, you then have renounced all things. ... A man who loves God could give up the whole world as easily as an egg." (Speech 30, DW II)

"What is the prayer of the detached heart? I answer that detachment and purity cannot pray. For if anyone prays he asks God that something may be given to him, or asks that God may take something away from him. But the detached heart does not ask for anything at all that it would like to be rid of. Therefore it is free from all prayer." (On Detachment, DW V).Add a note!


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The Meister Eckhart Site

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