Subtracting From the Soul

The soul does not grow by addition, but by subtraction.                                                                                        Meister Eckhart

This 14th Century German mystic isn’t offering a “give up something for Lent” thought; he’s speaking the truth of the spiritual life.

We associate growth with more; more muscles, more dollars, more time, more knowledge, more house, more sense, more whatever.  But isn’t it interesting that Jesus speaks about finding life by losing life.  It doesn’t make sense, of course.  We’d rather talk about success as a blessing and not a curse, and success usually is thought of as adding to.

But Jesus and Meister Eckhart are on to something, and it’s really quite simple.  The more life we lose, the more we subtract from the soul; the less distractions we have and the more room left for God.

Lent is a season to subtract.   Try it, but start small.  What one person, idea, task, regret, or possession, can you subtract from your soul?  Do it not just for a season, but as a way to grow the soul.