Johann Tauler(1300 - 1361)

Tauler was a disciple of Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1328), the great genius of German mysticism. Eckhart's wisdom is more accessible in Tauler. In the following passage Tauler warns us that the spiritual path is not always lovely and convenient; how could it be so when ultimately it is to deprive us of ourselves? It is about the death of the ego, and it is about a joy and peace that the world cannot give. "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39).

      We must seek for the depths of our souls and we must find them. We must go into our house, our souls; and all our senses, everything to do with them, and everything which comes to us through them must all be left outside: all images, all forms, everything which our imagination has ever brought us, however rational it may be. Even our reason and its workings must he left outside. When we go into our house and look for God there, God in His turn looks for us and ransacks the house. He behaves just as we do when we are searching for something, throwing aside one thing after another until we find what we are looking for. This is just what He does to us. When we have gone into our house, when we have searched for Him in the depths of our souls, God comes and searches for us and ransacks our house.
     Not everyone will understand what I am saying, though I always speak plain German. Those who have experienced something of what I am talking about and have been enlightened by it will understand what I mean; but no one else will. When I speak of "going in," I do not mean entering into one's soul occasionally, only to come out again and occupy oneself wholly with created things. And when I say that God seeks man in his house and ransacks it, I mean that in this house, in the depths of our souls, we are utterly deprived of all the ideas and conceptions of God by which we have ever thought of Him before. Our house is ransacked; it is as if we had never known anything about God at all. As He seeks, for us, this happens again and again; every idea that we ever had of Him, every manifestation of Him that we have ever known, every conception and revelation of Him which we ever had will be taken away from us as He searches to find us.   

In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.