Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – 1328)

  • “A man should be empty of self and all things”

    Meister Eckhart encouraged people to radically abandon acquired habits of thought and relinquish material, emotional, and spiritual constraints. Eckhart refuses to give instructions about how people should live and how they could achieve the highest spiritual goals: every human is already free because of his being-in-God.

    Eckhart practised this freedom throughout his life - as thinker, scholar, teacher, Dominican friar, preacher, and pastor. In the last three years of his life he was persecuted by the Inquisition which denounced certain passages in his work. Eckhart suffered the consequences of his radicalism but died before the Pope passed judgement on him for heresy.

    There are people, wrote Eckhart, who already feel entirely at one with God although they are far from this for they still want much. It is precisely this continuous wanting which signals neither “letting-go” nor “detachment”. Letting-go means that the soul has to cast off the many layers of thought, desire, hope - of wanting to possess.

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    Audio (German): Aus den Predigten und dem Buch der göttlichen Tröstungen