Medieval Europe isn’t recognized for being particularly adventurous in spiritual matters. Dank monasteries, cavernous cathedrals, and plague pandemics seemed to stoicize the mind—though not in the case of Johannes Eckhart, a thirteenth century Dominican theologian who wrote in German and transcended his era with brilliant treatises on seeking peace of mind, contentment, and absolute freedom through the process of letting go of desires:
If you want to reach the highest wisdom,
refuse everything you know, abandon all
you aspire to be, and seek the darkness of
the lowest place of all. Become nothing,
and there God will pour out the whole
of himself, who is All, with all his strength,
and you will see in the light you long for.
Christian through and through, with a mystical bent, Eckhart earned a following from the likes of Erich Fromm, D. T. Suzuki, Rudolf Steiner, Richard Rohr, and many others across the religious spectrum. This superb new translation modernizes Eckhart’s writings into short poems for contemporary seekers. In their introduction, Mark Burrows and Jon Sweeney invite readers to discover the secrets of the Meister’s teachings, which draw “on perennial truths that point to what Eckhart called the ‘pathless path,’ which alone can lead us into true freedom.”
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