Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul

Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul

by Jon M. Sweeney, Mark S. Burrows


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Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) was a priest, a mystic, and nearly a heretic (he died before the Church court's verdict). In the 20th century, the Roman Catholic Church rehabilitated him and the late Pope John Paul II spoke of his work with fondness.

However, what makes him of particular interest is the fact that he has influenced a wide range of spiritual teachers and mystics both inside and outside the Christian tradition. Erich Fromm, Eckhart Tolle, Richard Rohr, D. T. Suzuki, and Rudolf Steiner have all credited Eckhart as being an important influence on their thought. In addition, his work has influenced the development of 20th century American Buddhism and the Theosophical tradition.

Eckhart wrote at a time--much like our own--when society appeared to be coming apart at the seams. In the midst of all that chaos and uncertainty, he captured the many forms and stages of the love of God, the mystic path, and the journey of transformation--in language so startling that he, too, was often accused of heresy.

Now, seven centuries later, this fresh, stunning rendering of his work translates the essence of one of Christianity's greatest poetic and spiritual voices. Here is a book that conveys the heart of Eckhart's teaching on what it means to love God and embark on an authentic spiritual journey--a journey that is characterized by mystery, paradox, and an embrace of the unknown.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571747648
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 366,336
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jon M. Sweeney is an independent scholar, critic, and writer. He served as an editor at Jewish Lights and Ave Maria Press. He lives in Shorewood, WI.

Mark S. Burrows is a poet, translator, and professor of religion and literature at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, The Cortland Review, Southern Quarterly, and other periodicals.

Read an Excerpt


Part One

Our Soul-Life

Look Quietly

What it is that hurts baffles or befalls me might just be concealing the God whom I love.

Sometimes You Have to Break Things

It's true:
What Do You See?

To you who knows God as God knows you,
Nine Words of Prayer

God, our only,
The Name, sweet on the lips,
Vain is the world;
Can You Do This?

"You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

Colossians 3:3

The soul that wants nothing but God
Can You See?

If you want to be ready for and worthy of the Spirit of God,
What I Want Is Joy

What I want is joy.
Which is after all what I need.

Your Silence

There is a language so beautiful that it is never spoken.
Room to Grow

My life is like a page on which so much is already written:

hurts and joys and the tumble of fears and uncertainties.

What You want of me, God, is that I clean the slate, emptying

it of all this to make room for the freedom of nothingness

where alone You, my God,
All and Ever Only Love

I often wonder if I am lovable,
I know how easily I can be hurt and my heart broken,

but You do not hesitate toward me, since You

are all love and only love,
love without measure, and when You love me in

this way I find who I am and who You are, which

is all and ever only love.


is a form of love: I taste it when I let my will stir

into practice a sense of the goodness that my vision

inspires in my heart.

Breaking Through

Too often I decide what my life should be and whether

there is room in it for You while You sit in a deeper

place within me, wondering what it will take for me to

make more of all the things in my life — the good and

the bad — and so learn to break through to find You

in all that is and let You take form in me in all that

I was and am and will be.

A Soul Digests

Each of us has a soul made to grasp the One who made every one,
The Way Love Is

You are love in everything that is, and it belongs to

the perfection of Your greatness that not even my nothingness

is far from You, for You meet me in my imperfection

and You act on me not from the distance of my failings

but from the presence of Your perfection which

is the way love is.

A Single Undivided Love

When I open my heart to receive You in times of peace and quiet, this is as

it should be, but if I close my heart to You when I have lost my way and

my life is a mess, I have failed to know the truth, for these differ only for me

but not for You, for Your heart opens to me with a single undivided love.

In Each Moment

Oh, teach me in each moment of every Now to know that

You are the Here in all my wandering and the Yes in

all my wondering and the Love in nothing less than everything.

The One

There is within me a citadel where I am one with You,
dares to look inside, unless You strip Yourself of all Your names and natures, to the point where You

are one and simple, for only there, beyond all doing and thinking and feeling, can You know

the one I am and can I know the one You are.

Consider the Moon

Remember the moon as it wanes and fills among the clouds,

We should not thank You because You love us,
In All That Is

Most days, I am clear about what is right

and wrong, good and bad, in and out,

but when I have You close to me

in my heart I see how You shine in

all that is, especially in my often

darkened life.

Study the Stone

Be yourself. And if what this means is unclear to you, look around at

the things of this earth. Study the stone which always does what it was made

to do: it doesn't always fall in the same way, sometimes resting in high

places and at other times finding its rest where the earth allows it to lie,

but its purpose is to move downward,
way it can, singing the new song which God gives each creature and thing —

and also you who read this and at times wonder what to do and how to be.

You Taste Us

It sounds as strange as it is true to say, as I have never said before,

that You taste Yourself and in this taste every creature that You ever

made which crawls or swims or flies,
blue-flung skies. And when You taste Yourself in all these, and even

in me, You taste us all as You ever are in the oneness of Yourself.

Becoming Love, I

If I wish to become one with You

and come to know You as You are

I must set aside my words and become

a nothingness spacious enough for Your all-ness,

and in this You transform me wholly

into the one Love You ever are.

The Descent of Love

In distress and want I ask, "Where, O God, are You?"
But this does not satisfy my mind, and so I ask again.
Still I ask what I have with my questions already said.
And yet I am undone with deceptions ever old and new.

If I hope to find You,
of all I think I need to know, turning

from what I desire to become the

emptiness You cannot resist.

Outside of Space and Time

Outside of space and time there is no work,
Be there and don't look away because in that place your soul and God are one.

Love's Delights

I sometimes think You are the reverse of gravity, causing everything to rise,
but you show me that Yours is the work of coming down, of weighting what is light

so that I, like You, might enter into what is least and raise it up to sound love's delight in heaven's proper height.

If I Hope to Know You

I must seek an unknowing that is not a lack but

my only gain, taking me beyond the press

of demands and desires to an emptiness

where there is room for You to be born

beyond all that I demand to know and desire

to find, for You birth Your Word in the space

of my silence and burn as light in my dark.

An Unknowing That Makes Room

I often think it is my work to find You, and in the

tangle of my life I stumble into brambles of doubt

and pits of uncertainties and wonder where You

are hiding, and then I remember: You seek

and I am found.

Joy Meets Joy

In my hurry, I often forget that You desire

to seek those who have gone astray,

even me, and that my work is to free

myself of myself so that You can be

born in me, and so your joy in seeking

meets my joy in having been found.

You Rise by Stooping Down

With You everything is upside down

and inside out,
stooping down,
to follow in the footsteps

of your descent,
that You and I are one

in being and even in power.

A Human Heart Pounds

A human heart pounds to live and to give life.

But that same heart is a mystical place that can love the Lord God with each quiet beat.

How We Fit

You made us for Yourself,
to another but rather as
   as darkness seeks light,
   as what is wounded
Nothing of My Deeds

When I am in the wrong mind I presume that You desire my goodness,
God's Unending Now

To say as many do that God made the world is to confuse what is true, for God never ceased

making what was made, and what will be is already present in God's unending Now.

This truth reminds me that God is making all things new, even what is past and gone

and also what lies yet unknown in the future —
Risking Unknowing
of my words, and opening myself to the silence that allows me

to risk an unknowing that expects nothing and deserves nothing

and wills nothing other than the word You speak in

the stillness I keep where my wandering ceases and

my wondering begins?

More God

I want more love.
more God.

I want more God in everything.

More love.

In everything.

In and through and beyond it all.

More God.


Letting Go

The Rest

Don't try to find God.
Our Secret Entry

What is our secret entry into Your heart?

We find it on the path of letting go of what we

thought we knew, arriving at the place where we

know nothing of knowing beyond every notion of love,

and from light enter the dark only to find

ourselves there, ever one with You.


There is only ever one path you are on when you are on the path to God.
The Man with Money

There was once a man who had a hundred dollars.
This Is What You Desired

Now listen, Eckhart, to Seneca,
Don't Work So Hard

At the heart of things is an eternal present moment which is in each and every thing

that is — and in me and in you, and when we let ourselves come into an awareness of

this Now we come to know ourselves as a becoming-new without renewal, and this

is the truth beyond all our worries and needs and hopes, this one eternal present moment.

Lose Yourself!

Make a start with yourself by abandoning yourself.

For if you do not begin by taking leave of who

you are, everything you do or think you are

and all you seek will be an obstacle for you, and

   you will be like one
and in wandering only becomes further lost,

   so if you wish to find
Becoming Love, II

When I learn to love You simply because You are love,

I come to accept myself simply because You made me in love

and You never stop making me.
let go of every doubt, I find Your love in everything

and I become love in You and You become love in me.

Where I Stop, You Begin

Often I think I should find You within myself,
Letting Go

I don't like the dark.
Yet You tell me I must let go of all that clothes me —

my joys and fears,
and give myself to the dark emptiness where You wait

to be born in me.


If I could learn to let go of what I have and was and will be, of all

the good gifts You have given,
know who I truly am, which is the only one You desire,

for You are ever love, and I am ever loved, and it is enough

to know and be Your beloved.

Truth Does Not Like Business Deals

When I seek what You alone can give, what I find is my seeking,

like the wager of a business deal in which I hope for payment for

my efforts, but You who are always already within me do not seek me,

and so You do not desire my finding but seek rather the emptiness by which

I might unclutter my life of all that I am, even my faith, even my desire

to seek You, for this You cannot resist.

What Then of You?

We think of things as this or that,
but in God everything is what it is and lives in the perfection of

its being, which is to say that the little fly as it exists in God is

nobler than the highest angel is in itself. What then of me?


Excerpted from "Meister Eckhart's Book of the Heart"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Burrows.
Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

These Are Poems by Meister Eckhart,
Opening the Heart's Door,
1 Our Soul-Life,
2 Letting Go,
3 The Inner Spark,
4 Radiance,
5 Without Why,
Enough Now,
An Afterword: Seeking God on the Wayless Way,
Notes and Sources for the Poems,

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