Although I am not a Christian, I find Meister Eckhart the 13th century Catholic monk, professor and mystic quite inspirational. This is a short bio from the Dominican Order.
Bio Meister Eckhart
Johannes Eckhart was one of the greatest of Christian mystics. He was born at Hochheim in Thringen, Germany, in 1260, and entered the Dominican order when he was 15. Later he became a distinguished professor and taught at different universities.
“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
- Meister Eckhart
Eckhart had a beautiful and powerful style which made him very popular in his own time. His writings also suggested a very close relationship between man and God. A relationship that seemed to bypass the church.
“I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God.”
- Meister Eckhart
Unfortunately this led to accusations of heresy. Eckhart defended himself by saying that he believed in the indivisibility of God. And he was merely expressing his experiences of his profound contemplation upon God. The public eminence of Eckhart protected him from any harm but after his death many of his works were condemned and suppressed.
Perhaps because of this he became a marginalised figure. However recently his works have attracted interest of God seekers both Christian and non Christian. Eckhart’s sayings speak with the authority of one who has experienced mystic union
” I AM can be spoken by no creature,
but by God alone.
I must become God and
God must become me, so completely that
we share the same “I” eternally.
Our truest “I” is God.
(From: The Wisdom of the Christian Mystics Ed T.Freke)
Also like other great mystics he uses the vividness of spiritual allegories to paradoxically point us to what lies beyond words. Eckhart also often mentions the importance of silence.
” In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity. “
Interestingly Eckhart uses language that exhorts the seeker to search for God within himself.
“God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. It is here that you should begin, whatever the cost, for it is here that you will find true peace, and nowhere else.”
Meister Eckhart – Talks of Instruction
Since 1980 the Dominican Order have taken steps to reveal Meister Eckhart led an exemplary life and was a great Christian Mystic.