About Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1328) was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha, in the Holy Roman Empire. He has acquired a status as a great mystic within contemporary popular spirituality, as well as considerable interest from scholars situating him within the medieval scholastic and philosophical tradition.  Wikipedia

References:    Encyclopaedia Britannica   |  Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Meister Eckhart (quotes)

Principles for living



  • If I had a friend and loved him because of the benefits which this brought me and because of getting my own way, then it would not be my friend that I loved but myself. I should love my friend on account of his own goodness and virtues and account of all that he is in himself. Only if I love my friend in this way do I love him properly.
  • Love is as strong as death, as hard as Hell. Death separates the soul from the body, but love separates all things from the soul.
  • All outward morality must be built upon this basis, not on self-interest. As long as man loves something else than God, or outside God, he is not free, because he has not love. Therefore, there is no inner freedom which does not manifest itself in works of love.
  • All true morality, inward and outward, is comprehended in love, for love is the foundation of all the commandments.
  • As God can only be seen by His own light, so He can only be loved by His own love.
  • Through the higher love the whole life of man is to be elevated from temporal selfishness to the spring of all love, to God: man will again be master over nature by abiding in God and lifting her up to God.
  • What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love.
  • If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than yourself, you will not succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is the great righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally.
  • Love covers a multitude of sins. For where there is sin, there can be neither complete trust nor love, since love completely covers over sins and knows nothing of them. Not in such a way as if we had not sinned, but rather it wipes them away and drives them out, as if they had never existed.
  • We should be able to recognize true and perfect love by whether or not someone has great hope and confidence in God, for there is nothing that testifies more clearly to perfect love than trust.


  • Whatever God does, the first outburst is always compassion.
  • You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.

Knowing through unknowing

  • We must come into a transformed knowing, an unknowing which comes not from ignorance but from knowledge.


  • A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.
  • We read in the Gospels that Our Lord fed many people with five loaves and two fishes. Speaking parabolically, we may say that the first loaf was — that we should know ourselves, what we have been everlastingly to God, and what we now are to Him.


  • Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.


  • I tell you the truth, any object you have in your mind, however good, will be a barrier between you and the inmost Truth.
  • Truth is something so noble that if God could turn aside from it, I could keep the truth and let God go.


  • All God wants of man is a peaceful heart.
  • Some people prefer solitude. They say their peace of mind depends on this.
  • God wants nothing of you but the gift of a peaceful heart.

Inner solitude

  • To be sure, this requires effort and love, a careful cultivation of the spiritual life, and a watchful, honest, active oversight of all one’s mental attitudes towards things and people. It is not to be learned by world-flight, running away from things, turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, one must learn an inner solitude, where or with whomsoever he may be. He must learn to penetrate things and find God there, to get a strong impression of God firmly fixed on his mind.
  • One must learn an inner solitude, wherever one may be.
  • Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.


  • But what then should they do? First of all, they should renounce themselves, and then they will have renounced all things. Truly, if someone were to renounce a kingdom or the whole world while still holding onto themselves, then they would have renounced nothing at all. And indeed, if someone renounces themselves, then whatever they might keep, whether the kingdom or honour or whatever it may be, they will still have renounced all things.
  • God is ready to give great things when we are ready…to give up everything.
  • He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.
  • Only those who have dared to let go can dare to reenter.
  • Unmovable disinterest brings man into likeness of God. … To be full of things is to be empty of God; to be empty of things is to be full of God.
  • Furthermore, we should keep all things only as if they had been merely lent and not given to us, without any sense of possessiveness, whether it be our body or soul, our senses, faculties, worldly goods or honour, friends, relations, house or home or anything whatsoever.
  • Indeed, the more we are our own possession, the less we are God’s possession.
  • It is written: ‘They have become rich in all virtues’ (1 Cor. 1:5). Truly, this cannot happen unless they first become poor in all things. Whoever desires to be given everything, must first give everything away.
  • To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.
  • The more we have the less we own.


  • The surest foundation in which this perfection may rest is humility; whatever here crawls in the deepest abjectness, that the Spirit lifts to the very heights of God, for love brings suffering and suffering brings love.
  • When man humbles himself, God cannot restrain His mercy; He must come down and pour His grace into the humble man, and He gives Himself most of all, and all at once, to the least of all.

Letting go

  • For the person who has learned to let go and let be, nothing can ever get in the way again.
  • Only those who have dared to let go can dare to reenter.


  • If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.


  • And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.
  • We should be able to recognize true and perfect love by whether or not someone has great hope and confidence in God, for there is nothing that testifies more clearly to perfect love than trust.


  • What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.
  • What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love.

Surrender to life

  • If anyone went on for a thousand years asking of life: ‘Why are you living?’ life, if it could answer, would only say, ‘I live so that I may live.’ That is because life lives out of its own ground and springs from its own source, and so it lives without asking why it is itself living.


  • I need to be silent for a while, worlds are forming in my heart.
  • Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
  • The most powerful prayer, one well-nigh omnipotent, and the worthiest work of all is the outcome of a quiet mind. The quieter it is the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead to its own.


  • I am what I wanted and I want what I am.

Being a beginner

  • Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.


  • The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.


  • The moral task of man is a process of spiritualization. All creatures are go-betweens, and we are placed in time that by diligence in spiritual business we may grow liker and nearer to God. The aim of man is beyond the temporal — in the serene region of the everlasting Present.

Performing works with a pure heart

  • Now some people are of the opinion that they are altogether holy and perfect, and go around the place with big deeds and big words, and yet they strive for and desire so many things, they wish to possess so much and are so concerned both with themselves and with this thing and that. They assert that they are seeking great piety and devotion, and yet they cannot accept a single word of reproval without answering back. Be certain of this: they are far from God and are not in union with him.
  • They for whom God is not enough are greedy. The reward for all your works should be that they are known to God and that you seek God in them. Let this always be enough for you.


  • A just person is one who is conformed and transformed into justice.


  • My Lord told me a joke. And seeing Him laugh has done more for me than any scripture I will ever read.

Thoughts on God


God is with you everywhere

  • A man may go into the field and say his prayer and be aware of God, or, he may be in Church and be aware of God; but, if he is more aware of Him because he is in a quiet place, that is his own deficiency and not due to God, Who is alike present in all things and places, and is willing to give Himself everywhere so far as lies in Him. He knows God rightly who knows Him everywhere.
  • He knows God rightly who knows Him everywhere.
  • We shall find God in everything alike, and find God always alike in everything.
  • Your surroundings don’t matter. God is with you everywhere — in the market place as well as in seclusion or in the church.
  • There is no need to look for God here or there. He is no farther away than the door of your own heart.

God and I are one

  • In this breaking-through, I receive that God and I are one. Then I am what I was, and then I neither diminish nor increase, for I am then an immovable cause that moves all things.
  • 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
  • There is something in the soul that is so akin to God that it is one with Him… It has nothing in common with anything created.
  • God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself in so far as you are a created being made and let God be God in you.
  • The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God as if he stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge.
  • We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.
  • Jesus might have said, I became man for you. If you do not become God for me, you wrong me.

God is oneness, beyond duality

  • If I were to say “God exists,” this would not be true. He is beyond being. He is a no-thing-ness beyond being. This is why St. Augustine says “The best thing to be said about God is silence.” You must love God as not-God, not-Spirit, not-Sun, not-image, but as He is – sheer, pure absolute Oneness, without any duality.

God is beyond thought and understanding

  • Now pay attention to this. God is nameless for no one can either speak of him or know him. Therefore, a pagan master says that what we can know or say of the First Cause reflects ourselves more than it does the First Cause, for this transcends all speech and all understanding . . . He is being beyond being: he is a nothingness beyond being. Therefore St. Augustine says: ‘The finest thing that we can say of God is to be silent concerning him from the wisdom of inner riches.’ Be silent therefore, and do not chatter about God, for by chattering about him, you tell lies and commit a sin. If you wish to be perfect and without sin, then do not prattle about God. Also you should not wish to understand anything about God, for God is beyond all understanding. A master says: If I had a God that I could understand, I would not regard him as God. If you understand anything about him, then he is not in it, and by understanding something of him, you fall into ignorance, and by falling into ignorance, you become like an animal since the animal part in creatures is that which is unknowing. If you do not wish to become like an animal therefore, do not pretend that you understand anything of the ineffable God.
  • The less theorizing you do about God, the more receptive you are to His inpouring.
  • We should know the Godhead which has flowed into the Father and filled Him with joy, and which has flowed into the Son and filled Him with wisdom, and the Two are essentially one.
  • You should not imagine that your reason can evolve to the extent of understanding God. Rather, if God is to shine divinely within you, your natural light cannot assist this process but must become a pure nothingness, going out of itself. Only then can God enter with his light, bringing back with him all that you have renounced and a thousand times more, including a new form which contains all things in itself.

Loving God

  • How then should I love God?’ You should love God non-mentally, that is to say the soul should become non-mental and stripped of her mental images. For as long as your soul is mental, she will possess images. As long as she has images, she will possess intermediaries, and as long as she has intermediaries, she will not have unity or simplicity. As long as she lacks simplicity, she does not truly love God, for true love depends upon simplicity . . . Indeed, you must love him as he is One, pure, simple and transparent, far from all duality. And we should eternally sink into this One, thus passing from something into nothing. So help us God. Amen.
  • Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love a cow – for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort. They do not rightly love God, when they love Him for their own advantage.

Fear of God

  • Slavish fear of God is to be put away. The right fear is the fear of losing God.

Devotion to God

  • There are people who savour God in one way but not in another, and they want to possess God according to one manner of devotion and not another. I can tolerate this, but it is quite wrong. If we are to take God correctly, then we must take him equally in all things: in tribulation as in prosperity, in tears as in joy. He should always be the same for you. If you believe, without having committed a mortal sin, that you lack both devotion and serious intent and that, not having devotion or serious intent, you do not have God, and if you then grieve over this, this itself becomes your devotion and serious intent. Therefore, you should not confine yourself to just one manner of devotion, since God is to be found in no particular way, neither this one nor that. That is why they do him wrong who take God just in one particular way. They take the way rather than God. Remember this then: intend God alone and seek him only. Then whatever kinds of devotional practice come to you, be content with those. For your intention should be directed at God alone and at nothing else.

Becoming an instrument for God

  • No, certainly not! The very best thing you can do is to remain still for as long as possible . . . You cannot think about or desire this preparation more swiftly than God can carry it out . . . You should know that God must pour himself into you and act upon you where he finds you prepared . . . just as the sun must pour itself forth and cannot hold itself back when the air is pure and clean. Certainly, it would be a major failing if God did not perform great works in you, pouring great goodness into you, in so far as he finds you empty and there.

Relationship with God

  • But where is this true possession of God, whereby we really possess him, to be found? This real possession of God is to be found in the heart, in an inner motion of the spirit towards him and striving for him, and not just in thinking about him always and in the same way. For that would be beyond the capacity of our nature and would be very difficult to achieve and would not even be the best thing to do. We should not content ourselves with the God of thoughts for, when the thoughts come to an end, so too shall God. Rather, we should have a living God who is beyond the thoughts of all people and all creatures. That kind of God will not leave us, unless we ourselves choose to turn away from him.
  • Whoever possesses God in their being has Him in a divine manner, and He shines out to them in all things; for them all things taste of God and in all things it is God’s image that they see.

The freedom that comes with abiding in God’s will

  • The man who abides in the will of God wills nothing else than what God is, and what He wills. If he were ill he would not wish to be well. If he really abides in God’s will, all pain is to him a joy, all complication, simple: yea, even the pains of hell would be a joy to him. He is free and gone out from himself, and from all that he receives, he must be free. If my eye is to discern colour, it must itself be free from all colour. The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.
  • This passage from nothingness to real being, this quitting of oneself is a birth accompanied by pain, for by it natural love is excluded. All grief except grief for sin comes from love of the world. In God is neither sorrow, nor grief, nor trouble. Wouldst thou be free from all grief and trouble, abide and walk in God, and to God alone. As long as love of the creature is in us, pain cannot cease.
  • The freer the mind is, the more powerful and worthy, the more useful, praiseworthy and perfect the prayer and the work become. A free mind can achieve all things. But what is a free mind? A free mind is one which is untroubled and unfettered by anything, which has not bound its best part to any particular manner of being or devotion and which does not seek its own interest in anything but is always immersed in God’s most precious will, having gone out of what is its own. There is no work which men and women can perform, however small, which does not draw from this its power and its strength. We should pray with such intensity that we want all the members of our body and all its faculties, eyes, ears, mouth, heart and all our senses to turn to this end; and we should not cease in this until we feel that we are close to being united with him who is present to us and to whom we are praying: God.
  • A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead to its own.

Surrender to God’s will

  • You should give your all to God, and then worry no more about what he may do with what is his.
  • In true obedience, there should be no ‘I want this or that to happen’ or ‘I want this or that thing’ but only a pure going out of what is our own. And therefore, in the very best kind of prayer that we can pray there should be no ‘give me this particular virtue or way of devotion’ or ‘yes, Lord, give me yourself or eternal life’, but rather ‘Lord, give me only what you will and do, Lord, only what you will and in the way that you will’. This kind of prayer is as far above the former as heaven is above earth. And when we have prayed in this way, then we have prayed well, having gone out of ourselves and entered God in true obedience.
  • Obedience need never be anxious, for there is no form of goodness which it does not possess in itself. When we go out of ourselves through obedience and strip ourselves of what is ours, then God must enter into us; for when someone wills nothing for themselves, then God must will on their behalf just as he does for himself. Whenever I have taken leave of my own will, putting it in the hands of my superior, and no longer will anything for myself, then God must will on my behalf, and if he neglects me in this respect, then he neglects himself. And so in all things in which I do not will for myself, God wills on my behalf.
  • When we go out of ourselves through obedience and strip ourselves of what is ours, then God must enter into us; for when someone wills nothing for themselves, then God must will on their behalf just as he does for himself.
  • Whoever wants to receive the body of our Lord does not need to scrutinize what they are feeling at the time or how great their piety or devotion is, but rather they should note the state of their will and attitude of mind. You should not place too much weight on your feelings but emphasize rather the object of your love and striving.

Surrender to God and to life’s unfolding (including misfortune)

  • And so, in my view the most important thing of all is that we should give ourselves up entirely to God whenever he allows anything to befall us, whether insult, tribulation or any other kind of suffering, accepting it with joy and gratitude and allowing God to guide us all the more rather than seeking these things out ourselves.
  • But if God endures it for the sake of the benefit for you which he has foreseen in it, and if you are willing to suffer what he suffers and what passes through him to you, then it takes on the colour of God, and shame becomes honour, bitterness is sweetness and the deepest darkness becomes the clearest light. Then everything takes its flavour from God and becomes divine, for everything conforms itself to God, whatever befalls us, if we intend only him and nothing else is pleasing to us. Thus, we shall grasp God in all bitterness as well as in the greatest sweetness.
  • If we are to take God correctly, then we must take him equally in all things: in tribulation as in prosperity, in tears as in joy. He should always be the same for you.

Sensing the presence of God

  • Now, you might say: how can this be? I cannot feel his presence in any way. Listen to this. Sensing his presence is not in your power but in his. He will show himself when it suits him to do so, and he can also remain hidden if that is his wish. This is what Christ meant when he said to Nicodemus: ‘The spirit breathes where it will: you hear its voice but do not know where it comes from, or where it is going’.

The gifts of God

  • God never gives, nor did He ever give a gift, merely that man might have it and be content with it. No, all gifts which He ever gave in heaven or on earth, He gave with one sole purpose – to make one single gift: Himself. With all His gifts He desires only to prepare us for the one gift, which is Himself.
  • How can we be directly in God, neither striving nor seeking for anything other than him, and how can we be so poor and give up everything? It is hard counsel that we should not desire any reward. Now be certain of this: God never ceases to give us everything. Even if he had sworn not to, he still could not help giving us things. It is far more important to him to give than it is for us to receive, but we should not focus upon this, for the less we strive for it, the more God will give us. God intends thereby only that we should become yet more rich and be all the more capable of receiving things from him.
  • If God gave the soul his whole creation she would not be filled thereby but only with himself.

Desire for God

  • But of God you can never have a sufficiency. The more you have of God, the more you desire. If you could ever have enough of God, so that you were content with him, then God would not be God.

Connection to God

  • 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.
  • Nobody at any time is cut off from God.
  • A free mind is one which is untroubled and unfettered by anything, which has not bound its best part to any particular manner of being or worship and which does not seek its own interest in anything but is always immersed in God’s most precious will. . . . There is no work which men and women can perform, however small, which does not draw from this its power and strength.
  • God is at home, it’s we who have gone out for a walk.
  • If you look for nothing but God, nothing or no one can disturb you.
  • Man goes far away or near but God never goes far-off; he is always standing close at hand, and even if he cannot stay within he goes no further than the door.
  • Now rejoice, all ye powers of my soul, that you are so united with God that no one may separate you from Him. I cannot fully praise nor love Him therefore must I die, and cast myself into the divine void, till I rise from non-existence to existence.
  • To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.

More thoughts on God

  • God is at home. We are in the far country.
  • God is greater than God.
  • We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.
  • For however devoted you are to him, you may be sure that he is immeasurably more devoted to you and has incomparably more faith in you. For he is faithfulness itself – of this we can be certain as those who love him are certain.
  • God is not good, or else he could do better.

Thoughts on human challenges



  • The quickest means to bring us to perfection is suffering; none enjoy everlasting blessedness more than those who share with Christ the bitterest pangs. Nothing is sharper than suffering, nothing is sweeter than to have suffered.


  • Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.


  • The less there is of ‘I,’ the more there is of God.


  • Even now one rarely hears of people achieving great things unless they first stumble in some respect.

Being lost

  • In this way, seek wrongly, and the further they range, the less they find what they are looking for. They proceed like someone who has lost their way: the further they go, the more lost they become.

More thoughts


Concern yourself more with what you are than what you do

  • People should not worry so much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctified our works.

The kind of work we do does not make us holy but we may make it holy

  • One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be. Our works do not ennoble us; but we must ennoble our works.
  • The kind of work we do does not make us holy but we may make it holy. However sacred a calling may be, as it is a calling, it has no power to sanctify; but rather as we are and have the divine being within, we bless each task we do, be it eating, or sleeping, or watching, or any other.  Whatever they do, who have not much of God’s nature, they work in vain.

The Now

  • There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.


  • Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.

Outward verse inward

  • The outward man is the swinging door; the inner man is the still hinge.
  • The outward work will never be puny if the inward work is great.

More thoughts

  • As long as I am this or that, I am not all things.
  • I may err but I am not a heretic, for the first has to do with the mind and the second with the will.
  • Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
  • When the Soul wants to experience something, she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it.
  • Where there is Isness, there God is. Creation is the giving of isness from God. And that is why God becomes where any creature expresses God.
  • Grace is from God, and works in the depth of the soul whose powers it employs. It is a light which issues forth to do service under the guidance of the Spirit. The Divine Light permeates the soul, and lifts it above the turmoil of temporal things to rest in God. The soul cannot progress except with the light which God has given it as a nuptial gift; love works the likeness of God into the soul. The peace, freedom and blessedness of all souls consist in their abiding in God’s will. Towards this union with God for which it is created the soul strives perpetually.
  • Nature’s intent is neither food, nor drink, nor clothing, nor comfort, nor anything else in which God is left out. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, secretly nature seeks, hunts, tries to ferret out the track on which God may be found.
  • One person who has mastered life is better than a thousand persons who have mastered only the contents of books, but no one can get anything out of life without God.
  • When you are thwarted, it is your own attitude that is out of order.
  • Know that when you seek anything of your own, you will never find God, because you do not seek God purely. You are seeking something along with God, and you are acting just as if you were to make a candle out of God in order to look for something with it. Once one finds the things one is looking for, one throws the candle away. This is what you are doing.
  • Only those for whom God is present in all things and who make the very best use of their reason, know what true peace is and truly possess heaven.
  • We rarely find people who achieve great things without first going astray.
  • Every creature is a word of God and is a book about God.