Last week I was praising my latest read, Joel F. Harrington's Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within. While it is not an easy-breezy read, it is definitely worth the effort.
While it is valuable for its historical insights, I think I appreciated most how Dr. Harrington explained Meister Eckhart's spiritual teachings. Meister Eckhart believed that the masses to whom he preached could be taught how to unite with the God within and would sometimes use phrasing that bordered on pantheism and other non-orthodox beliefs. One such statement was, "Therefore I pray to God to make me free of God." He also stressed that the inward state is much more valuable to God than good works. Of course, this eventually brought him unwelcome notice for the religious authorities and he was called in to explain his allegedly heretical statements. I won't ruin the ending for you, but it cost him both his reputation as well as his being officially "forgotten" for many centuries.
I think that what is important about this book is that Dr. Harrington worked to present Eckhart's teachings within the framework of his time and place. As we have seen in the last several decades, several authors have taken some of Eckhart's words and used them to promote their own viewpoint, but Dr. Harrington clearly counteracts that. Meister Eckhart taught important spiritual insights that must be taken within their context and, once understood, can provide useful nuggets for spiritual wisdom in our times.
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