Meister Eckhart: Iconoclast?

Meister Eckhart: Iconoclast?

One of the most well-known and celebrated mystics from the Christian tradition is teacher and preacher Eckhart von Hochheim or Meister Eckhart. He had a wide and varied career, taught some controversial principles, and became touchstone for interreligious dialogue in the 20th century, especially given some of his Neoplatonist teachings.

An Unexpected Benefit of Studying the Mystics

An Unexpected Benefit of Studying the Mystics

For some reason, I’ve always been interested in sources of inspiration and creativity – the guy behind the guy in a sense. So if someone is an influential musician, say, I want to know who had influenced them. In college I dug into some of the inspirations for artists like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles, going back into the catalogue of early 20th century masters like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, and so on. I wanted to hear that originating source.

A Spiritual Retreat In Book Form

A Spiritual Retreat In Book Form

The book traces the Jungian idea of the archetype as manifested in different Christian saints and mystics over the centuries with exercises for personal reflection and transformation. Each chapter provides a brief overview of the particular figure and archetype, such as Catholic social worker and activist Dorothy Day as The Orphan, Mary as The Mother, and St. Francis as The Fool.

What Is Contemplation?

What Is Contemplation?

At a family dinner some years ago, I made passing reference to Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation. My brother, a pragmatic businessman, quietly repeated the word “contemplation” to himself. Then he shook his head.

Abiding In Silence

Abiding In Silence

After some amount of contemplative practice, and maybe even a deeper awakening experience, we tend to notice how much of our energy is handed over to thoughts, to mind-stuff. After a while, we notice all of it, everything outside of the pure silence is mind stuff, thought forms of one level of another.

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You

The Kingdom Of God Is Within You by Leo Tolstoy articulated a simple way of life, and the book served as a principle in the mission of Mahatma Gandhi.  Originally, the phrase was taken from The Gospel Of Luke, a direct quote of Jesus, "The Kingdom Of God cometh not with outward show, nor shall ye say lo here or lo there, for behold: The Kingdom Of God Is Within You."  Versions of this appear sometimes translate it as "The Kingdom Of God is in the midst of you," or even, "all around you." 

Evelyn Underhill's 5 Stages Of Mysticism: An Experiential Meditation

Evelyn Underhill's 5 Stages Of Mysticism: An Experiential Meditation

An Experiential Meditation on Evelyn Underhill's 5 Stages Of Awakening. What is life like after awakening? What are some of the signposts of this process and the shifts of spirit that happen along the way? The stages, while laid out in the most helpful model I've seen, are still only that, a model. They are not set in stone, nor is it essential to locate yourself in the exact phase: growth is rarely linear.

Thomas Merton on the Christian Mystical Tradition

Thomas Merton on the Christian Mystical Tradition

One of the challenges of the contemplative life is we usually arrive in this stage of spirituality and maturity after some kind of awakening. For many that is accompanied by some kind of loss, tension, or crisis. The experience comes first and we may not have the language to make sense of it yet.

A Woman For Our Times?

A Woman For Our Times?

Ok, so technically she’s a woman for the 12th century, and since God’s plan is perfect and all, let’s assume she fits squarely in her own times. However. Let’s pause and take a moment to appreciate one of the early female mystics in the West

A Delightfully Foolish Little Book

A Delightfully Foolish Little Book

Book Review: The St. Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book by Jon Sweeney

There’s a little book on St. Francis I’ve been dipping into lately. No, I don’t mean the Little Flowers of Saint Francis, but good guess!

I mean Jon Sweeney’s delightful The St. Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book that I’ve kept on my desk for the past couple weeks just to sample from like a candy box when I’m in between tasks or waiting for a response or some such.