Tag Archives: Meister Eckart

Light from a dark age

It was a “dark age” in the western Europe of the 13th century when pandemics, population decline and economic degradation prevailed. Most people had moved into villages and towns sharing crowded rooms with family members and livestock. With little or no sanitation or semblance of hygiene the stench would have been unbearable for sensitive modern noses.

The exodus from the countryside was exacerbated by repeated crop failures caused by the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanic eruptions and changes in Arctic ice cover. With temperatures dropping for centuries this meant that the winters were particularly long and harsh.

Periods of crisis and challenging external circumstances sometimes force humanity into introspection with the dark ages having brought forth some of the greatest Mystics at the forefront of an individual inward-looking spirituality. The popes and bishops were meanwhile offering little comfort to ordinary people, preoccupied with political power struggles and worldly pleasures.

Pilgrimage walks to Santiago de Compostela

During these times pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela became popular as an inner journey of penance, spiritual rebirth and renewal. The modern-day pilgrim on the Camino is in many respects no different. Spirituality as opposed to religious doctrine is by far the primary motivation, based on my own research and conversations with hundreds of pilgrims on my more than dozen walks on pilgrimage routes in northwestern Spain.

The wise teachings of the 13th-century Dominican monk Meister Eckart (1260-1328), Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) are timeless and more topical than ever during these pandemic times. They were the eco-warriors and holistic healers of their time, addressing issues of personal health, nutrition and the environment.

It took the disruption of a global pandemic to remind us that we can be exposed overnight to entirely new circumstances beyond our control. Life can be extremely fragile and uncertain. The mental health repercussions resulting from isolation and lockdowns are only gradually coming to the fore.

A formula for a life of bliss

The Mystics are clear on how to lead a life of bliss. Meister Eckart describes at least five stages of evolution in elevation of consciousness to the “new” man – the “birth of the son” or “birth of God” in the soul. The entire purpose of life he describes as the journey to self-realization and meaning:

  • Contemplation and meditation
  • Doing what is right and acting accordingly
  • Dedication and Love of God
  • Recognition and Differentiation
  • Alignment and surrender of ego

All these Mystics did not retreat to an isolated monastic lifestyle but were engaged in the world. Catherine of Genoa gave selfless service to the sick while at the same time serving as director and treasurer of a hospital. Hildegard of Bingen was engaged in many fields including religion, medicine, music and cosmology, At the same time she was a mentor for many famous personalities of her time.

The common thread is that we are one humanity and that a life of service and dedication for the betterment of all provides solace to inner turmoil during times of crisis.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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Surrendering to the pain of the past

It is just part of the human condition that we  have about 70,000 thoughts a day with most of those thoughts revolving around cravings such as food or on the past or future.

The melancholy sadness over that which was and is no more holds many a mind captive. If you find that you are caught in such a downward spiral it might be useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What other avenues did the loss open up in my life?
  • What lesson did I learn from the mistake and how can I avoid making the same mistake again?
  • I blame nobody and take full responsibility

The addiction to please

Relationships between loved ones, family members, friendships and associations are often  the biggest challenge. The fear of being thrown out of the warm cave by our tribe is deeply embedded in our genes. We will therefore bend over backwards to be seen, to be heard and to be liked.

It is the reason why we stay in toxic relationships that have long outlived their purpose. It is why love for another person is often confused with self-love, especially when we expect another human being to compensate for an inner void.

The contract between souls

The ancient mystics believe that no relationship is coincidental. The intensity of a relationship is defined by the underlying current  that brought you together. The soul contract is to be teachers for each other so that we can grow in spiritual consciousness. And, sometimes the teaching can be to set a boundary by going  into isolation from a particular person, especially if this is a family member who  inhibits your growth or prevents you  from pursuing your  full potential.

What timeline in dealing with sorrow?

One of the biggest sins is not to live the life you were meant to live in terms of your individually mapped out destiny. The invisible wall is most often the difficulty in surrendering to the pain of the past. “You need to let it go,” is a saying that often comes from friends and family who mean good. But dealing with sorrow, grief and loss has its own timeline. It is not like just turning a switch and going into “happy mode”. It is not authentic and if your pain is not transmuted it will come back to haunt you later in life.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Remaining in faith and trust

The 13th century Mystic Meister Eckart has some wonderful words of comfort for those having difficulty in letting go of the pain of the past. “God is not a destroyer of anything good. He fulfills. God does not destroy but completes nature.” And in the same vein he recommends surrendering that pain to the “highest order and highest nurture.”

Staying in faith and trust is possibly one of the hardest trainings in patience but Meister Eckart also describes it as the highest schooling in spiritual training and elevation of consciousness.

Even the smallest of actions can be turned into spiritual training of “staying in the moment”, according to the Spanish Mystic Theresa of Avila (1515-1582). There is a story of how she once confronted a nun in her monastery complaining about having to do kitchen chores, telling her off with the words: “If you don’t see the dear God in the pan you don’t see him at all.”

It is in those “darkest night of the soul” moments where the chains of the ego are broken and space opens for change and a new beginning.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

Leave a comment

Filed under spirituality