Meister Eckhart Quotes

Quotations from an important medieval mystic

Meister Eckhart sermon fragment
Oldest known fragment of sermon 5b by Meister Eckhart. Image from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, made available through the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Meister Johannes Eckhart was a theologian, writer, and mystic who wrote influential treatises on the nature of man's relationship with God. His ideas clashed with the orthodox Christian viewpoint, and he would be charged with heresy. Here is a selection of Meister Eckhart's spiritual quotations. 

  • And thou shouldest know that to be empty of all creature's love is to be full of God, and to be full of creature-love is to be empty of God.
    Sermon VI
  • God is in all things, but in so far as God is Divine and in so far as God is rational, he exists more properly in the soul and in angels, that is in the innermost and highest part of the soul, than he does anywhere else.
    Sermon 4, DW 30, W 18
  • He knows God rightly who knows Him everywhere.
    Sermon V
  • If I am to know the highest good, and the everlasting Godhead, truly, I must know them as they are in themselves apart from creation. If I am to know real existence, I must know it as it is in itself, not as it is parceled out in creatures.
    Sermon II
  • 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.
    Sermon IV
  • The soul has two eyes: an inner and an outer eye. The inner eye of the soul is the one which perceives being and receives its own being directly from God: This is the activity which is particular to itself. The outer eye of the soul is that which is directed towards all creatures and which perceives them in the manner of an image and the function of a faculty. But they who are turned within themselves so that they know God according to their own taste and in their own being, are freed from all created thingss and are secure in themselves in a very fortress of truth.
    Sermon 15, DW 10, W 66
  • We should know first of all that we possess in ourselves two natures, one that is body and the other spirit, as is evident to all. Thus one book states: whoever knows themsleves, knows all creatures, for all creatures are either body or spirit.
    On the Noble Man

Many quotations have been attributed to Meister Eckhart without any specific sources.

For a collection of such attributed quotes, visit page two.


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About the Quotes

The following quotes have been attributed to Meister Johannes Eckhart. The sources are unknown.

  • All God wants of man is a peaceful heart.
  • And so, too, I speak of love: he who is caught by it is held by the strongest bonds and yet the stress is pleasant.
  • Do exactly what you would do if you felt most secure.
  • Every creature is a word of God.
  • 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.
  • God is at home; it is we who have gone for a walk.
  • He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.
  • If God gave the soul his whole creation she would not be filled thereby but only with himself.
  • If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "Thank You," that would suffice.
  • If you seek the kernel, then you must break the shell. And likewise, if you would know the reality of Nature, you must destroy the appearance, and the farther you go beyond the appearance, the nearer you will be to the essence.
  • In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity.
  • Jesus might have said, "I became man for you. If you do not become God for me, you wrong me."
  • A just person is one who is conformed and transformed into justice.
  • Love God, and do as you like, say the Free Spirits. Yes; but as long as you like anything contrary to God's will, you do not love Him.
  • Man's last and highest parting occurs when, for God's sake, he takes leave of God.
  • No idea represents or signifies itself. It always points to something else, of which it is a symbol. And since man has no ideas, except those abstracted from external things through the sense, he cannot be blessed by an idea.
  • No-one knows what the soul is. But what we do know is, the soul is where God works compassion.
  • Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
  • People should not worry as 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 sanctify our works.
  • The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they're not punishing you, they're freeing your soul.
  • The outward man is the swinging door; the inner man is the still hinge.
  • The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.
  • 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.
  • To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.
  • To seek God by rituals is to get the ritual and lose God in the process, for he hides behind it. On the other hand, to seek God without artifice, is to take him as he is, and so doing, a person 'lives by the Son,' and is the Life itself.
  • Truly, it is in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.
  • Truth is something so noble that if God could turn aside from it, I could keep the truth and let God go.
  • We shall find God in everything alike, and find God always alike in everything.
  • We need not destroy any little good in ourselves for the sake of a better, but we should strive to grasp every truth in its highest meaning, for no one good contradicts another.
  • What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love.
  • What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.
  • When you are thwarted, it is your own attitude that is out of order.
  • 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.
  • Words derive their power from the original word.
  • You could not do better than to go where it is dark, that is, unconsciousness.
  • You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.

If you know the source of any of these quotations, please contact me with the details.


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