I spent some time last week in the company of a lovely group of people at Shepherds Dene in Northumberland. We were all there to explore the thought and teachings of the 13th Century German mystic Meister Eckhart and to spend some time in quiet contemplation.
Shepherds Dene is the joint retreat centre for Durham and Newcastle Dioceses in the Anglican church and is set amid glorious countryside not far from Hadrian’s Wall. It is a beautiful place that’s comfortable and conducive to prayer and meditation. Oh, and some fine conversations over great food too; we weren’t being THAT silent.
The retreat was led by Anthony Finnerty from the Eckhart Society and was a good balance between interesting talks and reflection on the teachings.
Curious to find that the late Maurice Walshe who was so well regarded by Theravada Buddhists for his translation of the Digha Nikaya (The Long Discourses of the Buddha) was also the key translator of Meister Eckhart’s complete mystical works into English for the Society. One of the tracts he produced for the Buddhist Publication Society’s Wheel series addresses these joint interests: Buddhism & Christianity: A Positive Approach.
“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.” – Meister Eckhart