Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness & Light:

Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way

by Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Burrows

Reviewed by Greg Richardson

This collection of theological reflections in poetic form is drawn from the writings and sermons of fourteenth-century priest and mystic Eckhart von Hochheim, better known as Meister Eckhart. Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness & Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way is a collaboration between Jon M. Sweeney, an independent scholar and writer, and Mark S. Burrows, a poet, translator, and professor of religion and literature. It follows up on their earlier books, Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart and Meister Eckhart’s Book of Secrets, which also distill the teachings of Meister Eckhart into short meditations.

In “Room Enough,” we are reminded that:
We talk and talk and talk, and all
this brings us no closer to wisdom.

If you wish to understand the deep
truth that is in God and in yourself,

keep still and listen; become poor
in yourself, desiring nothing and

knowing nothing and possessing
nothing. Only when you are empty

of all your chatter will there be
room enough in you to receive

the gift of wisdom you long for. (65)

Meister Eckhart himself did not write poetry, as far as we know. In these books, Burrows and Sweeney transform Meister Eckhart’s theological teaching into poetry, which sparks reflection in us. Many of us want to follow a spiritual path that is clearly marked and has measurable steps. We are not comfortable with the “wayless way” Meister Eckhart describes. This book is a poetic manual for spiritual life for those who are open to it. In Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness & Light, the reader receives starting points to fuel contemplation, such as in “The Power of Practice”:

To live a life grounded in God,
you don’t need information;
you need to be informed by
the spark of divine presence
you always carry within you.
But you’ll have to practice
this, with concentration,
like you would if you were
learning a skill or an art. (102)

Though Meister Eckhart’s background was in the Christian and European traditions, the poetic meditations in Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness & Light are accessible to people from a variety of spiritual experiences. All three books can be valuable tools for anyone who accompanies others on their spiritual journeys. They translate what can be intimidating theological treatises into more contemplative forms. The passion Burrows and Sweeney have for Meister Eckhart guides them to explore insights and questions without losing the threads of his original thinking.

This book will be a significant resource as you work with others as a spiritual director or companion, and in your own reading and reflection. It is an excellent introduction to Meister Eckhart and to contemplative mystic reflection.

Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness & Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way

By Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Burrows

Newburyport, MA:

Hampton Roads Publishing, 2023

230 pages

CAD $23.38

GBP £13.45

USD $16.95


This Review Appears In


Vol. 29 | No. 2 | JUNE – 2023


Greg Richardson

is a spiritual director in Pasadena, California, USA. He has served as an assistant district attorney and is a lay oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg writes a blog for the Contemplative Channel on

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