Eckhart von Hochheim (c. 1260 – c. 1328), commonly known as Meister Eckhart or Eckehart, was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha, in the Landgraviate of Thuringia (now central Germany) in the Holy Roman Empire.Eckhart came into prominence during the Avignon Papacy, at a time of increased tensions between monastic orders, diocesan clergy, the Franciscan Order, and Eckhart's Dominican Order of Preachers. In later life, he was accused of heresy and brought up before the local Franciscan-led Inquisition, and tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII. He seems to have died before his verdict was received.He was well known for his work with pious lay groups such as the Friends of God and was succeeded by his more circumspect disciples John Tauler and Henry Suso. Since the 19th century, he has received renewed attention. He has acquired a status as a great mystic within contemporary popular spirituality, as well as considerable interest from scholars situating him within the medieval scholastic and philosophical tradition.
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A couple of months ago I had a dream, which I remember with the utmost clarity. (I don't usually remember my dreams.) I dreamed I had died and gone to Heaven. I looked about and knew where I was — green fields, fleecy clouds, perfumed air, and the distant, ravishing sound of the heavenly choir. And there was the recording angel smiling broadly at me in greeting. I said in wonder, "Is this Heaven?" The recording angel said, "It is." I said (and on waking and remembering, I was proud of my integrity), "But there must be a mistake. I don't belong here. I'm an atheist." "No mistake," said the recording angel. "But as an atheist how can I qualify?" The recording angel said sternly, "We decide who qualifies. Not you." "I see," I said. I looked about, pondered for a moment, then turned to the recording angel and asked, "Is there a typewriter here that I can use?" The significance of the dream was clear to me. I felt Heaven to be the act of writing, and I have been in Heaven for over half a century, and I have always known this.