Entering the Castle
An Inner Path to
God and Your Soul
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Your Power to Create
From wishful thinking
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March 23, 2007
What characteristics define the time that we live in? Certainly we can say that this is a time of great chaos, but that is stating the obvious. Further, we would not be the first to declare that our society is spinning out of control. Chaos is simply not an adequate description of what is occurring around us. We are living at what could be the most pivotal moment of human history, if not a time of unrivaled potential change. We must not, therefore, glance carelessly at or ignore completely the ingredients that have gathered together to form this moment in time as they are forming us. In noting these ingredients and in appreciating their impact and power, we can appreciate all the more why ordinary thinking is now inadequate as a resource for decision-making and processing even the demands of our individual lives. We require far more advanced tools of discernment. We must introduce the practice of reflection into our daily lives, a practice common to residents of monasteries and ashrams and to those devoted to their spiritual life.
The Time of Our Lives
We are formed by our times and our culture forms us. We cannot separate from our world. It is in us and we are in it. For all of the many external changes that are spinning around us that characterize the passing years and decades of both our local and global society, what we now must reckon with are three factors— indeed, forces—that have immeasurable influence, perhaps beyond our capacity to even imagine. These three factors, I believe, exert an influencing voice within the psychic field of every individual, penetrating matters of health, social and psychological behavior, including episodes of psychic breakdowns. I also believe that these factors underlie the reason why there is a mystical Renaissance at work within the collective soul.
The Second Factor: All Change Affects the Whole
The second factor that is characteristic of this unique time of ours is that not only is all information flowing into your life at the speed of light or energy, but also that now all information is essentially universal. What occurs in Iraq, a country most Americans were barely familiar with twenty or thirty years ago (or at least pre-Gulf War), now changes the complex relationships between many nations. The death of a political leader instantly alters the global chess board of power, not merely the nation from which that leader came. This new level of interconnectedness has drawn every person into global awareness, like it or not. No events—or nations—are isolated any longer. You cannot watch the news and be disconnected from the globe, though you can still imagine that you are disconnected. Therein lies the energetic crisis, however. People still remain disassociated from the world emotionally or psychologically—or worse, spiritually—while watching and reading news of world events, because war is not "real" on television, especially when we also pay to watch war films for entertainment. How can your psyche, much less the rest of your perceptual system, tell the difference? What are you supposed to say to your psyche—"This war is real but the one I paid to see is entertainment"?
The Third Factor: The Whole of You
How much of you is affected by all that goes on around you? Or, to ask this question in reverse: How much of the whole of you interacts with the whole of life? Everyone reading this is now functioning out of a trinity—that is, the template of the body-mind-spirit, which suggests a new wiring in your consciousness that simultaneously connects all of your perceptions and experiences, all your thoughts, emotions, musings, creative ideas, sexual appetites, and other functions of your body, mind, and emotions or psyche. Whereas once we lived from the perception that our minds interacted with the external world and our hearts/emotions interacted with the home front (that is to say, our hearts stayed home while our minds went to work), now the whole of us interacts with the whole of life. You no longer have any energetic or psychic boundaries. Most people familiar with the body-mind-spirit template apply it to health and only to health. They fail to make the connection that this template is a mechanism of perception that is operational at all times. Whether you are reading a newspaper, walking your dog, having a nasty argument, ordering dinner, or getting a massage, you are now functioning—by conscious choice, although quite unconsciously—on multiple levels of awareness.
What is the Practice of Reflection?
Reflection is, first of all, not thinking. Here's a funny instruction, but think about how you think for a moment. Most people set up their minds in a rather defensive posture, because they interact with life braced for protection. Many times they don't even think about what they are saying, because they function more in reactive thought than in active thought. To think is to engage in rational activity that includes communication, the collecting and processing of facts and the processing of emotions within the framework of rational facts. Reflection, on the other hand, is not about thinking. To reflect is to dwell upon a thought, a decision, a perception, an impending change, a creative impulse, or a spiritual inspiration, and allow its power to melt into your life slowly, giving you an opportunity to observe the impact the power of this thought or inspiration will have on your life and/or the lives of others. Reflection takes you beyond the parameters of the defensive posture of reacting to information: Will this harm me? Will this cost me money? Am I the last in line?
Where Do You Begin?
Best to begin with something to reflect upon. I am going to use the work of Teresa of Avila (of course), but in months to come, I will expand to other wondrous mystics (hard as it is for me to not write about my beloved Teresa). One of her favorite prayers was, "God alone suffices." And she also wrote these words, which I encourage you to read just before you go to bed: "Let nothing, O Lord, disturb the silence of this night. Let nothing make me afraid. For in any moment of trial you, my Lord, will always send someone to help me. I can depend on you. You are always there. Whether surrounded on every side or torn from within, knowing that I can do nothing by myself, I can still lift up my eyes to heaven and cry out to you. Let me come to the end of this day welcoming the darkness in peace, knowing that I have nothing to fear. For if I have you, God, I will want for nothing. You alone suffice."
I do a healing prayer moment at the end of my radio show with Hay House every Tuesday at 3:00 pm CST at HayHouseradio.com. Do join me for that, if you can.
And thank you again for all of your support.
Responding to the Call of Mystical Service in the World
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
May 18-20, 2007 (2 nights, Fri—Sun)
The important thing is not to think much but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love.
—Teresa of Avila
Many people are now experiencing a yearning to journey into the mystical depths of their soul, entering into an experiential relationship with God—which is very different than what we think we know about God.
Join contemporary spiritual guide Caroline Myss for a weekend dedicated to this deep inner exploration of the soul. Inspired by St. Teresa of Avila's brilliant sixteenth-century book The Interior Castle, Caroline will lead you into the many rooms of your Inner Castle, which is the deep and eternal state of consciousness within your soul.
Together we will explore the journey of illumination: how to build a soul with stamina, how to channel grace for healing (without ego or attachment), and what it means to be of service to this world as a person who has the soul of a mystic. Based on Caroline's new book, Entering the Castle, this workshop leads people into the territory of the soul, dismantling mental concepts of God and moving into the realms of mystical experiences.
"Kripalu offers a perfect setting for workshops and retreats. It's a very nurturing environment that encourages interior work along with great social activity."
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is the largest and most-established retreat center for yoga and holistic living in North America, offering a wide variety of workshops, trainings, and retreats.
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Located in western Massachusetts, Kripalu is just 2½ hours from Boston and 3 hours from New York City.
Questions? Call Kripalu Registration at 800-741-7353.
Kripalu Center is a nonprofit educational organization with a mission of producing thriving and health in individuals and society.
May 2007 - Yoga Journal Conference
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Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
Lake Geneva, WI
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