Learn more about “The Courageous Journey of Inner Space”
Years ago, I read an article written by the astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, that left a lasting impression. He noted with great emphasis that his trip to space changed his life forever in unexpected ways. Viewing the Earth from space – and outer space itself – transformed his perspective about life, humanity as a whole, the vastness of reality, and instilled in him the truth that we were one civilization sharing one planet. He said he could not identify the boundaries of nations from space. They did not exist. Only the continents and the oceans could clearly be seen from his space capsule. As Mitchell returned to Earth, he had to squeeze his consciousness back into his identity as an American, contained once again within the borders of a nation, separated from the whole of the rest of the planet he had the privilege of viewing from space. Mitchell devoted the rest of his life to writing and teaching about planetary consciousness because of realizations gleaned from his journey into outer space. He would not be the first astronaut to inadvertently arrive at inner space, as a result of traveling to outer space.
The astronaut experience is perhaps the closest physical comparison that I can offer that mirrors the cosmic/sacred experiences of mystics such as Teresa of Avila, John-of-the-Cross, Padre Pio, Rumi, Muktananda and so many others. Think of these individuals as mystical astronauts – people who have made the long, arduous journey to sacred cosmic/outer space, only their means of travel was the soul. Through their mystical travels, they achieved a view – an understanding – of the playing field of life and humanity from outer space, outside the orbit of ordinary planetary consciousness. They transitioned from the limitations of the borders of the conventional thinking, beliefs, attitudes of their respective societies at the time and entered into the timeless, gravity-free orbit of mystical consciousness. Frequently after a deeply profound mystical experience (some of which lasted mere seconds), their greatest difficulty was describing to their companions “where” they went and exactly what they experienced. “My brain wanted to go with,” Teresa of Avila once said, “but it couldn’t make the journey.”
Cosmic mystical journeys, whether micro or macro as I think of them, transformed so many mystics from (to use the astronaut comparison again) nation-dwellers to cosmic citizens devoted to communicating truth rather than religious teachings and politics. The consequences of experiencing visions, direct guidance, soul-flights, angelic messengers, the activation of gifts of the spirit such as healing and the ability to bi-locate (Padre Pio was known to do that and wrote about it in his journals), dissolves the parameters of five-sensory reality. The invisible atmosphere that surrounds all life transitions into a vibrant domain of sacred activity and companionship, penetrated then as now, by prayer and faith. (The power of this cosmic transformation and the extraordinary grace that these people channeled openly to all as a result, incidentally, was exactly the reason religious authorities – particularly Catholic – tormented authentic mystics. They recognized the potency of truth then – as they do now – and truth always terrifies the dark).
So, why should this be of any interest to you? Of what possible use to your busy, modern life are the mystical teachings of these people?
First, we are now living in the era of inner and outer/cosmic space travel, not to overuse this comparison. You never stop pursuing inner space these days. In one way or another, you are always seeking to understand more about yourself, your life, your purpose and your place in the universe. You dwell in inner space constantly and the questions you pursue the most about yourself and your life are actually cosmic quests fueled by sacred questions. Wondering why you have been given the gift of your life is not an ordinary question; it should be recognized for what it is – a prayer requesting the grace of a mystical act of revelation. Why was I born? (Consider this: Who are you asking? And how do you think that question should be answered?)
Here is a cosmic truth: You were not given life just to have a job or career. You were given life to discover the wildly creative power and resources of your soul – which is why, for example, you are often positioned in circumstances that make you feel powerless. What else can awaken your inner resources?
Secondly, the way we suffer has made a gradual shift over these past five decades to our emotional/mental/psychic/spiritual dimensions. Our pursuits of inner space are fed by endless soul-driven questions that drop into our interior like firecrackers. We want to know why we are in pain, why things happen as they do to us, why we are not happy and fulfilled, why we are plagued with fears, why we find loving others so frightening, why we are unable to love fully, and so on. We are on a constant pursuit of self-knowledge. And, as it happens, it was Teresa of Avila who first identified the pursuit of self-knowledge as the path to the soul. She laid the groundwork. And she described the route and pointed out the obstacle course.
Teresa of Avila articulated these centers with precision and extraordinary brilliance, especially considering that she lived in the 16th century, long before people compassionately studied the depths of human nature. She referred to these spiritual centers as the “mansions of the soul”, noting that these were the stages of self-knowledge through which a person progressed in the pursuit of self-knowledge – the only authentic pursuit to truth, the soul, and the Divine.
As my understanding of human consciousness and health expanded through the years, I realized that we must incorporate the anatomy of the soul into our bio-physical-spiritual template, with special attention to the content of the soul as described by Teresa. We do not require a religious understanding by any means. We have advanced to the cosmic, planetary, gravity-free, timeless orbit of the mystics of all traditions who share the message of cosmic truth. Teresa of Avila is a mystical astronaut as well as a Catholic saint. Her description of our interior castle – our soul – is as relevant today as it was when she wrote this masterpiece 500-years-ago. I believe her descriptions of our strengths and weaknesses, our need and fear of love, our struggle with reason, our fear of humiliation – to name just a few of her stunning insights – point us in the direction of inner healing as well as personal transformation. Her teachings, to be clear, are soul or cosmic-driven. Like all cosmic mystics, she was devoted to truth, not recruiting converts for the Church.
To make this seminar an even richer experience, I am including teachings from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, specifically her description of what Jesus had told her about the “great tree within you that does not change.” Her description of ascending through eight boughs of this tree is a brilliant compliment to Teresa’s description of the Interior Castle. Both women speak of the rigorous inner journey that unfolds within a person, bough-by-bough or mansion-by-mansion, to use the metaphor of Teresa who describes the soul as a diamond with seven mansions. They both describe in their own way the qualities inherent within the soul that we must awaken within ourselves, such as wisdom, love, trust, faith, endurance, mercy, and judgment/discernment. These qualities – or graces – are essential to the life balance of a person, and thus, to an individual’s mental, emotional, spiritual, psychic and physical health. Who, for example, can truly achieve complete health if he or she lacks clear judgment because of a deep sense of mistrust? Trust and faith in oneself – as well as in someone greater than yourself – are essential to generating a sense of well-being.
The truth held in these mystical traditions is as relevant for us today as it was when these teachings were first revealed to people. The “when” really doesn’t matter. Truth is timeless.
Into the Cosmos
Our first session is all about expanding your view of your own world, of how you relate to the sacred cosmos, and introducing a new vista on mysticism through the writings of Teresa and Mary Magdalene.
- How vast is your universe?
- The power of imagination: local/global/galactic
- Cosmic Citizens: Teresa of Avila and Mary Magdalene
- Who were these women?
- A mystical view: God is law – a very orderly universe
- Mystical laws and scientific laws
- What is the soul?
- Observing: What’s in your Orbit?
- The questions you ask
- The “borders” within which you live
- The Law of Gravity
- Inner Space flight: The fear of becoming “weightless”
Anatomy of the Soul
The anatomy of the soul is a specific as our physical anatomy, only it is aligned to creative powers and hidden resources inherent to the soul. The soul is your life battery, your connection to all that your eyes cannot see – and yet, all that you sense around you.
- The Tree of Life and the Seven Mansions of the Soul
- Health requirements of the soul
- What is a soul illness?
- Spiritual crises
- What causes a spiritual crisis?
- The differences between a spiritual crisis and clinical crises.
- Health requirements of the soul
- Soul stamina
- Hidden resources of the soul
Entering the Soul – First and Second Mansions
The descriptions provided with such extraordinary precision by Teresa and Mary Magdalene speak to us of who we are today and the root causes of our suffering. Nothing has changed over the centuries, for the soul is timeless. Nothing has changed about the struggles of the human journey. Know thyself and you will be free. Mystical truths are the most healing of all teachings because they apply to every one of us.
- First and Second Mansions
- The Power of Prayer, Humility, Chaos and Divine Seduction
- God in the Details
- First and Second boughs of the Tree of Life
- The bough of love and compassion
- The bough of wisdom and understanding
- Challenges and obstacles
- Grace and personal practice
Entering the Soul – Third and Fourth Mansions
The deeper we delve into our soul – ourselves – the more we realize we are in search of only one goal: What is real? What is truth? Holding on to anything that is less than truth becomes a “conscious burden”, as we soon realize the weight of even one thought form that is based in deception, illusion or darkness.
- Third and Fourth Mansions
- Surrender: The Defeat of Reason
- The Mystical Heart
- Third and Fourth boughs of the Tree of Life
- Honor and humility
- Strength and courage
- Grace and personal practice
Entering the Soul – Fifth and Sixth Mansions
Everyone wants to stop and rest on their inner journey, to come to that place of completion. But nothing in life is ever complete. Nothing ever rests. The mystical truth is: We are life itself. And the essence of which we are made – the soul – is only life.
- Fifth and Sixth Mansions
- Dissolving into Holiness: From Silkworm to Butterfly
- Essential Wisdoms and Final Fire
- Fifth and Sixth boughs of the Tree of Life
- Clarity and Truth
- Power and Healing
- Grace and personal practice
Entering the Soul – Seventh Mansion
Mystical truths are the most potent of all teachings because they belong to the sacred. Let the power of a truth get into the walls of your soul for a second and you have changed your life forever.
- The Seventh Mansion
- Divine Marriage, Healing and Reentering the World
- The Seventh and Eighth boughs of the Tree of Life
- Light and Goodness
- Grace and beauty of the Spirit
- Extraordinary truth in ordinary everyday life
- The power within you
- Grace and personal practice
About Caroline Myss
Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition. Caroline established her own educational institute in 2003, CMED (Caroline Myss Education), which offers a diverse array of programs devoted to personal development and draws students from all over the world. In addition to her written work, Caroline maintains a rigorous international workshop and lecture schedule and has produced more than eighty audio/visual products on subjects that include healing, spirituality, personal development, and the study of archetypes.
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