One of the great 'mystics', proficient in portraying a simple, step by step way to getting into deep relationship with Jesus, unlike anyone else.
If reality were a theater play, Teresa would have the front row to herself...
With an uncommon approach to life, she views a multidimensional inner world, and through time spent alone, deprived of distractions that our modern life imposes on us, she enforces resilience upon herself, and goes about creating an Inner Castle, a fortress of the mind, which she uses as a double edged analogy to regaining purpose as creation.
If introversion were a supreme quality, she would be unparalleled, the fascinating difference being her ability to recognize the 'One Thing', meaning that if we were to view life from eternity's perspective, the only thing that matters remains our real, day to day interaction with Jesus.
Modest yet tough, she has the rare ability to draw others into a world viewed from the closest perspective to God's, which is the only reality that stands the test of time.
Immaculate if seen from the outside, she remains unspoiled by the corruption of desire, which she recognizes as weakness, a form of deployment for the ego. If 'humble' were a village, she would be chief in charge.
Making great sacrifices comes as second nature, to the degree that they are turned upside down, and viewed as opportunities. As our modern Tony Robbins, she takes the advice to heart, and promotes an attitude of 'I get to...', instead of 'I've got to...'.
She even takes it further and becomes fortified by the very things which harm her, knowing fully well that she is encapsulated in God's view of her, and nothing else can subtract from that.
Teresa talks of immediate gratification, and the profound impact it has on our juvenile minds, the more she resists her impulses, the higher she soars.
Possessing a crisp understanding of her action's reverberating effects, she protects the sea of people against ripples from the hardest ship to sink, ignorance.
These are not her biases, they are yours, potentially, and it might help you recognise them, if nothing else. One cannot maintain a state of awareness while being subjected or imprisoned in a worldview delimited by borders called childhood, tradition or past experiences.
Extremism, if defined, would certainly pass through your mind while reading her work, however our modern securities and amenities we take for granted have blurred our vision, and it hurts to fight desire, even if we are talking about entry level subjects, such as fasting.
Another misconception you might battle with is her adamant adherence to rules within her congregation, which seem to ground her, and always bring her back to a glacial, inhospitable cognitive process.
The vow to poverty establishes her reality over this world, and thus she cannot be tainted by worldly things, giving everything up elevates her to a higher dimension it seems, from where she cannot help but have compassion for the people still attached to worthless possessions around her, which, when described by her, seem completely out of touch with the tangible, authentic and genuine reality she resides in.
She certainly cannot be perceived by the ones that are content with average, as in contrast to her worldly poverty, the level to which she struggled to reach through time spent alone and resilience, cannot be accomplished without extraordinary ambition and zeal.
The Good Stuff
Creating a metaphor to better enable humanity to understand the intricate soul they posses, she presents it as a diamond castle, with multiple mansions.
Yes, the photo looks nothing like a diamond castle, so take that as an example of how your castle should NOT look like.
I will not go into explaining this castle's role, as it would be a pointless exercise, her works are available. I will however subtract the best information and lay it out without any fillers.
"Deep inside yourself, you find what in you competes with the voice of God" - Caroline Myss
The whole exercise of going though the mansions in this castle is finding out the dormant voices that our conscious mind can only hear in silence. It presents the castle as an impenetrable fortress of the mind, where one can always come in, and work on general issues, such as forgiveness, compassion or even just trying to be still, while dodging incoming thoughts.
It takes around five minutes of silence and observing the mind for someone to go into a meditative state, and those five minutes feel like two hours. So good luck!
Another important lesson from her works is something we all lack, self compassion. This sounds weird and it's mostly mistaken for bite-sized ego candy, however, must we try, as master Yoda would agree.
''The goal is progress, not perfection! Have self compassion.'' - Caroline Myss
Just go forward, and see how much you can fail. Just like a father is fascinated with the drawings of his child, presenting them to fellow humans as trophies, in the same way, God is delighted at how hard we try, nothing else matters.
Another aspect of Teresa's life is the constant working towards surrendering her will to God's.
''The greatest ambition is surrender.'' - Caroline Myss
Let this one sink in...
One devout defect we all share is our inherent trickery when it comes to getting God to marshal to our song's rhythm.
Simple kindness is hard to grasp for a human mind, so we must conceive some sort of ethical trade, that will make God do our will, whatever it may be we want.
''We have no memory of being humble, we try to control God and bribe him, force him into our reality and make Him bow down to us.'' - Caroline Myss
The 'Wow' factor comes with the realisation of how we often choose to 'not bother' God with our problems, needs or trivial matters of day to day life. It's vexatious to be self aware and register this as a form of self-righteousness, and a running away from a shared life, like one would have with their spouse.
It would be way easier to hide, and say to yourself that you're doing God a favor by not pestering Him relentlessly with your choice of breakfast over lunch, however, the easy way is usually the wrong way, that's an easy way to tell wrong from right, right from left, left you baffled, aye?
‘’All things obstruct us, while prudence rules our actions, we are afraid of everything, and therefore, fear to make progress. As if we could reach the inner chambers, while others make the progress for us.’’ - Teresa of Avila
The main emphasis here is cautiousness, and this passage deals with ‘inner game’, the journey inside will be like stepping into a new darkness, with one hand grabbing tight of our five senses, and the other fearfully trying to make out this new place and impose on it the ability to be read with our earthly sensory faculties.
Being aware of this desire to control and know, is the first step towards the realisation that it is exactly what we are fighting on this less travelled road.
‘’When His Majesty wishes the mind to rest from working, he employs it in another manner, giving it a light, and knowledge far above any obtainable by it’s own efforts, and absorbing it entirely into himself. Then, though it knows not how, it is filled with wisdom, such as it could never gain for itself by striving to suspend the thoughts.’’ - Teresa of Avila
Evidently, it takes beyond faith and practice for a newbie to ‘suspend’ their thoughts for any substantial period of time, and that is why we are all still searching for the ‘How?’. She seems to know that all the answers are ‘there’, as in they exist, we only need to be still, and clean the hard drive for the download.
I am a black belt introvert, and could be alone for 1000 years in a tower surrounded by books and healthy fast food, and I would for sure not complain. So if I find the art of going ‘blank’ hardcore, trust me, everybody understands your pain. But remember, nobody cares!
Just kidding, I do care. Or maybe I should not tell lies. I am very confused right now. Let’s move on!
A fab quote comes to mind:
‘’The purpose of meditation is dealing with the issue of purpose.’’ - Tim Ferriss
The most we can be submissive to God, if you had a dial and could turn it to the max, is when we deny ourselves to the point where we keep the mind blank, and reject any incoming thoughts. This state is perplexing to our ego, which wants to ‘be’, to express itself, to exert itself before God, this juxtaposition separates us from the primordial sin, that caused Lucifer to believe that he could overthrow God and shifted his perspective to a ego-centered view of the world.
This view, for the fact that it focuses on being the centre, attracts everything to itself, causing an implosion as a standard reaction, to everything that is creation (yes, it does rhyme), that is why the creator alone can withstand to be the centre of everything. God is literally the only one who can take the burden of being the center, and servant to everyone else, and not implode. Did I just say servant there? Yes, to lead is to serve, by definition.
So, quick recap, being alone with God, and learning to deny our own purpose or existence by thinking about nothing, and also blocking incoming thoughts, is training against the one thing that made such an elevated creature as Satan fall from the highest of heights.
It is building trust with the creator, not for His sake, for He can never be overthrown, challenged or threatened, it is for our own sake, so that we might not turn against ourselves and fall into a false view of reality, where we become concerned with the ‘I’, and start moving the center of everything from God, towards ourselves, this path can only lead to the realization that we are not fit for the task, even if God willed it.
‘’He who reasons last and tries to do least, does most, in spiritual matters.’’ - Teresa of Avila
This one should be read before every prayer session, as an collision force with our ever conviction that we are not doing enough. The notion itself drives us crazy, because of the center being positioned inside us, like we created this place, and are responsible for it.
Reasoning is nothing more than forcing the information we are receiving to go through our five senses, and be submitted to them, in an orderly fashion, so that we might feel in control.
Anything that we are incapable of ‘decoding’ with our limited ‘powers’, is seen as a major cause of anxiety, as it brings a friend, the feeling that we are not the centre of our universe, that we are not supposed to be in absolute control.
It’s a wonderful release for the ones trapped inside a self-centered reality, and also the most frightening thing to do, it can easily be described as standing on the edge of a pitch dark abyss, with one hand holding onto a rope, and having to let go, and fall, with no promise of what’s next.
No wonder the way is open for everyone, and yet, so few find it. It’s the ultimate test of will, and yet, the most available artefact that ever existed. It’s an amazing contrast that bends reality itself, it calls for everyone, rejects no-one, and accepts but one… the one that persists.
‘’Persistence and determination. These two alone are omnipotent.’’ - Chris Eubank
I truly believe this, nothing and nobody can stop a man that is willing to go on, regardless of how many times he falls and to what degree he suffers. This alone will get you anywhere and open any door. It’s the ultimate meta-key if you will, that replaces all other keys and makes them redundant.
Add a dash of 'time', and you've got the ultimate recipe for success, that beats knowledge, wisdom and understanding, through sheer stubbornness, a moving photograph of a man hitting the same tree, in the same place, without an end.
''I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.'' - Teresa of Avila
I shall leave this one for you to ponder, it’s meant to be.
Not a Boring History
I left this at the end, as I would like to be considerate and efficient with your time on this page. This is not a boring history of the person in question, I will only relate the short, amazing stories, in a OCD, INFJ on the Myers Briggs test, very 'type A' personality, kind of way.
Born in the spring of 1515, she came as a gift of renewal to the Spanish people, and then, to the entire world.
She remained a devout Carmelite nun throughout her life, perpetuated a new era of intimacy with Christ, and explained this ascension as having four stages:
The First: Devotion of Heart - This is beginner stage, where one would learn to recollect their wondering thoughts, and focus on God's presence for prolonged periods of time.
The Second: Devotion of Peace - This is a more advanced level, which has the will completely surrendered to God, however, all other mental faculties, such as reasoning and logic are still functioning and almost struggling to make sense of what's happening.
The Third: Devotion of Union - A rapture into God's presence, memory and imagination still powering on, like a vivid dream, while God pours liquid love inside one's spirit.
The Fourth: Devotion of Ecstasy - This is more like an out of body experience, where the spirit is intermingled with God's, and the body is often left in a perplexing state, not being able to join the party. Literal levitation is common while in this state. Teresa has been observed levitating during mass, on multiple occasions.
To draw a final conclusion, if a special award was to be given for literally the greatest, unparalleled, premier, top, foremost nun ever, she would not accept it, because of being to humble and pious. I think that says it all.