Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interior Castles and Eccentric Saints

If you happen to be a regular reader of my blog you may have noticed by now that I tend to be somewhat eclectic, eccentric, mystical (if you will) when it comes to ----well pretty much everything!  So when I heard about St. Teresa of Avilia a few years ago I was more than a little intrigued.  After all - I was the kid in grade school who chose to read through the book of Revelations for my free time after I'd finished all my regular school work.  I was drawn to and fascinated not by the theology but the visual images that strange text conjured up for me.  Weird?  In retrospect - yeah, a little....

Wikipedia has the following to say about St. Teresa:
Teresa is one of the foremost writers on mental prayer, and her position among writers on mystical theology is unique. In all her writings on this subject she deals with her personal experiences, which a deep insight and analytical gifts enabled her to explain clearly. Her definition was used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Contemplative prayer [oraciĆ³n mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us."

This chick was kinda far out from what I've read.  It's reported she even levitated at times and had regular visions of Jesus.  It's all very fascinating to me. So when I heard that a discussion group I regularly meet with was going to be doing an exercise based on St. Teresa's writings "The Interior Castle" I was more than a little intrigued. 

What we did was basically use our imaginations through quiet and guided meditation to create an inner room of our choosing.  This room did not have to be inside or outside or even based on anything we've seen on a human level.  We were free to create a place that felt safe, comfortable, and perfect just for us.  A place we'd choose to hang out indefinately.  A place to be with God.

I thouroughly enjoyed the process of being guided through the choosing of what components would make a perfect room for me.  I got to choose colors, textures, lighting, smells, tastes and sounds.  In the end my room was not something you could ever find here on earth.  I let my imagination completely take over, and the result was techini-color flowers and water alongside a blanket of soft grass instead of sand going up to the ocean.  My God is more female than male, (but decidedly non-gender specific) and she doesn't look like aunt Jemima or Santa - more like the aliens in Avatar.

I plan to look into more of St. Teresa's writings because I have a feeling that were I a nun around the time she was I'd be coming up with some fairly interesting ideas just like she did.  And anyone willing to fly their freak flag (nun or not) is a friend of mine!

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