Insight, Inspiration, Motivation

True Knowing

St. Teresa of Avila, in the ‘Interior Castle,’ wrote, “Would it not be a sign of great ignorance if person were asked who he was, and could not say, and had no idea… or from what country he came? Though that is great stupidity, our own is incomparably greater if we make no attempt to discover what we are, and only know that we are living in these bodies, and have a vague idea, because we have heard it and because our Faith tells us so, that we possess souls… All our interest is centered in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle – that is to say, in these bodies of ours.”

What St. Teresa was trying to say was that we spend all our lives focusing on our bodies, paying little attention to our souls, even the existence of which many of us only know because our Faith tells us so. We need to experience this soul, and know its working for ourselves. It is not enough to simply believe because it so, but to independantly and uniquely experience that connection to the Divine that cannot be described by any human language.

How does one achieve this kind of intimate knowledge? Well, first there has to the desire to know. This desire will lead to a search for the knowledge – reading the scriptures, listening to lectures or sermons, or whatever appeals to the individual. The unfortunate thing is that the majority stop here, content that they are ‘religious’ enough

But most important is the turning inwards, checking in with the soul. Religion cannot be separate from ‘real’ life, and if what is  taught cannot be practised in daily life, then it is of no use. A lot of what is said in the scriptures is  in the form of parables, much of which may not sound real in present times. It is important to recognise these as symbolic and absolutely practical, in any time period, if only  their true meaning is understood.

In the book, Autobiography of a Yogi, Sri Yogananda Paramahamsa describes his master, Swami Yukteswar’s method of instruction. With any scripture that was read, after they had their discussion aboput it, the desciples were asked to sit in meditation until the full meaning  became clear to them, however long that took. For every hour of reading, Swami Yukteswar advised two hours of writing and four of meditation.

Contemplation and meditation will help us tap into our inner wisdom, and find the ‘diamond’ that St Teresa so beautifully describes in the Interior of the Castle.


May 23, 2011 - Posted by | Personal Journey, Psychology, Self Improvement, Spirituality and Religion

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