Internationally renowned motivational teacher, spiritual instructor, and popular theologian Caroline Myss has created a transcendent work of unique insight and revelation in Entering the Castle. This exciting new teaching of contemporary mysticism is also a brilliant synthesis of the psychology of consciousness and of Eastern and Western mystical traditions. Myss provides a highly original inner path to self-knowledge -- which is also the road into a spiritual knowledge of God and your own soul -- as she reveals a necessary external path, one that takes you out into the world to serve God and others as a mystic without a monastery -- without having to retreat into total silence, self-denial, or isolation.
As her main template for this extraordinary, modern spiritual journey, Myss uses the beloved, revered writings of The Interior Castle by Teresa of ývila. Adapting Teresa's vision of the soul as a beautiful crystal castle with many floors, or mansions, and many rooms within those mansions, Myss guides us from room to room, helping us meet different aspects of our self, our soul, and our spirit -- preparing us for the ultimate encounter with God and our own divinity. Through intense practices and methods of spiritual inquiry adapted for contemporary life, she helps us to develop our personal powers of prayer, contemplation, and intuition and to ascend the seven levels of soul knowledge that build an ever stronger interior castle of our own -- a soul of strength and stamina.
As in all her books, Myss also recounts stories of profoundly moving real-life experiences -- of her own, as well as of her students and of renowned spiritual figures -- that bring home the universal truth of her insights. Presiding over the entire book and journey are the great mystics, ancient and contemporary, of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism with their inspiring lives and discerning spirits. And over all, the benevolence, truth, and gentle and tough love of Teresa of ývila shine through.
Doubtless Myss's most deeply personal, revealing, compassionate, and transforming book yet, Entering the Castle is a comprehensive guidebook for the journey of your life -- a journey into the center of your soul. There, peace, God, and a fearless bliss wait for you to discover them...and claim them for your own.
Fans of Myss's earlier books (Sacred Contracts, etc.), which drew inspiration from such diverse traditions as Indian medicine and ancient divination methods, may be surprised at how thoroughly entrenched her new book is in the Western religious tradition. In the preface, she discusses how an out-of-the blue seizure and a midlife hunger for an authentic spiritual practice set her exploring the mystical tradition of her childhood Catholic faith. Using St. Teresa of Avila's metaphor of the "interior castle" as a template, Myss challenges readers to get in touch with their own souls and shows how they can then lead deeper, more joyous lives. Every chapter is packed with meditations that help to either clean out the detritus that prevents spiritual growth or prepare for a mystical meeting with God. Interspersed are supportive stories of those who have gone before on the path. While Myss explicitly states that readers need not become Catholic or even Christian to enter the castle, some may be turned off by how little she incorporates other traditions. Even so, the material clearly springs from a deeply personal place and every page rings with the passion and intensity of someone who has finally found what she was seeking. (Mar. 6) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 05, 2007
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Excerpt from Entering the Castle by Caroline Myss
Entering the Castle is many things: a guide to the life and times of St. Teresa of ývila, the extraordinary sixteenth-century saint and contemplative master; a guide to her brilliant meditation text, The Interior Castle; and, last but certainly not least, a guide to your soul -- a beautiful, tender, radiant, caring, loving, and authentic guide to the territory of your soul.
Mysticism in general and contemplation in particular are such staggeringly vast and often confusing topics that, especially if one is new to either of them, they can prove lethally overwhelming to the soul, right when it is looking for something, if not exactly simplistic, then at least simple enough to ground what might be its confusion, chaos, perhaps fear, perhaps suffering. What I would like to do, then, in just a few pages, is offer the reader some simple experiential reference points that might help to ground some of the central ideas of mystical or contemplative spirituality. I will first give seven of the most central ideas of mysticism and then attempt to give the reader a very quick, direct, experiential grounding in each of them.
The central ideas, if discussed merely theoretically, can sound rather dry and abstract. Here are the seven central ideas: (1) each of us has an outer self and an inner self; (2) the inner self lives in a timeless, eternal now; (3) the inner self is a great mystery, or pure emptiness and unknowingness; (4) the inner self is divine, or perfectly one with infinite spirit in a supreme identity; (5) hell is identification with the outer self; (6) heaven is the discovery and realization of the inner divine self, the supreme identity; (7) the divine self is one with the all, given in grace and sealed in glory.
Now, let's go in search of an experience of each of those items in just a few pages. Tall order? Not really, for you are already aware of, and fully experiencing, each of those items right now, according to the mystics. So let's see.
First, sit back and relax, take a few breaths, then let your awareness come easily to rest in this present moment and simply notice some of the things that you are aware of, right here and right now.
Notice, for example, some of the many things that you can see, things that are already arising effortlessly in your awareness. There are perhaps clouds floating by in the sky, leaves blowing in the wind, raindrops on the roof, the city skyline all brightly lighted against the evening's darkness, or the sun shining brightly on the horizon as it is about to begin its journey across the sky. These things take no effort to be aware of; they are simply arising in your awareness, spontaneously and effortlessly, right now.
Just as there are clouds floating by in the sky, there are thoughts floating by in the space of your mind. Notice that these thoughts arise, stay a bit, and pass. You don't choose most of them; thoughts simply emerge out of what seems to be nothingness or emptiness, parade across the screen of your awareness, and fade back into nothingness. The same with feelings in your body. There might be a sensation of discomfort in my feet; a feeling of warmth in my tummy; a tingling in my fingertips; an intense burst of excitement around my heart; a warm pleasure washing over my body. All these feelings simply arise of their own, stay a bit, and pass.
As I look inward, noticing thoughts and feelings arising in the inner spaces of my own awareness, I can also notice this thing called me or my self. There are many things I might know about myself -- some of which I might be pleased with, some of which I might be annoyed with, and some of which I might find positively horrifying or alarming. But whatever I might think about this thing called my self, it certainly seems that there are numerous things I can know about it.