Some years ago, it was mentioned to me that I may like to read St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiographical book, The Book of My Life. I ordered the book and forgot about it. I knew almost nothing about St. Teresa, at that time, not even that she was a Carmelite nun. St. Teresa is an esteemed Catholic mystic and contemplative of the 16th century. Just before I received the book, I had the following dream:
After a certain sequence of events, I went to live in an enclosed Carmelite Order. I saw no one for fifteen years except the other nuns. I was cared for simply and spent all my time in prayer. (Later on, I realised that this was in line with St. Teresa’s preference for monastic life.) It was extremely enjoyable and I became less and less mortal and more and more ethereal. It was a complete and utter pleasure. The feeling in the monastery was exquisitely beautiful.
After the fifteen years, it was time to go and see someone in the world. I watched myself doing this. However, by this time, my body was not very visible so I wore long, flowing garments to cover it. I had a large glow around me – very light and beautifully luminescent. It radiated about two feet from my body. I wore a cloak over my head which seemed to bring the glow next to me so that no one noticed it. I no longer needed to walk but could glide over the surface of the path.
I found talking very burdensome, as I normally communicated telepathically. However, I had to talk to a few people in order to get to the person I needed to see. At one point, there was a problem, as those people wanted to know my name. I did not want to tell them my name and so I told them telepathically, “You are now happy to let me see the person I want to see and will ask no further questions.” This, they did instantly, although, they knew not why. When I got to the person I wished to see, there was an instant recognition and all was well.
Then the dream was over.
Favours From God
St. Teresa was a saint of visions. She was well known for her mystical experiences or favours from God as she called them. Although mystical experiences are favours in that they are gifts, God has no favourites and we are all loved equally. The overriding spiritual intention of Life is for everyone to fulfil their potential, find their peace, and feel the happiness of being a unique and deeply valued soul. To seek spiritual experiences is a spiritually deceptive exercise. It is the ego which wishes to be special and have proof thereof by unusual experiences. Uplifting experiences are a pleasure and joy. However, it is the daily seeking of peace and the moment by moment practice of love, surrender, and courage which carries true spiritual weight. Such is the nature of the spiritual path. The path is not paved with unusual experiences. It is paved with consistent, conscious mental and spiritual alertness and goodness in our heart. It is this practice which will bring us our goal of true happiness.
Living in Two Realms
As spiritual students living in the world, we cultivate an inner, silent stillness through the practice of contemplation or awareness. Behind the normal goings-on of everyday life, there is a consistent wakefulness; an awareness of what we are thinking, what other people are thinking, and what is the spiritual truth of any given situation. We live in two realms. One is the practical, left-brained, human realm. The other is the etheric, inspired, right-brained, spiritual realm. We are in the world but not of it. We pray without ceasing by virtue of our dedication to the still, inner awareness of God.
End of Thinking
When the mind becomes quiet, thinking ceases and is replaced by a certain inner knowing. Each moment is lived with presence. Each moment is, in itself, the entirety of existence. All that needs to be known is there. St. Teresa said that in the higher states of prayer, one becomes incapable of thinking. All is God, infinite Good, and there is none else. We surrender to Love. We become nothing. We become all. No past, no future, no longing, no mind. We could even forget who we are, forget our name, yet, we are at home in everything, everywhere. It is, somewhat, akin to the first transitional moments of waking from a restorative sleep. We are happy and peaceful, in need of nothing, and have not quite recollected all the details of our human life.
Past and Future
The past and the future annoy, worry, and unsettle the soul with their endless ranting. The path of prayer is the disappearance of the ego into submergence with God. When the soul is engaged in deep communion with God, the normal ego functioning of thought is greatly retarded and the individual loses himself in the wordless, thoughtless, egoless domain of spirit. Of course, one cannot function in the world like that and one would have to re-engage thought in order to participate effectively in life. Silence is the breeding ground of harmonious, perfect action. It is, also, the soil in which love grows. Without silence, we can neither know ourselves, another, or the depth of anything beautiful. One has to be able to tolerate seeming nothingness in order to hear the silent rhythm. It warms our heart and stretches us into beautiful forms. It is prayer and its velvety smoothness effortlessly embraces us.
This article is from The Love of Devotion