“Prayer is the bridge into your castle. ( Sou) Through prayer, you quiet your mind. You cannot engage your soul through relaxation -or the power of imagination alone.
Those are just mind-body techniques for mind-body work. Your mind is not your Castle. To enter the sacred interior of your Castle you have to pray -and give conscious attention -and dedication to your journey. You are embarking on an internalized liturgy, as an internalized liturgy, as the great chronicler of mysticism and rituals, Mircea Eliade, might have put it; you are entering a Gnostic system of ancient wisdom and practice.
This is a journey of discovery, of the liberation of the self. You are scaffolding your soul with stamina for the remainder of your life. Most of all, by entering your Castle -you develop a relationship between you and God.
The most effective way to make the transition from the idea of your soul as Castle to actually entering the Castle is to become familiar with its blueprint before you step inside.
Visualize yourself at the foot of the drawbridge to your Castle. Within your Castle are seven mansions. They are not necessarily vertical, one on top of another. Rather, according to Teresa of Ávila, these mansions are arranged some above, others below, others at each side; and in the center – and midst of them all is the chiefest mansion—where God lives.
Each of the seven mansions represents an elevated place in the soul for self-examination -and encounters with God. At each mansion you increase your understanding of your soul -and gain a deeper capacity to experience and know God.
Each mansion represents a stage of development and self-discovery in which you peel off layer upon layer as you go into room after room. In each room, you face an issue or a strength, talent, challenge, memory, history, or wound -that exerts control over you. In many instances, you will confront shadow aspects of the self -that you need to reconcile, release, or heal.
You will also uncover various aspects of your soul, some familiar, many unfamiliar. Some of these rooms you have opened, some you have sealed, —and some you have yet to discover.
Your task is to enter these rooms, clear out the debris, and discover hidden treasures -and untapped inner gifts that you are meant to recognize and develop as part of your soul. This is the essential work of the soul-journer.
I have noticed again and again that the rooms in the lower three mansions that contain gifts -and blessings are the ones most tightly sealed and hardest to open.
People fear these treasure vaults -because they know that the divine power they contain, once freed, will change their lives. In fact, the work you do in every mansion, room by room, allows your life to change. And by doing this work your soul builds stamina -and its insights grow richer, more intimate and revealing. Each mansion has as many rooms as your soul needs—and then some.”
Entering the Castle