The Interior Castle or Why We Meditate?

An intelligent person is always available to hesitation. The more intelligent you are, the more easily you become available to hesitations; because each hesitation is a new beginning, a new search, a new inquiry. (Osho, Talks on Kabir)

I was staring at the small book in Buddhist library in Kopan: it was the book I had in my hands before. It was The Interior Castle by Christian saint Teresa Avila. I opened it where it said: ‚the gate by which to enter this castle is prayer and meditation‘.

The last time I had seen this book was in my home in Edinburgh. I had left from there several years ago and had never returned back. The life had taken me to different places. Since then I have learned a lot about change and entered the path of meditation.

I flickered through the pages of the book and opened it at random where was written:

‘What hope can we have of being able to rest in other people’s homes if we cannot rest in our own? Unless we have peace and strive for peace in our own home, we shall not find it in the homes of others…It is absurd to think that we can enter Heaven without first entering our own souls’.

After leaving Edinburgh I have joined the ranks of numberless travelers, the pilgrims who roam the world in pursue of contentment, happiness and the meaning of the life. The holy people may not have been different from us; they may have started their journey at exactly the same point – by taking their first step. The events that happened in my life led me to joined the ranks with thousands of other travelers whose journey is a personal quest; each of us are asking the same questions – how to find the peace and happiness within; how to come to acceptance of life and misfortunes that are inevitably happening.

In meditation camp I met Olga who told me that she realized that what was happening inside her was much more interesting that the world outside. She had given up her apartment and all her possessions and she was prepared to spend the years in meditation. As I learnt later she had given up more than that – she left her boyfriend, her home and her beloved cat…

In the Kopan monastery in Nepal I became aware of one thing – that we people are not so much different. There might be a profound difference between East and West hemisphere separating these two places by our thinking and in our way of lives and yet…the experiences of Eastern and Western mystics are not so different….People are always missing something in their mundane lives and they are searching for spirituality…or for a window that will show us more than the material worlds. We are looking for more …maybe for magic…or creative space…or the unity with the Nature

Yes, we are all looking for this kind of existence; for peering beyond…One door that may open us the broader view might be the prayer and contemplation…..and sometimes we may find manuals on our journey how to open the secret doors…

 

The very words that can be attributed to all spiritual people from Gautama the Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed or Teresa Avila start: ‚The kingdom of heavens comes from within‘…

Teresa Avila was asked by her superiors to write instructions on meditation. And she did. She did not write The Interior Castle as a spiritual autobiography. She intended it for the instructions of her own sisters – nuns how to meditate. She said that the door by which the person enters the castle is prayer and meditation. The aim of the soul is to achieve clarity in prayer and a spiritual union with God.

The path to ‘clear light’ or love is not so different in Buddhist teaching. After years of meditations the Buddha reached the answers he was looking for. However, he had his doubts to start teaching. He was concerned that humans were so overpowered by ignorance, greed and hatred that they could never recognize the path, which is subtle, deep and hard to grasp. Eventually, The Buddha agreed to teach. He created the manual to teach people Vipassana; which means to see things as they really are. Gautama says that what makes us miserable is not the lack of outside objects, or the misery of life itself but our craving for wanting something different…Which is not possible.

Both Eastern and Western mystics claim to possess the ability to ‚enter the moment totally‘; and they claim a feeling of immense connection to a greater entity – a feeling quite different from normal consciousness. The person is no longer separated from the experience; the person becomes the experience. This sense of ‘belonging’ to something larger than us might be the reason why we meditate…In everyday life we often feel disconnected, separated from the existence, with an intense feeling of isolation or solitude. Only when we are able to connect, to become aware of the existence and being able of compassion to other beings the life become more joyful, making more sense. Then sometimes there are moments that we can live in full; there are moments when the universe and us are one. From time to time we have these precious moments when we are fully concentrated or absorbed in creation or action. Then we are in peace – we are oneness with our action: When the musician is really in a creative mood, in a creative space, he disappears; existence starts playing on his flute. Suddenly the flute is no longer in his own hands… And than the flute brings something from the beyond; something virgin, something utterly new. When the painter disappears than his hands are just instruments for existence…(Osho).

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