Undeceive yourself, blessed soul; in this practice all the works that are not governed by true zeal and born of pure love and a purged spirit are clothed in vanity, self-love, and spiritual ambition. (Miguel de Molinos: The Spiritual Guide)
These first Three Towers (Teresa’s Mansions) has to do with the Way of Purgation. John of the Cross refers to this as dealing with the Dark Night of the Senses, because it is precisely the senses that need to be overcome before one can enter into the Illuminative and Unitive Ways of the Spirit. One needs to get this right before even attempting to proceed to THAT Center of the Mind. Teresa forcefully states that one will never find the security they yearn for if they constantly seek and depend exclusively on sensate dharmatas (in the arena of samsara) to do so; even wearing the “religious habit” will not help:
There is no security in this life; understand that in such cases I always imply: ‘If they do not cease to continue as they have begun.’ What misery to live in this world!
We seem to think that everything is done when we willingly take and wear the religious habit and abandon all worldly things and possessions for him – even though these possessions may amount to no more than the nets St. Peter possessed, for he who gives what he has thinks he gives enough. This renunciation is a good enough preparation if one perseveres in it and doesn’t turn back and become involved with the vermin in the first rooms, even if it be only in desire. There is no doubt that if a person perseveres in this nakedness and detachment from all worldly things she will reach her goal.
This is a metaphor for the necessity of removing any [forms] of sensate garbs in order to see more clearly the need for renunciation, and hence purgation, of these skhandhic confinements before the soul can break free from the cage and soar to the heights of the Unborn! Until all this is confected one will not be able to pass-through the stage of spiritual adolescence. If one fails in this task, then that awful stage of spiritual-dryness will never dissipate. The spiritual-juice must flow, but first one must put aside the childish-ego. Many times one just abandons ship and makes the attempt to paddle back to the taciturn port of mediocrity.
You see, purgation comes at a cost. The cost takes many forms; sometimes it may be financial or perhaps overcoming some ongoing physical and mental vexations:
Let’s abandon our reason and our fears into his hands; let’s forget this natural weakness that can take up our attention so much. Let the prelates take care of our bodily needs; that’s their business. As for ourselves, we should care only about moving quickly so as to see this Lord. Even though the comfort you have is little or none at all, we could be deceived by worry about our health. This I know. And I also know that the whole affair doesn’t lie in what pertains to the body, for this is what is the least important. The journey I am speaking of must be taken with great humility.
The humility of which Teresa speaks can only be won through renunciation; our blog, Meditation on the Unborn Lord, bespeaks such a task:
5.6 Renunciation is difficult to attain without the disciplinary-action of yoking with the Unborn Lord. Yet by the practice of this yogic-discipline the muni shall quickly reach Divine Union.
5.7 One who is purely spiritual-minded, who is perpetually yoked in Divine Communion, who is victorious over the unruly sensate passions, and who knows through Buddha-gnosis one’s Self-Supreme (Atman), is never tainted or bound by karmic-influences.
Renunciation is never won without first engaging in the Recollective-Resolve and meditative-equipoise. When the True-Yogin achieves ecstatic-union with the Unborn Lord and enters into all activity for the Self-Supreme alone, all former traces of karmatic-stimuli are incinerated in the eternal-flame of undefiled Buddhi. Triumphant over the body-consciousness, while at the same time satisfying the bare necessities of the carnal-host, the yogin/yogini performs one’s sacred actions not in the guise of a mortal agent, but as the Self-Supreme THAT permeates all surrounding dharmata.
In light of this, Teresa is saying that at this junction of the spiritual journey one must learn to be spiritually obedient to this Lord. In our decadent day and age this form of Right Obedience is frowned upon, but oh how much misery and despair could be permanently forestalled and overcome if one sees the utter futility of going it alone without the aid of spiritual agencies to intervene in our purported “self-sufficient” mode of existence.
Todays “Third-Point” of Mind Training appears tailor-made for today’s blog:
Transforming all adversity into a path of Enlightenment.
- Relying on Relative Bodhicitta:
Any aversions we experience in life are only exacerbated when we *react* to them in negative fashion. Rather than labeling them as overtly oppressive, stand back and assess them in Light of the Unborn which always calls-out the self-oppressive ego. Yea, we cherish our false-ego too much! Also, Self-importance is the main culprit in all this; Self-importance is a demon! It’s the exact opposite of Self-Realization That knows through Self-gnosis that these foibles in life are forever self-empty of any substance in themselves—they can be likened to two Ghost-Ships passing on a foggy night—they are inherently insubstantial and will soon fade from view. Above all, generate a compassionate response whatever the situation.
- Relying on Ultimate Bodhicitta:
The Absolute recognition that all samsaric turmoil lacks any Reality in themselves—it’s likened unto suffering in a dream—it’s not real. Also, it’s all indicative of negative karma rearing its ugly head; hence, don’t miss this opportunity of transforming negative karma into a positive reinforcement, otherwise it will definitely follow you and take shape again into the next life. Positive reinforcements include accumulating further good merit as well as turning to Dharma-protectors—invoking them to help in this vital turn-about of negative energy.