Rarely does one come across a spiritual book that almost knocks your socks off with its mental images. It leads the reader into the mind to find the existence and complexity of the soul. St. Teresa takes us on the inner journey from barely becoming aware of our spiritual nature to full bliss in the home of God.
One analogy that St. Teresa uses is of the soul being a shining diamond, and the many facets being rooms leading nearer and closer to the interior peace and bliss at its center.
Throughout the book she describes what it is like as we journey within through meditation into each room as its treats open up to us. She does not forget to remind us each step of the way to not be egoistic and thereby fall back into worldly attachments for happiness.
She cautions that while attractions of the world bring joy in the moment they do not last and just have to be repeated over and over for further tastes of happiness.
St. Teresa describes through her own and guided experiences from God and the Holy Spirit, that there is nothing in the material world that can even hint at the joy attained by gaining entrance to the interior mansions of the soul.
This book was a wakeup call to me to stick with the spiritual path and not fall into temptations that could cause me to be distracted from the experience of joy permeating my life. St. Teresa goes over the journey of marching inward from different angles and points of view, which supports her way of looking at the soul as a faceted sparkling diamond.
St. Teresa wrote these words in the late 1500s - yes, more than 400 years ago, but their meaning is totally fresh to the modern reader. I found difficulty at first getting into the text, for some reason I resisted hearing how much work is needed in meditation to understand the soul.
But at some point almost halfway through I was hooked and couldn’t get enough. Even her words allude to this phenomena: that as the soul progresses toward the center sun of God it becomes fired with unquenchable flames to keep moving toward the goal of bliss.
Recommended for the sincere seeker.
This edition of Interior Castle was translated and edited by E. Allison Peers.
Review by Susan Helene Kramer