Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Andrew Harvey: Finally you have inherited, I believe from the Catholic mystical tradition, a deep belief in sanctity. You deeply believe in the divinization of the human through the disciplines of mystical rigor. You truly believe that through these exercises, through this discipline, through this devotion, through following this rigorous road map of the soul that all of the Catholic mystics have and Teresa, of course is the supreme teacher of it that the human being can go to a completely new level of self-empowerment, radiance, humility and unconditional compassionate action in this world. This is a very powerful transmission that's come through to you from your tradition.
Andrew Harvey: What is going to make this book so helpful is that you have separated the essential jewels of the tradition from the dogma and the authoritarian aspects of the tradition, which are clearly destructive. Now, these jewels - of a profound sense of cosmic sacredness, of a deep sense of holy passion, of an absolute commitment to true discipline, of a profound psychological realism that is absolutely unsentimental and of a vision of the potential sanctification of the human can now through Teresa and your work together be given to any seeker on any path of any religion to be used in the core of modern life.
Andrew Harvey: I am so moved by the way in which you have been able to universalize and rescue these truths from all of the excretions of the tradition, which you nevertheless celebrate with such profound humility and gratitude.
Andrew Harvey: What you're looking at in our world, is an overwhelming, even demonic triumph of the false self, in all the different aspects of human endeavor. This is why your enterprise in this book is so important. Through Teresa's grace and with her help, you are bringing back an authentic mysticism which is deeply rigorous, which shines a divine, clear, fierce light on all illusions, all agendas, all fantasies and helps people enter the truth and the peace and the real self-empowerment of the soul.
Andrew Harvey: What is especially exiting to me about what you¹re saying is your insistence that the demands of this time have ended the privileged vision of the mystic as a person who withdraws into a monastery or an ashram. I agree deeply with you that our time of vast and challenging change is inviting all of us to become what you call mystics without monasteries, and to act from the deepest spiritual wisdom in all the arenas of our burning world.
Andrew Harvey: Am I characterizing your thought?
Caroline Myss: Yes, absolutely. And within that context of transformation that you described, again the question needs to be posed, "Why would someone want to enter his or her Castle?" I bring this up again because the fact is this journey is one of great power. No one makes this journey and continues to live an ordinary life. The Castle is the deep metaphor for the soul. Why would someone want to enter the journey of illumination? What's in it for them? When a mystic speaks about how painful the journey into the soul could be, for example, what are they talking about? And that is an appropriate question, among the many we could bring up, because as I have discovered in my work, most people are terrified of an intimate experience with God. They fear that they will lose their worldly goods and suffer illness, loss, and poverty an image that we can thank Catholic history for fostering.
Caroline Myss: But what I explain to people again and again is that a Mystics' pain is not ordinary pain, not at all. It's the pain of seeing clearly, a pain that comes from waking up and seeing that life could be other than the way it is. It's the pain of recognizing that humanity does not have to struggle the way it's struggling or to see clearly, that there is a cost to seeing truth and living within a culture of deception.
Andrew Harvey: T. S. Elliott puts it beautifully when he says that the choice is between fire or fire. The fire of being destroyed by a culture of negation, irony, desolation, cynicism and a total addiction to lies; or the fire that is the divine fire that purifies and that can sometimes feel like agony and death.
Caroline Myss: Rightly so. A person should say, "What do I want this for?" What do I want this for? And it's like what you face when you motivate people in sacred activism. Why do I want to become active with the sacred? Why? When in fact I could indulge myself and continue to indulge myself. What do I care about the next generation I'm not going to be here?
Andrew Harvey: The chaos and deceit that is occurring all around us today can be so overwhelming as to lead to complete denial like in ancient Rome, where they turned to a culture of bread and circuses.
Andrew Harvey: The thing that does motivate people, I've discovered -and this I believe is what all mystics discover- is that the radiance and power and joy and ecstasy and deep health of the heart that come to those who undertake the mystical journey, intoxicates them with a real promise that their life can be a transfigured life.
Caroline Myss: What ultimately I have hope in, as I talk to people about this mystical renaissance that we are in the midst of right now, is that people are being called, just like they were in the old days of the classic mystics who were called into monasteries. They difference is these individuals are not meant to be recluses mystics without monasteries. They are being called to fall in love with God in an impassioned way wherever they are and they are given a ferocious appetite to discover that power of prayer, to discover that force to hold a door open and watch that simple act of respect give a man back his will to live. Nothing is more profound than to awaken your power to channel grace at a distance and know that the grace that flows through you is a source of healing. That they can access what the mystics did, that they can become a vessel of transformation through the power of their soul that is what the journey of illumination within one's Castle is all about. That's when a person discovers for the first time what the real meaning is of knowing he or she was truly born for a higher purpose. That higher purpose has to do with a Divine calling and not an earthly occupation. Therein lies the seduction of God.
Andrew Harvey: I believe that this book represents your own transformation as well as a transmission from Teresa to your heart. I believe that you¹ve been taken into the profound and fiery crucible of a mystical transformation. I believe too that the process of the writing of the book and getting all the different mansions of the soul clear for other people, have also been a tremendous process of self-reflection and self-transformation for yourself.
Andrew Harvey: And I wonder on this morning, as we sit with the winter sun streaming through into your dining room - where are you in your journey now? Where has this sublime and harrowing journey with Teresa taken you?
Caroline Myss: Where I once felt that I didn't have any active spiritual life, I feel completely alive spiritually. I feel alive, whereas before I felt like an outsider, looking in. That's the best way I could put it.
"May God let you taste the incredible joy of complete union. Nothing the world can give us Not possessions, not riches, not delights or honors, not great feasts or festivals Can match the happiness of a single moment Spent by a soul totally united to God."
--Teresa of Avila
Andrew Harvey is an internationally acclaimed poet, novelist, mystical scholar, spiritual teacher and a pioneering architect of Sacred Activism. He is the author of more than 30 books, including "Son of Man"; "The Mystical Path to Christ" (Tarcher 1999) which sets out in detail his vision of Jesus's revolutionary mission and the Christian mystical tradition, and The "Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi" (Tarcher paperback 2000) which explores his long love for Rumi and Rumi's message for our time. Andrew Harvey is now dedicating his life to what he has called "Sacred Activism" that fusion of sacred knowledge, passion, and energy with clear wise radical action in all arena's that he believes essential both to the transformation of humanity and it's survival. His DVD "Sacred Activism" is available from the Hartley Foundation at 800-937-1819 (info at www.hartleyfoundation.org