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Christian Mysticism, Seven Mansions, Chakras, And Sacraments


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#1 soma

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 10:50 PM

“The Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila was written to deepen the insight and intensity of her sister nuns. I feel she illustrates the seven mansions to describe the seven states of consciousness one experiences on the spiritual path to the soul. It seems she was well aware that there are different paths, ways or entrances into the rooms or higher states of mind. She doesn’t really establish a way to get into the room except by prayer. It seems she is more describing the room. It is her story where a person is gradually discovering the soul and the likeness to God.

St Teresa’s emphasis on inner growth and her inner reality being more real behind her eyes than before her eyes doesn’t mean Christians should only think of the soul and not others. The sacraments are given so we grow more concerned with helping others as we mature spiritually and not just pursue enlightenment. I feel the sacraments were given to introduce us to the higher states of mind and how enlightenment contributes to the world. They start with the inner self and ripen in acts of charity and sacrifice for others. The sacraments seem to deepen our interior life with compassion, which enlarges our capacity so serve.

The seven chakras or seven major energy centers approach the same spiritual experiences as the movement of energy. Some Christian mystics have referred to these energy centers as stars and scientist support this with the theory that everything is composed of energy even matter. The seven chakras, mansions, and sacraments transcend religious boundaries to explain a road map to a higher consciousness and a closer, deeper spiritual experience with Our Lord. The system of seven wheels approaches Our Lord as pure energy, and it seems as we balance our energy we refine our consciousness to become more aware of Our Lords pure consciousness so ever present. These three theologies I feel were meant to guide our spiritual behavior so we can enjoy and experience the pure energy of Our Lord inside others and ourselves.
Please feel free to comment, add to, or disagree now and as we move forward through the seven mansions.
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#2 JosephM

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:18 AM

Soma,

I have read your post a couple times, have no comments at this time, and for one am personally eager to hear more.

Joseph

"The only separation between you and me can only be in your mind." --Joseph Mattioli


#3 soma

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 08:07 PM

I took notes on the first mansion, but now need to add the first chakra and first sacrament part. I love the abstract thought and trying to make sense out of nonsense. It is like a Zen Koan for me. Joe
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#4 soma

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 02:35 PM

Seven Mansions

The first mansions

St. Teresa sees the soul resembling a castle containing many rooms or mansions. She points out that we should reflect upon the gifts that dwell within each mansion and how extremely precious they are. She mentions how little we do to preserve their beauty because we concentrate and spend most of our time taking care of our bodies, which she refers to as the outer walls of the castle. Clearly no one has to enter the castle because it is the very person. It is like telling someone to enter a room they are already in.

St. Teresa acknowledges that there are very different ways of being in this castle of ours. Many souls live in the courtyard of the building where the guards stand because they do not care to go any farther. She does not judge any level of consciousness or say this is right or that is wrong. In her theology and the chakra system they feel free to let our consciousness touch on any of the seven levels. In a day we might experience all seven at different times. It seems our growth depends on completely accepting who we are at this time and others in the here and now. We don’t have to wait to some future time when we have mastered all levels. Some don’t care to know who dwells in this delightful castle or what awaits the person who enters. They don’t care what is in them or what rooms it contains. She says that is okay and then describes the state outside the walls.

She speaks of many infirm souls, I think souls could be minds or personalities, who she says are accustomed to thinking of nothing but earthly matters. They have difficulty retiring to their own heart and are accustomed of living outside the castle with the reptiles and other creatures that live in the wild. I think the reptiles and other creatures could be symbolic of our desires and addictions because she says they imitate their habits. She calls them minds not an iota of movement. To enter the castle one must enter into prayer or meditation. She then goes on to say how some lips utter many words, but that this is not prayer.

At last some enter the precincts of the castle, but are still very worldly which she says is alright and natural because there is a desire to do the right thing. The outside conditions of our life or world do not make us secure or insecure, we only think they do. The programming inside the castle or our biocomputer makes us feel secure or insecure. The world only sets off the inside program. Some monks and nuns feel secure with no money while some people feel insecure with millions that is why we feel fear and are anxious when the physical world does not conform to our mental programming. St. Teresa mentions that when people first enter they pray only a few times a month because the mind is filled with a thousand other matters. Only occasionally do these individuals cast aside their cares because the need for security is demanding and strongly pulls the mind away from the higher rooms or centers. Therefore, the soul energy is thought of only now and then.

I think the first room is in the basement and it is mentioned that people enter accompanied by numerous reptiles that disturb the peace. This prevents them from seeing the beauty of the building and the foundation of light. The soul doesn’t lose any splendor, beauty or intensity; it is the black cloth of desires, need for security and addictions that block the light. Deprived of light the mind in the first chamber might still be disorderly, blind and uncontrolled. It is a lonely level of consciousness when the mind is preoccupied with worldly needs. In the first room we start to see that our desires, addictions, anxiety and insecurity is in the mind and our emotional programming. We also see according to St Teresa the subject object rat race where we can run fast and faster after desires, but are never satisfied. We never our satisfied in the physical world so become insecure.

The book goes on to say how God permits us to wander and roam through the mansions of the castle from the lowest to the highest. We can also remain as long as we want in any room or mansion of self-knowledge without fear of being thrown out. We rise to the higher rooms by ceasing to think of only ourselves and start to meditate on the grandeur and majesty of God. When we learn about our baseness in humility we can get free from the reptiles and enter the higher floors of consciousness where more self-knowledge is acquired. This self-examination is a grace from our Lord. She mentions that too much self-examination is bad the same as too little so her advice to advance is to contemplate on the Divinity within and without in this way we turn from ourselves to God. By fixing our eyes on Christ we raise our minds above the mire of our own faults.

The first mansion contains many great riches and treasures, but if we only manage to elude the reptiles and desires that live in the first layer of our mind we will fail to advance further. She says there are many entrances, but many ignorant Christians get trapped in a thousand ways. The mind is easily deceived if absorbed in worldly pleasures for it is eager for physical honors and distinctions so the soul’s senses and powers bestowed by God are weak. Real security lies only in love, higher consciousness and becoming closer to the King, The King’s palace emits a light (for me this is Christ Consciousness) but she cautions that the first mansions are far away and are in need of light because the mind is in semi-darkness. If the inhabitants see scarcely anything it is not the fault of the mansion, but the snakes, vipers and venomous reptiles from outside that prevent them from seeing the light. The room is pure light, but a clogged eye with dust can’t see it clearly. This infirmity is self imposed caused by materialism, honors and other worldly affairs. We must withdraw from these or be unattached from them to enter the second mansion. It is funny because the struggle with the demons continues in nearly all mansions, but the higher obstacles might be a longing for penance, for example, a nun tormenting herself. This would be an impediment because it could cause loss of health. Another nun could be zealous about perfecting religious practice, which would cause her to see small faults in her sisters as serious crimes. Her mind would be preoccupied with watching them to find wrongdoing. She says these two examples would reduce charity and lessen mutual affection of the nuns, a serious injury. Indiscreet zeal about others is discouraged because True perfection consists of love in God and our neighbor.

Seven Chakras

The first chakra

The first Chakra is at the bottom or base of the spine. The function is related to our instinctual nature as it creates our sense of security and general well being. Presiding over issues that deal with physical self-preservation, survival, and safety, the challenge is to feel connected to and secure in our physical reality, our body and Planet Earth. Its natural feeling is a feeling of being solid, stable, still, passive, and grounded.
When the energy is balanced at this energy circuit a person will be healthy, have abundant energy, and feel fully alive. The energy passing through this center takes good care of the body and is used to manifest abundance.

The theory states that a blockage in this conduit seems to lead to a lack of confidence, fear, insecurity and a general sense of unworthiness, self-doubt and shame. A feeling of not deserving love contributes to an attachment for material things. A total failure could lead to suicide. Too much energy in this pathway leads to being egoistic, domineering, greedy, sadistic, judgmental, biased, and sexual energy being entirely genital. This center governs the reproduction organs and systems so our sexual attitudes and sexual behavior seriously impacts the strength or weakness of this center. Sexual excessiveness can create imbalances throughout the body’s physical and mental systems. The path to health and spiritual strength goes right through the sex organs so it seems we need to come to a place of peace with sexual energy.
When the first chakra is activated and balanced we acquire an absolute stillness that conserves our energy or said in another way empowers our being. When we are at peace, we are aware of our presence, our instincts, our body and our physical surroundings. To be completely relaxed and rested, it makes us feel at home in our body, on Earth, or wherever we might be. This seems better than the alternative of tiredness, poor sleeping patterns, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction and a waste elimination problem (constipation). I feel the reptiles in this mansion can manifest with extreme emotion such as rage and anger when this center is unstable as it leads to episodes of violence. It is said that this chakra gets blocked and depressed with alcohol abuse and consumption of certain psychotropic drugs. Yes, it seems there are venomous snakes in the basement that can poison our system.
Medical studies have shown meditation and deep prayer are beneficial to the body and mind because they are associated with deep relaxation. This corresponds with the chakra system in that relaxing the body causes a feeling of physiological and psychological ease, rejuvenation, and heightened vitality. At higher levels, the practitioner experiences deep peace, an inner truth and tranquility, which can carry over into everyday life. Finally, deep contemplation opens the doorway to the experience of childlike innocence. The mastery of this chakra or mansion represents action without motive or desire for gross personal gain. The innocence is symbolized by the innate wisdom of a child. A baby knows the fundamental aspects of nature instinctively, unfortunately the influence of society tends to dull this innocence and obscure the wisdom that goes with it so prayer, meditation and deep thought become necessary to open the next door. These are just techniques to dissolve our carnal desires into the innocence. This seems to be something to be appreciated, to be understood, and to be enjoyed. Simplicity, joy, purity, integrity and balance are qualities we can enjoy in human beings through this Chakra or in the first mansion.
The Mooladhara Chakra prepares us for the second chakra by awakening a reverence for and desire to serve the Spirit. This gradually heightens our spiritual wisdom so we become more innocent; less motivated in our actions and strong enough to make the correct decisions in our lives. A new respect for our own chastity and that of others is awakened. This sense of right conduct is essential for the development of our own integrity and ability. It seems to be the foundation stone for the inner castle, the chakra and the sacrament system introduces us to the power of an incorruptible innocence.
We are not beginning to seek the truth, but we can still be miss-lead on our quest by superficial desires. For example, if I still hold on to intellectual ideas or concepts of what truth is, while in deep prayer, contemplation or meditation then I am still rooted in the physical body and the mental ego body, but I am on my way to the integration and purification of the psyche in the next level. Jung acknowledged the validity of this process in human development and growth of the psyche as our whole psychophysical organism is purified and refined. The kundalini is the spiritual energy that rises up through the charkas and can be compared to the Holy Spirit within Christian mysticism. The experiences, processes and transformations discussed are never an end in them selves, but are only intended to prepare the ground so we can find the Divinity within and commune with God directly.


Seven Sacraments


The first sacrament

The seven sacraments touch all the stages and important moments in our Christian life. They are a bridge between the stages of our natural life and our spiritual life. The sacraments give us access to God the Father by transferring our mind into the mystery of Christ by helping us give glory to God in the One Spirit.

The first sacrament is Baptism, which is the Christian sacrament of initiation. People are born anew in baptism as they advance towards their perfection of love and charity. It is the basis and the gateway to life in the spirit and to the other sacraments because we are reborn free of sin, members of Christ and sons of God. It is the sacrament of regeneration because the plunge in water symbolizes the burial of Christ’s physical death from which he raises up resurrected. It brings about the birth of water and spirit or a bath of enlightenment. Baptism enlightens our understanding because it radiates light as the sins are buried. The water is the rich symbol of grace so humble always seeking the lowest level as the source of life and fruitfulness. In the story of Noah the flood or sign of the water of Baptism is symbolizing an end to sin and a new beginning of goodness. Christians are set free in Baptism as the children of Abraham were set free through the waters of the Red Sea. Participants hear the word and see the sign of the cross imprinting on the mind reminds them that they belong to Christ. It frees the ego enlightening the assembly once again to death of sin and entry into the spiritual life. The candle is lit and Christ has enlightened us again and freed us all from the powers of darkness. It is an entry sacrament so is not perfection or a mature experience, but a beginning to be developed.

Corinthians
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Baptism incorporates the spirit to help us transcend our human limits of our nationality, culture, race and sex and the consequences of sin, which are suffering, illness, death and other frailties of the physical life. Baptism I think was a technique to enable the mind to transcend tensions, anxiety, security issues and other conflicts into a flowing acceptance of life. Yes, I also feel to accept members and other paths as legitimate ways to the Spirit. It is a method to let the mind begin to tune in to the finer energies around us and not just be occupied by the emergency alarms triggered by our desires and security needs. The sacraments are not moral codes, forbidding commandments, but the evolution of a love affair with Christ or spirit. In the adventure and exploration of Baptism the vision is not narrowed but directed to live in the spirit progressively.

Matthew 18:3 “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Being detached from our perceptions similar to a child a person just baptized is not caught up in memories of sins or the past; therefore, is not bogged down by emotional or psychological pain and suffering. Baptism is a sacrament that removes guilt, the past and sins by introducing us to the innocence of the spirit. We are just born in the spirit so we perceive the clarity of the present moment; the way things and thoughts are simply present without any reaction. They are just background noise without emotion in the domain of experience. The child connects with all that it senses without disagreement or distinction. This sacrament exposes the physical ego-self with prejudices and biases and the spiritual soul with love, peace and acceptance. The sacrament shows the two and lets the individual decide which one to feed because the one he chooses or if he feeds both, he will learn by watching them develop.
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#5 Marsha

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 01:13 AM

Soma, this book is precious.

I read your posts and then I started reading the book, which I have had on my Kindle for some time. I have gotten through the Introduction and Preface and part of the first chapter. What a beautiful and deeply interesting book. Thank you for starting this thread. I was deeply touched by what you wrote and what I have read so far in the book. Very much looking forward to continuing this discussion.
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