Sometimes I amaze myself, but not in a good way.I’ve read section three of chapter one in The Interior Castle, probably a hundred times, trying not necessarily to get meaning (I got the meaning), but for inspiration as to its importance. I vacillated, reread, pondered, and prayed (notice that was fourth—I’m pretty hard headed sometimes), and nothing came to me.
It has been a struggle, my friends. I’m still not sure where I am going and I hope this makes sense.
In section three of chapter one in The Interior Castle, St. Teresa points out:
“. . . All our care is concentrated on our bodies, which are but the coarse setting of the diamond, or the outer walls of the castle.”
Whoa. May I remind you this is a book written to nuns in the fifteenth century?
It amazes me nuns can possess physical vanity. They all are wearing the same shapeless garb. Don’t they have to cut their hair really short? In regards to beauty products, my guess is access was fairly limited for most women whose calling wasn’t in the oldest profession, if ya know what I mean.
But . . . vanity is a natural vice. Why would a nun be exempt?
And even if she’s not just talking about physical vanity, St. Teresa has a good point about our preoccupation with what we can see and not what is within us and how we spend our time neglecting our interal self.
For instance, I spent most of 2010 running between 25 and forty miles a week. I took yoga and Pilates classes. I even did a stint in spinning and kick boxing, and read countless health and dieting books. For one reason and one reason only:
Well, partially vanity. Excessive exercise has the added benefit of hard core endorphins.
But alas, with all this care for my physical self, I did nothing to nourish my soul.
St. Teresa calls for us to “realize the beauty of this castle”, but she’s not concerned about our outer selves, as most of us are fixated. As humans we shall never truly comprehend our inherent complexities. However, as people, who live within this world and must walk with each other, it is imperative to understand and embrace ourselves, weaknesses and strengths, so that we may understand others.
Acknowledge both the good and bad. Know that for every difficulty there is awesome potential within you.
I’m a free spirit. I don’t always work on appropriate time schedules. (As some of you can tell because, well, I’m two days late on this blog entry.) If I don’t “value” something, odds are it will be ignored. (I value this blog, by the way. I wasn’t ignoring it—I just struggled with this entry.) I annoy the ever-loving tar out of those type- A personalities who see significance in relatively rigid deadlines, rules and boundaries. And it would be absolutely absurd for me to not recognize this fault in myself and try to defend my behaviors.
However, when something is “important” to me, my product is top rate. (Albeit sometimes late) I’m not lazy and I’m perfectly happy to spend countless hours analyzing details, if I decide said details are significant. Sometimes I get frustrated when my stuff is glanced over by those who value simplicity over quality and basically ignore what I consider art. I’ve gotten pretty upset over this before, and probably will again, just as others have gotten pretty angry with me for not completing tasks they consider important that I marginalized.
Don’t look at this as negative. We’re different. Society needs to embrace differences more than we do. (Thanks Sheri!)
It’s hard. I know. But really, I think it all boils down to this:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36- 40
Honestly, all the rest is merely details, and that statement is the world’s greatest bumper sticker.
Next time: section four of chapter one.