“As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or Who dwells within them, or how precious they are — those are things which we seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul’s beauty. All our interest is centred in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle — that is to say, in these bodies of ours.”
― St.Teresa of Ávila, Interior Castle
I’ve always been fascinated by the placement of the soul. I have had so many questions about it and I think through reading the Bible, and reading the words of others that seem wiser than me on the topic, I am developing an understanding of this mysterious soul. We are born with a soul, it is all that makes us more than a mound of raw material to be molded by the world around us. I think of the soul as our essence, our inclinations to likes or dislikes. The middle of us.
It seems the soul would be protected with all our flesh and bones encasing it. But it appears the brain may be the real gatekeeper of our soul. These different lobes of the brain that aid our different senses, that give us our sense of self and the world outside of us. I’m not going to delve into anything science-y here, but the brain is fascinating and you can’t really talk about the soul without mentioning the nook that may be its home.
It actually seems like the Interior Castle that St. Teresa of Avila describes is a lot like the different lobes of the brain. The different rooms and different functions, all of them joined together like a magnificent labyrinth. And then the systems that give it energy, life, blood. We have a body, we have a soul, and thirdly we have a God who created all of it so He could once again brood over the darkness of a void and breathe His Holy Spirit into the dust that is us.
The Holy Spirit is gentle, it doesn’t come crashing in uninvited. The Spirit opens up doors that have always been locked, the Spirit rearranges and tears down walls within us, all the while our soul stays intact, transformed but still intact. When I recently prayed for God to renew my mind I didn’t realize how this was an open invitation to the Holy Spirit. A yielding of not only thoughts but every sense being changed or challenged.
Slowly I picture the Spirit of the living God taking down old dark drapes, painting rooms colors I had never considered and lining the bookcase shelves with bound up pages written in a language I’ve never read or understood before. My mind is becoming Spirit.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
My soul watches in amazement at how changed yet unchanged it all is.