3. MY CHILDHOOD
Natural medical doctor 4. ON THE "OTHER SIDE"
The Great Experiences/Ten years of uniterrupted Bliss
Vision of the Grail
My Inner Woman
To make love and be free Tantra
REVELATION OF THE GREAT MOTHER
THE GREAT LIGHT
THE GREAT DEATH/THE UNDERWORLD
The Ultimate Sutra
Amsterdam, August 1980
Nothing Is/The Cycle
5. DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
(Sermon of the Valley)
The Return 7. TERESA OF AVILA
Teresa of Avila
A Miracle/PilgrimCare 8. MY LIFE'S MYTH
9. LAMENT FOR THE PLANET
10. THE GREAT MOTHER
Great Mother Hymn 12. EPILOGUE
The Green Grass ABOUT THIS
| My spiritual Sister
In Teresa of Avila all mystical qualities come together. She distinguished herself by exemplary behaviour on almost all walks of life: spiritual and secular, including openness, honesty, insight, subtlety, effectiveness, courage, devotion, humor, compassion and strength. In addition, she was also a child of her time. Hence, for example, she had no other choice than to express herself in accordance with the rules of the church. In fact, her Enlightened State was beyond every thought or belief. Her lifelong struggle played out between "being herSelf" and the requirements of the institution in which she participated. This was not very easy, since the scourge of the Inquisition in all its severity went round. Much of her work must therefore be read between the lines. Other passages comprise more or less of open criticism of the church, the Inquisition, the inferior position of women etc. In particular, her practice of inner prayer was at some point considered suspicious (...), because of the danger of quietism realizing the Divine! (condemned as Illuminism). This became particularly evident if you compare her two (three) versions of The Way of Perfection*. The first ( Escorial) is still (relatively) candid and carefree, in the second (Valladolid), many of these open passages were censored. And then to imagine that with the first version the Inquisition had been peering over her shoulder, already! This leads to the (widespread) belief that all true mystics are in fact universal. Deep inside they belong to no religion. This is confirmed by the fact that all mystics speak the same language, regardless of their (forced) formal membership of a particular religion **. Look at Eckhart, Suso, Ruusbroec, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Kabir, Sri Ramakrishna and countless others. Teresa distinguishes by being able to excellently deal with it, her path is an Integral Path in the true sense of the word. That is why we honor this exceptional Mystic, Enlightened Teacher (and Doctor of the Church ...) with the title she deserves: Magistra Universalis.
* See "Collected Works of Teresa of Avila", translated by E. Allison Peers.
I recognize so much in Teresa, that I am repeatedly struck by it. It starts with biographical details. It stems from the so-called conversos, a mixture of Spaniards and Jews. I stem from a Spaniard who deserted (about the same time that Teresa lived) and after the withdrawal of the Spaniards in the Netherlands he stayed behind. Like me she also loved to knights tales and had in all likelihood read Parzival. This inspired her to write The Inner Castle. I got a Parzival prophesy and a Vision of the Grail, including the Canaanite "Tree of Life", later symbol of the Jewish people. A major obstacle on the way to surrendering for her was overcoming her pride, something I know all too well from my own life. Then her inborn motive for reform, life in her first monastery was far too easy for her, hence the founding of a new order based on the original rule. Tying in to the tradition - and therefore transforming the present reality - is something which is a core part of my teaching. Then her Great Experiences, everything she describes in her book, I can confirm from my own experience, often down to the smallest details. It leads time and again to moments of great emotion. Joy and tears then arise in me. So I cant get enough of always opening a book of hers. Reading a small piece is often enough. There is so much that immediately arises, that shortly after I put the book away. I share her uncompromising passion for the Truth*. Not that she could always show it openly. The church with its inquisition sat constantly on her back. She had to be diplomatic. For the good listener, however, she is crystal clear. She sees the God experience as the foundation of religion. It is the fountain that fertilises life uninterruptedly. All other things are secondary. Since it is greater than yourself, it is only natural to share it with others. Hence her restless efforts to strengthen her new order and settle anywhere. This unity of contemplation and action is etched in my soul. Like her, I know as prisoner of Eternity the excecutive of the will of the Ultimate.
* That She wasn't granted the Depth of the Cosmic Mother is not disturbing me at all. Secondly, her "exaggerated" devotion and humility, was, as we know now, part of her strategy to escape the tribunals of the Inquisition. I dare to say, that if the latter had not been there, she would have been a Free Mystic, not dogmatically linking herself to the Church (at all...).A Miracle
Recently I felt the time increasingly coming closer to the point in which I had to bear my cross. Until then I had lived - not that it was always comfortable - in the protective Dimension of the Mother. There was a swinging back and forth between dissolving on the one hand and the urge to act on the other. Then there would follow a period in which the Mother would show me the way, while at other moments I reproached myself for being to easy. The chance came in the spring of 2004, when an old plan of mine could suddenly be achieved. Friends of us were - miraculously - ready to move to northern Spain to set up an emergency station for PilgrimCare on the route to Compostela. The local population of the town - the beautiful Estella - were so excited about our initiative, that for the summer time they granted us a free space on a major street. Our project consisted of giving free pain treatments (as well) with Chinese guasha therapy *. Off we went to Spain, the country of Teresa of Avila. On my way to Spain the urge to first drive through to Avila was so great, that I went there without even stopping along the way. It was the spiritual excitement which I knew when a special resonance was ahead of me. I intuitively felt that I had to go to Avila. It is as if seeing my precious sister again after being apart for more than 40 years. And Teresa was (is) more than a sister to me....
Once in Avila I immediately ran to the monastery
Encarnación, the monastery where she spent her first time. Once arrived I saw
a large crucifix in the courtyard. Because I always felt crucifixes were pushy for
example crucifixes on top of mountains, hills and rocks always annoyed me now
however there was a subtle curiosity to come closer. The closer I came to it, the greater
my gentleness became. Until I - I could not believe it myself - touched the crucifix with
a certain tenderness. Well, that was quite a shock. There was an immediate peace that
arose in me from head to toe. By the touch it was clear that an inner resistance had
dropped off. I realized that this was my last barrier. Now there was no more resistance,
the significance of the event dawned on me. By allowing the cross, I simultaneously
bore my own cross, the willingness to embrace the role, for which I had
come into this world. The opposition within me was in fact the refusal to commit.
Oh, what a discovery that was. After the initial joy, the new courage and clarity about
what had happened, there were also flashes of having to give up the comfortable
life. Not that that hadnt happened before. Regularly, I had visions about it.
Now it seemed only more definitive.
© 1999 Copyright by Han M. Stiekema. All rights reserved.