The Interior Castle

I am Recorder.
I record if I can but stand beyond
Personal desire for my own fame,
My own aggrandisement of self.
As recorder I am a priest.
Not a priest in a temple.
Not a priest who needs a building or creed.
I am a priest of life,
Because I am blessed with the ability
To stand naked in the middle of Love.
Imperfect as I am,
I can still stand here as a witness.
Standing in my own weakness,
In the prescence of love,

Love is the greatest preparation in realising your Centre,
Your universal spirit.
Love is life, and we cannot set rules and regulations around it.
Telling love what it ought to be doing,
What it should be doing, is ridiculous.
Love is its own law.
It doesn’t need a priest or lawgiver
To tell it what is right or wrong.
It IS life.
It IS the lawgiver, the judge and the goal.
Love carries within it all the magnificent processes of life –
Attraction, repulsion, reproduction, caring and death.

Sometimes all that keeps us alive –
Alive in the sense of having a feeling spirit,
Of having love in our life – even the caring for a pet or a child.
Those are the channels of life in our times.

Finding the depths of Love,
Of Life and its power, is called initiation.
And the first stage of initiation is Opening The Gate.
In this first stage you are allowed into the walled city
Because the gate has been opened to let you in.
And the walled City
Is the secret place of your own being that you,
Out of your own wisdom or fear,
Have kept shut from yourself.
But the city has walls within the outer wall.
So although you are in the gate
You can only move around in the outer circle.
This large part of the city allows you to trade,
To work, to have relationships with other inhabitants,
To make and spend money, and all the other activities of the outer life.
If you live in this first level in a way
That does no harm to other inhabitants;
If you do not proselytise
Or try to get others to follow you as a leader for personal aggrandisement,
Then you are given entrance into the second level of initiation.
This second level is when you begin to see,
Within the ordinary, the strange mystery underlying all things,
And start a quest for it.
And there are seven levels to this interior castle,
Levels that will open to you on the quest.

But I am old.
I am wounded.
And I have trodden the high ground of the interior castle.
I stand here with pride, in my wounds, in my strength,
But mostly in my humility and love.
Those are the gifts
That have been forged through parenthood,
And through the knowledge I have gained.
Blessings to those who shared the land.
Blessings to those who gave to me of themselves
To forge this path upon which I am only a footprint.

It is from this place I wish to speak to you.
I wish to tell you a secret of the High Ground.
It is that Lust transcends all.
It reaches across chasms.
It dares and achieves where the delicate traceries of hope,
Care and succouring cannot exist in the harsh climate.
Perhaps lust throws trace lines across chasms,
Across places previously untrod.
Perhaps it throws a tracery that again and again
May be torn or disrupted – again and again –
Until something holds.
Then, across and through that tiny link,
Life passes, making it a capillary, a vein, an artery.
The artery becomes a thoroughfare,
commonplace and thronged.
That is the life of Pathfinder.

Sometimes lust is enough.
But when we have food enough,
When we have shelter and companionship,
There is time enough for care.
There is time enough to look upon our family
And those near to us and recognise their needs,
And to give of oneself.
That is the first step beyond lust.
This may be called from us by parenthood,
Or by the simple caring for the person sitting next to us,
Injured next to us, dying next to us.
Inadequate as our love may be,
The opening of the second gateway
needs some small measure of love,
Of care, of self-giving.

But beware of large groups –
Of companies – for they take on a life of their own.
Keep your ideals high,
And expect the same from those who deal with you.
To work for an organisation
Is the same as any commited relationship.
If you have given much,
Do not accept being dropped or thrust aside.

And learn from the animals.
Be close to them in your life,
For they are great teachers, and great in love.
Watch the beautiful bitch,
Running, barking in joy at her heat,
But having her eye on a particular male.
There is beauty.
See the horse, running, jumping,
Feeling so free after release from its day’s work.
In that way it is returning to itself,
Returning to the spirit through its free movement.
You too should run thus
And find again the rhythm of your most interior self.

Us little people,
You and I,
With such great loves,
Transcending ourselves
Making us wonders –
Lifting our fearful feet
Beyond our sense of self
Toward some unknown
We dare not tread,
Except through love.

Touched by your
Ever present desire
I am alive
Who was dead.
I am wondrous
Who was ordinary.
I am made
Beyond myself.

Copyright ©2001 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved