Sixth Mansions: Chapter Five
Flight of the Spirit: Part Four
Flight of the Spirit
To help us understand the flight of the spirit, Teresa compares our soul and our spirit to the sun and its rays. There is a certain unity between the sun and its rays — yet there is a distinction. Teresa says “the sun, while in the sky, has such strong rays that, even though it doesn’t move from there, the rays promptly reach the earth, so the soul and the spirit, which are one, could be like the sun and its rays. Thus, while the soul remains in its place, the superior part [spirit] rises above it.” Consequently you have the flight of the spirit. Teresa notes this happens rapidly: “with the speed of a ball shot from an arquebus when fire is applied, an interior flight is experienced”.
The flight of the spirit gives us insight. “And while the spirit is far outside itself, from all it can understand, great things are shown to it.” When the soul/spirit returns to itself, “the benefits it feels are remarkable” and it sees how over-invested we can be in meaningless things. Teresa says, “the blessings left in the soul are so great that only the person who has this experience will be able to understand its value.”
The flight of the spirit gives us a vision of the “Promised Land” and strength for the journey. “It seems the Lord, like those Israelites who brought back signs from the promised land, has desired to show it something about its future land”. We have a future land — in the next life — but also in this life. Through insights from the flight of the spirit, we center ourselves in the present and reset priorities. Then we start walking — and by “walking” I simply mean scheduling your time to pursue your vision. While the specific details of the upcoming journey may not be clear, we now have a compass to the “promised land” — a land we help create through our present actions.
This blog only provides my reflections on the Interior Castle. I recommend consulting wise spiritual guides about spiritual experiences to ensure their authenticity.
For this post I used a translation of The Interior Castle by Kieran Kavanaugh O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez O.C.D., ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies: Washington D.C.