The soul is a castle, according to 16th century Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila, in which God Herself dwells. At the center of this castle God gleams like a diamond. In Teresa’s classic work The Interior Castle, the soul’s castle holds seven different dwelling places on the way to love’s radiant center, seven deeper stages of prayer which finally lead to the place where God and the soul meet in undivided intimacy. But castles are cavernous, and searching for treasure is often precarious. There are dark corners in castles, twists and turns, secret passageways and multiple rooms in which we lose our way. And that’s for those of us who make it into the castle in the first place. Many of us, Teresa says, remain in the outer courtyard, on the surface or the exterior of life, and we’re unable to access our inner lives and thus unable to abide in God. Long before developmental psychologists charted the seasons and passages of our human journey, St. Teresa of Avila mapped the transformation of her personality under the impact of God’s love in 16th century Spain. At age 62, this Carmelite nun wrote The Interior Castle, a classic summary of her prayer experience. She images the soul’s journey through a crystal castle to its center, culminating in intimate union with God.