Well now let’s get back to our castle with its many dwelling places. You mustn’t think of these dwelling places in such a way that each one would follow in file after the other; but turn your eyes toward the centre, the royal chamber.
The soul is capable of much more than we can imagine, and the sun that is in the royal chamber shines in all parts.
It should be kept in mind here that the fount, the shining sun that is the centre of the soul, does not lose its beauty and splendour; it is always present in the soul, and nothing can take away its loveliness. But if a black cloth is placed over a crystal that is in the sun, obviously the sun’s brilliance will have no effect on the crystal even though the sun is shining on it.
You shouldn’t want to know anything else than the fact that, although the very sun that gave the soul so much brilliance and beauty is still in the centre, the soul is as though not there to share these things
You must note that hardly any of the light coming from the King’s royal chamber reaches the first dwelling places. They are darkened so that the soul cannot see the light. The darkness is not caused by a flaw in the room, but by so many things that enter with the soul and don’t allow it to be aware of the light. It’s as if a person were to enter a place where the sun is shining but be hardly able to open his eyes because of the mud in them. The room is bright but he doesn’t enjoy it because of the impediments that make him close his eyes to everything but them.
In the first rooms souls are still absorbed in the world and engulfed in their pleasures and vanities, with their honours and pretences, the senses and faculties.
The soul is so involved in worldly things and so absorbed with its possessions, honour, or business affairs, that even if it would want to see and enjoy its beauty, these things do not allow it to; nor does it seem that it can slip free from so many impediments. If a person is to enter the second dwelling places, it is important that he strive to give up unnecessary things and business affairs. Each one should do so in conformity with his state in life.
St Teresa of Avila. The Interior Castle. 1:2