Through the Seven Stations of your own “Interior Castle”
Open to the blessing of spiritual illumination, divine embodiment and inspired service by walking with the West's most celebrated female mystic through the doorways of many spiritual traditions and into the heart of a direct relationship with the Beloved.
St. Teresa of Avila was not only one of the most revered mystics and saints in all of Christian history, she was also a remarkably human woman who liked to be liked, charmed her audiences with coquettish glee and approached life in a very practical, no-nonsense way.
She was born of Jewish parents and got involved in a real scandal as a teen (which sent her to the convent). She told jokes. She baked pastries. She walked the path of holy service with great joie de vivre and gusto for life.
St. Teresa shows us that we can go deep into rapturous communion with the Beloved and then manage our business affairs in the next breath. She shows us that we can drop into deep silence, tapping oceans of quietude, and then laugh and dance playfully with our friends, how to enter into the most advanced stages of spiritual realization…and come out still recognizably “normal,” and even splendidly ordinary!
And that is why the path she walked offers us so much invaluable insight and power as modern spiritual seekers.
By carefully tracing her path through each stage of opening, so beautifully charted in her mystical masterpiece, The Interior Castle, and following the stations of her journey home into the arms of the Beloved, we can illumine, inspire and ultimately realize our own spiritual destiny: to live as divine humans.
As she sat down to write a book summarizing her legacy teachings, Teresa was given a vision of the soul as a crystal palace with seven luminous facets. This became the foundation for one of the most powerful and enduring spiritual teachings of any religion in any age, as relevant today as it was when she received the transmission five centuries ago.
She saw the soul as “the most beautiful place in all creation” – so beautiful that the Beloved chooses the center of our being as his dwelling place, beckoning each of us into the innermost chamber of our own souls to have union with him. All that is required is that we turn inward, and then offer the fruits of our love-encounter to the world.
Teresa’s vision is thus more than an inspiring story. It is a roadmap for our awakening and our sacred service. Through her, we begin to see, know and realize our own full potential.
Lucky for us, St. Teresa is not shrouded in nearly so much mystery as more ancient spiritual teachers. Because of the detailed accounts she left behind in her autobiography, The Book of My Life, as well as an abundance of other writings we can actually apply the spiritual practices she used, read about her most intimate secrets and learn about the challenges and blessings of each stage of her spiritual path – giving us a more accurate map for our own journey home.
Finally, her humor and playfulness offer us an easily accessible and joy-filled example of where the spiritual path can lead, not to some far-off mystical land, but into the wonderful divine ordinariness of human life.
So if you want to live a divinely human life, there is perhaps no better spiritual being for you to study with than St. Teresa, and her passionate disciple, Mirabai Starr.
Through Teresa's example, and Mirabai’s lucid guidance, you can deepen your own ecstatic relationship with the Beloved and begin to see, taste and feel the sacred in all you do.
You can expand your ability to serve the deepest needs of our day with passion.
You can learn how to walk a distinctly feminine path of realization that ultimately connects you even more deeply to the world.
You can learn to fuse body, heart, mind and soul into one sacred vessel for more love to pour into life.
If you want to take a richly rewarding journey through your inner interior landscape – your own “Interior Castle” – then the 7-month program In the Footsteps of St. Teresa of Avila has been designed precisely for you.
You will, quite literally, walk the path of awakening, healing and service that St. Teresa herself did. You will go through the devastation and the loss, the ecstasy and the opening, the shedding of old skins and the cracking wide of your heart, as you enter into communion with the Beloved under the wise, loving and intimate mentorship of Mirabai Starr.
Mirabai is not only one of the most respected scholars and translators of St. Teresa’s words and life, she is also a profound mystic herself – who is culturally Jewish, practices Buddhism, and even has a Hindu guru, all while being an expert on Christian mystics. Like Teresa, Mirabai has gone through the depths of initiatory fires, passing through the "Dark Night" and into the quiet ecstasy of communion with the Divine.
During the In the Footsteps of Teresa of Avila course, Mirabai will journey right alongside you, sharing the stories, engaging the deep questions, offering the practices and lighting the way to your own illumination through the seven stages of spiritual realization that St. Teresa traversed.
In this journey, you will learn far more about yourself and your own relationship with the Beloved. You will see yourself with new eyes, at once more exalted and more humble – recognizing more of the divine presence that lives and breathes through you, while also seeing just how small you are within the vast ocean of love.
You will learn how to establish a contemplative practice that is uniquely yours.
You will see how to use grief and heartbreak as portals into Divine truth.
You will find ways to engage your inner chamber of Divine source to be of service.
You will discover how to dissolve into your true self.
You will, in short, make real and lasting progress on your spiritual journey, in a community of profound dialogue, exploration, and support.
And you will discover that becoming a divinely ordinary human can be joyous, fun and filled with delight, as you learn not to check your humanness at the door but rather embrace the full-spectrum of your whole being.
This training is a rare opportunity to work with a renowned mystic and scholar at a much deeper level, as she lovingly guides you through practices for revealing the profound mysteries of your soul while also living each day as an authentic human in the world.
What You’ll Learn in These 7 Months
In this 7-month transformational course, Mirabai will guide you into the heart of an ecstatic relationship with the Beloved, utilizing St. Teresa’s illuminating map for awakening and sacred service, so you can learn to experience the rapturous heights of spiritual realization while also remaining fully rooted in the groundedness of your humanity.
Each contemplation and training session will build harmoniously upon the next, so that you’ll develop a complete, holistic understanding of the practices, tools and principles you’ll need to awaken and sustain your spiritual illumination, divine embodiment and inspired service.
Station 1 – Turning Inward
Discipline and Self-Knowledge
The gateway to the interior realms is a contemplative practice. By our willingness to shift our awareness within and rest in stillness and silence, we begin to disengage from the lure of thoughts and embrace the truth of what is. Once we open to the sacred suchness of the moment, a clearer sense of self naturally arises, and we are empowered to look upon our authentic essence with humility and appreciation.
In this module, you will:
- Establish a regular contemplative practice that fits with your unique way of being.
- Learn methods for self-inquiry that help you be present to what is.
- Come to understand what it means to be a contemplative, and apply those values to your daily life (not limited to formal meditation practice).
- Experience the infusion of the sacred into the ordinary when you commit to a contemplative path.
- Develop courage to face the obstacles that arise when you commit to the spiritual path.
Featured Practice: Make a commitment to sit in silence and stillness on a regular basis, whether half an hour every morning or 10 minutes three times a week. Recognize that meditation is not about not thinking – it’s about being present to what is, allowing a spaciousness to open around your thoughts and feelings, an ability to bear witness to your own experience, and “not believe everything you think.
Station 2 – Love Letters from the
Synchronicity and Discernment
As we become more intimate with our inner landscape, the clamor of the external world diminishes and the song of the soul grows clearer. We are more able to distinguish between superficial dogma and living wisdom. We begin to recognize the voice of the Beloved in the books we read, in the spiritual talks we listen to, in deep dialogue with loved ones and spontaneous conversations with strangers. Everywhere we turn we seem to receive confirmation of the exact teaching we need, and the interconnections fill us with wonder.
In this module, you will:
- Develop increased discernment for determining the validity of various teachings.
- Open to receiving the abundant messages from the Beloved you need to guide you on your path.
- Heighten your receptivity to synchronicities in your life and their gifts.
- Deepen your commitment to spiritual practice, even when it doesn't produce the spiritual "highs" that initially motivated you on your path.
Featured Practice: Engage in deep reflection on a chosen sacred scripture, poem, piece of music, film, or audio or video teaching that moves you. Journal your response.
Station 3 – Dark Night of the Soul: Knowing by Unknowing
Sometimes we take the spiritual life too seriously. We learn some things, have a few epiphanies, sacrifice our comfort for the rigors of practice, and begin to think we know the Truth. We put the Holy One into a box and smother it. Everything that once brought inspiration then feels dry and empty. This is our opportunity to surrender our belief systems and rest in the Mystery.
In this module, you will:
- Soften around your cherished belief systems to allow for new perspectives.
- Gain a new understanding of what mysticism really is.
- Study the spiritual teachings of The Dark Night of the Soul from John of the Cross for guidance on navigating spiritual emptiness.
- Become truly comfortable with the many blessings of groundlessness.
Featured Practice: Make a list of the spiritual practices and religious concepts you feel most attached to-either through inherited conditioning or personal experience. Create a corresponding list of questions and challenges for each. Journal the fruits of this inquiry.
Station 4 – Prayer of Quiet:
Dropping from the Head to the Heart
Once we shift from trying to figure God out with our minds to focusing on feeling God in our hearts, a spaciousness opens inside us and we enter a place of sweet stillness. This stage represents the balance point of the spiritual journey. We have three stations behind us, in which we attain spiritual development largely through our own efforts, and three stations lie ahead, in which grace takes over.
In this module, you will:
- Practice heart-centered meditation techniques to help you more fully experience the expansion of the Beloved in your heart, not your mind.
- Learn about the active and passive stages of the spiritual journey, and how you can determine which stage you may be experiencing.
- Explore St. Teresa of Avila’s “3 waters” teaching and how it applies in your life.
- Taste the freedom that comes when we drop our need to fix ourselves and allow ourselves to abide in a sacred field.
Featured Practice: Guided Metta Meditation.
Station 5 – Prayer of Union:
Annihilation and Transformation
This is the phase in which the silkworm of the soul spins itself a cocoon and climbs inside to dissolve. It is only when the old self is annihilated that the true self can emerge. In her suspended state, the soul rests in the Divine, and the Divine rests in her. The soul experiences this dying as a great joy.
In this module, you will:
- Study the inter-spiritual teachings of self-annihilation and how they might apply to you personally.
- Identify aspects of your false self that need to be released in order for your metamorphosis to transpire.
- Explore St. Teresa of Avila’s “butterfly” metaphor and how it is reflected in your life.
- See your personal relationships as a reflection of your growing intimacy with the Beloved.
Featured Practice: Create a work of butterfly art - a drawing, painting, poem, play, dance, song, video, sculpture, or any other creative project that reflects the transformational power of the butterfly.
Station 6 – This Beautiful Wound:
Longing for the Beloved
In this phase, the lover (soul) experiences longing for union with the Beloved (God) as a searing pain. Often the person who has navigated the spiritual path deep into the landscape of Mystery begins to suffer from various outer afflictions that correspond to the inner fire. People at this stage may grapple with numerous illnesses and multiple losses, all of which intensify their sense of alienation from this world. And yet “an ineffable sweetness” lies just below the surface of the turmoil, and the soul knows she is growing closer to the Holy One.
In this module, you will:
- Explore the connection between personal loss and spiritual longing.
- Understand spiritual longing and the connection between personal loss and the longing for God/union with the Divine.
- Learn to approach suffering as alchemical transfiguration.
- Use your sense of separation as a portal to access union.
- Receive a more spiritual and practical understanding of how to deal with grief and loss, using them as a catalyst for your spiritual opening.
Featured Practice: Gather poems of loss and transformation and create a collection that you can add to on an ongoing basis.
Station 7 – The Innermost Chamber:
Self-Realization and Service
When at last lover (soul) merges with Beloved, only love remains. The challenge of the spiritual journey is to get out of our own way and allow the Holy One to love through us. As distinctions between self and God begin to dissolve, we experience our essential interconnectedness with all that is. Once we have experienced this melding, our only remaining desire is to help alleviate suffering in the world. Raptures, visions and other altered states of consciousness fall away, and we find ourselves squarely in the center of the human condition, ready to step up and be useful.
In this module, you will:
- Explore inter-spiritual perspectives on compassionate action, the Bodhisattva Vow and the connection between contemplative practice and service.
- Expand your conception of what it means to be of service.
- Discern between charity dispensed to those we perceive as having (or being) less, and compassion based on the realization of our essential unity with those who suffer.
- Find a healthy balance between personal spiritual practice and loving service.
Featured Practice: Through guided meditation, develop a plan of action to engage in service Be creative. It can be a local effort or a global one. It may not look like your preconceived notion of social or environmental activism. Find your authentic prophetic response.
The "In The Footsteps of Teresa of Avila"
In addition to Mirabai’s transformative 7-month virtual course, you’ll also receive these powerful training sessions with the world’s leading visionaries and spiritual teachers. These bonus sessions are being offered to further complement what you’ll learn in the course – and take your understanding and practice to an even deeper level.
You Are What You Seek
Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and Gangaji
In this bonus session, beloved teacher of the non-dual path, Gangaji, speaks about discovering the "hidden treasure" of your own God-Self, using St. Teresa of Avila as an example of finding what you long for as the very essence of what you are.
Gangaji was born in Texas in 1942, and grew up in Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1964, she married and had a daughter. In 1972, she moved to San Francisco where she took Bodhisattva vows, practiced Zen and Vipassana meditation, helped run a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center and had a career as an acupuncturist. Yet, despite her successes, she continued to experience a deep and persistent longing for fulfillment. In the wake of her disillusionment, she made a final prayer for true help. And in 1990, the answer to that prayer took her to India to the banks of the river Ganga, where she met Sri H.W.L. Poonja, also known as Papaji, who helped her to open the floodgates of self-recognition. Today, Gangaji is a teacher and author, who travels the world speaking to seekers from all walks of life about her own experience of awakening and that it is really possible to discover the truth of who you are and be true to that discovery.
Challenges and Awakenings
Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and James Finley
In this special session, legendary student of Thomas Merton and respected spiritual psychotherapist, James Finley, explores some of the pitfalls of the spiritual journey, and the liberation that comes with transcending the boundaries of ego.
James Finley, Ph.D., lived as a monk at the cloistered Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where the world-renowned monk and author, Thomas Merton, was his spiritual director. He leads retreats and workshops throughout the United States and Canada, attracting men and women from all religious traditions who seek to live a contemplative way of life in the midst of today’s busy world. He is also a clinical psychologist in private practice with his wife in Santa Monica, California. James is the author of Merton’s Palace of Nowhere, The Contemplative Heart and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God.
Charting Our Spiritual Trajectory
Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and
Father Richard Rohr
In this dialogue, Fr. Richard Rohr, one of the most respected Christian thought leaders of our time, discusses how he approaches the Interior Castle as a "map" to guide you in an unfolding process of full human flowering. Richard calls this maturing process "ripening."
Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher, bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy – practices of contemplation and lived kenosis (self-emptying), expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized. He is the author of numerous books, including Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi.
Moving Inward, Not Upward
Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and
Father William Hart McNichols
In this bonus, iconographer priest, Father Bill, who collaborated with Mirabai on the book Mother of God Similar to Fire, focuses on the feminine nature of Teresa’s vision of the inner journey, exploring the castle as a series of sacred spaces that draws you ever more deeply within.
William Hart McNichols was a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) from 1968 to 2002. He studied philosophy, theology and art at St. Louis University, Boston College, Boston University and Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Father Bill furthered his art studies at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California in 1977. In 1983, he received a Master of Fine Arts in landscape painting from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Since 1999 he has assisted with sacramental ministry in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in Taos and Northern New Mexico. He continues to assist in Albuquerque after returning there in the fall of 2013.
What People Are Saying About Mirabai Starr...
Mirabai Starr is an extraordinary teacher not because she is so well versed in spiritual teaching – though she is. What makes her teaching so powerful is that her vast spiritual knowledge is rooted in the real experience of being human. Her genius lies in the profoundly humble way she opens her life as a guide to ours. In making this connection, she shows us the deep and mysterious spiritual truths that hold all our lives together. A truly gifted teacher, she points us at once to and beyond ourselves. She does all of this with a spirit so light that all who share her presence are also lifted. Oh, did I say that she is also a lot of fun?
– Rev. Bob Thompson, Senior Pastor, Lake Street Church,
Mirabai is an authentic mystic, a true teacher and a wonderful soul. Anyone who comes to her will find their cup will be filled. I recommend her as a person and as a teacher with great confidence and joy.
– Andrew Harvey, Spiritual Teacher and Scholar
It is with great pleasure and delight that I endorse the work of Mirabai Starr, whom I find to be a soul companion as well as a professional colleague. In addition to being a gifted author, Mirabai is blessed with the capacity to inspire others with her wisdom and understanding of mystical theology. I referred to her translations of Teresa of Avila’s great masterpiece, The Interior Castle, while writing my own book, Entering the Castle, because of the excellence of her work. Mirabai is a rare jewel.
– Caroline Myss, Author of Anatomy of the Spirit and
Entering the Castle
Mirabai Starr possesses passionate eloquence when speaking about mysticism, making the ineffable tangible and real as eating delicious food that’s good for you.
– Jenny Bird, Singer-Songwriter
. . .Mirabai has a profound respect for our deepest, most ordinary humanity as seekers of Truth. Her presence leaves a residual of joy in the hearts of those she works with, no matter how difficult their lives might be.
– Anne Scott, Author and Spiritual Guide
I have been present during Mirabai Starr’s classes at the University of New Mexico in Taos, on both philosophy and the theologies of the major world religions. . .One would expect from such a background that she has gathered and synthesized a dazzling amount of knowledge, but she also brings understanding, and especially compassionate wisdom. These are God-sent gifts that are simply given to her. Her life experiences of suffering and love pour into the cup of different levels of understanding which she offers so generously as a teacher, lecturer, writer and guest speaker. I am enriched and honored by her friendship.
– Fr. William Hart McNichols, Iconographer and Roman Catholic Priest
I think the most powerful aspect of being with Mirabai is this: She is keenly respectful of the deep internal beauty that each person brings into a circle or a room or a workshop. She has a way of gently bringing it out into the open so that it is clearly visible to its owner, as well as to the rest of the group.
– Judy Langford, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Washington DC
Mirabai’s words point toward the Ineffable. She has an outstanding gift for language, plus penetrating insight, married to a heart of authentic compassion. Combined, the result is a gentle dynamite for opening and awakening.
– Sara Morgan, Psychotherapist and Spiritual Guide
Here’s What You’ll Receive
Twenty-Eight Recorded 90-Minute Class Sessions with Mirabai Starr
Experience a rare opportunity to be mentored by and learn with one of the world’s most renowned mystic scholars, Mirabai Starr – from the comfort of your own home. Each class session teaches you specific practices and abilities to awaken your spiritual potential and bring you more deeply into the heart of an ecstatic relationship with the Beloved.
Twenty-Eight PDF Transcripts of Each Class Session
In addition to the high quality MP3 audios, you’ll also receive the entire class transcription in PDF format after each session is completed. This way you can review, print and highlight the most important insights and practices that you’ll learn.
Exercises and Questions for Each Lesson
After each lesson, you will then have the option to do related exercises and answer questions in order to accelerate your learning and integrate each session.
The In The Footsteps of Teresa of Avila Bonus Collection
- You Are What You Seek
Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and Gangaji
- Challenges and Awakenings Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and James Finley
- Charting Our Spiritual Trajectory Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and Father Richard Rohr
- Moving Inward, Not Upward Audio Dialogue with Mirabai Starr and Father William Hart McNichols
An Unprecedented Opportunity to Join the In The Footsteps of Teresa of Avila Virtual Training
We, at The Shift Network, feel deeply honored that Mirabai Starr has chosen to partner with us on this exclusive online training. As you may know, this is a rare opportunity to learn directly from a renowned mystic-scholar and connect with a global community of like minds and hearts who are doing this important and transformative work.
Through this powerful online format, you’ll not only save time and money on workshop costs (plus travel, accommodations and meals – which would cost thousands of dollars), you’ll also be able to benefit from Mirabai and her guests’ incredible teachings and exercises from the comfort of your home – at your own pace!
If you are serious about opening to a life of divine embodiment and inspired service , then you owe it to yourself, your loved ones – and our world – to take this one-of-a-kind training.
If you’re ready to take the next step in evolving yourself, click the register button below to reserve your space now.
What People are Saying About Mirabai’s Translation Of Saint Teresa’s Work...
Mirabai Starr’s translation is a work for our time. She has given Teresa a presence and a voice in a modern era. Saint Teresa no doubt chose Mirabai for her talent with language and Spanish translation is pure genius.
– Caroline Myss, Author of Entering the Castle and Anatomy of the Spirit
Mirabai Starr’s translation makes totally accessible this most famous (and attractive) saint. The writing has such a delightful sparkle you can’t help falling in love with Teresa.
– John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War
Saint Teresa of Ávila has long deserved a far wider readership than existing translations have secured for her. She wrote, as she undoubtedly spoke, in an unapologetically vernacular Spanish – idiomatic, vivid, and informal – and Mirabai Starr’s rendering is all of that. The clarity and vitality of [this work] will bring a whole new generation of seekers into the blessed presence of ‘La Madre.’
– Carol Lee Flinders, author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics and Enduring Lives: Portraits of Women and Faith in Action
What Students are Saying About Mirabai Starr...
Mirabai has the soul of a poet, the mind of an intellectual and a voice that opens one’s heart.
– Lisa, New Jersey
Mirabai has shown me through her teachings that the feminine face of God is in the world and beautiful to behold and adore.I am in deep gratitude for the depth of love and acceptance I more fully feel because of her teaching’s.
– Wendy Langille Hampton, N.B., Canada
Mirabai is open, honest, transparent and willing to share deeply from her experience and her heart.
– Patience, M. Rainier, MD
About Mirabai Starr. . .
Author, translator of the mystics, and leading voice in the emerging Interspiritual Movement, Mirabai Starr uses fresh, lyrical language to help make timeless wisdom accessible to a contemporary circle of seekers. She has received critical acclaim for her revolutionary new translations of Dark Night of the Soul by 16th Century Spanish mystic, St. John of the Cross, The Interior Castle and The Book of My Life, by St. Teresa of Avila, and The Showings of Julian of Norwich. She is author of the 6-volume Sounds True series, Contemplations, Prayers and Living Wisdom. Her poetry collection, Mother of God Similar to Fire, is a collaboration with iconographer William Hart McNichols.GOD OF LOVE: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Religion and named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2012 by Spirituality & Practice – positions Mirabai at the forefront of the emerging Interspiritual Movement.
Mirabai taught philosophy and religious studies for 20 years at the University of New Mexico-Taos, and now speaks and teaches nationally and internationally on the teachings of the mystics, contemplative practice and grief as a spiritual path. Her talks and retreats incorporate silent meditation, interspiritual chanting, sacred poetry and deep dialog. She blogs for the Huffington Post.
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