Words of WonderThis magnificent refuge - Theresa of Avila

This magnificent refuge is inside you.
Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway.
Be bold. Be humble.
Put away the incense
and forget the incantations they taught you.
Ask no permission from the authorities.
Close your eyes and follow your breath
to the still place that leads
to the invisible path
that leads you home.

by Theresa of Avila


It surprised me to find that these were the words were written by the 16th century Spanish saint. On reflection, I realise that somehow I – clearly wrongly! – associate Christian mystics with something more meek and mild, or austere and obedient. Nothing wrong with that either of course, but I appreciate the independent daring and the close, accessible splendour these words invite to. Makes me curious about what other misconceptions I carry around, and what ‘mindful poetry’ of cultures and religions/philosophies other than western and Buddhist I may not yet know about.

Sitting here this morning, the words themselves lead to a still place and a soft longing for magnificent refuge St Theresa is talking about. So I guess it’s time to ‘be bold. Be humble’ and see where it leads…

Photo by Javier Miranda on Unsplash