Red TentWe’ve all been there, often when we were children, now and then as adults. Where? St. Teresa of Avila called it “The Inner Castle.” Some people call it our “Loving Essence.” Others name it “Heaven Within.”


How do we enter? 


I almost always find myself propelled there after heart-breaking-open experiences, such as when a loved one dies. Sometimes, I’ve slipped into this place during prayer, meditation, walks in nature, and talks with friends.


But I’ve not yet learned how to enter at will.


Nevertheless, I find it helpful to get as near as I can whenever I’m hurting in any way.


I begin by picturing this as an actual place. Then I recall the sensations I had when I entered in the past–warmth, peace, love, and vastness.


You might want to try this too.


First, somehow picture this inner place. It could be a castle, a cottage, a chapel, a cathedral, or a golden cavern. It could even be a little red tent with a zipper that looks like a smile, which is one of the images I use. Why?


When my twin grandbabies started to crawl, they were given a pop-up playhouse of two brightly colored rooms and a connecting tunnel. The first time I saw them in it, I climbed right in, eager to join them in exploration and giggles. After following one another back and forth through the areas, the babies and I stopped and sat, squeezed tightly together in the main tent.


It was a magical moment for me. I cherished the children and the playful experience I was sharing with them. I felt like a child myself, filled with wonderment, innocent, and in Love. And then I noticed that the space inside each chamber was filled with rich color.


Because the walls are made of sheer nylon, when sunlight passes directly through the fabric, it looks as if color fills the space inside the room as an actual substance, like a mist in the air. The little room in which we sat was filled with such a glow of red sunlight, that I felt as if we were immersed within the color red.


Since that time, when I wish to enter my own “Loving Essence,” I sometimes picture that sweet little tent where I rested with my grandbabies and felt both within the color red and within Love.


After choosing an image to represent your Inner Castle, recall a time when you felt within Love…or, within Beauty…or, within Joy. Let that time, and grace, help you enter again into your Loving Essence.

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