There is no growth without self-examination. Because this is often painful, it is often avoided. It is easier to simply accept the security and comfort of what we are already doing, especially when we have personally tailored it to fill our own narcissistic needs. Honest self-examination can smoke out the elements of a bogus interiority. I find this painful but necessary to move on – and certainly enlightening.
When I look honestly at where I am spiritually right now, I suffer twitches. Mainly these twitches have to do with self-satisfaction. I think, metaphorically, of St. Theresa’s interior “castles” and I think of them as fortresses of protection for my own private inner life. While my “castle” securely shields me from the outer world it also tends to preserve an elaborately constructed status quo that hinders growth. It is important that these castle walls be up and functioning at certain times, but it may be equally important that they are retracted sometimes. Stagnation takes place when nothing new can get in.
We are creatures of routine because there is comfort and security in routine. This takes hold of us even more firmly as we get older and the inclination to change any part of “our ways” diminishes. As we get older and closer to the time of fulfilling our destiny, our thoughts may turn to spiritual matters more than at any other time in our lives. But the inertia of age and routine limits the extent to which we let down our castle walls. It’s an inverse proportion of great paradox: in youth we are less inclined to think of things spiritual but more inclined to try new things; in old age we are more inclined to think of spiritual things but less inclined to try anything new.
Ideally our spiritual lives should be a balance between our present relationship with You and an openness to all new ways of fostering that relationship. The purity and sincerity of our interior life demands to be periodically examined, cleansed, and adjusted.