A Very Good Thought from Saint Theresa of Avila

As I was flying over the Pacific to attend a conference in Bangkok on sustainability and the first teachings of the Buddha, I read St. Theresa of Avila’s story of her life.

The book was sent to me by my cousin Lynn in Taos, New Mexico, who makes painted retablos of saints as her vocation.

On where we can find the moral insight and courage to stand against the dark sides of life and capitalism, St. Theresa advised that we should not let the “mirror of our soul” become so clouded that we cannot see the good that is there.

This practice “teaches [us] that the Lord resides very deep inside [our] souls. This notion is much more attractive and fruitful than the idea that God is outside us.”

“Absolutely, the best place to look for God is inside ourselves. We don’t need to ascend to Heaven or reach any further than our own beings. Trying to go beyond our own center only wears the soul out and distracts her. Such efforts do not bear fruit.”

This insight that a vision of the good is already inside us, somewhere, resonates with Buddhism and Chinese Taoism and with Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic. It is an insight which leads to the conclusion that a moral capitalism is possible.