“There are some souls which cause me great suffering. These are selfish souls, full of compromises, speculations and human arrangements, and desiring others to accommodate themselves to their humors and inclinations. I find myself unable to administer in the least degree to their self-love; and when I would be a little complaisant, a Master, more powerful than myself, restrains me. I cannot give such persons any other place in my heart than God gives them. I cannot adapt myself to their superficial state, neither respond to their professions of friendship; these are very repulsive to my feelings.
“The love which dwells in my heart, is not a natural love, but arises from a depth which rejects what is not in correspondence with it, or rather what is not in unison with the heart of God. … I do not regard the exterior, but the state of the soul; its affinity and oneness with God. The only perfect union is the union of souls in God; such as exists in heaven.” ~Madame Guyon
It is unfortunate that many people say souls when they mean people. I’m not sure if that is the case with Madam Guyon, but I hope it is. I think she was a sufficiently spiritual person to know that minds and egos are selfish, not souls. The divine soul is essentially a tiny piece of God and is linked directly to Him. As such, it cannot be selfish, greedy, jealous, or have any other negative feelings. It is only when the divine soul stays dormant in the person and the ego rules that some end up being selfish, or worse.
Compromise and Speculation
Guyon says these selfish people are full of compromise and speculation. Most of us can understand that speculation is not a good thing in a truth seeker, but what’s wrong with compromise? The answer is that there are situations where compromise is good, others where it isn’t. Most politicians understand that some compromise is necessary if they want to get members of the other party to agree with them. And sometimes you have to compromise what you want to do because your friends or spouse want to do something else. That is a proper compromise, necessary compromise.
Where compromise is not acceptable is in doing spiritual practices. If your spiritual teacher of guru tells you to do your spiritual practices daily, doing them three or four times a week is unacceptable compromise. If you are told to do sun-gazing at, or shortly after, sunrise, doing it two hours after sunrise is an unacceptable compromise. You may still get good results, but not nearly as much as you would if you didn’t compromise.
Speculation is another way of saying accepting and believing things that are opinion rather than fact. Most of us have such beliefs that we start picking up at an early age from parents, teachers, and friends. They all have beliefs that they accept as true with little or no proof. Yet they pass them on to others like an infectious disease. These speculation and false beliefs limit our spiritual growth. We need to rid ourselves of such beliefs and develop a truly opened mind if we are to progress.
Do Not Regard the Exterior
Madame Guyon is correct in saying that love should be for the souls and spirit of the person and not for the exterior. A handsome or beautiful face or body can belong to one with a not so good spirit. Of course, souls cannot be rotten, but they can be dormant and ignored. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by ego, we can become an ugly person despite a beautiful appearance. We become, in Guyon’s words, selfish souls.
Union with God, the Universe, or the All is the goal of all spiritual schools and spiritual students. That is the true perfect union. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen to those selfish souls. It takes time and work to slowly develop our spiritual side, while still remaining functional in the physical realm. The reward of truth, knowledge, and union with God makes it well worth the effort.