“The soul seeks God in faith not by the reasoning of the mind and labored efforts, but by the drawings of love; to which inclinations God responds, and instructs the soul, which cooperates actively. God then puts the soul in a passive state, where he accomplishes all, causing great progress, first by way of enjoyment, then by privation, and finally by pure love.
“What do we understand by the Interior Way? It is to seek the kingdom of God within us (Luke 17, 21). We find this kingdom only where God has placed it, within the soul. It becomes necessary, then, to withdraw the eyes of the soul from external landmarks and observations, which man, in the pride of reason, has located around us, and rest the eye in faith, on the Word of the Lord. – ‘Seek and ye shall find.’ This seeking involves an interior activity of the soul; a desire, a determination, and searching after what is hidden.
“When the soul has thus earnestly sought the Kingdom of God within, this Kingdom is developed little by little. Interior recollection becomes less difficult and the presence of God more perceptible and agreeable. Formerly it was supposed that the presence of God was only the thought of God, and that it was necessary to forcce the mind—to concentrate the thoughts with violence to find God. … God, seeing the heart of him who seeks Him within, draws near to him, and teaches him a just moderation in all things.” ~Madame Guyon
Soul Seeks God
It is true that the soul seeks God and Heaven, the Kingdom of God. Some will then ask, “what about atheists? Why don’t their souls seek God?” The answer is that only the awakened soul seeks God. As long as the soul is allowed to stay dormant, in a state much like a coma, it doesn’t seek anything. So the first goal of the mystic, or spiritual aspirant, is to awaken the soul. That is what it truly means to have a spiritual awakening. Simply becoming aware that there is more than just the realm of matter to reality is just the first step of awakening, but many more are needed for that awakening to happen. Once it does, the soul will seek God, even if the mind doesn’t believe in Him.
The mind may think of God and wish to know God, but it is the soul that must truly seek and find God, for God is spirit and the soul is spirit. Like seeks like, like understands like. The mind is not a spirit and therefore can only accept God in a superficial way. But if the awakened soul seeks God and finds Him, the soul can communicate some of that truth back to the mind. That is how Gnosis happens.
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding among spiritual students, and even in some spiritual schools, when they talk about seeking within to find God or to find the path to spiritual enlightenment. They get the idea that this means the path itself, and even God is within them. But if God is within me, then how can you seek God within? You can’t look within me, you must look within yourself. So if Gog is within you as well as me, within Ted as well as Sue, then what is within each of us is a path or a window to God, not God Himself.
The main idea of telling people to look within is that when they look without, they naturally look at the material world all around them. When those schools say that God won’t be found there, they are absolutely and completely correct. But the spiritual world is also without a much as it is within, probably even more so. So only looking within is not the answer. The soul seeks God in the realm of spirit, and that realm is within and without, as above, so below.
Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God, also known as Heaven, is the highest dimension of consciousness and the home of God. When Madame Guyon says that this Kingdom of God within is “developed little by little,” she makes it sound as if this Kingdom is the creation of our individual minds or souls. I hope what she meant is that our awareness of the Kingdom of God develops over time, which is quite a different thing. The kingdom is always there, it is our awareness of it that develops. The soul seeks this development as part of its nature, it isn’t something we need to teach it. But once again, this can only happen if we first awaken the soul.
A Just Moderation
It is true that the awakened person usually develops moderation in most things. There are some exceptions, which are expected and desirable. We should not develop moderation when it comes to self-development, especially spiritual development. That is something we should pursue with all available fervor. And our desire to become one with God, or the Universe, is also a desire that should not be done in moderation. That soul seeking should be done with all vigor also if we are to succeed. Humanity has sunk so far into matter and materialism that we are as if trapped in a deep hole. Getting out of that hole requires dedication and devotion. It isn’t an activity for wimps.