New Atlanteans (Canada),
© Antonov V.V., 2008
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of the Modern Hesychasm
The spiritual direction known as HESYCHASM originated among Christian adepts. Therefore, before discussing Hesychasm let us discuss first what Christianity is.
Christianity is, first of all, the Teachings about God and about the Path to Him that were given to people by the incarnate Messenger of the Creator — Jesus Christ.
Let us consider the main postulates of His Teachings:
1. Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect! (Matt 5:48)
2. I and the Father are One! (John 10:30)
3. I am the Vine! (John 15:1-5)
4. Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father! (John 10:15)
5. I love the Father! (John 14:31)
6. O righteous Father! I have known You! (John 17:25)
7. And learn of Me! (Matt 11:29)
8. God is Love! (1 John 4:16)
9. You shall love the Lord your God with all the heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength! (Mark 12:29-30)
10. You shall love your neighbor as yourself! (Mark 12:31)
These are the main principles of Christianity. In them Jesus calls people to BECOME LIKE HIM, and to cognize the Heavenly Father and become One with Him.
In the New Testament, there are many precepts that can help realize this appeal of Jesus if one follows them. They call us:
— to be absolutely honest in relationships with other people, to have no debts, not to misappropriate,
— to take care about well-being of others more than about one’s own,
— to be peacemakers,
— to be affectionate and tender with each other,
— to help others in everything good,
— to forgive, not to avenge, not to damn,
— not to hate, not to get involved emotionally in judging others,
— not to seek accumulating earthly wealth: otherwise one can miss the opportunity to accumulate spiritual wealth,
— not to be afraid of attacks of aggressive primitives, who can harm only the body, but cannot harm that with which we appear in front of the Heavenly Father after death of the body, i.e. the soul,
— not to drink alcohol,
— not to be arrogant, but to be humble and respect others,
— to strive to do all that we can for helping other people spiritually,
— not being obsessed with sexuality so much that it, instead of God, becomes the center of one’s attention; the personal search for God and service to Him must always be of the primary importance in one’s life.
I will give just several excerpts:
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another! As I have loved you, you should also love one another! (John 13:34)
Above all things have fervent love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins! (1 Pet 4:8)
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For they who do not love brothers and sisters, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20)
Beloved! Let us love one another! For love is of God!
The one who does not love has not known God, for God is Love! (1 John 4:7-8)
If we love one another, God dwells in us!… (1 John 4:12)
Owe no one anything, except… love! (Rom 13:8)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. … Those who fear have not been perfected in love! (1 John 4:18)
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become as sounding brass…
And though I have prophecies, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
And though I give out all my goods to feed the poor, and though I deliver my body to be burned, and have not love, I am profited nothing.
Love has patience, is kind,
love is not envious, is not vain, is not puffed up,
does not behave indecently,
does not seek its own,
does not get angry,
thinks no evil.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth…
Love never fails, even if prophecies will be abolished and tongues will cease… (1 Cor 13:1-8)
Love your enemies! Bless those who curse you! Do good to those who hate you!… (Matt 5:44).
Blessed are the peacemakers!… (Matt 5:9)
Judge not!… (Luke 6:37)
Whatever you desire others do to you, do even so to them!… (Matt 7:12)
Give to everyone who asks of you, and from those, who take away your goods, do not ask them back! (Luke 6:30)
If you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses! (Matt 6:14-15)
Who are wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from Heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil!… (James 3:13-15)
For such is the Will of God, doing good to silence the ignorance of foolish men! (1 Pet 2:15)
They who claim to be in the light but hate their brothers or sisters are in the darkness! (1 John 2:9).
Let love be without hypocrisy!
Shrink from evil, cleave to good!
Be in brotherly love to one another!
Lead one another in honor! (Rom 12:9-10)
Bless those who persecute you! Bless, and do not curse! (Rom 12:14)
Repay no one evil for evil! (Rom 12:17)
Do not avenge yourselves! (Rom 12:19)
If your enemy hungers, feed him. If he thirsts, give him drink! (Rom 12:20)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good! (Rom 12:21)
Why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother?…
Each one of us will give account on oneself to God!
Then let us not judge one another any more!
But rather judge this, not to put a stumbling block or an offense towards a brother. (Rom 14:10-13)
Brothers, if man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted! (Gal 6:1)
Let not any filthy word go out of your mouth! But only good, so that it may give grace to the ones hearing! (Eph 4:29)
When you are invited by anyone… do not recline in the chief seat… For whoever exalts themselves shall be abased, and whoever humbles themselves shall be exalted! (Luke 14:8-11)
Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal! But lay up treasures in Heaven!…
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also! (Matt 6:19-21)
All things are lawful to me, but not all things profit… (1 Cor 10:23)
You cannot serve God and Mammon! (Matt 6:24)
What benefit is it to the one who gains the entire world but does harm to one’s own soul? (Matt 16:26)
Again, you have heard that it has been said to the ancients, “You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord”. But I say to you, “Do not swear at all!… But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no!” (Matt 5:33-37)
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is excess! But be filled with the Spirit!… (Eph 5:18)
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak! (Rom 14:21)
Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in carousings and drinking; not in cohabitation and lustful acts; not in strife and envy!… (Rom 13:13)
Let no one seek one’s own profit, but each one another’s! (1 Cor 10:24)
In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves! (Phil 2:3)
The one who does not gather with Me scatters! (Matt 12:30)
Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul!… (Matt 10:28)
Put off… anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, shameful speech out of your mouth! (Col 3:8)
Let My joy remain in you and your joy be full!
This is My Commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you! (John 15:11-12)
These things I command you, that you love one another! (John 15:17)
* * *
Let every one of us test oneself: does my understanding of Christianity conform to these excerpts?
For Christianity is exactly this! This is what Jesus taught and teaches! All the rest is perversion, sectarianism.
Let me stress again that Jesus, in His Earth’s life known to us, also taught His disciples the meditative methods that are essential for cognition of the Heavenly Father.
In the New Testament there is the following statement of Jesus: “God is Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth!” (John 4:24). The meaning here is that one has to go to God with correct understanding of the essence of God and the evolutionary tasks of man. And one has to worship Him not by bodies, not by “religious” bodily movements, but by souls, which gradually get liberated from the dependence on their material bodies with the help of meditative methods of self-development.
* * *
The established practice of many Christian Churches includes public worships, ritualism. However, it was not present in the Teachings of Jesus. One may ask, is it good or bad?
On the one hand, it must be clear to any reasonable person that God is present in temples not more than outside of them, and that one has to seek Him in the depths of the universe, not in the material ritual objects or buildings.
On the other hand, worshipping practice emerged as a natural need of people with common spiritual interests to come together just for the sake of emotional communication with like-minded persons, exchange of ideas and experience, for the sake of helping one another, learning.
Ritualism may be useful: it contributes to calming of the mind when assembled people attune to perceiving of the Divinity. Against this background, many of them for the first time receive proof of the reality of the mystical: they feel touches of invisible hands, energy flows emanating from icons, thoughts and even voices of invisible interlocutors…
For some people these are manifestations of God, for others manifestations of demons… It depends on the level of ethical purity of each particular person.
The ethical purity of the “flock” largely depends on the level of ethical advancement of the “pastors”. This is the main problem… Because under the guise of Christianity, they often preach something directly opposite of it…
When we discuss differences between the established religious directions, we should put the emphasis not on ritualism! Ritualism is not the point! Let the ritualism of various directions remain as it is! The problem is that they lack the complete picture in the understanding of the Beingness of the Universal Consciousness, in the understanding of Its evolutionary aspect, in particular!
The universal space is really (and not only mathematically) multidimensional and consists of 7 main layers of multidimensionality.
The layers of multidimensionality of space differ, first of all, by the degree of the subtlety of the energies that fill them.
The deepest and the most subtle layer of the universal multidimensional Ocean of emanations (i.e. the Absolute) is the loka of the Primordial Consciousness, Which in different languages may have different names: God-the-Father, the Creator, the Heavenly Father, Allah, Tao, Ishvara, Odin etc.
The eon of the opposite end of the scale of multidimensionality is hell — “the cesspool of the Evolution”. It is the abode of the energetically coarsest beings. They are those who accustomed themselves during life in the embodied state to be in coarse emotional states.
Now, is it clear to us why God advises us to live in the emotions of tender love rather than anger, condemnation, irritation, malice, hatred?…
… It is not always easy to change one’s own character to better. One simply does not know how to do this. In this situation one can get some help from the system of psychical self-regulation based on mastering the functions of the chakras, which are the organs responsible (among other things) for production of emotions.
The main chakra of every one of us is anahata, located in the chest. It is in this chakra that the emotions of heart love are born — the very state that makes us really closer to God and that was so pronouncedly preached for us by Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
Above the anahata — in the neck — there is the vishuddha chakra responsible for esthetic perception.
Higher — in the head — there are two “thinking” chakras.
And below anahata — in the belly and the region of the pelvis — there is a system of three chakras called the lower dantian or hara. It is a power block that supplies the organism with bioenergy.
It is anahata with its precious content — the spiritual heart — that is the main part of every one of us, which we have to keep pure and to develop, to grow… — or, to be more precise, to grow ourselves having became the spiritual heart, having placed oneself as a soul in the spiritual heart, having “settled” in the spiritual heart.
* * *
God is Love. And to become closer to Him, we have to transform ourselves into Love.
The only way to realize this goal is conscious volitional control of one’s own emotions: avoiding coarse emotional states and cultivating subtle ones.
This can be accomplished only through the methods of spiritual work described above.
If we transform ourselves ethically according to the principles of the Divine ethics listed above, then we merit active help from the Divine Teachers — Representatives of God-the-Father, Who are called in the aggregate sense the Holy Spirit.
… The Creator is directly interested in our positive development. It was He who sent us to develop in the conditions of Earth’s incarnations! What for? So that we grow to the Divine level and infuse into Him, thus enriching Him with ourselves.
It is clear that not everyone is able to infuse with the consciousness into Him right now. But He sends us to incarnate not only once, but many times. The age of the souls is different among people, because someone incarnates into a human body for the first time, while others have incarnated hundreds of times.
Moreover, before Earth’s human lives, all of us — as souls — evolved first in bodies of plants, then in bodies of animals. And they who are incarnate now in such bodies are… people to be.
Having understood all this, can every one of us treat all living beings embodied on the Earth into physical bodies with compassion and respect?
… God gave to Moses the Commandment: “You shall not kill!” Moses, however, was the first to break it… Since that time, this Commandment was never followed in mass by Jews, neither by those who considered themselves Christians, nor by Muslims.
God commanded through Moses not “Do not kill humans!” He engraved on a tablet a formula with more extensive meaning: do not kill anyone! At that, He explained: “… I have given you every herb seeding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree seeding seed; to you it shall be for food” (Bible, Genesis, 1:29).
Then He specified (Bible, Genesis, 9:1-4): it is forbidden to eat creatures that have blood! And these include all mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, mollusks… — almost all beings except for plants.
And even for those who deny the Bible, is it not appropriate to ponder: whether it is acceptable to kill for the sake of gluttony those creatures who can suffer of pain? Is it compatible with love for them, with the very principle of LOVE?
This is why there are people who — out of ethic reasons! — switch to nutrition based on plants, milk products, and bird eggs.
And let me assure you: without this, God will never acknowledge someone’s love as perfect!
* * *
Learning to love the Creation starting from its particular manifestations we gradually develop in ourselves the ability to love as the Creator Himself loves.
In this way we become closer to Him — in the state of souls.
In this way we develop ourselves as Love.
And we gain — as a result — the ability to fall in love with the Creator.
Having become the perfect Love, we merge with the Creator, become His Integral Parts.
This constitutes the main essence of the Teachings of God, which He tries to impart to people.
Spiritual warriors, who achieve ethical impeccability, receive comprehensive help from Divine Teachers with developing themselves — as souls, consciousnesses — to Perfection. And then such people come to Mergence with the Creator in His Abode.
In the Abode of the Creator, all formerly individual Consciousnesses of the Perfect Ones are merged into One.
This is why one can say that God is One.
But They are capable of assuming partial individuality when They come out from the Abode of the Creator as His Integral Parts. It is They Who are called the Divine Teachers, Holy Spirits or — in aggregate sense — the Holy Spirit.
Among Them there are Those Who have male or female appearances — according to the last incarnation.
Each one of Them is absolutely free in moving around and can appear in any part of space. Sometimes one can observe several of Them gathered as a group in one place.
Most often They appear in giant human-like forms (Mahadoubles) which have sizes from tens of meters up to many kilometers. On the top of a Mahadouble one can see a Divine Countenance. They come out from the Abode of the Creator, yet remain connected to Him, and freely permeate with Themselves — as a transparent Divine Flame — the Earth’s matter and all material objects.
Some of Them have “areas of responsibility” on the Earth’s surface, where They try to help incarnate people to become better, create educational situations for them — with the purpose of learning ethics, first of all. They also teach there people who perceive themselves as disciples of God and communicate directly with their unembodied Divine Teachers.
For example, over Saint Petersburg one can always see the Divine Countenance of the Apostle Andrew. But there are also smaller local areas where one can always converse with Jesus, Sathya Sai Baba, Philip the Apostle, and with Others.
Sometimes They are wrongly considered as “Patrons” of a city or of some other region. No: They are not Patrons, but our Tutors — harsh or tender when necessary, but anyway — Wise. They are Coordinators of our destinies: the destinies that each of us deserves.
In communication with incarnate disciples, each of Them tries, first of all, to give the knowledge and the methods which were the basis of Their own personal Path to Perfection. But very often it happens that the personal experience of several of Them gets combined — as it was in our case. This speeds up the growth of the students and makes it possible to perfect further the methodology of spiritual development — in application to the concrete ecological and cultural conditions of teaching.
* * *
The human fantasy created a fairy-tale image of a devil: necessarily with horns, hoofs, tail, of male sex, and… — with traits of a sex maniac.
Yet, this is a very harmful lie. Harmful — because the people who follow the path of very real diabolization of themselves do not understand their desperate situation: why, I have neither tail, nor horns — it’s okay!
In the conditions of dominating religious ignorance, it is quite easy — for many people! — to become devils. I observed such persons among political leaders, among officials of “spiritual” organizations, among alcoholics.
They can be of any sex.
Who are they? How to recognize them?
Their distinctive feature is constant stay in intensive coarse emotional states (anger, irritation, hatred). Falsity, meanness, aggressiveness are their characteristic features as well.
They will remain the same after disembodiment. Hell will be their abode, where they will live in the thick of beings like them, torturing each other.
But some of them will be able to continue for some time to harm incarnate people — even as they did it during their embodied life.
Incarnate devils can make physical harm — by killing, maiming, raping, damaging, robbing, blackmailing, setting up other devilish people against the victims…
But both incarnate and non-incarnate devils are capable of creating so powerful coarse energy fields and energetic influence that they drive their victims to psychotic states. Physicians diagnose the latter with schizophrenia with symptoms of delusion of influence. Yet, this is not delusion but reality. I knew personally two men who fell under such influence of devils and found the way out of this situation only in suicide — they jumped out of the window to death…
Why do I tell about all these nightmares? Not for the sake of frightening the readers! On the contrary, for the sake of helping people who will find themselves in such situations.
First of all, one has to remember — in such cases of calamities, disasters, and afflictions — that everything happens in God’s sight. And is permitted by Him.
Moreover, it is He Who creates these situations!
It is important just to understand: what for? What do You, Lord, want to say by this, what do You want to teach me, what do You want to correct in me?
God does not live on some other planet! He is not a flying invisible person who cannot keep an eye on every one of us! God is a Universal Ocean of Consciousness existing everywhere, in every point of space — but as if under a thinnest cover which separate the Creator from His Creation.
And nothing significant happens to any one of us without bringing some good to us!
Pain, for example, can be given to teach us to be compassionate to pain of other beings and not to inflict pain on them anymore.
And various evil deeds of other people allow us to learn in practice the human psychology.
Or it may mean that it is time for us “to change company”…
And so on. All is for our good!
In my published autobiography, I gave examples of how God used various human filth for changing my life situations radically — to my own good!
Once, deadly maimed, I cried to Him, asking for explanation of the incident. He started with the words, “You will be grateful to Me for this!”…
Later, He turned to be right!
And further more: in all difficult situations, one has to snuggle close to Him! Often He creates problems for us exactly with this purpose.
… As for those two who jumped out of the window… — one of them developed vanity up to grotesque repugnance; the second one… suffered because he engaged into a quarrel with a diabolic person — his former companion in business who did not give him back his money…
Jesus Christ taught: “If somebody took away your goods, do not ask them back!” (Luke 6:30). And that man forgot this Commandment though he read it… But one has to follow the Teachings of God, not just read them!
His second mistake — he focused his whole attention on a devil, instead of going to the embrace of God. And, indeed, he had lost God in the very direct sense!…
In general, he did not stand the test on ethics…
I, too, got into such situations. But I used them for consolidation of my Mergence with the Creator: I felt bad in the body, but in the Creator’s Abode — it was very good!
These devils helped me a lot.
… But the worst thing is not to undergo attacks of a devil but to become a devil. This dooms one to a really awful fate!
Once God proclaimed through a prophet the following principle: “Everything is a boon!” Let us try to remember it so good that we do not forget it when the time comes for “taking an examination” with God on the subject of “practical ethics”.
He also teaches us to regard evil controlled by Him as a catalyst of the development of good. In this principle, too, there is something to ponder over and to remember.
… Many times I heard the objection, “No! God, if He exists, is kind! He can’t cause to us so much suffering! All evil is from the devil!”…
This statement is caused by typical misunderstanding of the principles of the relationships between people and God. People thinking this way have so “deep” an egocentrism that they consider God as their “omnipotent servant” who has to arrange life for them according to their desires! And if this is not the case, then they do not want to recognize God! Or they start to believe that there is no God at all!…
But there is God. And He is indeed omnipotent. Yet, the nature of relationships between Him and incarnate beings is quite different.
In fact, He and we are not fundamentally different beings. We are only His particles (particles of Him in the aspect of the Absolute) sent by Him to “Earth’s pastures” for maturing!
And only our predetermination consists in maturing on these “Earth’s pastures”!
He — our Good Shepherd — “pastures” us with this only purpose: that we, having reached a certain stage of perfection, infuse as souls into Him, become Him, enrich Him with ourselves!
This constitutes His Life, His Evolution!
There is no other meaning of our Earth’s existence!
And those of us who, using the freedom of will, mature successfully — receive the most favorable conditions from Him. And evil people are culled out and find themselves in the “cesspool of the Evolution”, in hell, in the outer darkness.
This is why the only correct principle of relationships with Him — from our side — is full OBEDIENCE to His Will and taking heed of His directions and lessons!
Our egocentrism has to be substituted with Godcentrism!
“Your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven!” — this has to be not only read, said aloud, and even sung! This has to be really accepted — by everyone! — as a formula of my relationships with Him!
Let Your Will be done, my Lord!
I recognize You as my Omnipotent and Infinitely Great Universal Father!
You are Everything!
And I — Your humble child — love You and learn from You! And want to cognize You completely and merge with You in love!
Pasture me on the pastures of Your Earth!
And lead me to Your Home by the Straight Path!
* * *
So many times I was not paid back large amount of money! So much awful slander was spread about me! At that, slanderers attributed to me qualities directly opposite to those I possess! There was a murder resulted in two clinical deaths, there were constant threats of slaying from fascists during these last years…
Also, I came to know that some author stole a chapter (Teachings of Juan Matus) from my book: he simply republished it under his name…
I considered all this as tests of my devotion to God. Do not become distracted! And I… simply continued to go further, hating no one, taking revenge on no one, asking no compensations “for caused physical and moral damage”…
It was enough for me to engage in one of these conflicts — and I would fail in the main work, for the sake of which we were sent to the Earth, and would not be able to help all those people who have received help from me and will receive it later — help in healing souls and in spiritual advancement!
Having violated the Commandments of Christ, I would be no more a Christian…
… “Dogs bark, yet the elephant goes”, this is what Sathya Sai Baba said about such situations.
So, every one of us who is pure in soul in front of God and people and who goes the spiritual Path may also accept this slogan for oneself.
“I control everyone. Thus, get angry with no one!” God taught me. These words from Him helped me a lot. Let them help you as well!
* * *
The only way for us to avoid Earth’s troubles — now and in the future — is active spiritual self-development. In particular, it results in the correct growth of the consciousness in a quantitative aspect, ensuring a so-called crystallization (by the analogy of growth of crystals in the conditions suitable for it). And this gives one the power for opposing evil more effectively.
And let us remember the following Commandment: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).
* * *
The term hesychasm originated from the Greek word hesychia — inner quietness.
Without this inner quietness, meditation is not possible. And meditation — after the stage of learning and encompassing the ethical principles of life suggested for us by God — is the basis of further development of the consciousness on the spiritual Path.
It was the striving to achieve hesychia and to advance then to cognition of God that formed this direction of the “Christian Raja Yoga” known as Hesychasm.
The most important feature and the highest value of this direction consisted in the fact that Hesychasts from the very beginning accepted the correct guiding line — realization of Jesus Christ’s instructions that one can develop love in oneself only through the work with the spiritual heart.
In particular, they discovered that if one moves the concentration of the consciousness from the head into the spiritual heart, this stops the inner dialog, which prevented meditation.
And at full success — i.e. when the consciousness is fully placed in the spiritual heart, one could understand — all of a sudden! — on one’s own experience what Jesus meant by speaking about the spiritual love!
The life of such people changed and they could really love each other and everything around themselves with truly Christian love: “as they love themselves” and even more than themselves!
And with further development of the spiritual heart, they got the ability to fall in love with God.
God supported them in this, providing them with the possibility to experience Him as Love. It resulted — in the end — in Merging of the two loving in the Embrace of Love.
Hesychasts invented the method of development of the spiritual heart which was called Jesus prayer. Its formulas may be different: from “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have a mercy on me!” to the most simple and perfect version: simply an appeal-entreaty to beloved Jesus to enter into my spiritual heart with the humble repetition of His name: “Jesus! Jesus!…”
… But in later times, very few were able to achieve positive fruits from using the Jesus prayer. Many people even believed that “its secrets are lost”…
But this is not true: in reality, mass of “believers” lost Christianity in general — with the refusal by them of ethics given by Christ. And this resulted in a failure to form — up to the last years — a comprehensive and scientifically correct approach to human spiritual development. In other words, there was not such scientific-religious direction until now, which has been created by us and called the Methodology of Spiritual Development.
… I want to stress once more that one has to start the spiritual development not by practicing meditation but by getting acquainted in detail with general theoretical knowledge on religious philosophy and by accepting the ethical Teachings of God considered above.
Otherwise, the state of the practitioner cannot be stable. Such a person cannot withstand the ethical tests, which God necessarily offers to spiritual seekers. And this may result in mental disorders, among other things.
* * *
Now let us get acquainted with some important ideas from the book of early Christians which is called Philokalia:
From Spiritual Directions
of Diadochus of Photiki
The acme of faith is… immersion of the mind in God.
The acme of freedom from wealth is to desire to be possessionless even as others desire to possess.
The acme of humbleness is to forget unfalteringly good deeds of oneself.
The acme of love is to enhance your friendly attitude to those who insult and revile you.
From Spiritual Directions
of Ephrem the Syrian
Monk, neither desire meat, nor drink wine, lest your mind coarsen…
Be not addictive to meat and wine-drinking, lest you make your mind incapable of receiving spiritual gifts.
God created man free, therefore for man are praise and punishment.
The wandering eye causes much suffering to the one who follows it. Keep your eyes from wandering, lest you find no straight way to chastity.
Wisely avoid adverse meetings to keep yourself in goodness.
If you want to conquer lust for wealth, love selflessness and sparing way of life.
If you want to conquer anger, develop meekness and generosity.
Grieve only if you have committed a sin, but even in this case do not grieve too much, otherwise you may become desperate.
If you want to conquer conceit, do not desire praise, laurels, nice garments, respect, favor, but like to be blamed and slandered by people…
If you want to conquer pride, do not say that your deed was done by your hands and might; say that with God’s help and guidance it was done, not by your power and efforts.
From Spiritual Directions
of Abba Dorotheus
I heard about a brother who, when visiting someone of the community and seeing his cell non-swept and non-cleaned, thought to himself: blessed this brother is, for he set aside the earthly concerns and is so immersed in the highest matters that he has no time to tidy the cell. And if he came to a brother whose cell was tidy, swept, clean, he thought: as the soul of this brother is pure, so is his cell, and the order in his cell is in accordance with the state of the soul.
Do not desire the outcome that you want, but desire it to happen as it will happen: thus will you be at peace with everyone.
Believe that dishonor and reproach are the medicine for curing the pride of your soul. And pray for those reproaching you as for the true healers of your soul…
In response to false accusations say: forgive me and pray for me! When people ask you whether it is true, tell the truth and then bow humbly and say again: forgive me and pray for me!
Never prefer your will to the will of your brother.
About Spiritual Struggle —
(There is) the state that consists in contemplating One God and in ardent love for Him; in this state the mind, permeated with that love, converses with God in the most direct way.
From Ascetic Directions
of Nilus of Sinai
If disgrace befell over you, be glad: for if it is unjust, then your reward will be large; and if it is just, then, having learned from it, you can avoid the retribution.
There is the highest prayer of the perfect ones… — when by unsaid aspirations of spirit they approach God, Who sees their open hearts.
From Spiritual Directions
of Isaac of Syria
Those of lowly mind never stay to look at the crowd, gathering of people, disorder, turmoil; pay no attention to words, talks, clamors, disturbance of senses: they seek not to have much and be constantly busy, but to be free, without cares.
They are never in a hurry or confusion; they have no hot and superficial thoughts; but they always stay in peace. There is nothing that can make them amazed, confused, terrified… All their joys are in what is pleasing to the Lord.
When they touch the forehead to the ground and direct the sight of the heart to the Holiest of the Holy,… they dare to pray only thus: whatever is going to happen to me let it happen by Your will!
The desert soothes passions. Yet man has not only to soothe the passions but also to root them out, i.e. overcome them… The soothed passions wake up once there is a reason for them to become active again.
The one who wants to love God has to take care about the purity of the soul, first of all.
This purity is attained through conquering the passions.
(The one who has not conquered the passions cannot enter) the chaste and pure region of the heart.
Do not hate a sinner, for we all are to be responsible.
From Spiritual Directions
of Theodore of Edessa
Only when we rid ourselves of passions and lust and put the desires of the flesh under the control of Spirit, only then can we accept the cross and follow Christ.
And “withdrawal from the world” is nothing but the destruction of passions and manifestation of the innermost life in Christ.
* * *
The stages of the spiritual Path can be subdivided into three groups:
1. Preliminary (getting acquainted with the theory and accepting it, beginning of the ethical work on oneself, introducing into one’s own life the basic hygienic procedures, such as washing the body every day (if possible), taking sunbathes in summer, or using a quartz lamp in winter etc.).
2. Basic methods, which include mastering relaxation of the body and the mind, cleansing bioenergy structures of the organism with the help of special methods, and — what is more important — mastering the ability to “live” with the concentration of the consciousness in the chakra anahata and to look from it at the outer world,
3. Further development of oneself as a spiritual heart — up to merging with the Heart of the Absolute — the Primordial Universal Consciousness, God-the-Father, the Heavenly Father.
* * *
Growth of an individual soul transformed into a spiritual heart is virtually unlimited.
The monastic way of life full of service to God through serving people in their spiritual advancement plus constant meditative training on places of power specially selected for this purpose allows spiritual warriors to grow (as a spiritual heart) up to the sizes comparable to the size of our planet, and then — much larger. In addition, spiritual warriors practically master the methods of moving in the basic eons of the Absolute, learn to dissolve with the consciousness in the highest (subtlest) eons.
And then follows Mergence with the Heavenly Father, which becomes more and more firm in the following years of unceasing spiritual efforts.
Upon achieving the first real success on this Path, the practitioner gets rid of diseases, which may have lasted for years. And continuing achievements of new spiritual heights allows the practitioner to cleanse the body up to transparency, which can be perceived by clairvoyance. And the Divine Light begins to flow though it into the material world! And the Consciousness developed to Divinity, right now — during existence of the healthy and active physical body — lives in Mergence with the Creator and comes out from His Abode at those parts of the Creation where it is necessary.
… But this is not all to it. There are much more interesting prospects…