In Romania we have a very rich Orthodox tradition, coming from 2000 years ago, which is preserved up until today.
When I lived in Romania I used to visit the monasteries, talk to monks, pray and spend some peaceful, spiritual time in far-away monasteries, sometimes up in the mountains, away from the agitation of the modern cities. Some of these monks withdrew from the life in the monastery in order to live a life in isolation and constant prayer, in the wilderness. Their food was limited; still they survive all the harsh conditions through the 24 hours continuous prayer, which is known as “the prayer of the heart”. They are called “Sihastrii.”
I remember once, together with a friend, I traveled a long way just to see a monk who lived up in the mountains for years, in a small cottage. His friends were the animals and the nature. We climbed a very steep mountain road to get there, and once we got to him, I felt the peace and the whole wisdom of the heart were speaking through him. When we left, we both felt uplifted and recharged with peace, happiness and hope and we totally forgot about the steepness of the mountain road. We were almost like flying.
This is just one of the unforgettable memories I have from the Orthodox monasteries.
Here are some confessions of an 85 year old Romanian Orthodox monk, from a message which I received today from a friend. Here you will find words of wisdom coming from a life lived in God and through God, from the heart. I think that we all have something to learn from him:
“Q: How do the healing work when somebody comes to you and asks for help?
A: I don’t think that I have something to do; I just open and let the Holy Spirit flow through me. I never ask the person why did they come to me, what problem do they have? I just feel their soul how heavy it is, and then I pray. This is all I do: I pray together with him. I tell him that is a great joy when two people gather in His name, because then He is with us. For me is a blessing when somebody opens the door to my room. I don’t look at a person entering my room, but I look at God within that person entering my room.
At the end, I feel how the man is lighter, is shinier. I don’t need to know what burden he was carrying with him, God only knows, I just let my soul open and I pray with all my heart. So all is needed is our prayer to God, I hold his hands or sometimes I put my hands on his head. Sometimes I feel he needs to come back, some other times I know that the work of God was made. And the miracle for me I don’t call it healing, but the awakening of man towards God.
Q: Why it’s difficult for me to pray in a crowd which is agitated, nervous and tensed?
A: As long as you see God outside yourself, you will also find reasons outside yourself as well. The cause is not in the people around you, but in the way you perceive God. If you have the unshakable belief that He is in you, you realize that nobody can stay between you and Him. In order to pray, you go deep inside yourself, close your eyes and you will find peace inside your heart. There God is waiting for you. The mind is the first which is either open and lets God manifest inside your being, or the mind stops you from this. The mind weaves labyrinths and sometimes gets lost in its own webs. If you let the love from your heart to bathe your mind, you will see that your thoughts will find their way to Heaven.
Q: Why do people fight to get the light for Easter in the Church?
(In the Orthodox Church, during the midnight Easter mass, people bring a candle and light it up with the light coming from Jerusalem, hold by the priest. Many times, because the church is full, people are in a hurry to get to the light as quick as possible.)
A: You fight to get closer to God when you have a fear, mistrust or a worry regards to your relationship with God. Then you always think that you have something more to do, you didn’t do enough, there is always something else which will bring you closer to God, and you keep looking and looking for that something else. But if you stop the search and the worries, you give yourself time to discover Him in you. You can live a whole lifetime searching for Him outside of you, but you don’t look in the right place. The outer fight is a sign of the inner fight of those people, their aspiration, their search, their hope and this is the way it reflects outside.
Q: I asked him how come after hours of standing up in a very uncomfortable position, he didn’t show any signs of tiredness? More than that, the people around him were very calm and peaceful. He emanates a vibration of peace around him, which calms the people.
A: Tiredness comes from the fight of the person with life. When you oppose life, judging, criticizing, being angry, you lose the life from inside of you and you get tired. This is normal, because you go against the current of life. Love is the flow of life! You achieve peace and tranquility when you let life flow through you, without any opposition.
So there is no fight between us and the others, or the events of our life, but inside ourselves, that inner fight exhausts us.
Q: I asked him how did he achieved this state of peace? (in my opinion, of enlightenment)
A: I asked God to give me light so I can give it to others, with an unshakable belief that my prayer is listened and fulfilled. Then I let myself being carried away by the currents of life, I opened my heart and this is how the prayers which I felt in my soul came. I never had doubts and my request for God was to give me this gift of giving for as long as I live on this Earth.
I consider the richness of heart the greatest blessing above all.
Look for silence. Don’t follow the flow of my words. Listen to God in my silence.
Q: What do you feel when you speak with a man?
A: When I speak with a man I look at the Holy Spirit inside him. To be disrespectful with a man is like being disrespectful towards the throne of God. It’s not enough to see God in an angel or in His Son, Jesus, but look around and discover Him right here.
Pronounce every word rarely, with respect, don’t be hasty when you speak. Words are made of Holy Spirit, and when you speak with a man, speak with respect, being aware that in that moment, the Holy Spirit manifests through you in the world. Let every word come from your soul, feel it before you pronounce it, this is the only way the word will touch the soul of the person you talk to. If what you say is lacking the light of your soul, it will pass in a corner of the other person’s mind and it will be forgotten. If what you say comes from your heart, then the person you speak to will remember not the words you spoke, but the joy that you brought to his heart.
Before I left, I wanted to give him something, and he answered my unspoken thought telling me to do the sign of the cross above him and bless him. I was thinking: how can I do this for him, since he is just apparently living in this world, but actually he is beyond this world? He explained to me:
When you do something from your heart, you let the celestial power of the Holy Spirit work through you. Men don’t bless through the human power, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in His eyes we are all equal.
The enlightened people walk through us simple, unknown. We can only feel the breeze of the celestial worlds in their passage through our lives.”
If we can only look at each person which comes in our life seeing God within him/her and showing him/her love and respect, we will ennoble not only our own life, but the life of others as well!
I honor the divinity within you! Namaste!
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