Saturday, December 19, 2009

Non-Action is Essential for Spiritual Growth


Non-Action is a state of selflessness and self-abandonment.  It is when we give up our total dependence on our own thinking and analysis for our actions and instead rely on direction from God. Hieromonk Damascene says, "When we catch ourselves trying to solve our personal problems with our minds, we realize the futility of this enterprise and give up the Problems to the Personal Absolute.  We cease trying to be our own savior, and we commend ourselves to the mercies of our true Savior."

This notion of non-action is one of the primary reasons people fail in their spiritual life.  It is because they are trusting and relying on themselves.  Abba Dorotheos says, "I know of no fall that does not come from trusting one's own judgment" (Discourses and Sayings p. 126)  Hieromonk Damascene points out, "Even if a self-opinionated person calls upon Christ to save him, he is still seeking salvation on his own terms and in his own time (which usually means immediately).  He makes his petitions or demands in order to feel better and make his path easier, rather than to know objective truth and be united with his Creator, which is the very purpose of his existence."

How do we practice Non-Action?
Hieromonk damascene advises,
"We must come before our Creator and Savior without an preconceived opinions.  We must seek salvation on His terms and in His time, even if it requires that we endure worse suffering that we knew before!"  
We cannot expect Him to relieve us of all our burdens now and once-for-all.  We must trust that He will continually save us, perfect us through His grace step by step, as long as we submit ourselves to His will.

Hieromonk Damascene says,
"In letting go of our will to prevail through ambitious striving, we find that the will of our Creator is accomplished naturally and spontaneously through us.... When we do His will instead of our own, good appears of its own accord, flowing effortlessly into our life.  There is no frustration, no dissatisfaction.
On practicing non-action, we do not try to heal ourselves; rather we allow ourselves to be healed...  We find that our problems find their own solution, spontaneously"


This idea of Non-Action does not mean we do not have any thoughts.  Any attempt attempt to stop our thinking is but another prideful effort.  What is needed is to develop the ability to observe our thoughts, seeing how they often represent our selfish needs and desires.  In observing them, we become watchful and they then end without impacting our action.

This way of Non-Action is the natural way to spiritual healing.

Adapted from Christ the Eternal Tao by Hieromonk Damascene, pp 322-324

1 comment:

  1. Great post. That book Christ The Eternal Tao is wonderful and the advice is timely.

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