Saturday, January 2, 2010

Establishing a Spiritual Vision

Establish yourself in this new paradigm
The challenge to enable us to enhance our zeal for God and Theosis is to place this spiritual vision deeply in our brain so that it permeates our entire consciousness.  Saint Theophan says that we should “blend with it, so that no consciousness or movement can occur without a sensation of it…”


The spiritual vision: (see previous post)
“God is One, worshiped in Trinity, the Creator and Upholder of all things,” or as the Apostle says, the Head of all things in our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, active in the Holy Church, which, having perfected the faithful, transports them to another world.  This world will continue until the fulness of time, or the end of time, when, at the resurrection and judgment all will receive according to their deeds––some will descend into hell, while others will dwell in paradise, and God will be all in all.” (Path to Salvation  p. 227)

How to do this?
Saint Theophan advises us to begin  by “viewing oneself as being in an acknowledged peaceful co-relationship with everything around.”  This includes enemies as well as friends, nature as well as all the aspects of our modern world.  Nothing should disturb our inner peacefulness.  He says it is like “establishing oneself within the reign of the Almighty God at His right hand,feeling being upheld by Him, absorbed in Him and observed by Him..”  

Saint John Chrysostom says you need,
...a feeling that you are a warrior of Christ and a citizen of His city; that you are established in death and judgment, with your gaze turned either to heaven or hell.

Don’t think that this can happen overnight.  Make it your goal.  Saint Theophan says the acquisition of this paradigm in your mind is  laborious and prolonged.”  He also gives some practical advice about how to obtain this state.  Simply put, it’s done by visioning, creating a vivid image in our mind, about our salvation.

Saint Theophan says,
“See yourself upheld by the right hand of God as seen by God’s eye, saved in the Lord, standing after death before the judgment which will determine whether you will be received into Paradise or swallowed up by hell.”

This you need to do with effort, continually and without distraction.  This will help you to quickly be able to “stand in the spiritual world, in the presence of God, int he Church, at the hour of death and judgment, at the threshold of hell or Paradise.”

Once this vision is firm in your mind then the final step is to place yourself in this spiritual world as if you are actually standing there.  Here is how Saint Theophan describes it,
“It is feeling yourself upheld in the almighty reigning power of God as a child in its mothers arms; to be int he presence of God’s all-seeing power as one presented before a King; to fit yourself into the paradigm of salvation as a soldier in formation, or a son in his father’s house, or an expert at his work, or a comrade in his circle of friends, or amongst your won family members; to relate death and judgment as a criminal each minute awaits a sentence; to look at heaven and hell as one standing on the narrowest plank––on one side is the abyss, roiling with flames, on the other side is a lovely garden.”

Remember, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Lk 17:21).  The goal is to be prepared to exit this world and enter into the spiritual realm of heaven.  Make this an “object of intense seeking,” advises Saint Theophan. 

Next: Implanting a Spiritual vision on our Mind.

Excerpts from Path to Salvation  pp. 228-29

2 comments:

  1. From what I recall (possibly poorly), some Orthodox sites, when speaking of yoga being against Orthodox Practice, say that to imagine or envision is spoken against by our Church fathers. Are the fathers for or against envisioning the goal we seek to establish and how is that also very different than yoga, of which I know little about ?

    Thanks.

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  2. What Saint Theophan is suggesting is a vision of the structure of the Spiritual realm as outlined in our Creed. He is suggesting that this is an important understanding to have in our mind at all times.
    It's not good to vision a spiritual state such as a light or any image such as an angel, demon, saint or God.
    Other spiritual visions will mislead you.

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