Saturday, June 12, 2010

With Dispassion Love Blossoms

With dispassion comes the quiet of the soul. It can be viewed as a state of spiritual rest because our mind has been freed from the domination of the passions. Consequently, the soul is able to take charge.  Our mind becomes free to direct our will to do works of virtue and is able to direct its attention to higher meanings inherent on the natural world.

Saint Mark the Hermit says
When by the grace of God the mind does the works of virtue and comes near to knowledge, it feels little from the evil and non-understanding of the soul.  Its knowledge catches him up to the heights and frees him from all the things of the world; and by the purity in them (saints) and the fineness and the lightness and sharpness of their minds, and again by their asceticism, their mind is cleansed and becomes transparent, by the withering of their flesh in the school of quietness and by staying a long time in it.  This because the contemplation in them easily and speedily grasps everything and to their amazement leads them.
Dispassion is a prerequisite for contemplation of God which leads to Illumination.

Fr. Dimitru Staniloae says,
For this, a distinct revelation of God is necessary.  But this revelation can't take place as long as man's spiritual eyes are troubled and his time is preoccupied by the attraction of the passions.  The absence of passions, however gives him the capacity to see and to remember things in the simple meaning, without associating them with a passionate interest.

In this spiritual state one is still not able to continually contemplate God.  Neither is it a state without interest in things of this world.  Instead, love blossoms.

Maximus the Confessor defines two aspects of this state.
First is the sate of  the soul which permits it to receive and conceive things in their "simple" meaning, in other words not interwoven with passion.  Secondly, it is a state which doesn't exclude but implies love. 
Fr. Dimitru comments,
The absence of passion when either seeing or thinking of things is the absence of egoism.  The dispassionate person no longer sees and thinks of things through the prism of passion which wants to be satisfied with them; in reference to himself, things no longer seem to be gravitating around him, but they appear as having their own purpose independent of his egotism. Other people appear to him as human beings who are purposes in themselves, who need help from him.... The dispassionate person knows that he influences his neighbors more by his quietness, as a sign of his deep cleansing from passions.  He works for salvation of others, with the unwavering confidence in the plan which God has for every soul... . Dispassion leads us into the inner most part of the mind, to the heart, where God is found and the winds of passion aren't whistling and blowing, but where the peaceful and conquering breezes of love are stirring.

Reference: Orthodox Spirituality, pp 187 -191 

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