Panic. Such is our mind: it is in panic, fear, and tension. They are like food and fuel to it. However, one who is working on oneself, gradually leaves one’s restless mind behind and becomes a person with inner peace. They worry about finding time during the day to feel this peace over and over again. They close their eyes and pray. They leave their mind, enter their heart, and calm down. There nothing can shake them.
Saint Isaac the Syrian writes beautifully about this, “Imagine a drunk person. You tell him, “Your house is on fire”. He replies, “Come on, let it burn. Let it all turn into coal”. He is somewhere else. He lives by drinking. The Church also calls it “bliss”. Earthly things do not drive you crazy in this bliss of the Holy Spirit. You hear about them, think about them, but they cannot bother you deeply. This is a sign of spiritual growth.
If this is true, you are blissful. Indeed, you can withstand the difficulties of life with such a strong soul. Another good result, which brings this state of things, is you live for many years. This is about longevity. The logic is simple: troubles break, bend, and shake us. What happens then? Increased heart rate! Blood pressure, high blood sugar level, and the repressed psyche. We collapse. Health, nerves, and arteries deteriorate, the whole body suffers. Before long, there is gray hair, wrinkles, hair loss, and painful insomnia that deprives us of sleep. Yet, if there was Christ’s peace in your heart, everything would be different. Ask for it. Make peace the basic desire of your soul. Let it be prayer and your desire.
As you grow, you will notice a different result: inner peace and strength. Of course, if you are 80 years old already, then it is time for you to have them, my dear… Not yet? When will you acquire them? After death? One old man once told me, “I hope, someday I will start living the way you say”. But when? The man is 80 or 90 years old, he has lived in the Church for decades without experiencing any of these. When will he come to it? If one has grown old leading a church life and has not felt the peace of Christ, when will one feel it? It means that something is wrong.
You and the Church. What is the quality of this relationship? What are you doing in this place? What do you learn? What do you pay attention to? If it is not inner life, what is it? So, an important sign of spiritual development is not letting anything disturb your inner peace.
From the book “On Certain Difficulties in Marriage” by Father Andrew (Konanos)
Translated by Julia Frolova