ΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΠΡΙΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ, ΔΕ ΘΑ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ ΟΤΑΝ ΠΕΘΑΝΕΙΣ

(ΠΑΡΟΙΜΙΑ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΩΝ ΜΟΝΑΧΩΝ)

Τετάρτη, 16 Φεβρουαρίου 2011

From the "Watchful Gate"


From the Watchful Gate

The what, why and who of the Watchful Gate

Welcome to the Watchful Gate. This site is the result of several peoples' study and experiences in trying to find reality in contemplative spirituality.  Many of us have traveled through many typically modern spiritual searches and practices. We have been traditional Christians and Buddhists or non-traditional minimalists seeking after the essence of things (e.g. via Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, or our entirely own non-dual perspective). Some of us in the process have become Orthodox Christians, and discovered a wealth of understanding that many seekers of contemplative spirituality are unaware of, but in our opinion, truly have need of.  
In studying Orthodox Christian sources, we have discovered that we in the West have been subjected to a long slow decline in understanding basic realities that govern the soul. What is often taken for granted in other cultures as truth, has been nearly completely lost in our own.  This has been due to to several factors: the rationalistic and legalistic mindset of the West since the Roman Empire, the rapid rise of science, the loss of the complete teachings of authentic Christian spirituality, and the misunderstanding of ancient teachings due to the loss of what could be called "inner culture."  In this sense, postmodern criticism is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Many of us have sensed this loss of spiritual reality and the presence of psychological imbalances in our culture. For this reason, whole generations of us have searched for spiritual reality in traditions or non-traditions that are foreign to the Western culture we grew up in, but are becoming part of it.  Others of us, have tried to find real contemplative life in Western traditions, but often in contexts that are so different from where these contemplative paths originated, that we stumble on without suspecting that something is missing.
We have discovered that the ancient Christian spiritual life manifested by the desert fathers and mothers is still alive today.  Some of us learned this miraculously, and others by perfectly ordinary means.  But one of the treasures which is offered to us from this tradition, which is most needed by the contemplative of modern times is discernment. Without discernment, it is possible to believe that one is encountering profound contemplative experiences, when in fact, one is encountering what some modern Holy Fathers have termed "refined sensuality."  It is therefore a matter of life and death, to have discernment and reality at the base of one's contemplative journey.  We believe that the information on this site will point modern contemplatives in the right direction, and will provide pieces that are missing from contemporary inter-religious dialogue.

Sincerely,
The Watchful Gate Staff

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The Non-Monastic Path: Spiritual Reality For People In The World


From here

(Note: local copies of linked resources are provided for continuity - many of these sites seem to be down a lot) 

Written For A Certain Layman As a Result of His Desire To Live A Vigilant Life In The World
Notes on the Jesus Prayer (PDF) [local copy]- by Fr. Artemy Vladimirov
Introduction to the Philokalic Writings of St. Gregory of Sinai [local copy]- From Elder Basil of Poiana Marului: Spiritual Father of St. Paisy Velichkovsky (Orthodoxinfo.com)
Monasticism and Life in the World [local copy] - from letters of Optina Elder Ambrose
Salvation In The World [local copy]- by Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev
The Unceasing Essential Practice - Pith Sayings by St. Theophan and Others
Being Within - Excerpts from The Path To Salvation - By St. Theophan the Recluse [local copy]  A primary textbook of spiritual life which distills the essence of Christian Spirituality for those in all walks of life.

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Orthodox Christian Epistemology For Lovers Of Truth

From here

"The chief character of believing thought consists of the striving to concentrate all of the separate powers of the soul into a single power, to seek out that inner focus of being where reason, will, feeling and conscience, the beautiful and the true, the wonderful and the desirable, the just and the merciful, and the whole sweep of the mind, are fused together into one living unity, thus restoring the essential personality in its original indivisibility"
-Ivan Kireyevsky 

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
- Psalm 45, (Septuagint translation)
From an appendix to the larger (out of print) version of The Acquisition of the Holy Spirit in Ancient Russia by Ivan Kontsevitch
The Theory Of Knowledge of St. Isaac the Syrian [local copy] - Excerpt from the Essay by St. Justin Popovich
This essay may appear a bit overstated at times, or just weird to those of us used to thinking of Christianity in purely Augustinian terms, but it actually hits the essence of several important problems:
  1. The true relationship between the created and the uncreated, and what can and what cannot be conceptualized by the mind alone
  2. Why most religious thoughts and ideas are built on fantasies
  3. The real nature of the Church, Prophetic gifts, Heaven, Hell, and Revelation
  4. The nature of true esoteric Christianity, which is not gnosticism, neo-platonism, or any other new-age or symbolic fantasy.

Click here: Through The Eastern Gate - From Tibetan Buddhism to Orthodox Christianity.

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