Latest Thoughts

Recent Blogs

Tranquility

“There is just too much “noise” at practically any venue one chooses to attend or visit…Are we, in turn, in danger of inevitably fearing silence? Or will silence be experienced as a lack of something—anything—to keep us distracted?...we live in an age of constant activity, gratification of the senses, uncontrolled imagination and speculations that wear people out. They are searching for inner stillness—hesychia—from the world of the senses and imagination, but also the theology—knowledge of God—to give their lives meaning… the person who pursues this spiritual path it delineates; a state of inner tranquility or mental quietude and concentration which arises in conjunction with, and is deepened by, the practice of pure prayer and the guarding of the heart. Not simply silence, but an attitude of listening to God and of openness towards Him…“Inner tranquility,” “mental quietude,” “concentration,” “pure prayer,” and “guarding of the heart.”… through these practices we can become open to God and actually listen to Him.”(Fr. Steven Kostoff, Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlahos, Philokalia) 


“Although they are often used interchangeably, the terms “silence” and “stillness” are not synonymous. Silence implies in part an absence of ambient noise, together with an inner state or attitude that enables us to focus, to “center” on the presence of God and to hear His “still, small voice.” To silence, the virtue of stillness adds both tranquility and concentration. Stillness implies a state of bodily rest coupled with the creative tension that enables a person to commune with God in the midst of a crowd. It means openness to the divine presence and to prayer: prayer understood as a divine work accomplished by God Himself. As the apostle Paul insists, it is not we who pray, but the Spirit who prays within us (Rom 8:26).” (Fr. John Breck)


“It is useless to accuse those around us and those who live with us of somehow interfering with or being an impediment to our salvation and spiritual perfection… Spiritual or emotional dissatisfaction comes from within ourselves, from inexperience and from poorly conceived opinions we do not want to abandon, but which bring on doubt, embarrassment, and misunderstanding. All of this tires and burdens us, and brings us to a sorry state. We would do well to comprehend the Holy Fathers’ simple advice: If we will humble ourselves, we will find tranquility anywhere, without having to mentally wander about many other places, where we might have the same, or even worse, experiences.” (St. Ambrose of Optina)


“…wisdom lies in the unseen depths of the tranquil heart. The knowledge of God and His ways are hidden at the bottom of the peaceful soul. Yet the serene heart is so secure in its understanding of God’s ways that it can keep that wisdom in its secret chamber. Those who possess a tranquil spirit need not boast about their presumed knowledge. They do not have to seek the admiration of others for the spiritual progress that he supposedly has attained. They have no compulsion to disclose the inner secrets of their hearts. In summary, as a healthy heart gives life and vigor to the physical body, a healthy spiritual heart gives life and well-being to the entire self. Such a tranquil heart is the gift of the knowledge of God and the understanding of His ways.” (Fr. Basil)


“…tranquility of the heart issues from the serenity of a good conscience.” (St. Augustine)


"If you cannot find tranquility in the midst of disturbance, you will not be tranquil even in the midst of tranquility. When inner tranquility comes to a man, everything inside him will be tranquil, and he will not be disturbed by anything." (Elder Paisios the Athonite)


“Evagrius speaks of this tranquility and observes that those who know it are somehow aware of a luminous quality. Moreover, this tranquility abides even as we “behold the affairs of life.” Life still happens…we experience tragedy, failure. Yet in all we are the tranquil awareness that grounds and presides and is one with all, whether things are going well in life or all hell is breaking loose.” (Martin Laird)


“Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more.” [John 5:14] Experience proves that sins and passions destroy the health of the soul and the body, whilst victory over the passions affords heavenly tranquility and health both to the soul and the body. Conquer the many-headed hydra of sin - and you will be made whole. Preserve tranquility of spirit; do not be disturbed, do not be irritated by any opposition, offences, negligences, injustices - and then you will always enjoy spiritual and bodily health. Emotions, disturbance, and the fire of various passions produce in us a multitude of maladies both of mind and body.” (St. John of Kronstadt)


“How many of us reall