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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"The Choice between Light and Darkness"

"The Choice between Light and Darkness"
In the book 'The Gurus the Young Man and Elder Paisios', by Dionysios Farasiotis p.238-242, St Herman Press 2008, we read the most amazing description of that moment when a searching soul is presented with the terrifying choice, eternal life or eternal death.
One afternoon at the beginning of Holy Week, having made a stop in Thessaloniki, I was by myself in our home there, when, suddenly, my surroundings vanished. There were no images to be seen, sounds to be heard, or objects to be touched. My five senses had ceased functioning. It was as though the light switch had been flicked and the room plunged into total darkness.
My mind turned its full attention to a spiritual realm that it found utterly riveting and captivating. In one direction, I saw a soft but intense light- brilliant yet gentle. In the other direction, I saw a thick, cavernous darkness. Initially, I turned my attention towards the awesome, yet fearful, darkness. It made my flesh crawl, but I was overcome by curiosity, the desire to understand what it was. My mind advanced towards the darkness, and I began to sense the magnitude of its negation. The deeper I went, the greater this negation became, and the thicker the darkness.
It had a vast power and, if I dare put it this way, a certain
grandeur. It represented a negative perspective on reality, unhesitatingly extending into reality as depth, even as the light stretched infinitely into reality as height. On one side, there was immense love; on the other immense hatred. The light was overflowing with unconditional altruism, while the darkness pulled away in utter self-centeredness.
Though I could not see into the darkness, I could feel the presence of souls in it, leaping about and shrieking with insane, wicked laughter as they were pulled deeper and deeper into the ocean of darkness , until the sound of their voices disappeared altogether. Frightened by this savage madness, I headed towards the light, seeking its protection. Just reaching its outskirts, I felt the relief of having being rescued from a grave danger.
Although I didn't advance very far at all into the darkness, I was able to fill the depths of its evil ocean. I could understand the very essence of the enticing power of sin to tempt, as well as its laughable powerlessness, utter dependence, and shadowy non-existence. The darkness, I saw, is fearsome when it has won you over, but it is absurd and feeble when you reject it- it can not defeat even a small child if he does not fall on his own. In the same way, I did not advance far into the light- only so to speak, skating its edge -but even there I felt confident and comforted by a fullness of life, peace, joy, and knowledge. The light loved me greatly in spite of my unworthiness and granted me its gifts, gifts I never dreamed existed.
At this point, I realized that the light created the world and
every living being. The existential space in which each person dwells is itself a creation fashioned by the light, which also fills and permeates these spaces. One being decided to stay outside of the existential space created by the light, thus creating a sort of space for itself, though only by denying the light, turning from it and driving it away. The darkness has no existence of its own, but only in that it denies the ever-existing and sovereign light....
Just as the light's love wishes to unite all things, being the source of existence and creation, so the hatred of the darkness wants to divide all things, being the source of non-existence and destruction.
Within a matter of minutes, I had received a lesson of immeasurable depth. It was not only a revelation beyond words, of subtle differences of profound meaning and great importance, but also -and even more- a test and trial of the deepest inclinations and intentions of my heart, to see whom I would follow and whom I would leave behind. Fortunately, although my heart initially moved towards the darkness, it ultimately found repose in the light, and fortunately, the light still accepted me."