|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Psychotherapy and Personal Experiences|
Light or Darkness
By D. Farasiotis
Excerpt from the book: “The Gurus, the Youth and the Elder Paisios”, Panagopoulos Publications.
Deep inside me, I could feel the inadequacy of my mind. My mind couldn’t weigh any events that surpassed it infinitely. How then was I to decide what is what? Or with whom I should go and whom I should leave? And yet, I had to make some kind of move, but I didn’t know how to move… The others, as well as the elder, were waiting for this move of mine, this placement of mine.
Today, I know that the one who was asked to reply was not intellect, but the heart. In other words, something far more profound and powerful: the center of man’s existence. The mind was not going to create an ideology but a faith was going to be born inside the heart.
One day, after my return from India, I asked the elder about the yogis:
I can’t understand it father: they are intelligent, educated people, with a lot of potential, so why must they be evil? They have no reason to be!! I just can’t understand it!…
The Elder looked at me, he shook his head and didn’t say anything right then. (The text that follows was written at the time, when the event took place).
Several days later, and specifically, just before Easter of 1984, the following occurred:
I was in Thessalonica one afternoon, alone, reading something and thinking of something – I don’t know what.
Then, completely unexpectedly and abruptly, completely and overwhelmingly, the world disappeared around me. There were no… visual images; there were no sounds, or a sense of touch. All five senses had ceased to function and to send messages. The outer world had suddenly and completely disappeared. Just like when we flick the light switch and the room is suddenly immersed in darkness.
My mind was not preoccupied with the messages being sent by the five senses. All of my energy, all of my attention had been directed elsewhere. It was totally absorbed, totally drawn into a spiritual domain. It was subdued by a spiritual happening.
I saw light and darkness. A white light, soft and sweet, very intense and shining on one side; a deep, thick darkness on the other side. At first, my attention was drawn to the dark area. It generated a feeling of fear and awe at the same time. I was overcome by a creepy feeling but also by curiosity. I wanted to find out what that was. My mind moved towards it, and I began to realize the magnitude of denial. The deeper one went in, the thicker the darkness became and the denial increasingly bigger. There was a tremendous force in there; a kind of “majesty” I dare say. It was the negative aspect of things.
The more that the light tugged in its ascent, the darkness would likewise tug downwards. To the end, without hesitation, overwhelmingly. Vast love over here, vast hatred over there. Absolute altruism poured forth from the light…. The opposing darkness drew away, towards absolute egotism. The darkness denied the light; it was repulsed by it, it pushed it away! In this way, it “created” another ground.
The world and all beings were creations of the light. The “existential space” of every person, of each person individually, is a creation, a creature of the light. The light permeated and flooded all those “spaces”. One certain conscience decided to keep out of its own “existential space” the light that had created it. It was denying the light. The light respected the free choice of its creation and stayed out. A dark “existential space” now appeared. Darkness had thus become reality. By denying the light, it was “creating” darkness. Darkness did not exist on its own. Light existed on its own. Darkness existed, only while there was a denial of the light. Darkness cannot exist without the light. The light has no need of darkness in order for it to exist. Light can exist on its own.
Darkness was the result of an intention, a conscience. It was the way that a certain being chose to exist: the Devil. Darkness began to exist without a reason, without a cause. Someone simply decided. Motivated only by his intention, he denied the light. It was this denial that made darkness a reality, and brought it to “existence”, gave “birth” to it; to another space, opposing the space of light.
This act of denial resembles “creation”, but it isn’t. It was a mimicry of God’s creation….. in reverse. It was a faithful imitation, on the opposite side. He was trying to rob God; he was trying to steal the possibility to create. He wanted to be Go. He behaved like a “God”. Because he didn’t have the power of creation inside him, by denying all of creation, all of the light, all of the energy, all the grace of God, by stretching things to their limits, he made “reality” out of .. non-existence; he “created” death: the darkness. Before this, there was no death, no darkness; everything was filled with light and life.
Just as everything is united, thus it is with separation. Just as existence came from inside love, thus hatred is born inside the darkness of non-existence. Just as creation, so with destruction. The light extends itself infinitely, so does darkness. I could not feel the existence of a boundary anywhere. The light shone more, the dark got darker in its attempt to swallow the light. Reversal was absolute.
God existed; his attributes, His energies. Light existed: infinite…. grand….simple.
The denial by darkness was infinite, vast, simple, plain, without pretense, deep, savage, persistent, destructive, self-destructive, mania, madness, fury.
I couldn’t see around me I could only feel. Several souls, with a mad, shrieking laugh, would jump into the darkness that pulled them in deeper like an ocean, and they would disappear.
Terrified, I pulled myself towards the light. I was seeking its protection. I felt afraid of the dark, and its savageness and its madness. I didn’t want it. I found myself back on ... the brink of the light and felt very relieved; as though I had escaped from a great danger.
I had penetrated very little into the darkness. It was like briefly dipping my head under water. I could only guess… sense the depth of that ocean. I could comprehend the power of sin; its charm, its temptation, its nucleus, its essence… but I also comprehended its non-existence, its almost laughable weakness.. It doesn’t really exist. It is an absence. It cannot exist on its own. As fearsome as it may be when it gains you, it is totally ridiculous and powerless when you stay away from it. It cannot even defeat a child, if it doesn’t surrender on its own.
But I didn’t penetrate the light very much either. I barely crossed its border, very close to its outermost edge. But how comforting it felt… and what reassurance it gave me… It filled me with life… peace…joy….knowledge….. It loved me so much, and was giving me valuable gifts whose existence I wasn’t aware of... It was giving me of its own, even though I was unworthy.
Suddenly, images and sounds from my room flooded my mind. The switch had been turned back on. It had stopped, just as it had begun. One profound lesson, in just a few moments; a lesson that could not be explained by any form of speech. Succinct differences and yetsuch profound and important meanings, which don’t exist in… words, or fit into thoughts. A revelation. But more of a test. A trial. Who to be with and who to leave. My deepest intention was tried .. it was judged. The inclination of my heart was revealed.
Fortunately, my heart – although moving initially towards the darkness – finally found respite in the light. Fortunately, the light accepted me.
What was the light? Christ says in John’s Gospel “I came as light unto the world, so that everyone who believes in me, shall not remain in the dark” (John 12:46) and the Apostle explains “because you are children of the light and must walk as children of the light” in life, in your decisions). (John I, 1:5-7, 2:8-11)
This event submerged my conscience in the mystery of intent and the freedom of people and angels.
The freedom of intent is a divine gift and an incomprehensible mystery, inexplicable to human logic in its depth and its essence.
But God surpasses the human mind, as do His actions, His creations and His gifts. Only man’s mind can comprehend them, and only by the Grace of the Holy Spirit can he probe deeper.
With intellectual… discovery, we end up in hypotheses, probabilities, viewpoints or fantastic ideologies. What I call “intellectual soap bubbles”.
People and angels were endowed by God with unfettered intention. They are self-motivating. They are not compelled morally by anything. They can move as they wish in the moral, spiritual sphere, to the degree and the intensity that they desire.
Deep inside the center of their existence, this mystery of freedom is operative. These beings lean towards good or evil through an inner disposition, an inner decision of their own. Simply because that’s how they want to! There isn’t any actual reason or cause that would justify their decision. Even more, there is no way that this free will can be retracted.
This decision, this free will, this choice… is a mystery. They are good or bad, deep down, because that’s how they chose. Without any excuse, without an explanation
These beings shape themselves. They are self-created, self-motive. They decide how they will be; the ontology of their own nature, the way they will exist. This freedom of theirs has something divine about it, because it is a gift of God
The first being that misused its freedom in the course of time was the archangel Lucifer. He was the big denier. He was the “creator” of darkness. He is the source of evil, the king of darkness; he is the one who entices humans into his realm, his way of existence. He is the inventor of malice.
He had no reason to act that way. He had many reasons and everything around him that induced him to remain with God, ascend spiritually, enjoy divine bliss and be justified as an existence.
But, he was…free…and at some point he chose denial, he chose to distance himself from God, and to this day insists on it. And the more that time goes by, the worse he gets!
The same happens to the people who follow him. Without a reason, without a cause; simply because they want to, they turn against God, even though they know that this means self-destruction. There is a certain madness in these brains. There was nothing skewed inside them. They alone chose to let this vice, this madness of pride to be born inside them.
God respects the freedom with which He endowed His creatures, and does not abolish it dynastically, even when it is turned against Him. He tries in a thousand ways to attract them back to His love. They don’t want this!
God’s love is far greater than a mother’s love, or a father’s love, who will scheme in every possible way to draw their children towards the good, and draw them as far away as possible from every sorrow, pain, sickness and misery.
But the devil, the demons, magicians, evil people do not want to change! What perversion! How stupid of them! To prefer death over life, hate over love, pain over bliss, sorrow over joy, war over peace, malice over kindness… and all of this, for no reason…no cause….no pretext.
It is inconceivable! It is madness!
And yet, there are consciences (demons and people), who do make this choice. One’s mind boggles at the magnitude of this folly. They destroy themselves on their own, whereas they could have lived, and “seen things” differently. They alone give birth to this madness inside their soul; it is the madness of pride, the dark mother that gives birth to thousands of other dark offspring: passions. This murky octopus that strangles and suffocates the soul. They are truly a deeply pitiful sight, because they are gravely ill.
The Elder had once told me that: “if only the Devil had asked for God’s mercy once only, God would have forgiven him”.
Another elder nearby was praying for the Devil. He felt pity for him. He too was a creation of God. He was an archangel; yet look at his wretched state now. So, he was praying for him. Then, the wily one appeared around the corner and started to mock and abuse him with hand gestures. He was standing there with his huge horns and foul stench. He gestured abusively again and again, with both hands, proving that THE DEVIL IS IMPENITENT.
The elder was father Paisios himself; he just didn’t want to tell me openly….but he eventually admitted it, another time.
I thank God for the experience that He gave me, because by not believing that someone can be evil, I was exposing myself to mortal dangers.
God of course knows, but deep inside me there is the conviction that the elder’s blessings took effect and this spiritual gift was bestowed on me which gave me the answer – the abundant answer – to the questions that I had posed to the Elder with regard to the Gurus (why must they be evil? They have no reason to be!! etc.)…
• «it is in Him that life exists, and life is the light of mankind, and the light shines inside darkness, and darkness did not prevail over».
• «I came as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me shall not remain in the darkness » (John, 12:46).
• «for God is light, and no darkness whatsoever is found within Him» (John I, 1:5).
• «whomsoever exercises unrighteousness hates the light and does not approach the light for fear that his works shall be censured» (John 3:20).
Translation by A. N.
Article published in English on: 29-8-2005.
Last update: 4-6-2008.