Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
Hoping that my drama could be of a use to take someone out of the gutter, I will write in the following some things related to my past, when my life had not yet really started.
My father, the head of a drinking house, being somewhere between an atheist and an indifferent believer and raised fearing his father who beat him for his every swerve from his foolish rules, did not find in himself the power to stop the perpetuation of his bossy character and deprived me and my brother as much as possible from the debauchery that we had never thought it was not necessary to experience.
My mother, although she wanted to keep our family together, after she found out about my father’s weakness, she filed him a divorce when I was 10 years old. Although my mother was an active believer, there was no time for deepening among so many concerns that seemed to have priority; she kept on going so afterwards as well. The fortunes were sold and my mother, being naïve and making haste to finish everything, found herself without the biggest part of her money, a fact that made us stay with rent here and there. Our situation became more and more difficult and after two years my mother invited us to live together with her, yet after we moved together our financial situation did not show signs for better so our mother found herself in the situation to be under the necessity to immediately leave for Italy to work.
Starting from that point on, different kinds of temptations came upon us that we gave in and we came to the point to consider ourselves among the luckiest ones for not having someone around who could rebuke us.
Our first more serious addiction that we confronted ourselves with was the masturbation, then later the video games and sweets of all kinds that had replaced for years the healthy diet. We forgot about poverty and about the fact that my mother had to wash other people’s butt for my caprices, I forgot that I did not have my own house and I forgot about rules thinking that I could do whatever I wanted thinking that there would always be somebody who could take my side as long as I was still a kid. When I was 14, on one of my friend’s bait, I started to inhale glue from a bag, a vice that I hardly managed to get rid of.
I was a rocker and a bit out of ordinary and that contributed to start my sexual life, a thing that made me look important in the eyes of my friends. I started drinking alcohol almost every day, competing with my recently discovered so-called virility. Although I had quit inhaling glue after everybody from that city found out about the things I used to do yet the alcohol had continued to be part of my life for another 10 years. The cannabis was more rare and I periodically fell for without any hesitation. I started over the time to try out of curiosity some other things as well. During high school I started to smoke tobacco. One day, a friend showed me a website from where I could buy “legal weed” or etnobotanicals – by a click. There followed 8 months of a strong addiction with daily doses while I used to drive the car full of strange people and delivered hundreds of powdered cigarettes that I personally made. After I hardly understood that I was down and added a new line to my local CV, I decided to give up on my bad habits while I took the occasion to visit my mother in Italy.
No sooner said than done, yet partially. Once back from the trip I decided to go for the natural path of cannabis. I was comforted by the rumor that it did not give addiction, yet I later found out that it was not true after I had been going on like that for three months till I stopped although I hated the mood I had due to it. The weed was giving me a laziness that had been going on for years in an irascible superficiality though I would not have come out of it if a mule’s warning hadn’t given me a good shaking that I was in the scrutiny of police and had to take a break. That good shaking had an instant effect and I gave up providing my clan with the “necessary” ones and therefore later I started to be avoided by them due to my uselessness.
Reiki, energies, illumination…
One day I was called by a friend to come and meet a person that I later started to idolize due to the fact that she was continuously talking about things that I had never heard before. In less than one day she took my head off with her “energies” and taught me seeing auras around people. From an atheist I started to fall in to an uncertain spiritual path because I was capable of many things. In only one week I left with my friend to her in Cluj to get initiated in Reiki.
Reiki is presented as a traditional Japanese technique of general self-healing and in a short period of time of healing others as well. It was transmitted through “laying the hands” on some parts of the body, there were given a certain number of symbols that you had to draw using your finger wherever according to the problem you encountered and then you were ready to practice. There were no restrictions to practice it although you had to have some vague pagan knowledge about chakras that you had to work with and “unblock” as well as the tip that absolutely everything was manipulating energy in a way or other. If you were not convinced by those “energies”, you would immediately be after a small initiation ritual for suddenly your mind started to wander and you felt your body permanently crossed by inward flows.
Once I had had the captivating ritual and after many experiences weirdly synchronized to weird people, I came back home carrying an ambition for a spiritual life that I had no idea about. I started to gain knowledge for my spiritual life from Internet and textbooks written from the communication with what-so-ever superior forces that made me more and more convinced that according to the same references those were the secrets that masons were afraid not to reach to people and of course by putting the question like I immediately fell for it. I did daily exercises of energizing, I used symbols, I saw auras, I had Hindu meditations, I tried to heal myself and my friends by laying my hands on and even secretly. Once I confronted myself with haemorrhoids and because the ointment was of no effect, I healed myself in a few days but after a few weeks it suddenly aggravated even more – and after a long time without any cure, Saint Ephraim the New had mercy on me and listened to my prayer. I was imbued with superstitions and different beliefs close to insanity that I accepted as for me the truth was something relative. Making haste on growing spiritually, I started combining everything I knew and in the strangest way possible and trying to practice simultaneously as many as possible. I wanted to have out-of-body experiences (“astral projection” in New Age language). One night when I had just finished to re-read some possible ways of doing it, the devil did not let me crave for it longer and paid me a visit and helped me worm my way through. I woke up captive in my own body and any attempt to move was horribly tiring me up exacerbating my claustrophobia. After a few absurd efforts of my imagination, my ears became clogged and I felt a strange pressure over me and another pressure that was going around as well as some different visions and sounds that were dominating me through their succession. After a few seconds I felt my head rising itself off the pillow, illustrating the movement in a very credible way and feeling gradually my drawing far from the body, being inspired somehow not to oppose it by any gesture in order to enable my further proceeding. After 30 seconds, when I saw myself floating in the room, I hesitated and I suddenly woke up in the silence of my room apparently seeing the trajectory of my journey back in a second. I repeated the procedure for three times but over extended periods of times.
Nobody understood me but I did not care because I knew what was going on to me, things I saw and felt going under my skin. I became more energetic but also irascible in the same time comforting myself with the excuse that I did not strive myself enough. I was waiting for the famous day of 21st December 2012 thinking that I was on my way to be illuminated and that I would then go out and help the weak people find their way. That was the biggest foolishness I bought and the hardest to accept. It was hard to accept that I was a blockhead and that I had to admit that.
I started to pay more attention and to criticize more the things I read or heard. In the mean time I tried to take mushrooms and LSD once every few days. Taking those drugs I had my brainwashed in a record time without being necessary to spend hours meditating in uncomfortable positions offering me a shortcut to the different kinds and much desired visions. I felt a horrible fear but I thought it was because I did not know how to approach it. I was consuming and then I went out having my pupils dilated as if they were a cherry, dominating my friends, shocking them and making then not stand against me by any word and that not because they loved me but because I was frightening them. I had demonic experiences and I was telling them to my friends as if I were on a TV show. I was gradually realizing that I did not understand too much from the multitude of oddities occurring on my way and it seemed to me a tiring spirituality that did not have a precise direction.
After a frightening experience I had in the mirror when I saw the devil with my own eyes – as soon as I could pull myself together, I hitched and went out of the bathroom with something riding on me and with my hands in the air saying out and loud Our Father; I was weeping and periodically repeating Our Father to keep that beast away from me – I called my grandmother whom I trusted for her youth dedicated to qi-gong and I accepted to take in consideration also the Church. She was hiding her own opinions on spirituality in order not to draw me far from her and although she was orthodox, she tried to combine the things as such that I could do good things amongst others. She advised me to say Our Father while I made my sorceries, a thing that God helped me through draw far from those exercises and stay only with Our Father and the Psalter. Although I was not sure why but for the first time I felt that I seriously needed to talk to a priest. No sooner said than done. I anxiously left to talk to a priest who was close to my grandmother and whose words encouraged me to search for a confession priest where, under his guidance, I went shortly after.
The last way
It was Sunday in the spring of 2013. Everything was blooming around except me. Once arrived in the church yard of the Monastery Poiana Brasov and entered whereat I indifferently took part to the Holy Liturgy that was almost finished. While I started to become gradually excited and knowing that the moment of my discussion with the priest was coming, I completely forgot the courage I had when I entered there and I found myself with my feet and voice trembling in front of the priest who was calculated and tolerant and whom I asked to help me for it seemed that I was kind of indoctrinated with New Age and confused. I finally acknowledged my own weakness and I was happy and surprised that he was actually listening to me.
It proved that it was very good for me that I tried a different tack. Feeling my heart as if it were underground, through my confessor I could rapidly feel the traps I was caught in and wherefrom the Church proved to me that it was the only one capable of pulling me out and that I had finally found what I did not know where to find. The often confession and Communion I had made me understand their purpose by releasing me from the plenty demonic draff of my own production. I was tired and I was not in a mood to risk myself dying while arbitrarily searching my own path. I stopped all that baboonery I wanted to be loved so I could weep for my shame and joy. God knew how to show me that the stubbornness to draw near the demons is the common denominator for many of my unfortunate customs. Now I do not smoke weed or consume alcohol or any other analgesic anymore having the vigilance as my one and only guarantee that I am heading on one direction as the last path of my life.
Orthodoxy keeps me busy and makes me hit the books and tests my seriousness when I pretend that I want to love. It taught me not to ask questions whose answers are not helpful for the moment but to investigate for a deeper understanding. It asked me why I had so many in common with those that I was complaining of. The church is the family that I cannot condemn of degradation as I do not do my best to take care of. It taught me to earn from honoring the Holy Fathers and those whom they listened to and by whom God was made permanent in history and who could draw me near to Him. I am aware that our life here is not eternal but it is followed by one like that whether I like it or not. It encourages me to be neither extremist nor indifferent, nor to kiss all the boots, but to be dignified. It taught me that there is no balance between good and evil but there is only the good established by Christ. It showed me that only through praying I could see the thin ice I had been walking on all time. It pulled me out of that abyss and gave me the instruction book, forgiving me for having ignored its hand for a long time. Each spiritual book completes me, gives me hope and courage but each Liturgy is practical for me. It makes me feel its use even when I am not successful. I can choose but I am happy when I am told what I have to do. Even if I cannot experience it yet, I can see and partially understand the harmony of the treasure left by God on earth. There I can find my purity and I do not want to separate myself from it.
So he who wants it may come and take it. I do not intend to die as a fool and I would lose everything if I had the impression that my great-grandfathers died for giving me the freedom to easily suicide myself in a bar or cowardly comforting me that here everything is lost and that I have to make haste to benefit from the rest of my useless existence here. I will not die when I want so I would better justly rejoice the life in its only proper meaning, in Christ. Amin.
Source: Words for youngsters Magazine, Putna Monastery, p. 38