Hesychasm at Neamt Monastery


"When I came to the Monastery of Neamtu and heard from Father Paisios how to begin and how to continue the Prayer of Jesus, I started to practice it. The Prayer appeared to me so sweet that I preferred it to everything else. For that reason I avoided other monks, loved silence, used often to retire in solitude, ran away from all temptations and, most of all, idle talk. For the sake of the Prayer I travelled twice to the Holy Mountain, fatigued myself with obedience and hard labor, metanias, and all-night vigils, in order to attain to unceassing prayer. For the sake of the Prayer I often used to stay in solitude. In order to obtain it I used up all my strength and became very weak. I continued in this way for many years and gradually the Prayer began to deepen. [...] Indescribable joy overshadowed my heart, and the Prayer started to run by itself. It is so sweet now that it doesn't allow me to sleep. I sleep only one hour in twenty-four and that sitting up. And I rise up as if I never slept. For even while I sleep my heart watches. [...] And the Prayer started to produce its fruits. It is true, the Kingdom of God is within us. There was born within me a love for everybody - - something indescribable - and tears. I want to weep unceasingly. [...] Often in the evening, I rise up to read the Psalms or enter into the Prayer of Jesus, and I experience ecstasy. I go out of myself, whether in the body or out of the body, and whither to I know not. God knows. When I come to myself, the sun is rising."

In search of true wisdom, visits to Eastern spiritual fathers
Sergius Bolshakoff and M. Basil Pennington. 1st ed. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1979


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