I am a person who likes to think of himself as introspective and reflective. I desire to be transparent. I desire to be authentic. I desire to be real. I desire to know God and be known by God. I desire to know others and be known by others. I have been reading “Raising Lazarus” and it has had some profound insights into my existential struggle upon this planet and particular my post-graduation blues. I have gotten a little further up and in Orthodoxy as well. And perhaps what Paul Kymissis writes here is a profound insight into my own spiritual journey? I don’t know, but it hit me like a ton of bricks:
St. Mark the Ascetic said that there are two major reasons for a man’s unhappiness: love for himself and a love for pleasure. People who have been suffering from anxiety are able to find comfort when they understand the meaning of life. Anxiety is defined as the fear of something going wrong. Hope is the opposing emotion to fear. Therefore St. Paul writes that through hope you will find peace. An existential vacuum is another potential source of anxiety. This is where an individual who is created in the image of God fails to understand himself because he doesn’t know God. Orthodox Christian spirituality can be a major source of healing for many of these people” (page 48).
Perhaps I don’t know God? Perhaps I don’t even know myself too? Perhaps I have only scratched the surface of these boundless things? We can only be whole when we come to know the Holy Trinity in whom our personhood is grounded and defined. Perhaps my anxiety arises from a lack of being grounded?
I long to just abide, to be. To be grounded in That which is greater than myself, beyond my senses, and “nearer to me than my I,” as Martin Buber put it. The failure of men, my own failure, is that we forget God. We seek happiness in Egoism and Hedonism. We are so non-Eucharistic.
I’m rambling on in this blog; I’m well aware, but this quote has made me think of my own existential crisis of not only just getting done with undergrad, but also of life. This is our crisis is it not? The crisis is that we don’t know God and fail to understand ourselves.
I know neither God nor myself, but with some sort of strength I do utter this prayer from my sinful lips through hope to receive God’s mercy:
“O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art in all places and fillest all things; Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in me and cleanse me from every stain, and save my soul, O gracious Lord.”