Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Satan's Worst Enemy ......

One of the old men of the Thebaid used to tell the following story: "I was the son of a pagan priest. When I was small I would sit and watch my father who often went to sacrifice to the idol. Once, going in behind him in secret, I saw Satan and all his army standing beside him; and behold one of the chief devils came to bow before him. Satan said, 'Where have you come from?' He answered, 'I was in a certain place and made much blood flow, and I have come to tell you about it.' Satan asked, 'How long did it take you to do this?' He replied, 'Thirty days.' Then Satan commanded him to be flogged, saying, 'In so long a time have you done only that?'
And behold, another demon came to bow before him. Satan asked him, 'And you, where have you come from?' The demon replied, 'I was on the sea, and I made the waves rise, and small craft foundered, and I have killed many people, and I have come to inform you of it.' He said to him, 'How long did it take you to do this?' and the demon said, 'Twenty days.' Satan commanded that he also should be flogged, saying, 'That is because in such a long time you have only done this.'
Now, a third demon came to bow before him. he asked, 'And where have you come from?' The demon replied, 'There was a marriage in a certain village, and I stirred up a riot, and I have made much blood flow, killing the bride and bridegroom, and I have come to inform you.' He asked him, 'How long have you taken to do this?' and he replied, 'Ten days.' Satan commanded that he also should be flogged because he had taken too long.
After this, another demon came to bow before him. He asked, 'And where have you come from?' He said, 'I was in the desert forty years fighting against a monk, and this night I made him fall into fornication.' When he heard this, Satan arose, embraced him, and put the crown he was wearing on his head and made him sit on his throne, saying, 'You have been able to do a very great deed!'
The old man said, 'Seeing this, I said to myself, "Truly it is a great contest, this contest of the monks," and with God assisting me for my salvation, I went away and became a monk.'"

from "The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers," by Benedicta Ward, (Oxford: SLG Press, 1986)

Akathist to St. Paisios the Athonite

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (+1994) (source)

Note: I don't know who the author of this akathist is, but based on the structure I assume it was written from Slavic tradition either in English directly, or written in another language then translated. I cite the source site below. May we have the blessing of this great and new Saint! Akathist to Elder Paisios the Athonite

Kontakion 1
Let us believers with one voice all praise him who was sent by God in these times of trial for our comfort and guidance, Paisius the wonderful, who struggled graciously and pleasingly for the Master, burning with love for the whole world and pledged his heart for us and for our salvation. And let us call out to him in thanksgiving, saying: Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Ikos 1
God ordained that thou wast born in the blessed land of Cappadocia, the cradle of a countless multitude of saints, to whom thou too wast added in perfect worthiness, shining forth together with them and unceasingly guiding us to repentance. Therefore we praise thee with great joy, saying:
Rejoice, for thou didst make thyself a precious follower of the saints of Cappadocia!
Rejoice, for thou didst wholly liken thyself to them as a true bearer of God!
Rejoice, most fair and fragrant flower, who hast blossomed for our enlightenment!
Rejoice, wellspring of heavenly grace, who refreshest the whole world!
Rejoice, sweetest food, who fillest the souls that are starved of right teaching!
Rejoice, receptacle that hast gathered all our weaknesses, troubles and sorrows!
Rejoice, pillar of fire, who art the unshakable support of those that desire to gain salvation!
Rejoice, star that shinest in the firmament of the Church, guiding us to the everlasting mansions!
Rejoice, for thou wast shown to be a blessing of God and a sign of His ineffable mercy!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 2
O Blessed Father, thou wast chosen from thy mother's womb to give thyself up to God in all things and thus become a precious vessel unto Him, for the salvation and guidance of all that put their hope in thee. To Him, Who worked great wonders and mercy through thee, for such a blessing we all sing with joy the song: Alleluia!

Ikos 2
The baptism which thou, O Father, didst receive from the hands of the saint of God, Arsenius, was a sign of God’s grace resting on thee. For seeing thy many gifts in spirit, from thine early infancy he blessed thee to be his disciple and bear his name. Therefore, despite our unworthiness, we honour thee, saying:
Rejoice, for thou wast found worthy to be baptized by Saint Arsenius the Cappadocian!
Rejoice, for he foresaw all that was to come to pass with thee!
Rejoice, for his spirit rejoiced, seeing such blessed fruit sprung forth from the flock that he shepherded!
Rejoice, for on account of this he cared for thee unceasingly through all his earthly life!
Rejoice, for even after departing to heaven he did not forsake thee, but all the more interceded for thee!
Rejoice, for thou too didst honour him as befitting, piously reckoning him to be thy father in Christ!
Rejoice, for thou didst struggle heartily for his glorification, gathering testimonies of his wondrous life!
Rejoice, for the Saint of God blessed thee to find his most beloved relics, which became a fount of countless healings!
Rejoice, for lovingly thou didst lay his revered body in the monastery founded by thee at Souroti!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 3
Moving to Greece because of the tyrannical Turkish persecution, thy parents came to the land of Konitsa, and, sacrificing thyself, O father, thou didst begin to ascend the godly ladder of perfection. For even since childhood, thou wast shown to be to be a guiding light for all those around thee, who, seeing thy precious gifts, glorified God, saying: Alleluia!

Ikos 3
Instructed by the example of thy parents, from a young age thou didst strive with burning zeal for the love of Christ, showing the deeds of a perfect man. For following thy blessed mother, before long thou didst begin to fast strictly and pray unceasingly to God, a hermit by life, yet a child by age. Wondering at the manliness of thy heart, with joy we sing to thee thus:
Rejoice, for still young thou didst wholly forsake the fleeting lusts of this world!
Rejoice, for through perfect fasting thou didst preserve unspoiled the crown of virginity!
Rejoice, for thy youth did not prevent thee from acquiring unceasing prayer in solitude!
Rejoice, for instead of revelling in childish games, thou didst delight in ever being with Christ and His saints!
Rejoice, for on account of this thou didst avoid the friendship of those that sundered thee from thine ardent love!
Rejoice, for thou didst not only strive for outward things, but also adorned thy soul with all virtue!
Rejoice, for thou didst follow the kindness and devoutness of thy blessed mother!
Rejoice, for she set thee an unspoiled example of love and utter self-sacrifice!
Rejoice, for we all wonder at the courage with which thou didst begin to fight the good fight!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 4
Called to battle to defend thy country from the unbelievers, O Father, thou didst shine forth in thy boundless courage. For, wholly forsaking the love of self, thou didst ever seek to be amidst peril, in order to spare those that fought together with thee. And seeing this, they all thanked God for such support, saying: Alleluia!

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (source)
Ikos 4
O Blessed Father, thou didst use the war as a means of sanctification, for thou didst unceasingly grow in love beyond passion, sacrificing thy soul for the sake of thy friends. And thus thou didst win immortal crowns from Christ our God, Who makes Himself a hundredfold reward for all sacrifice. Understanding this, we too hasten to bring words like these to praise thee:
Rejoice, for thou wast a wonderful example of utter self-sacrifice in battle!
Rejoice, for thou didst utterly scorn this earthly life, thus earning heavenly life!
Rejoice, for thou didst not lose thy piety in the dread perils which thou didst endure!
Rejoice, for through the greatness of thy soul, thou didst make thyself a light of sanctification to those around thee!
Rejoice, for thou didst help in and out of season all in trouble and sorrow!
Rejoice, for thou didst utterly overcome human fear, arming thyself with iron courage!
Rejoice, for fighting against the enemies of thy country, thou didst also secretly fight against the enemies of Thy soul!
Rejoice, for although thou didst wish to die in place of thy friends, God shielded thee as His most beloved one!
Rejoice, for through the wonderful power of thy soul, thou didst show us also the path to perfection!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 5
With burning zeal thou didst forsake the world, O Father, and wholly dedicate thyself to Christ, joining the army of monks, who unceasingly struggle to overcome their nature. And in a short time thou didst become an angel in the flesh, wholly clothing thyself in Him, to Whom we too humbly sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 5
Thou didst withdraw to the blessed desert of Sinai in order to serve Christ, O Blessed Father, and overcoming the lusts of the world, thou didst become perfect man, shining forth with all virtue and burning with true love for God, Who through thee bestowed on us the abundance of His mercy. Therefore, despite our unworthiness, we too thank thee, saying:
Rejoice, angelic man, for thou didst reckon all worldly lusts as vanity!
Rejoice, for thou didst strive for three years in the harsh desert of Sinai!
Rejoice, for unknown by all, thou didst live there in a hidden cave, enduring heat and frost!
Rejoice, for there thou didst fight unto blood against all desires!
Rejoice, for through thy great meekness, thou hast utterly defeated the cunning demons!
Rejoice, for thou didst wash from thyself all the filth of sin, becoming a true light of Christ!
Rejoice, for thou didst begin to pray with fervent tears for the whole world!
Rejoice, for seeing thy overwhelming sacrifice, God filled thee with gifts beyond nature!
Rejoice, for in thy narrow cave, thou wast vouchsafed countless revelations of divine grace!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 6
After fighting the good fight in Sinai, O Father, thou wast called by the Mother of God to her earthly garden, the Holy Mount of Athos, the blossom and light of Orthodoxy. And foreseeing there the place of thy perfection, thou didst thank the Most Holy Queen for her wondrous protecting veil, with which she unceasingly shieldeth the whole world from troubles and sufferings; and with joy thou didst sing to her Son the sweet song: Alleluia!

Ikos 6
Arriving on the Holy Mountain and taken to many places by the grace of God, thou didst ascend the ladder of holiness, O Blessed Father, like a wise bee gathering from everywhere the sweetest spiritual nectar. And afterward thou didst become the son of Father Tikhon, the Spirit-bearing Elder who was full of virtue and whom thou didst follow in absolute obedience. Therefore, with feeble voices we sing to thee thus:
Rejoice, for God foreordained glorification for thee on blessed Mount Athos!
Rejoice, for He entrusted thee to the care of His Most Pure Mother, Who guarded thee as Her beloved son!
Rejoice, for overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, thou didst wander over the whole Mountain, seeking out fathers of holy life!
Rejoice, for thou didst wonder at their unceasing prayers, through which God sheddeth His mercy on the whole world!
Rejoice, for thou didst strive to write their lives too, for the glory of God and the profit of men!
Rejoice, for afterward thou didst become the disciple of Blessed Father Tikhon, the one perfect in holiness!
Rejoice, for thou didst serve him with endless love, in all things trusting in his wise guidance!
Rejoice, for seeing thy utter obedience, God also gave thee the gift to abide in thy holy father!
Rejoice, for after his repose, Blessed Tikhon revealed to thee that he would pray for thee unceasingly!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 7
Perfecting thyself in absolute love, thou didst make thyself a tool of God, Who began to work through thee with great power. For He made thee a comfort for all those that were troubled and a guide for those that were darkened in sin. We all thank God, O Father, for He gave thee to us for our salvation, and we sing to Him thus: Alleluia!

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (source)
Ikos 7
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father that is in heaven, said the Saviour of the world with true voice. For in thee too, O Father, his word was fulfilled with all power. Therefore we praise thee too, saying:
Rejoice, thou who hast taught the world through books enlightened by the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, thou who through words of great profit hast dispelled the ignorance of our times!
Rejoice, trumpet of the Spirit, who heralded to all the joy of repentance!
Rejoice, wondrous prophet, who showed us that we live in the end times!
Rejoice, merciful healer of all diseases which cannot be healed!
Rejoice, precious carer for all whose souls are burdened with sorrows!
Rejoice, godly oil, that hast cleansed all our wounds!
Rejoice, heavenly peace, that hast brought so many broken families back together!
Rejoice, skilful guide, that hast removed all devilish snares from among the people!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 8
Seeing the terrible struggle conducted by the enemy of salvation against the family blessed by God, thou didst gird thyself with the weapon of the word, teaching spouses that only patience, long-suffering, forbearance and self-sacrifice with love can ensure the peace of their homes. Unceasingly we glorify God for sending thee, O Blessed Father, to show us the right way, and we sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 8
Give me Christian mothers and I will give you saints to change the world, said the godly Chrysostom. And touched by this truth, thou didst ever struggle with prayers and advice, showing faithful spouses that peace in the family is fruit of the Holy Spirit, and that they must wisely strive for this. We all thank thee for thine effort to bring healing to our families, so cruelly struck by temptations, saying:
Rejoice, intercessor before God for the harmony of those in married life!
Rejoice, for the faithful spouses whom thou didst advise to live in moderation and holiness!
Rejoice, for thou didst teach them lovingly and unselfishly to bear one another’s weaknesses!
Rejoice, for thou didst show the parents that through prayer the grace of God descendeth on the whole family, bringing peace and happiness!
Rejoice, for thou didst struggle against all sins, seeing them as the cause of the falling apart of families!
Rejoice, for thou didst make thyself an unyielding reprover of the horrible slaughter of infants!
Rejoice, for thou didst tell faithful mothers that through the example of their lives they can turn their children into saints!
Rejoice, for thou didst show the young that through obedience they attract the mercy of God and a peaceful life!
Rejoice, for thou didst beseech them to earn their parents’ blessing, through which cometh also the blessing of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 9
Let us now joyfully praise Paisius, our intercessor, who through his heartfelt prayers miraculously healed all our sufferings, both in body and soul. And let us sing with thanksgiving to God, Who is glorified in the Holy Trinity: Alleluia!

Ikos 9
O Father, thou didst make thyself the healer of all diseases through the gift given to thee by God. For burning with love and pity for those tormented by afflictions, thou didst selflessly pray for their relief, teaching them to thank God for all things. We all praise thee with one voice, saying:
Rejoice, strong weapon against the horrible disease of cancer!
Rejoice, tireless carer for those that suffer in terrible pain!
Rejoice, wellspring of healing, in which all those wounded in soul refresh themselves!
Rejoice, banisher of demons, for with thy meekness thou didst crush all the wickedness and tyranny of the devil!
Rejoice, most merciful father, for thou couldst not bear to see the people crushed under the weight of their sufferings of body and soul!
Rejoice, for on account of this thou didst take upon thyself all our troubles and sorrows!
Rejoice, for thou didst selflessly pray that God might give thee our weaknesses!
Rejoice, for thou didst teach us that all sorrows come through straying from God and His commandments!
Rejoice, thou who hast shown us that the reward for those that suffer with patience and glorify God is ineffable!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 10
The Lord and Saviour of the world promised a great reward to those that would strive in righteousness for the perfection of others. And though a simple monk and unlearned in worldly things, thou, O Blessed Father, wast gifted with wisdom by the Spirit of the Lord Himself, to guide thousands on the path of salvation. Unto now thou prayest for them to God, to Whom with joy we too sing: Alleluia!

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (source)
Ikos 10
On account of thy complete virtue, God adorned thee with gifts beyond nature, which thou didst use for His glory and the profit of men. For thou didst make thyself a father of countless believers, who, beset by the terrible temptations of our times, sought thee as a heavenly haven. And therefore we ask thee to accept us too among thy spiritual children and allow us to sing with thanksgiving to thee thus:
Rejoice, for thou didst teach the people to struggle against the evil thoughts sown in their minds by the enemy of our salvation!
Rejoice, for shining with the gift of discernment, thou didst at once reveal to thy sons whether their thoughts were from God or from the devil!
Rejoice, for by the grace of God thou knewest the depths of the hearts of men!
Rejoice, for having great wisdom, thou hast brought to naught all the cunning snares of the evil one!
Rejoice, for thou didst bring many to repentance through thine unfeigned love!
Rejoice, for thou didst make thyself a wise reproof of the proud and stubborn!
Rejoice, for thou wast a tender caress for those in despair and overwhelmed by temptations!
Rejoice, for thou didst weep unceasingly for all that looked to thee as a true hope of salvation!
Rejoice, for on the day of judgement thou shalt say to God with sweet joy: Behold I and the children that Thou hast given me!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 11
Becoming a perfect monk, O Father, and full of the grace of God, thou didst make thyself the steadfast hope of the unconsoled souls of those who desired to dedicate themselves wholly to Christ. And in thy gifts they all saw in thee a guide enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Therefore we praise God, Who did not deprive His flock of shepherds of holy life, saying: Alleluia!

Ikos 11
Thou didst found a convent in Souroti, where thy finest spiritual daughters would dedicate themselves to Christ the Bridegroom with great love. And then thou didst lead them to perfection through thy most wondrous counsel, as a loving and long-suffering father, who is to us also an undeceiving guide. Therefore we all bless thee, saying:

Rejoice, for thou didst found the convent of Saint John the Theologian in Souroti!

Rejoice, for this became a haven of salvation for souls that thirsted for Christ!

Rejoice, for thou didst strive in and out of season to make the nuns into perfect brides of our Lord!

Rejoice, for thou didst teach them true monastic life, signifying to forsake the world and its lusts!

Rejoice, for thou didst strive unceasingly to kindle their zeal for blessed asectic feats!

Rejoice, for thou didst guide them to frequent confession of sins, through which all the devil’s works are utterly despoiled!
Rejoice, for thy counsel fell on fruitful earth and refreshed the whole world!
Rejoice, for thou didst struggle diligently against the spirit of this world, which doth terrible harm to monastic life!
Rejoice, for through thy courage and love thou didst make thyself an example of spiritual victory for all monks!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 12
Great was the grace of God on thee, O Blessed Father, and also His great mercy, for on account of thy great self-sacrifice, the Almighty vouchsafed thee wonderful revelations and joys beyond belief. We too rejoice, seeing the reward that God giveth His saints, and we beg Him to make us too partakers thereof and we sing to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 12
Even from this earth, O Father, thou didst taste of the joys of heaven, prepared by our All-Merciful God for all that serve Him with love. For although the struggles which the evil one conducted against thee were terrible, so much greater were the consolations through which God strengthened thee in virtue. Therefore, in humble praise, we sing to thee:

Rejoice, all-sweet light, through which Christ shineth forth to the whole world!

Rejoice, wonderful flame that thou kindlest in us with the love of God!

Rejoice, for thou didst make thyself the perfect abode of heavenly grace!

Rejoice, for in thee it bore all the fruits of holiness!

Rejoice, for God overwhelmed thee with His gifts beyond nature!

Rejoice, for thou didst taste of everlasting and uncreated light!
Rejoice, for thou didst live with the Saints as with thy close friends!
Rejoice, for the Most Gracious Mother of our Lord appeared to thee to strengthen thee in sorrows!
Rejoice, ineffable wonder, for thou wast vouchsafed to speak to Christ Our Lord and God Himself!
Rejoice, Blessed Father Paisius, enlightener of the latter times!

Kontakion 13
Thou, O Father, didst say with words enlightened by the Holy Spirit that many saints would have desired to live in our times, in order to strive for salvation. For Thou didst herald to us, who live in darkness, that the time is almost ready and that those that now struggle valiantly to win their salvation will receive a martyr’s reward. For this we thank God, Who with mercy looked on His people, sending His Saint for our enlightenment, and thus with voices of joy we gladly sing to our All-Gracious Master the song: Alleluia!

This Kontakion is read 3 times.
And then again Ikos 1: God ordained that thou wast born ... and Kontakion 1: Let us believers with one voice all praise...Then this:

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (source)
Prayer to our Blessed Father Paisius the Athonite
O beloved Father Paisius, thou that didst ascend the rungs of holiness and become perfect in virtue, therefore gaining boldness before our Merciful God, do thou pray to Him, Whom thou didst serve unceasingly all thy life, not to let us perish for the multitude of our sins, but to turn us back to blessed repentance. Thou, who on earth didst heal with such love our countless weaknesses, diseases both of body and soul, canst all the more now deliver us from all sufferings. So do thou have mercy on us, O Father, through thy immeasurable love and godly kindness, not forsaking us that are full of sins.
Do thou, who didst never tire of guiding us to salvation and bearing our weaknesses whilst thou wast here with us, now grant us too the wisdom to overcome the temptations which the wicked devil doth ever weave around us and through which he would destroy our souls for eternity. Enlighten us to know the will of God for us and pray to the Master that He might give us power to fulfill it with thanksgiving. Do thou, who didst set an unwavering example of courage and self-sacrifice, strengthen us also to follow Thy virtue, that we may win an everlasting crown, of which thou thyself wast found most worthy. Thus, O Father, do not forsake us, who ceaselessly anger our long-suffering God, but rather stand with boldness before His throne, interceding for us with tears, that God may give us for thy sake most dear salvation. And thus, thanking thee with all our heart for all that thou hast done and still doest for us, let us also thank our Most Gracious God, Who is glorified in the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen!

St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain (+1994) (source)

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

My Spiritual Deception ( Father Seraphim Rose )

Having recently discovered that throughout much of my Christian life I was involved with "spiritual deception," I find it necessary now to seek ways to fully understand and totally reject this error.
My deception began with a well meaning pastor at the United Methodist Church where I grew up. I asked him, "Why are there so many different religions? How can we say that the Christian way the the best way?" His answer was, "There are many paths to God. Ours is the most direct and easiest path." He did not know how to answer this question from a true Christian perspective and advise me of the struggle that I would necessarily face. I now know that what he taught me was a serious deception. It is very clear now that the other paths will not lead to a God-oriented spiritual life and union with God. They only lead one to a life of self-satisfaction and greater pride. Jesus Christ came after these early attempts to reach God which were inadequate and showed all mankind how to gain union with God. He showed us the need for extreme humility in our relationship with God. He showed us a path that involves purifying ourselves and continually struggling against many things, yet relying on God's will. I discovered that the path He opened for us is not an easy path. It is a difficult one along which we are easily deceived by seeking pleasures though various forms of meditation, yoga and others activities, taught by well meaning teachers from other eastern religions who have not discovered for themselves the way of Jesus Christ.
I now know this from experience, having experimented with Vedanta, a Hindu religion, Buddhism, and Eastern forms of meditation. Regrettably, I even led an effort to find the "universal principles" of all religions and then set up a organization (formally organized as a church under IRS rules, no less) to teach this to others. Oh, how easily we are deceived by psychic level religious experiences which only serve to boost our pride and our sense of self-sufficiency.
Through this experience, I learned that it is essential to recognize that we are engaged in spiritual warfare as Saint Paul so clearly tells us. In my youth I was never prepared for this battle by being properly instructed in the spiritual disciplines. I didn't appreciate the power of the Sacraments that Christ initiated for us to help us in this battle. Growing up Methodist, communion was symbolic. It was grape juice and a wafer symbolizing the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Powerless when compared to the actual Blood an Body of Jesus Christ that is offered in the Orthodox Church for remission of sins and eternal life in union with Him. I faced many such deceptions along the path. Fortunately, I have a very strong guardian angel that kept me on a path seeking God and who taught me the Jesus Prayer in the midst of these deceptions. It was this prayer that protected me and led me back to Orthodoxy.
Seraphim Rose saw this attitude I experienced as one that permeates much of Christianity today. He wrote on this sad condition of "Christians" in his book, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future. Here is an excerpt.

The life of self-centeredness and self-satisfaction lived by most of today's "Christians" is so all-pervading that it effectively seals them off from any understanding at all of spiritual life; and when such people do undertake "spiritual life," it is only as another form of self-satisfaction. This can be seen quite clearly in the totally false religious ideal both of the "charismatic" movement and the various forms of "Christian meditation": all of them promise (and give very quickly) an experience of "contentment" and "peace." But this is not the Christian ideal at all, which if anything may be summed up as a fierce battle and struggle. The "contentment" and "peace" described in these contemporary "spiritual" movements are quite manifestly the product of spiritual deception, of spiritual self-satisfaction––which is the absolute death of the God-oriented spiritual life. All these forms of "Christian meditation" operate solely on the psychic level and have nothing whatever in common with Christian spirituality. Christian spirituality is formed in the arduous struggle to acquire the eternal Kingdom of Heaven, which fully begins only with the dissolution of this temporal world, and the true Christian struggler never finds repose even in the foretastes of eternal blessedness which might be vouchsafed to him in this life; but the Eastern religions, to which the Kingdom of Heaven has not been revealed, strive only to acquire psychic states which begin and end in this life.
From Orthodoxy and the Future by Seraphim Rose, pp 187-188Some of my friends will think this is a bit harsh and it is not my intent to condemn those who sincerely seek union with Jesus Christ no matter what their form of Christianity is. But I can say without a doubt, that we can be deceived as I know I was. For me, I found the fullness of the Truth in the Orthodox Church where the sacramental life is emphasized and practiced with regularity. It was in the context of the Orthodox Church that I found I could surrender and then seek, not my own way, but instead follow the way the Church sets out for all of us.

Father Seraphim Rose