Sometimes it happens that on the spiritual path a certain sense of everyday life arises - there is no progress, nothing changes, we do not feel the expansion of consciousness, liberation from illusions and the transformation of our own personality. In fact, such moments happen quite often, and their danger is that it is precisely in such periods that many leave the spiritual path. Whether this is the lack of motivation or some kind of karmic obstacles that do not let a person go further is not so important, because there can be many reasons. How to overcome such periods of melancholy, laziness and stagnation in practice?
Writings about the life of the great yogis, practitioners, saints, ascetics, and simply worthy people who should be imitated in something can come to the aid. One such example is the life path of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
The life of Seraphim of Sarov
"Rev." is the name of the so-called face of holiness, or the category to which Seraphim of Sarov is assigned. What does it mean? That is, one who has become "similar." The question arises: similar to whom? The category of reverends includes those who, through their monastic activity, tried to be like Jesus Christ and achieved certain successes in this. So was Seraphim of Sarov.
Seraphim of Sarov was born in 1754 in Kursk, in a wealthy merchant family. It would seem that not the most ideal conditions in order to embark on the path of self-development. For, as historical experience shows, birth in a wealthy and influential family often leads to spoilage and inadequate worldview. One of the most striking exceptions can be considered except that the Buddha Shakyamuni, who, despite the birth of a prince, embarked on a spiritual path. But he was a Tathagata and at the time of his birth already had enormous experience and good karma, which allowed him, as they say, "to go around the edge." Apparently, the same experience from past lives and good karma allowed Serafim Sarovsky (who at that time was called Prokhor Moshnin) to take the spiritual path. And this happened, perhaps due to a tragic event at first glance - Prokhor's father passed away very early. In the family at that time there were three children, certain difficulties began, which, perhaps, encouraged Prokhor to search for a spiritual path. This is just the case when, at first glance, a negative event, in fact, leads a person to some goal, to his path, to his destiny.Seraphim of Sarov
The years of life of Seraphim of Sarov
Already in early childhood, miracles began to occur with Prokhor (future Seraphim of Sarov), which indicated that a great soul was embodied in this body.
As a child, Prokhor fell from the high bell tower of the newly built Sergiev Kazan Cathedral. Glancing down and outweighed by the railing, he fell down with a stone. However, to the surprise of the frightened mother, she remained completely unharmed. But miracles do not end there. At the age of about 10 years old, the boy became seriously ill. The disease was so severe that everyone had almost come to terms with the fact that the boy would die. However, the Prosecutor in a dream appeared to the Mother of God and promised quick healing from the disease. Then an amazing “accident” occurred - during the procession, when the icon of the Mother of God was being carried around the city, heavy rain began, and in order to shorten the path, it was decided to carry the icon through the courtyard in which the sick boy was. Upon learning of this, the mother carried the child out and brought it to the icon. After that, the child abruptly recovered and recovered miraculously. After healing, Prokhor with great zeal began to devote time to reading and even learned to write. Prokhor became increasingly interested in spiritual life, and in 1774 he made a pilgrimage to the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, where he was blessed to receive monastic tonsure. After that, he went to the monastery, which was indicated to him by the old man Dosifei, who gave a blessing. This monastery was the Holy Assumption Sarov Desert. Two years later, he became a novice in this monastery, and in 1786 he took monastic tonsure and received his new name - Seraphim.
In 1794, after receiving the rank of hieromonk, he began to lead an ascetic hermit life outside the monastery, settling in a cell a few kilometers from him.
Exercising asceticism, Seraphim walked all year round in the same clothes and ate what nature gave him. For two and a half years, Seraphim ate one grass growing in the forest - duster. It is interesting that modern "gurus" of nutritionists who preach a "varied" diet with the calculation of calories, vitamins and trace elements would say this. Seraphim, fortunately, did not know all this and lived in the forest in perfect harmony with nature: animals came to Seraphim, whom he fed with bread. Among the animals there was even a bear who ate calmly right from the hands of the saint. This, by the way, is a vivid example of what happens to a person when he ceases to show violence both at the physical level and at the level of the mind. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras clearly state that adhering to the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) leads to the manifestation of certain supernormal abilities - it is impossible to manifest violence and aggression to a person who observes ahimsa at the highest level. And the example of Seraphim of Sarov is a vivid confirmation of this. Seraphim spent all his time studying the gospel, prayers, and other spiritual practices. For example, Seraphim of Sarov spent a thousand days on a stone boulder, practicing the practice of pillarwork (continuous prayer).
However, like every saint and ascetic, Seraphim of Sarov had negative karma from past incarnations, which, undoubtedly, should have manifested itself. The fact is that if a person has negative karma, then, like ballast in a balloon, it will not allow him to move up. But it is worth noting that the Universe is rational and always contributes to our development, therefore, in the life of spiritual practitioners, negative karma manifests itself in the most accelerated way to allow a person to move along the path of spiritual development. And once this negative karma in the life of Seraphim of Sarov manifested itself in a meeting with robbers. The robbers, inspired by rumors that wealthy visitors came to Seraphim, decided, just think, rob the monastic cell. They brutally beat Seraphim, who did not even resist, because he understood the laws of this world and, obviously, took it as a manifestation of personal negative karma. The robbers, of course, did not find anything in the cell and fled.
However, the miracle reappeared, and the Seraphim, despite the broken skull, survived, however, remained hunched over. The robbers were soon caught, but Seraphim, obviously realizing that this was a manifestation of negative karma, and the robbers in this case are just an instrument of retribution, forgave them and ordered them to be released.Seraphim of Sarov
This is a vivid example of how to perceive negative events in your life. Everything that is manifested in it is the consequences of our actions in the past, and such great saints as Seraphim of Sarov understand this perfectly. Therefore, they do not even strive to restore some kind of illusory and subjective "justice", realizing that this world is already perfect, and justice is already present in it. And, since everything is fair in this world, soon the fruits of the acts of the robbers returned to them too: under strange circumstances, they burnt down their houses, after which they realized some things in this life and came to Seraphim themselves, begging them to forgive and pray earnestly for them. Again, it is worth paying attention to the fact that, as a result of seemingly unpleasant events, all participants advanced in their development.
In 1807, Seraphim of Sarov took a vow of silence and completely ceased to contact the outside world. After three years of solitary life, he returned to the monastery, where he retired and continued his solitary life for another 15 years. After which, obviously, having already reached a very high level of spiritual realization, he, as befits a spiritual practice, began to receive visitors who came to him with their various problems, spiritual and physical. Having acquired the gift of omniscience and healing, Seraphim served the people until his death - January 2, 1833. Noble people also came to Seraphim, and there is information that even Tsar Alexander I himself visited him.
Nearly 70 years after his death, Seraphim of Sarov was ranked venerable. The Orthodox Church for a long time refused to canonize Seraphim of Sarov for the reason that she was considered an Old Believer for a number of reasons. And only in 1903, under pressure from the public and literally by personal order of Tsar Nicholas II, the church was forced to canonize Seraphim of Sarov.Seraphim of Sarov
The experience of Seraphim of Sarov
The life and spiritual exploits of Seraphim of Sarov can be a real role model for modern practitioners. His attitude to life, as well as zeal on the way, severe austerities, following the principles of accepting everything that is manifested in life, can be a useful experience for us. The life of Seraphim of Sarov is a vivid example of how two main principles of spiritual development should be combined on the spiritual path: altruism and asceticism. Performing penance without serving people does not make sense. If Seraphim of Sarov had simply taken refuge in the forest, hardly anyone would have known about him at all. And all of its development would not benefit anyone, except the bear fed to him. And if Serafim Sarovsky did not make efforts and did not practice austerities, he would also be useless to this world, since he could not reach the level of realization from which it is already possible to help others.
It is important to always keep this in mind and maintain a balance between practicing austerities and serving the world. This is the middle path, which was also mentioned by Buddha Shakyamuni, who first went to extreme penances and then realized that this was simply ineffective. But at a certain stage, solitude from society is necessary in order to get acquainted with your inner world. This is the experience of all great practitioners. But after attaining spiritual realization, one should again return to people and apply the tools that the practitioner has. Otherwise, everything is meaningless.