Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Separation from the World

I"m thinking of "Separation from the World" today. What does that look like for an Orthodox Christian?

How does that look in your life?


I don't think I'm nearly as separated as I'd like to imagine that I am (for even in the midst of fasting I have to confess gluttony!). I'm currently reading _The Gulag Archipelago_ by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and there's that famous line about the dividing line between good and evil running straight through the center of every human heart (which I actually came across this morning on page 168!) which gives me pause to ask the question: How possible IS it for a person to truly be "separated" from the world? It seems to me that this "separation" is something internal, which will have external ramifications/manifestations.

Do I not watch movies (which I do too often, by the way) because they are distasteful to me, or because I have some externally imposed rule telling me not to watch movies? This is a "for instance"...

And as Orthodox we have the monastics as models, and we are all aware of the difference between US and THEM (while at the same time also being aware of the similarities). And the verity that the monastic struggle is certainly not an escape, but rather an intensification of the same struggle we all ought to be engaged in.

So in what directions is this "separation" growing in your life?

Perhaps my attempts at an increase in the virtue of self-discipline when it comes to dreaded house work is a beginning.

Perhaps the growing distaste for movies and TV. Perhaps my sudden and inexplicable inability to actually read novels the way I used to.

Perhaps the struggle to pray and the awareness that it IS a struggle is a beginning as well.

Perhaps the clearer hearing of that "still small voice" is a beginning. (Oh, if only I could say honestly that I have yielded to the urge to to stop what I am doing and pray each time I hear that still small voice!)

Perhaps...

Where are all these things coming from? "O Heavenly King..." it seems to me that if Solzehnitsyn is correct (and I think he is, see what St. Paul wrote in Romans 5-7), then there's never room for complacency or smugness in our repentance.

Just some thoughts. I'd love for others to weigh in.

4 comments:

Mimi said...

Very good thoughts.

Xenia Kathryn said...

Three steps forward, two steps back. That's what I always think of in terms of my own spiritual life. This used to "get me down"... the thought of losing ground and having to move back two steps. But now? I'm so thankful for that "one step forward." Clear as mud, right? :D

AR said...

Hey there, it was strange to find another Orthodox Christian named Alana as my name is not that common. And, as a chatecumen, I'm just all agog anytime I find another Orthodox Christian anyway...

So, hello. I look forward to perusing your blog further.

Jennifer F. said...

It seems to me that this "separation" is something internal, which will have external ramifications/manifestations.

I completely agree. I've also found that ever since I've been participating in the sacraments I have less and less interest in the world (e.g. I'm also experiencing a growing distaste for movies and TV). I've also noticed that every Lent helps me to take a step back. Though I return to many of my usual practices after Lent, it seems like I never go quite as far back into the world as I was before each Lent. For example, I used to read those trashy celebrity magazines all the time. I gave them up for Lent two years ago, and never picked them back up again. When I looked at them again after that 40 days they just seemed so trashy and shallow and worldly.

Anyway, great post! Interesting thoughts.