Some ten years ago, after reading the book Jesus Prayer: the Experience of Two Millennia, I got impressed and decided to take up this practice seriously. At that time I was interested in Orthodox Christianity only, and I considered no other trends of spiritual development, whether it was occult literature coming into fashion or diverse meditations. As I remember, I took a free day, walked from morning to evening with a wooden rosary in my hand, and muttered under my breath, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner... Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner...” Little by little, the prayer ceased to be mind-performed and descended deep inside my solar plexus area where it turned further quieter and eventually started sounding as some mysterious, subtle, musical purl from the voluminous heartfelt depth. Already at that time I distinguished between the mind-performed and the heartfelt prayer as it was indicated in the aforesaid book. And the most remarkable memory remained from an amazing feeling that once unexpectedly emerged in the chest after protracted immersion into the heartfelt prayer. It was a delight which I had never experienced before – light, subtle, balmy (this is how it could be characterized). It was a fantastic feeling which firmly convinced me that Jesus’ Prayer was totally effective, and it was possible to attain something through it. Yet, what for? This question remained unanswered for eight subsequent years because I didn’t take the time to master the prayer and switched my attention to study of religion, where I got no clear answers as to where I should go and why. No matter how I tried to get at the roots of the truth, buying and reading further more books, I was hampered by impassable jams that led away from love, freedom and grace towards sorrow, God-fearing, infringement, and a feeling of being drained. Later on I often observed such shades on the faces of monks and zealous church servants.
Despite the fact that later on I repeatedly expressed a critical attitude to church on the pages of my blog, I am very much obliged to Orthodoxy for the initial lessons that I passed while attending Christian churches. And, certainly, I endlessly thank God for not letting me stay in dark, incense-filled “prison cells” where people turn into obedient slaves, timorously whispering and begging unknown idols on icons for purely earthly things. They pray to the earthly for the earthly, which I was also submissively doing in the past. However, the purpose of this story is different.
THE ROSE FLOWER PRACTICE
Years passed, I read a lot, and once I encountered the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. There was a description of the Rose Flower practice that, in the author’s opinion, dated back to more than four millennia ago. The practice was alluring because it offered a source of happiness and achievement of specific results such as all kinds of positive changes in one’s life, in particular strengthening of one’s consciousness. It somewhat resembled Jesus’ Prayer, but, most grievously, at that time I didn’t understand how many distortions were contained in the then already popular approach to self-realization in a purely material plane. Attainment of success in the earthly life via the so-called spirituality... It was a tasty candy in a nice wrapper, but the candy was digested and left the organism, while there was not even a hint of salvation and eternal life. An outright substitution!
Let me also mention the Rose Flower practice has much in common with the Lotus Flower spiritual practice that will be described below in this article, but the key difference is that the former is aimed at the material while the latter is aimed at the spiritual.
UNFOLDING THE HEART CENTRE
Thereafter, on my way I met several touring “gurus” of martial arts, engaged in such styles as Tai Chi Quan and Qigong. Both of them, apart from basic physical and energy exercises, practiced exercises with the so-called heart centre. Those were not the most important exercises and were applied as a certain supplement to major fighting techniques, for learning which we, the interested adherents, paid cash. Nevertheless, I again came to feel the same deep inner feeling emerging somewhere in the solar plexus area, so alluring and as if calling Home.
I can’t say I thoroughly mastered those exercises, for at that time I was more interested in the fighting aspect of trainings. Yet, this trend enabled me to meet many interesting people who to a certain extent dealt with various energy practices where the concept of “unfolded heart” at times appeared.
‘TWICE BORN’ BY DMITRY MOROZOV
This marvellous book, which I encountered on my way by no accident as I now understand, plunged me into a totally different world – to the heroic age of the Mahabharata when Bodhisattva Krishna visited the earth. I can hardly explain the strange sensation I experienced while reading this truly unique book. Most importantly, its pages clearly and understandably told about the Atman concealed in the chest of every human being and not manifested in the three-dimensional world. In my case it was another evidence of the presence of something very important and top-priority inside me, although I was totally unaware how important it really was. At that, let me mention this book is very rare and hardly found on sale.
Why do I recall this? Every human consciousness needs evidence of the truthfulness of what is beyond its awareness. Probably, all of us suspect that inside us there is a hidden and mysterious element – the Soul, but “what is it?” or “who is it?” and “where is it?” – no sacred book unfortunately contains intelligible answers to these questions. Therefore, when you suddenly find such an answer, it is encouraging and urges you at least to verify it.
THE LOTUS FLOWER SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Well, finally, when I encountered the first book by Anastasia Novykh (while today we already suspect the main character of all books by this author is Rigden Djappo, hence the knowledge given therein is nothing but direct transmission), I was already somewhat prepared, and the Lotus Flower spiritual practice did not appear exotic or incomprehensible to me. My superficial “rendezvous” with it over the previous ten years quite logically got crowned with the final fruitful meeting. I already trusted this practice, unlike many other people who heard of it for the first time and started emotionally believing in it. There is surely a difference between believing for the first time and hearing at least something about a practice for a decade. Furthermore, I had a personal experience of practicing Jesus’ Prayer, and it was weighty!
Thus, not the books by A. Novykh as such hooked me up, but rather the purely practical aspect of the knowledge given in the books. I started actively performing spiritual practices. It would be beyond the point to describe changes that have taken place in my life since then, while the changes have been quite substantial and numerous. Let me just note that for the first time I realized myself having stepped on the true spiritual path on which everything was totally clear. Particularly I would like to clarify a very important point from the perspective of a practitioner who possesses a certain experience. But first let me cite an extract from Birds and a Stone by Anastasia Novykh, where in an accessible way Rigden Djappo describes the essence of Jesus’ Prayer and its difference from the Lotus Flower spiritual practice.
Let’s take Christianity, the Orthodoxy for example. In its spiritual practice, to achieve the sanctity state they use an ancient inward prayer called in Christianity “the incessant prayer”, “the sensible prayer” or “the heartfelt prayer”, but it is more famous as Jesus’ Prayer. It consists of just several words: “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, have mercy upon me.” Or a short version: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.” What this prayer basically does is that a person, continually repeating it with “the mouth, then the mind, and then the heart”, gradually plunges into the same state as achieved in the Lotus Flower. Many people achieved awakening of their soul with the help of this prayer.
The prayer is very powerful and efficient. It is described in detail in the ancient book “The Good Nature”. For people who are clever and versed in spiritual sacraments, this book is the second most important after the Gospel. There are advices and instructions of twenty-five monks describing practices by this prayer. And, though they all were recognized “saints”, only few of them actually achieved sanctity having perceived the inward prayer sacrament. These old men described the three keys of this prayer: frequent repetition of Christ’s name and addressing to him, attention to the prayer or, more simply, full concentration on it without any other thoughts, and, finally, immersion in oneself which churchmen considered a great sacrament of this prayer and called “mind joining the heart”.
In principle, it’s a religious, longer way to pure knowledge, i.e. to awakening in the Lotus Flower, to opening of the soul. Yet, in Christianity, for beginners and not for people who already follow this prayer, there are certain religious rules applied. The beginners are forbidden to practice it without proper guidance, i.e. without a living instructor. This rule is reasoned in such a way that without an instructor people uttering this prayer might “suddenly get under grip of uncontrollable mental states”.
Whereas, in fact, there’s nothing terrible there because a beginner simply practices an ordinary autogenic training, disciplining oneself, passes the very first meditation steps, learns to concentrate his or her attention on the prayer, removing all outside thoughts and gradually increasing the time of prayer performance. Thus, these stages when a beginner utters the prayer “with mouth and then with mind” is a plain hammering of it into the subconscious in order to facilitate fighting against one’s animal nature through concentration on the very prayer and thereby achieving “the purity of thoughts”.
Many people start performing this inward prayer either over a fear of “hell torments” or because of personal self-interest for the future. Although the saint men whom the prayer had really lead to opening of their own inner soul temple, warned that “fearing hell torments is the way of a slave, and desiring a reward in the Kingdom is the way of a mercenary,” saying the latter words, Sensei glanced at Max with such an unusual, penetrating look that a shiver went up and down Max’s spine. “Whereas God wants people to go to him along a filial path, i.e. to behave honestly out of love and eagerness for Him and to enjoy the salutary joining with Him in their souls and hearts”. God may be perceived only through internal pure Love. In St. John’s chapter 4, verse 18 it is mentioned, “In love there is no fear, yet perfect love banishes fear for in fear there’s tormenting; who fears is imperfect in love.” As St. Gregory the Sinaite wrote in his instructions to The Good Nature, in part 1, on page,” Sensei softly closed his eyes, recalling, “on page 119, about Jesus’ Prayer, “Love this one prayer and strive to acquire it in your heart, keep your mind not dreamy. Don’t be afraid of anything with it; for the One Who said: dare, I am, don’t fear, — is with us Himself.” “Who will be in Me, and I will be in him, will create a great fruit,” as stated in the New Testament, in St. John’s chapter 15, verse 5.
Thus, the first two stages of the prayer “with mouth and mind” are only a prelude, while the greatest sacrament, in churchmen’s opinion, is when “mind joins the heart”, when “the name of Jesus Christ, descending to the depth of one’s heart, subdues the pernicious serpent and revives the soul”, when “mind puts the prayer into heart, and the heart begins to utter it”. This is actually the transfer from the verbal to the sensual, more simply — the meditation beginning. For meditation is nothing, but working at the level of feelings without any words.
A versed person, reading The Good Nature and rejecting all religious rubbish, will understand the core of this way, and his or her eye will find the necessary. For instance, Simeon the New Theologian, describing the methods of “joining the heart” in Word 68 of The Good Nature, wrote, “You should obey the three things above all: unconcern with anything, even with blessed, and not only with unblessed and vain, or in other words disregard of everything, pure conscience in everything so as it would not condemn itself of anything, and complete impartiality so that your intention would not tend to anything.” This is the first-rate basis for opening one’s soul.
In The Good Nature, there can be found description of different ways how people who had perceived the inward prayer sacrament achieved the stage of “mind joining the heart”… Every person is special in his or her own way, each one, say, has his or her own step length... Thus, some concentrated on their heart, trying to mentally imagine how the prayer was being uttered with each heart beat. Others exercised in breathing, on the inhale pronouncing, “Lord Jesus Christ”, and on the exhale “have mercy upon me!”, again concentrating these words on the heart. Still others practiced self-contemplation. For example, St. Gregory the Sinaite mentions the following, “...bring mind from your head down to your heart and hold it there, and from there appeal with your mind and heart jointly, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me!” Hold your breath as well so as to breathe without impudence for it disperses your thoughts. If you see thoughts appearing, don’t heed them even if they are simple and kind, not only empty and impure.” Or, for instance, in the second part of The Good Nature, Nikiphoros the Monk recommends, in case one fails in such inward breathing, “... to force oneself to yell this only prayer inside instead of any other words (thoughts). Patiently remain in such deed for just some time, and an entrance to the heart will open for you through this without any doubt as we have perceived from our own experience”.
This is splendid, of course. However, they were concentrating on the heart. Therefore, those who practiced the inward prayer soon started feeling pain in this body organ. And many fell into this dangerous trap. What do I mean? A heart is a muscle, an organism engine, the soul was never inside it. Heart should work autonomously. And concentration on this organ is a tremendous risk. What kind of risk? If a person has even slightest doubts during such concentration, if he performs this prayer as an idle experiment, not changing his inner life holistically, not having made a firm decision to follow his soul, i.e. not awakening the genuine faith in God inside himself, but simply playing with it by whim of his good mood, he can easily get a nice heart attack. Nonetheless, truly spiritual people possessing steady faith, sincere, pure love for God, successfully passed even such stage, although it wasn’t painless for the heart, until they got deep inside their soul, to the solar plexus area. They felt as if their mind was descending there. And exactly from there they started to fell warmth spreading from chest all over the body and causing pleasant sensations. As saints wrote, “a light flares up which embraces you from inside with the fire of God’s Love”. More simply, the solar plexus chakran started operating, and such person felt a vibration coming out of the chest, a warm wave carrying those words from the soul depth, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” The person felt emanation of God’s Love inside and amplified this Love with subsequent concentration on it. “Blessed are those pure in heart for they will view God.” According to the dicta of Pheolipth the Metropolitan, written in part two of The Good Nature, “Having secluded externally, dare to get further inside the most internal watchtower of the soul which is the house of Christ where there’s always peace, joy and silence. Christ, the mental sun, emanates these gifts like some rays out of Him and gives them like recompense to the soul which accepts Him with faith and good nature.”
… The power of Love is certain energy. Pure concentration of it even on one’s heart will localize this power in the solar plexus one way or another.
Birds and a Stone by A. Novykh
THE LOTUS FLOWER IS A DIRECT WAY TO SALVATION!
Today I can bravely confirm these words, and no critic or religious authority can convince me of the contrary. Jesus’ Prayer is just a form or rather an echo of the ancient Lotus Flower practice, a roundabout way so to say. By not simply believing, but precisely testing the prayer and the practice, everyone who desires can practically verify this. The incessant mind-performed prayer – the heartfelt prayer is a way through mind, whereas the Lotus Flower spiritual practice from its very beginning implies rejection of any mental activity, thus banally shortening the way, if we explain this in an amateur language. As a matter of fact, why would we need any unnecessary complexities? If we look at the Bible, we can see that artificial complications have resulted in about 300 denominations in Christianity! But if we take practitioners, they all have one and the same goal – cultivation of internal Love, or accumulation of the Holy Spirit. After all, in principle, there is no major difference as to how one is accumulating that very divine Love or the deep inner feelings.
Now – attention! Here it is appropriate to present a manifest example of how deep inner feelings emerge. It’s an episode of the program The Meaning of Life: Immortality (the second interview with Igor Danilov or Rigden Djappo, in September 2015). In order not to beat about the bush, let’s feel what we, humans, should accumulate inside ourselves for achieving the much talked-about Kingdom of God, Eternal Life, salvation of the Soul, enlightenment, Nirvana, Samadhi, and so on. Ironically enough, to understand the essence one must not reread and learn volumes of religious literature, must not sweep the church yard for years or serve a “teacher”, but should only feel:
SALVATION OF THE SOUL, ENLIGHTENMENT: WHAT SHOULD ONE DO, AND HOW?
The Lotus Flower spiritual practice is based on the subtlest deep inner feeling, or rather on holding of such feeling and deepening into it. One should systematically plunge into this feeling and eventually learn to live in it. Undoubtedly, this also implies more serious internal self-improvement work that consists in control of negative emotions and thoughts. As a practitioner, I am sure on this way nothing can hamper the one who truly strives for the Spiritual World. I am further sure that everything is much easier than our consciousness pictures for us, so it is right the time to start acting and not just reflecting whether it is worth doing or not. There is no need to entreat a person who wants to go Home and who has matured. He or she just “stands up and goes”. Igor Mikhaylovich Danilov describes this very well in his sensational interviews that have turned many people upside down. Thank God!
In conclusion, I believe the www.rgdn.info online project, apart from evidence, witty remarks and exposures, should deal with more detailed studies of the fundamental human issue – salvation of the Soul. I invite analysts and all interested people to join the project, express their opinions, and share practical experiences and advices. After all, probably for the first time in the last thousand years, today we have received the clearest, most accessible and effective mechanism of achieving spiritual liberation, salvation of the Soul, or enlightenment. The Primordial Knowledge brought by Rigden Djappo or... Archangel Gabriel, Imam Mahdi, the Holy Spirit, Maitreya, Kalki Avatar, Mashiach... contains all necessary information – what should one do, how this should be done, and why!
One thing is obvious: we and our descendants will greatly benefit from such a precious experience. I kindly invite everyone to discussion!