A quote from Saint Isaac the Syrian (pictured above):
Do not seek the advice of him that is not thy fellow in behaviour, though he be very prudent. A layman who has experienced things is more to be trusted than a sage who speaks on the basis of theoretical knowledge but without experience.
What is experience? Experience is not this that a man goes and touches things, without acquiring knowledge concerning their advantages and their defects and without remaining with them during a certain time. How often the faces of things give the impressions of defect, whereas within them is found matter full of advantages. In the same way are to be judged things of the opposite aspect.
This is one message that has gotten through to me, loud and clear — with many thanks to Jeffrey.
Speculation and blind adherence to dogma are one thing.
The words of the wise who have attained through rigorous and skillful practice… this is quite another thing.
There seems to be a gathering malaise in the world, with unemployment climbing, banks failing, wars raging… and this set of circumstances reflects back into our individual lives, even if things remain fairly stable in our immediate environment.
There is a spiritual concept known as the Dark Night of the Soul which places the inevitable difficulties of life into a “higher” perspective.
I thought I’d discuss it over at the new place, if you’d like to check it out. Please comment if you feel inspired to do so!