Hesychia in Daily Life

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Hesychia means silence. This is important as it is in silence that we commune with God most easily. Silence is not just about being in a quiet pace, but having a mind that is empty of worldly thoughts. Elder Paisios tells us that silence is very helpful in spiritual life.

He writes,

It’s good for one to set aside some part of the day in which to maintain quiet. He should examine himself in order to recognize his passions and struggle to overcome them and thus purify his heart.

Now the challenge is how to do this in the busy world we live in each day. First you need a place where you can become calm and not be interrupted. It is in silence that you can carryout your spiritual duties of prayer and study. Some, like Elder paisios, recommend that you engage in spiritual reading prior to prayer and this warms the soul and lifts the mind to a spiritual realm. This is especially helpful if you live a life with many distractions during the day, constantly multitasking. Just two minutes of study of a spiritual message is enough to lift you mind towards things spiritual. Once you feel the warmth of the spirit in your soul then you begin your prayers based on a rule you have established with your spiritual father.

Many people say, this is only possible for monks who leave this busy world. But this is not true. There are many lay people who live very spiritually. You will find many in any Orthodox parish who fast, attend the prayer services, say the Jesus prayer, go to Church on Sundays, take Holy Communion regularly, even though they may have children or grandchildren and a busy job. They make time for silence each day and give priority to worship. They try to live a simple life focusing on the basic needs of themselves and their family.

Paisios writes,

How simple spiritual life is! If one comes to love God, if one comes to recognize His great sacrifice and His good works, and if one exerts himself, with discernment, in imitation of the saints, he will be quickly sanctified It is enough that he be humbled, that he be conscious of his own wretchedness and his tremendous ingratitude towards God.

by Fr.Dn.Charles Joiner

Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life, pg 166.