Remaining Tranquil

From The Mystical Marriage: Spiritual Life According to St. Maximos the Confessor, pp. 89-90

“We should be careful not to disturb or upset our relations with others, even a little. We should not allow ourselves to be swayed by how much we like or don’t like a person, which indicates the degree to which our stance is dependent on that person. For example, someone might speak to me rudely, and I ignore him. Or someone else might speak to me kindly, and I turn and embrace him. In both cases, my responses are determined by the other person, which means that at any moment I can be troubled, become angry, lose my inner peace, or otherwise be thrown off balance, because I have no control over what people will say or do to me. Thus if our relations with those around us are not well-balanced, we should know that ‘we are of the flesh,’ all the more so if we harbor anger or animosity toward another person. We can never be justified if our relations with others are darkened even by the smallest cloud….

Let me, then, be someone without interests so that for me only God exists. Let me not indulge the impulses of my ego and project them into every situation. When I sense this happening, I will not act on its demands. In this way I will remain tranquil no matter what is going on around me; I will know true joy, and not the impulsive and hollow responses of happiness and sorrow triggered by fleeting and ever-changing circumstances. I will not allow everyday events to upset me or leave their impressions on my soul. I will do my work, perform my duties, go about my business with integrity, but I will not become attached to my job or career. I will give it the time it needs, I will work under God’s watchful eyes, knowing that it is simply something God has given me to do. I won’t mind if things change, or if I am told to do something else in the monastery, or if I have to find another job. None of these things will disturb my inner peace. Instead, I will be turned always toward God, and I will do all things well, without, however, becoming attached to them.”

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