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How God Can Be Cognized/The Beginning of Work over Oneself
The Beginning of Work over Oneself
“… There is one miracle
In the beginning, it was necessary for me to try to fix by the mind and suppress my own coarse emotional states: anger, irritation, envy, greed, etc.
Also it was necessary to learn to love all beings, including those, our younger brothers and sisters, whom for some reason, humanity persistently strives to “love” as a tasty food.
Switching to killing-free nutrition was the first difficulty for me. But it did not consist in refraining from the desire to eat meat or fish at all: I in absolute calm did not eat meat and fish, when I was fasting as it is understood in Orthodoxy. The thing that was hard — to break the stereotype that it is a shame to be dissimilar from all others.
So God had to educate me, in particular, through pain: to teach me not to cause any pain to others.
For example, I was going to Moscow for shooting the film and thought: “It would be somehow inconvenient to show my new way of eating in front of everyone — because all on set are fed the same way! They certainly would not cook separately for me!”
... And the next thing I knew – is that I got ill with a temperature of 40 degrees C. The next two days, I was still trying to go to work… Later, while I was lying in a hotel room, I was thinking how inconvenient it would be to die in a foreign city: how much trouble it would be for my friends and family to deliver the corpse!… The temperature was not falling below the mark of 40 degrees and nothing could bring it down… My head was splitting from unbearable pain... I thought about my body, about that it is so close to death and that it soon will be “no place to be put”…
Finally, I realized that I had to switch unconditionally to the killing-free nutrition once and for all! And… I recovered almost immediately!
* * *
I wanted to share with someone all the things that I had understood and discovered. But I was surprised to see the total lack of interest! The true reality, which I saw on every page of Antonov’s books, did not produce any impression on my acquaintances and friends! Even those who, kind of, believed in the existence of God, were satisfied with… just remembering about His existence on “holidays” or in misfortunes, while for the rest of the time it was easier to live… without Him.
But God gave me another great gift: a friend on this Path — Maria. She was not a temporary companion: we were helping and supporting each other, and moving up the steps of the Spiritual Path…
We also had met each other at the movie studio. We worked together and sometimes exchanged books or talked about our kids… Once I gave Maria Antonov’s books and received in return Carlos Castaneda’s books with the “Teachings of Juan Matus”.
… Only a few persons, reading the books of Castaneda, could see, behind an entertaining mystical story, the real work of God with His incarnate disciples…
Maria did not only see this reality. She, while reading and rereading these books, … was waiting for the time when the Sonora desert with the Nagual* would be here, nearby. And so — she waited until this came!
Our teamwork of working on ourselves began from this point. Maria, having understood the priority of the ethical side of spiritual growth, switched to killing-free nutrition easily: as if it was always understood.
We read a lot, discussed, looked for ways to fight against our own “complexes”, against laziness, against irritability and against all other negative emotions that we could detect in ourselves.
And it greatly helped me to feel that every morning, at the same time as me, on the other side of town at 6:00 am, Maria was doing the same psycho-physical exercises as me, that were described in the books of Vladimir Antonov...
* * *
However, I modestly evaluated my successes.
God — too…
And He had to scare me a bit…
One night I woke up with the full understanding that, if I was not ready to begin serious work over myself right away, that in a very near future I would have a cancer and a painful death…
In the morning, I wrote a letter to Vladimir Antonov.
He phoned me on the second day. Although… letters never came so fast in our city…
He invited us to visit him…
When I told Maria about this invitation — her reaction was: “Is this already beginning? Oh, how scary and great!”
… We arrived in advance. There was a strong frost and wind, so we were shaking with cold and fear. We found the entrance and flat, but… we walked around the house for about half an hour: so as to arrive exactly on time, not sooner or later. Understanding that our interiors were going to appear before him without any barriers, and that all would be visible for him, as is, without any embellishments, — only thinking about it did not give us more courage.
… We rang the bell with trembling hands. The door opened… We were met by Vladimir on the threshold.
... When a stranger is accepted in embraces and kisses — then we know that we enter another world of relations: in a world where Love reigns and where we feel like we are all children of God, and that the spiritual Master should be called “thou”.
The most amazing thing that I remembered from that meeting was silence. But this silence was not awkward, it was… calm and nice.
I always felt uncomfortable because of silence in the presence of unfamiliar people. I felt a sort of tension in these situations. Here — all the tensions, all my internal “scenarios” due to the desire to look better, to behave and to speak correctly, retreated, were washed away by the soft waves of peace and quiet. There was a feeling that in the presence of this peace, we could swim, and being completely relaxed, dissolve in it.
At that time, of course, I did not possess the ability to dissolve. And so, from time to time, I emerged on the surface with some excitement — and then plunged again into the bliss of that peace.
Of course, we talked. Vladimir told me that I had “achievements” coming from a past life, that I was already living in the anahata. He said that I had developed arms of the spiritual heart and that when I was correcting the costumes of actors, the light was flowing out of my palms — that was why he paid special attention to me…
Vladimir very softly and gently touched the topic of my Orthodox upbringing and suggested leaving the narrow limits of religious ritualism. He spoke nicely about the Orthodox church and remembered his own Orthodox past. The conversation on this subject appeared for me as clarifying everything.