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The invisible life of the soul

By Fr. Andreas Agathokleous

We live among people who are imperfect, with lots of passions and faults which are likely to irritate us enormously and make us upset. But we can’t change the way they behave, particularly their negative attitude towards us. Nobody changes their own disposition unless they want to.

We can see this from ourselves. We might not express our anger, our discontent, our ill-will, our rejection and any other negativity we feel towards another person, and this can be effective, even if it involves repression of these feelings. But no-one can say that we can’t have them in our heart, nobody can forbid it, and no-one can make us any different, unless we wish to be so.

The notion that other people are affected only by what’s expressed as actions and behavior seems not to be entirely true. Because there’s the mystic world of our soul which also affects people and things and has a positive or negative impact, whether we recognize this or not.

If our soul is under the sway of jealousy, envy, distrust, hatred, or sheer dislike of someone, they’ll sense it in their own soul as if they’re being washed over by ‘negative’ waves, which, naturally, upsets them and destroys their peace of mind. On the other hand, when our soul transmits love, empathy, forgiveness, accompanied by prayer, the other person is mystically on the receiving end of ‘a good force proceeding from us, going to our brother or sister, healing and reviving them’, says Saint Porfyrios. In the end, we don’t transmit to others what we say or do, but who we are: antipathetic or sympathetic.

Saint Porfyrios says: ‘There’s an invisible life, the life of the soul. It’s very powerful and can affect others, even if they’re thousands of miles away. This can be through a curse, which has the force to activate evil. But again, if we pray with love for someone, no matter how far away we are, goodness is transmitted. So, good and evil aren’t affected by separation. We can send them over boundless distances. And we can send good or evil without even speaking, no matter how far away we are from another person. What isn’t expressed often has more force than words’.

In the world of shop-windows and advertisements, the true Church of Christ (as experienced by the saints, those ‘non-existent’ people of God, humble and simple, no matter what their position in society), promotes the mystic and invisible experience which consists of burning love for God. Just as making too much of human feelings of ardor leads to sexual license, so too, making public a mystical, sacramental relationship with Christ leads to lies, hypocrisy and thence to its obliteration.

Real life is lived in the depths of our heart, as is our hell and our paradise. That is where the battle is fought between our good and wicked self. That is where we reject or accept God and our neighbor. And that’s where our journey to eternity begins.