The primary reason to begin contemplative life in the stillness of your home is because the world constantly works to separate you from Jesus by covering and clouding your nous — that “highest part of the human creature, [the] contemplative faculty by which man is able to seek God.” (1)
Your home is the easiest and most effective place to enter full life in Christ outside the mystery of the Eucharist. We were created in the image of God, and Jesus Christ calls us to be in him every minute. To rise above the passions.
The world operates to keep the nous shrouded in caustic haze much like the Los Angeles, California, smog I remember from the 1950s — the golden age of California air pollution. On a bad smog day it was difficult to breathe, but my burning eyes were the most immediate problem. I could not keep my eyes open to see because they burned so badly. There was no escape when I was outside. Although smog was experienced in Los Angeles at least by 1900, it was not until the 1950s that smog’s cause was discovered. (2)
Although the LA smog’s source and how to prevent it are known, the spiritual darkness caused by the world on the nous has actually become worse through the centuries as a result of modernism. Contemplative life’s antipollution measures clear the nous allowing it to function properly as the faculty for experiencing spiritual truth.
When I was young in smog-filled LA, I knew it was better inside the house. In the same manner your sanctuary home is spiritual protection.
When your home becomes a cloister, your body and spirit are in the best condition for purification, illumination, and deification/unification (theosis) — the way of salvation.
(1) Vladimir Lossky. 1976. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 201.
(2) Smog in Early Los Angeles. This is an excellent record of LA smog in the 20th century. Many pictures with short descriptions. In the 1950s “Arie Haagen-Smit, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology [was the] first to recognize that ozone was the primary source of the haze. Ozone is created when partially unburned exhaust from automobiles and the hydrocarbons from oil refineries are hit by sunlight.”
COVER PHOTO CREDIT Contemplative life in stillness at home is not foreign to our true nature just as flight free from the earth is not foreign to a bird. Birds are made for flight in clean air as humans are made for holy life free from the world.