"More and more often it seems to me that reviving the monasticism that everybody so ecstatically talks about at least trying to revive it can be done only by liquidating first of all the monastic institution itself, i.e., the whole vaudeville of klobuks [monastic hoods], cowls, stylization, etc. If I were a starets an elder I would tell a candidate for monasticism roughly the following:
"get a job, if possible the simplest one, without creativity (for example as a cashier in a bank);
"while working, pray and seek inner peace; do not get angry; do not think of yourself (rights, fairness, etc.). Accept everyone (coworkers, clients) as someone sent to you; pray for them;
"after paying for a modest apartment and groceries, give your money to the poor; to individuals rather than foundations;
"always go to the same church and there try to be a real helper, not by lecturing about spiritual life or icons, not by teaching them but with a 'dust rag' (cf. St. Seraphim of Sarov). Keep at that kind of service and be in church matters totally obedient to the parish priest;
"do not thrust yourself and your service on anyone; do not be sad that your talents are not being used; be helpful; serve where needed and not where you think you are needed;
"read and learn as much as you can; do not read only monastic literature, but broadly (this point needs more precise definition);
"if friends and acquaintances invite you because they are close to you go; but not too often, and within reason. Never stay for more than one and a half or two hours. After that the friendliest atmosphere becomes harmful.
"dress like everyone else, but modestly, and without visible signs of a special spiritual life;
"be always simple, light, joyous. Do not teach. Avoid like the plague any 'spiritual' conversations and any religious or churchly idle talk. If you act that way, everything will be to your benefit.
"do not seek a spiritual elder or guide. If he is needed, God will send him, and will send him when needed;
"having worked and served this way for ten years no less ask God whether you should continue to live this way, or whether change is needed. And wait for an answer: it will come; the signs will be 'joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.' "