Not too many years ago, a young monastic aspirant went to Mount Athos. In talking with the venerable Abbot of the monastery where he wished to stay, he told him, 'Holy Father! My heart burns for the spiritual life, for ascetism, for unceasing communion with God, for obedience to an Elder. Instruct me, please, holy Father, that I may attain to spiritual advancement.' Going to the bookshelf, the Abbot pulled down a copy of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. 'Read this, son,' he said. 'But Father!' objected the disturbed aspirant. 'This is heterodox Victorian sentimentality, a product of the Western captivity! This isn't spiritual; it's not even Orthodox! I need writings which will teach me spirituality!' The Abbot smiled, saying, 'Unless you first develop normal, human, Christian feelings and learn to view life as little Davey did—with simplicity, kindness, warmth, and forgiveness—then all the Orthodox 'spirituality' and Patristic writings will not only be of no help to you—they will turn you into a spiritual monster and destroy your soul'.
från Kyriacos Markides "The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality", s. 194-195.