You know how the pilgrim felt saying the Jesus Prayer? That pure joy with the pain in his heart? I know that's true, because I've felt that twice. The first time it happened, I'd been walking around for hours at night in utter despair, saying the Jesus Prayer, over and over like a zombie. I wasn't expecting any mercy or anything at all, I was just completely overcome with hopelessness. Then it was like I began to rise up out of it. It was surprising. It was weird. It was completely unexpected, and when it happened, I couldn't quite believe it. I kept going up and up and up, until I was overcome with joy. I didn't know what to make of it. Everything was suddenly all right! It was amazing. Just flat out amazing. I kept walking, and then I felt that pain in my heart, like it was described... like a hot nail. It wasn't intense, so I don't think I was very far into a real state of prayer; just at the beginning. But it was still recognizably there, and I remembered the pilgrim, and I put it all together, and I almost lost it all because I got so excited. But the state persisted until I got home, and got in bed, and closed my eyes, and drifted off in the most blissful state of contentment I'd ever felt.
The next day I was so excited when I woke up. I couldn't wait to get outside and walk so I could say the Jesus Prayer again, over and over. I reached a similar state of bliss, again. Everything was beautiful, and there was nothing wrong with anything, anywhere, and everything was just indescribably joyous and beautiful and right. I spent the day like that and on into the evening, but I didn't get the pain in my heart that time.
The next day I was determined to do it again, but it never quite caught that time. After that, I just kind of forgot about it. I've tried to get that back again, but have never been able to since then. That was back in April of 2010.