Patristic Tradition

The trust in your own thoughts is the beginning of delusion ( 28.03.2009 )

- Elder, when I get angry, I become like a hurricane, I can’t restrain myself?

- Why can’t you restrain yourself?

- Because I trust my thought.

- Then, in this case you have your own “Creed…”, your own “Symbol of Faith!”… and it is your egoism to be blamed for. Do not justify your thought. You should reject the foolish thought, not to accept it.

- And, how should I know whether a thought is foolish or not?

- Eh, if you do not know that, confide such thought to your abbess, and you will deny your foolish thought by obeying every word she will tell you. And, when the spiritual man trusts to his thought, it’s the beginning of delusion. The intellect becomes darkened by the pride, and he may fall down into delusion. It is better for him then to become insane, because the punishment will be milder then.


- But Elder, isn’t it there any chance for getting help from the others?

- To receive help from others in such condition, the one will have to help himself first. He must understand that the trust in the thought suggesting that, for instance, he is the best in the world, that he’s some holy man or whatsoever, is a delusion in a fact. Such thought does not go even under a weapon threat, as the man is keeping it himself. Sometimes, they ask me to pray in such cases. However, how can I pray, when the man has the devil’s wick, and such wick will burn again? It’s like as someone holds a detonator of a mine in the hand, asking you to help him to stay alive when the mine explodes!


Cherishing the good thoughts


- Elder, do the good thoughts come alone to me, or should I cherish them?

- You have to cherish them. You must follow your own self, always to examine yourself when the enemy imposes bad thoughts and try to get rid of them and replace them with good ones, instead. When you fight in a way like this, then you will develop your good will. Then God, as He realises your good will, will help you, so that the bad thoughts won’t find place in you. They will go away, and then you will naturally have only good thoughts. You will be used to good, the goodness will enter your heart, and then you’ll receive Christ in you. However, this cannot be achieved in one day. It is necessary to fight constantly, and time to pass in such a fight, so that your soul deserves the victorious wreath. And then, the battle is won forever, because battles are expression of our inner disorder, which the enemy propaganda knows how to use for its benefit.


- Elder, when comes the purification of the mind and heart?

- I’ve told you already, that in order to purify his mind and his heart, the one must nor have bad thoughts imposed by the devil to him, neither he himself should think evil. He must strive to have good thoughts always, not to tempt easy and to look at the sins of the others in a gentle manner and with love. And when the good thoughts has been multiplied, the man’s soul enlightens, he acts with devotion, he becomes more humble and his life turns to heaven. In opposite, he looks with distrust to everything, and his life surely turns to hell. So, the one makes his own life to be the hell.

We must be prepared to suffer to reach the purification. We may be aware of the evil in us, but that’s not enough. If, besides that we do not accept bad thoughts and we do not have bad thoughts, we as well have good thoughts for everything we hear or see, both our mind and heart will be purified. Of course, the devil who is trialling us won’t stop sending us his bad telegraphic message. Because, even as we free ourselves from all the bad thoughts, the attacks of the devil will continue, but they do not have any influence to us, because our heart is purified.


- Elder, does the prayer help in purification of the mind?

- The prayer is not enough. When someone fumigates kilograms of incense when praying, while his mind is full of bad thoughts for the others, what is the use of that, then? The telegraphic message comes from the mind down to heart, and makes a beast from the man. God wants us to have “clean heart”, and our heart is clean only if we do not let any bad thoughts for the others to pass through our mind. 


Elder Paisios from Mount of Athos