About thinking

From the Psyche’s point of view, those who embrace this kind of prayer, must let go of thoughts. The main difficulty is not to get used to prayer, but to deny them; and this, because we tend to identify this flowing of the mind with ourselves.

  • I would like to know more about these points, how is it that we have to say goodbye to thoughts? I think that without them we would not be able to function, we would be like people with severe mental retardation.
  • I perfectly understand your objections. It happens that what we normally do cannot be called “thinking”, and in that sense, we must deny thoughts.

We must abandon any rambling way of thinking, an erroneous way of organizing our experience as we go through. We commonly call “thinking” to a certain way of labelling the phenomena perceived by our senses.

We also call thoughts to the associations that automatically happen in our mind between what we perceive and what we remember. Everything that we see receives a name from our mind and it stays permanently linked to our memory records, to what we have lived, to our personal biography. This can be seen as an interesting survival mechanism, but it certainly cannot be called “thinking”.

Strictly speaking, “thinking” is not something that we do; instead, it is something that is done, or that happens involuntarily, as the digestion of foods, breathing or the renovation of the skin cells. Likewise, inevitably, an image is generated in the mind, which is simultaneously related to what has been perceived. We never see the thing objectively, as our perception is tainted by our biography, personal projects, and themes of preferences.

This situation is part of our present human condition and, in a certain way, has to do with what is mentioned in the first chapters of the book of Genesis. This way of functioning of the mind, disconnects us from reality, preventing us from seeing what is happening and retaining us in a world with large doses of fantasy. Moreover, we have become accustomed to “live inside” these automaton processes of the mind and to identify ourselves with them.

We identify ourselves with this mental happening; Imagine that someone has the power to follow the digestive processes and to realize when the food is being dissolved and mixed with the acids inside the stomach. Now imagine that this person does this every day for the rest of his life.

This is very similar to what we do when we belief we are thinking. We think we think, but, in reality, we are being carried along by a mental digestion of the events that take place in our daily lives. When one stops living with his attentions, when one abandons the identification with these psychological processes, a new world that is unknown to us opens up.


Leave what is left

The outside shows the inside. In reality we are a unit and everything that happens in our life is closely related to what happens in the soul. Don’t we see that when our house or room is messy , this coincides with a messy mood? We have all lived it. Organizing on the outside harmonizes the forces within us and calming the mind and emotions leads us to be precise and attentive on the outside.

But the necessary background for all this is the desire for a simple life. When we manage what is necessary, everything becomes simple. Simple habits, clear behaviors and a growing freedom from circumstances are installed in our day.Avoiding complications, abandoning everything that is left over, choosing silence whenever possible, calms down the passions that separate us from God and bring us closer to the only passion that does not know disappointment, the devotion that burns in the heart.

We actually all love God very much. We do not realize much because that deep bond has been translated to us in different ways that disguise that love. But as some monks say in Philocalia: it is God himself who we look for when we are in a hurry after a certain thing, person or situation. Can we marvel at a delicious meal without remembering who cooked it ? Can we admire a landscape, a spring morning or the aroma of the humid earth without thinking about the Creator of it?

How about that person who we love so much, is it not sustained in the will of God? Who do we think looks at us through the eyes of a child or anyone else? He alone. God is truly present in every moment. He shows himself to us in everything. However we have lethargic the senses of the soul that are what allow us to perceive it from this world. How to remove the veil that opaque them?It is important to start simplifying everything. Differentiate need from desire. Slow down. Not committing ourselves to many things. And give the moments of prayer or silence the value they have. 

But we will not give real value to specific moments of prayer if we do not learn to get out of the mind and immerse ourselves in the spirit or the “nous”, that contemplative part of the soul according to the Philocalia praying. And it will be difficult to calm the mind while we remain slaves of the automatisms that govern our life.

There is a necessary understanding and a necessary attitude that open us to a new behavior. Our behavior is the result of what we carry inside. And what is it that cannot be missing inside us? The desire for God, the longing for Him, the passion to find that which never dies. It does not matter what is done, it does not matter what is to come, merging from this very moment is what counts. Abandon ourselves to what his will brings us at each step and act knowing that it is God himself who speaks to us through what happens.

From elsantonombre.org


Renewing the garden

Imagine what was a beautiful garden, which has been abandoned for years. The undergrowth took over and now covers everything. It is hard to guess where those flowering plants survive and the aromatic ones are hidden among the thistles. Everything seems lost. Where to appreciate beauty in this opulent chaos of weeds and vermin of all kinds?

Try to find a small sample of the former beauty. Search well, calmly go reviewing part by part until you find a small flower or one of those plants that you appreciated so much. So, put the general clutter aside. Put all your attention on this little wonder and little by little remove from its environment what is hindering growth. Create for her a space free of danger and that allows her to rise and let herself be caressed by the sun.

Clear its boundaries, remove dry and hardened soil and give it nutrients with pure water. It will not be bad that you also caress its leaves and that you control it avoiding that ants or insects damage it. And from there, from that small clean place he rebuilds the garden. Be patient, it will take days, months or even years. It does not matter how fast you advance but the direction you take. Who goes to her destination walks firm and you can be indifferent to the speed of the march. Establishing the purpose is the important thing and taking it as a north.

Make an effort not to let yourself be carried away by haste, this is the enemy of good work. Anxiety about the final achievement is a mirage that deceives us and ends up draining our forces. In the rest of your life areas it is the same. Apply the garden thing. The ego often deceives us by offering us big and radical goals. They can be very holy goals, but that from so high then they drop us below where we were. We have to accept that we are not special. We are a person like all the others. With our qualities, defects and peculiarities, but we are like everyone else.

Grace knows how to lead us. Attend to the heart as a criterion to decide situations in which we doubt. What is caring for the heart? Not paying much attention to the mental story about ourselves. Rather, attend to those actions that leave us warm in the heart. If we stop for a moment, if we breathe and invoke God, the deep voice of grace that lives in us will tell us what to say, what to do and how to position ourselves in the face of what is happening.