Our thoughts come many times as an avalanche. They captivate us completely, we imagine scenarios, hypothetical situations, we split the hair in four for trying to understand an event or weave justifications related to one of our deeds or of someone else which regards us too. Then we react accordingly.
We weave thoughts when we try to find a solution at a situation which we feel it’s without escape and many times these keep us prisoners. We consider ourselves superior creatures because we have logic, because we can put into practice all thoughts we have.
Father, I know that the problem of our thoughts which monopolize our life is intensely debated. We act according to our thoughts, we assume them, we believe they are the product of our mind and then we take them into consideration more than it should.
In monachism one of the monachal votes is to give up on one’s will. And this happens not for humiliating or humbling you but because as long as you have your own will you risk to commit mistakes. Until you reach that level of vigilance when you have power of discernment, meaning that you are able to discern the spirits, it is a long struggle. Everything comes through the mouth of the confessor comes from God so it is the only voice which must be taken into consideration, at least in monachism. If you study yourself carefully you will see that tens if not hundreds of thoughts assault you daily. How many of them do you think that belong to you? Have you ever thought about this thing? Have you ever meditate at the thoughts which come into your mind? Can you distinguish them? Even if you had hundreds of good thoughts among them there are some given by the enemy.
I haven’t stayed to analyze myself but at a first self evaluation I admit that I am assaulted daily by tens of thoughts of all kinds. I haven’t studied them to see which is their source.
It is very hard to do this thing and like in sport you need training to reach performance. You should understand very well this concept. You should have known this thing but it is never too late. In the case you believe very much in yourself and in your judgments leaving God on the second place it is very easy for the demon to influence you in the direction he wants by the thoughts he gives you. As long as you believe that the thoughts which come to you belong to you meaning that they are the product of your intelligence you risk to fall in deceit very easily. This is the reason why even thoughts must be confessed.
Even the thoughts? How is that? Explain it to me more explicitly.
Listen to me carefully. The mechanism is the following: when you confess your thoughts you reveal who gave them to you, namely the demon. Because of his pride he leaves you. And in the same time with him the temptations leave you too as I told you. Then you will see that for a few days the temptations which tormented you through thoughts disappear. It is an experiment which is accessible for everyone. I recommend it to be tried. Then you have the chance to become aware that the thoughts do not belong to you.
Very interesting. And I imagined that the thoughts are the product of my intelligence, lof my capacities, the result of the read books.
When you become fully aware that many of these thoughts do not belong to you, that they are delusions, you will look more circumspectly at the phenomenon. Practically it is the beginning of the spiritual fight. You will never have a direct fight with a demon as with another person although there were some cases which surpassed the limit of human understanding. He will attack you by thoughts. Where he sees a weakness he hits harder. The thoughts are the most terrible weapon of the demon. He gives them to you ceaselessly, he has no sleep, he is never tired. He keeps you continuous shooting. And this regardless of what you do even when you pray.
Then father which is the next step? How to protect our mind of such attacks?
The guard of the mind is the answer but in order to guard your mind you must become aware that you are in war and you are attacked by multiple thoughts of all kinds. There is no status of neutrality. Awareness is the first step. It is very hard because the war is invisible. It is not a classical war with visible enemies. You don’t see them but you feel the effects of the attacks. The effects say many things about the ways to be followed and the things which should be done further.
Now I realize the nature of many conditions I experienced in certain moments. From thoughts about drinking to thoughts of anger and debauchery. Others are even more awful and I don’t want to remember them.
Confession and if possible the Holy Eucharist are the best solutions in the fight against thoughts.
Excerpt from the book Down to earth, author Ionuț Riteș.