`Father, I read that in the war with the Italians, the Greeks first tried to damage the fortifications of the enemy and only afterwards they attacked.

`The devil does the same. In the same way the enemy bombards the fortifications with the aircrafts to destroy them before attacking with the artillery the devil first bombards the man with thoughts then he attack him. If he doesn`t corrupt the man`s thought, he doesn`t attack, because the man defends himself with the good thought and he is in his shelter [1]!

The thought coming from the left is a foreign presence and the man must try to get rid of it. We all have the power to carry on this struggle

Nobody has the right to say that he is weak and can`t do it. It is nothing about a pickaxe or a sledgehammer he is not able to lift up because his hands shake. I don`t think it is hard to pass everything on the right. Why would I search the caprice of the other one? It might be possible that what he does has nothing to do with a caprice, but he does that to diminish himself in the eyes of the others.

`Father I am so worried because I do only wrong things. I strive but I am not able to turn towards the right ones.

`If you are aware which thoughts are not pure and you worry about that and struggle to remove them, that is a progress.

If you want to progress more, when the devil attacks you with thoughts coming from the left and draws you on his side, turn the wheel powerfully on the other side and ignore him. Try to put good thoughts into your mind for your smaller and your bigger sisters who strive spiritually without any noise, because the devil corrupts your thought to impede your spiritual growth. If you hadn`t hang on your thoughts you would have made progress. All our spiritual life is based on thought. The progress in the spiritual life depends on the thought.

`Father how can I be helped in the struggle against the thoughts from the left?`

`By vigilance and ceaseless prayer If you are vigilant you take heed and put good thoughts into your mind. For example you see a glass and think of the Holy Chalice, at the last Supper, at Christ. But if you are not vigilant your mind might go away to different things which are not spiritual at all or are even lamentable

For this reason, try not to collect the slag of thoughts and afterwards to be forced to fight to draw them away.

Say the Jesus prayer and be careful at its words. If your mind runs away, refocus it over and over again and always do this. Don`t let your mind roam around. Because although it doesn`t always get stuck in nasty things, but also in some neutral ones, they weaken it through distraction and it gets distracted.

But the thoughts caused by distraction are craftier than the evil ones, because we are not aware of them to chase them away.

`Father, my thought tells me: You made no progress in these long years you`ve been living in the monastery.`

`Let me hear what else does your thought tell you? As I realized you listen a lot of the devil. He deceives you so badly. Why do you believe in the devil? Why do you confuse yourself?

Calm down. You sadden yourself in vain and torment yourself without any reason. The devil presents you the things tangled like the fakir[2].

It dizzies you with pessimistic thoughts to waste your time and distract you from prayer and from heed in obedience. Even he dizzies you only a little and makes you have no disposition to fight against him,that is enough for him to advance. When you work alone try to keep the following routine: chant psalms, make doxology, pray in your mind but also aloud to avoid the whispers of the thoughts, meaning to change the subject.

If the devil changes the subject, why wouldn`t we do the same? I told you other times that during a talk, when I have to tell to someone something of help for him/her, , someone else comes and interrupts the talk or it is made a noise so that I would stop.

If the tempter creates such troubles, why wouldn`t we create troubles for him? Be smart and mock the devil.`

`Father sadness and boredom torment me. I suffer a martyrdom.`

`Martyrdom before martyrdom. You have trust in yourself. The thoughts from the left became a second nature to you that is why you torment yourself. You need thoughts from the right. You have to change the wily machines of your factory into good machines.

The best deed a man can do for himself is to make a factory of good thoughts. Then his mind will turn even the bad ones into good ones.

For instance if you see a man as a soul, as an angel, you ascend like an angel to heaven and your life is a celebration. If you see him mundanely, then you descend to hell.

`Father sometimes when I put into my mind a good thought after a while it comes a bad one from the left and spoils everything. Could this happen because I don`t do it from the heart?`

`The aim is to do it from the heart and if thoughts from the left come to you tell yourself: `These belong to the devil. I have to chase him away. Now I signed up.

[3]. That`s over!”.

`Father when I hardly draw away a thought from the left how is it possible to see it coming back even if that matter ended?`

`Yes, the matter ended, but the devil didn`t finish. He never dies. An elder said: `The dog runs away if you give him a kick or two. But the devil doesn`t run away, he insists. He stays, he doesn`t run away.` I light a candle for the saints of the church so that the devils would go away but they say: `Did you light the candle for us?`

`You dark creatures, how could it be for you? I lit it for the saints.`

`Yes, but we forced you.` they tell me

`Father when something unpleasant happens to someone and this person starts saying `God why do these happen to me?` is this man helped?

`How can he be helped? It is essential for the man to explain everything by the good thought. Only then he has benefit. There are some people who have good engines, many conditions for spiritual life, but their wheel has a wrong direction. But if they turn the wheel towards good thoughts, then they go steadily in the right direction.

[1] temporary digging in the earth

[2] besides the fact that the fakir acts with demonic powers towards himself he also does that towards the living beings and towards the inanimate matter, confusing and deceiving minds

[3] implicit meaning – break up with the devil`s thoughts

Excerpt from Spiritual Struggle – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos – 2012.

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