The mouth and the heart

In the ascetic literature there are many reflections referring at what it means to be a monk. One of the very well known thoughts is that a monk is someone who retreats in himself, who gets out of dissipation and is not scattered, who is unitary succeeds to overcome the crumbling so peculiar for the fallen people

The whole fight is therefore one which aims at the coherence of our self undivided by passions or fear. This is the aim but it can`t be reached easily, it implies effort and purposefulness. One of the methods or better said one of the exercises ( as ascesis is at least etymologically an exercise) we find it at abba Pimen. This one said: `Let your mouth speak what is in your heart.`

The heart is the deepest place of our being, there the storms of our passions are haunting around and it is gathered the slag of our sins, it is the inner core of the man. From various reasons (fear, unrest, weakness or different kinds of delusion) the heart and its content remain hidden)

This is how hypocrisy, lie, falsehood are born, which deepen together the scissions from inside the man. These scissions may reach such an extent that we come to live a double life, estranged of ourselves, unable to see ourselves anymore and we sail an entire life through a sea of illusions. The illusions are the preferred ground of the demons, who are the masters of the constant lies.

Abba Pimen recommends therefore the exit from the land of lie by applying a principle of inner purposefulness: let the mouth say what is in the heart.

To reach that place it is needed first of all attention or in the words of the elders vigilance. You won`t ever be able to say what is in your heart if you don`t have access to your heart, if you let yourself deluded by superfluous sensations and bite the bait of the self delusions (many of them generated by pride)

Thus the first step towards gaining unity is self awareness. Then this awareness needs an expression. To make the mouth say what you discovered in your heart you need courage.

Many times we are enslaved by the expectations of the others from us by the wish to please them to gain appreciation, to turn easily into some faceless puppets moved by the pressures coming from outside. This courage which may even take the form of heroism is sustained by another great virtue which was very much loved by the ascetics: humbleness. Courage and humbleness are founded on the hope in God, on the total dependence of God and of obeying His commandments.

Those which were presented before seem to develop in a series of successive stages. They appear like this only because the mind needs systematizations and divisions in reality all these are linked and they grow organically together. The man gains an inner unity gradually in this way.

To let your mouth speak what is in the heart does not mean to expose yourself uselessly to everyone, to confess yourself when it is not the case. An act like this may be dangerous if is lacking discernment. The access to the heart and the possibility to express faithfully whenever it is necessary the thoughts of the heart represent an important step towards gaining inner unity.

Paul Siladi


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