Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Power of Positive Thinking?



Elder Paisios' residence on Mt Athos
There are many non-spiritual self-help programs that are based on the idea of positive thinking.  Yet, many Fathers caution us about these approaches to happiness.  They tell us that all thought needs to purified.  But how?


Our Christian spiritual aim is to attain God's grace by giving our mind over to God––to align our will with His.  Our positive thoughts as well as our negative thought can limit us because they are a product of our ego and self-will.


Elder Paisios advises us in the following way:
We must always be careful and constantly question the nature of our thoughts.  When someone is preoccupied and trusts his own way of thinking, he becomes vulnerable to the devil, who is capable of transforming us into sly persons, even when we are honest by nature.
He does say that initially our positive thought can be helpful in leading us to God.  But out aim is to submit our own mind to the grace of God. All God asks of us is humility, to let go of our self-centeredness and our pride. 


He says,
In the beginning, we should willingly try to develop positive thoughts, which will gradually lead us to the perfect good, God, to whom belongs every glory, honor and worship; on the contrary, to us belongs only the humility of our conceited attitude.


Source: Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, p29

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