Friday, January 21, 2011

Nature of our inner disturbances

I was thinking the other day about how great an ice cream cone would taste––especially a dark chocolate one from the gelato place downtown.  The more I thought about this the more is wanted to go get one.  Finally, the urge was so great I made a special trip downtown to indulge myself. For about five minutes the pleasure was great!! Then, it was finished! In fact, since I had chosen a double dip cone, I was feeling a little heavy in the stomach and wishing I had only ordered a single dip.

This is how we are distracted in life.  We have one desire after another which when satisfied only leeds to a let down and then to another desire.  This is what causes such turmoil and busyness in our lives––these unending desires.

God has given us the ability to control these desires. If we can lift our minds above the level of desires we will find that we can observe them coming and going.  Then, we can be mindful and use our free will to make wise choices. When we have a life in God, our mind is uplifted to this higher level through the Sprit. We seek out the pleasure of God instead of pleasures in short lived earthly things.

Saint Theophan tells us,
When God abides in us, he gives our spirit the power to control the soul and body, and also everything that is outside of us. This was the original condition of man. God appeared to our forefathers and confirmed all of this by His Divine word, after ordering them to know Him alone, to serve Him alone, to walk in His will alone. So they would not get confused when considering how to carry out all of this, He gave them a small commandment: do not taste of the fruit of one of the trees which he called the tree of knowledge and of good and evil that is how our forefathers began to live and to rejoice in paradise.

Adam and Eve were deceived and led to believe that by the forbidden fruit, they would taste something that was so good they could not resist the temptation. They even thought they would become  like Gods. they then defied God and try to avoid him the result is they were separated from  Him.  It was for this simple reason that they were removed from paradise and faced a life of suffering and death.  So we can see that when man takes on upon himself to seek self-centered pleasures he finds himself at a distance from God.

 St. Theophan says, 
God is everywhere and maintains everything, but He enters into free creatures only when they surrender themselves to Him. When they are self–absorbed, He does not violate their self-rule; He continues to keep and maintain them, but he does not enter inside them.
It is important to remember that our attention is so easily distracted from what is most important.  We can easily forget God and fall away from actions that lead us closer to Him.

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp101-104

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