Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to Gain Inner Peace

If you stop and examine your thoughts during a typical day you will probably find that they are all directed to things of this earthly existence.  They are all about worldly cares.  They rarely contain thoughts about heavenly things. You will feel that it is maybe even impossible to raise your thoughts to a heavenly level during the day.  The accumulated thoughts are like a confusing mishmash of ideas. They are filled with passionate thoughts, judgments, joys and sorrows, love and hatred, disappointment and accomplishment. You will see that they are continuous, ever active, and seem impossible to stop or control.  So how can one ever attain a peaceful mind?

What are we to do?

Saint Theophan says,
Begin by directly removing the cause of all this disorder. The cause of the disorder is that our spirit has lost its original foundation. Its foundation is in God.  Thus, the first thing is this: It is necessary to get in the habit of unceasing remembrance of God, along with fear and reverence.
As discussed in the previous post the way to this unceasing remembrance of God comes through our practice of a short prayer, “Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!” The constant saying of this prayer will eventually bring us peace of mind and eliminate the disorder that we find among our thoughts.

In addition St. Theophan adds the following rule,
Do not do anything that your conscience prohibits, and do not omit anything that it says to do, whether great or small. The conscience is always our moral guide. The cherished thoughts, emotions, and desires that are within us give us over to improper whims; this is cause, incidentally, by the fact that our conscience has lost its force. Restore its force, and expressed full obedience to it. You have now educated by finding out all that you must and must not do. Follow it undeviatingly, and with such perseverance that she would not allow yourself to do anything against it even if you were to die... a conscience with reverential remembrance of God is the wellspring of a true spiritual life.
That, then, is all! Remember God with reverence, obey your conscience, and arm yourself with hope through patience. May the Lord bless you to be so inclined and to be in this frame of mind.
Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 189 - 193 

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