We need to control our thoughts because, an uncontrolled thoughts are the origins of some of the sicknesses of the soul. And there are eight non-psychological sicknesses of a spiritual origin, and they are classified as: greed of any sort, a pathological relationship to sex, a pathological relationship to money, sadness, aggressiveness, acedia (an illness of the soul expressed by listlessness, boredom, laziness – a precursor to slothfulness) vanity, and pride. These eight generic diseases have a pathological source: narcissism, which the Holy Fathers called philautia, excessive self-love.
The fact is that one of the causes for these thoughts, which were considered as troubling, was the imagination. If an imagination is left uncontrolled it brings about visions which sometimes crowd our minds to the point of taking over.
However, the imagination leads us to make up stories in our heads that are not always correct or pacifying. While it is in our power to control them.
As humans, we will always be a theater of sensations and thoughts: the question is, what do we do with it? If you have been faced with such a thought, be reminded that man has various possibilities, we are to either acquiesce or not, to feed it or resist it.
For the early Church fathers made us to understand that the objective of gaining control of their thoughts was to reach Hesychasm; which is a state characterized by peace, calm, rest, silence, and a deep inner solitude; necessary for the spiritual contemplation of things and beings, and the understanding of God.
What is “Guarding the Heart”?
Guarding the heart, means being attentive to everything that happens in our heart. It is a spiritual way which aims to free man of bad or passionate thoughts. It beckons us to observe the thoughts which penetrate our soul, and to discern between the good and the bad.
We should be the gatekeeper to our hearts and we should not let any thought enter without questioning it. Because, holy thoughts lead to a peaceful state, as a negative thoughts lead to a troubled state.
A non dispensable way of guarding your heart is by paying close attention to your thoughts and discerning between those which are good and healing, and those which are a source of distraction or obsession. The purpose is to gain freedom, and to reach indifference, the ability to not be dominated by our thoughts.
Guarding our hearts, invites us to change our way of being in the world, and to make it a habit for us to pay attention to our thoughts which infiltrate our soul.
Here’s a little prayer to help guard your heart
So if you need a little help in being able to control the thoughts that crosses your minds, try and find time in the morning to say this prayer before the demands of the day really begins: