Disciplining the Mind - Part One
- Hey guys, happy praying - almost forgot to send this.I want to send out transcripts from some of Hegomen Fr. Athanasius Iskander's series on spirituality from the Lenten season last year. It applies all the time - of course, it's one thing to read the words, and another to see him say them so simply with the look of an angel on his face. In other words, don't dismiss these sermons as being superficial! :-)Enjoy part one:
DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND
- Protect your mind from harmful and unprofitable knowledge
- Plant in your mind the spiritual knowledge
- Guard your mind against forming the wrong opinions about people and things.
If you wish to pursue Christian perfection, you have to protect your mind from information that is unprofitable to your soul. Unfortunately this is the age of information and information technology, and the world is offering us like never before, an explosion of information though Tv, books and last but not least the Internet. But this leads to what i call pollution of the mind with useless information. Today we have information junkies, people who seek information, not to improve their efficiency at work, but information for its own sake.
St. Paul writing in 1 Cor 2:2, tells us, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." That is all the knowledge that St. Paul cares about, Jesus and his life giving crucifixion.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 tells us, "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."
The first example of unprofitable knowledge is excessive watching of the news. It is good to know what is happening in the world around us, but to be obsessed about knowing all the minute details of something happening somewhere else is not profitable if you are seeking Christian perfection. T.V. stations, responding to people’s insatiable appetite for news has invented the 24 hour news channel, radio channels followed suit!
Take an example, the proceedings of the O J Simpson trial were watched by more people around the world than any other event. I can understand watching a hockey game for example, but court proceedings? What could I possibly get out of it? Nothing that is profitable to my soul, mind or body!
Let me tell you about an exercise that I do during Lent, I refuse to listen to news on Radio, or read newspapers or magazines. Of course, we agreed that T.V. is not going to be operational during Lent. Believe me, I don’t miss anything, rather my mind is freed from the information pollution, and i feel that it functions better.
One story we are told of a monk that was sitting chatting with the other monks, then, going to his cell, another monk saw him circling his cell several times, so he asked him what he is doing/ He answered, I am getting rid of all the worldly talk we were talking about, because I don’t want to bring it in with me into my cell!