All Things Work Together for Good: Even Fear?

The last blog post on fear produced a great deal of response from readers and I would like to address some of those responses in a follow-up post on the same subject. Psychologists contrast fear and anxiety. Fear involves thinking that something is threatening, while anxiety involves feeling vulnerable and unsafe. There are realistic fears and unrealistic fears, just as there is existential angst about dying and pathological anxiety about issues stretching from crowded elevators to speaking in public. In any case, the problem begins with the thoughts, in this instance, thoughts of feared … [Read more...]

The Science of Fear and the Hesychastic Remedy

In a world without dangers threatening emotional and physical pain, there would be no need for fear. But we don’t live in such a world. There’s an old saying in aviation: “There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” Neurologically speaking, fear involves the memory of a dangerous occurrence (brought to the consciousness through the CHR neurons of the hypothalamus), information from the senses (feeding into the basolateral amygdala) that are consistent with that memory and the urge to flee (activated by the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and leading … [Read more...]

Reason, Faith, and Hesychasm as Means of Coping with Thoughts

Now that we’ve spent some time reflecting upon the role of suffering in human life and its impact on the spiritual life, it is time to take a step back and describe the proper yet distinct roles the modes of reason and faith play in our journey from this age to the age to come. In our present epoch, reason has become like a tyrant that disdains any collaborative relationship with faith.  The ancient fathers understood that reason has its proper role but only in the hands of faith.  Further along in chapter five I turn to St. Isaac to bolster this point, “’Knowledge everywhere sings the … [Read more...]