Overcoming Impulse Through Relaxation and the Prayer

In a previous post, I wrote about our innate double-mindedness and how those two minds are often at war with each other when it comes to addictive attractions. At the time of temptation, the rational mind finds itself hijacked by a hyperactive impulsive system that grabs our inner steering wheel driving us down the road of impulsive behavior. For the impulsive, there are certain triggers that are experienced through anyone of their five senses (or even memories of those sense impressions) that excite them and propel them toward the impulsive behavior. Focusing on those triggers or even … [Read more...]

Anger and Incompatible States: Attending to the Body and Attending to the Spirit

In addition to the time-out, there are other beneficial anger management strategies that cognitive therapists recommend.  One such strategy concerns relaxation through a deep breathing exercise.  The authors of the Anger Management manual correctly note, “An interesting aspect of the nervous system is that everyone has a relaxation response that counteracts the stress response. It is physically impossible to be both agitated and relaxed at the same time. If you can relax successfully, you can counteract the stress or anger response.” The deep breathing technique offered by these therapists is … [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...]

More on Suffering

In reflecting further upon the nature of alcoholism and recovery, there are certain parallels one may make between those conditions and the plight of the sinner turning towards repentance.  In both instances, the alcoholic and the sinner are encouraged to make self-referential statements that, on the surface, appear to be negative.  In AA, once one acknowledges one’s alcoholism, that person always introduces himself to the group by stating his name and his alcoholism: “I’m Bob and I’m an alcoholic”.  The sinner, in turn, is encouraged to pray the Jesus Prayer in which he introduces himself to … [Read more...]

Remembrance of God

The nihilistic worldview of which I wrote in the last blog post is a formidable adversary to psychological and spiritual well-being primarily because at the root of nihilism is pride, the greatest of all lies and the most luciferian expression of evil.  (One will find in my book that the spiritual and psychological run along parallel and not dissimilar lines and therefore I often refer to them in conjunction).  That is why the antidote proposed in the last post was the humble remembrance of God.  Traditionally, this is done in two ways: 1) the prayerful recitation of the Psalms and 2) the … [Read more...]

The Passions, Remembrance of God, and the Jesus Prayer

In the daily struggles of life, most of us assume that the passions such as anger, envy, jealousy, or lust are engendered by the circumstances in which we live.  One who perceives a negative situation, either from a demanding boss, a critical spouse, or a difficult child and yields to the passions may think “Well, if my boss hadn’t made that comment I wouldn’t be angry” or “If my husband would just do what I ask him. . .I wouldn’t have given in to anger or judgment.”  Once we begin to think this way, we start to give in to sinful behavior ourselves.  We justify such behavior by concluding that … [Read more...]