Friday, March 31, 2017
St John Cassian talks to us today in A Year with the Church Fathers. He talks about controlling our own thoughts.
He says that thoughts do pounce on us sometimes. We find ourselves suddenly thinking something we shouldn't be thinking... whether it's judgmental, lustful, full of envy, or full of hate. There are lots of thoughts that jump into our heads throughout the day, and we're not responsible for the ones that come unbidden.
He also lets us know, correctly, that we do have control over what influences we give our brains. GIGO, right? Garbage in, garbage out. If we fill our minds with a bunch of lustful, hateful, violent nonsense, then we become more responsible for the less honorable thoughts that leap into our minds.
How to combat this? HIHO. Holiness in, holiness out. (Yes, I did just make that up. lol... while we're on the subject, FIFO also comes to mind, which really does mean "First in, first out" and it's what you use to rotate your food in storage so that it doesn't go bad.) The practical aspect of HIHO is to follow the advice of Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely... if there is anything praiseworthy... think on these things." And also Ephesians 5:19 "Sing to one another with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Make music to the Lord in your heart."
If we follow that advice, and fill our conscious minds with the pure, the lovely, and the true... and if we sing songs of praise throughout the day (even if only in our minds, or quietly to ourselves), we change the content of our minds. We practice HIHO.
God, thanks for giving us practical advice on how to change our own thinking.