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Coptic Orthodox Church
How can I have peace and silence in my mind?
edited December 1969
I have these billions stupid, evil, sinful thoughts in my head. How can I get rid of them?
I have found that filling my mind and time with thoughts of Christ, and with prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer, with Scripture and hymns are all powerful. There is no other way. If we wish to be godly we must be occupied with God, and with His worship and service. Take the example of an Olympic athlete. They have a fixed and consuming routine of training so that even if they are tempted with thoughts of laziness there is much less opportunity for them to be overcome. And these dedicated and hard-working athletes are only seeking a human crown. How much more should all of our attention be on serving and knowing and experiencing God.
But also seek new avenues of hidden and humble service. If we are busy at an old person's house doing some work for them then we are not found idle by Satan and so he cannot easily tempt us. If we are busy at Church doing the cleaning then we cannot be found idle.
There is also a difference between temptations and our own deliberate thoughts, although if we have not made any effort to clean and clear our minds of rubbish then we should not be suprised that tempations often become our own thoughts. We can say, 'Lord, these ideas are not my own, I want to offer you pure and holy service. Give me the grace to be so occupied with your light and life that these temptations of darkness cannot overwhelm me'.
So be busy with those thoughts which are good, and pure, and wholesome, and fill your mind with godly things, and give more of your time to godly things and to humble service. It is possible to prevent the birds nesting in the tree.
May the Lord give you the grace to discover this in your own life.
Saint John Chrysostom talks of these problems.
He says that the devil will always give you bad thoughts.
What he says to this is:
You cannot stop the birds flying over your head. They will always do that. However, you can stop them from landing on your head and building a nest.
I am obviously paraphrasing him.
Good luck BinC!
i remember a story (of the top of my head) a priest once told about an old monk and his disciple.
A disciple once went to his mentor (an old monk), and told him that he does not understand anything he reads in the bible. So the old monk told him, go get a basket, tie a rope to its handles and lower it down to the well and fill it with water then bring it to me. Obediently the disciple got a basket lowered it into the well and filled it with water, yet while he was pulling it up all the water started pouring out from its sides. So the disciple went to the old monk and told him father this is futile, as the water keeps on leaking from the basket as i bring it up. So the old monk told him to go and repeat the same thing several times.
After the old monk told his disciple, you are right you can fill the basket with water without it pouring out. HOwever in the process of the water leaking out, it cleaned the basket by removing all the dirt. This is the same thing as with reading the bible, you may not completely comprehend what you are reading however by reading it you clean/ clear your mind of all evil thoughts.
So am assuming to attain peace of mind we need to clean our minds from all flithy and ungodly thoughts.
correction: After the old monk told his disciple, you
fill the basket with water without it pouring out
I found that the rapid arrow prayer when said every now and then during the day with keeping the image of Christ live in the mind helps a lot to repel sinful thoughts and evil drives.