We all want and strive to have a continually increasing inner happiness and peace. A spiritual fullness that fills our being, giving us a lasting vitality and betterness. In our lives we might encounter a lot of obstacles and difficulties. We can if we want, rise above every obstacle so that our spiritual state is not affected and we remain constantly with fully charged spiritual batteries.
The objective we seek when applying the Christian way of life is not only the promise of a future eternal life but also making our present life as happy and beautiful as possible and for this internal beauty to be made into a joyful reality. The Lord gives us the way through the Gospel, He also gives us the strength that we need, we are invited to just put the effort. We should also know that the current reality that we are living is the result and projection of the inner world of our mind. The degree of our mind’s cleanliness, clarity and thoughts is always reflected in the creation and existence of inner happiness or sadness. Lasting spiritual euphoria and inner fullness presupposes a sound mind, a renewed mind, a mind imbued with Christ’s truths and ideals. With the renewal of the mind, the road is opened for an inner metamorphosis as Paul speaks of be transformed by the renewing of your mind, Romans 12:2. The way therefore to attain this feeling and keep this fullness and vitality is to stop behaving and thinking wrongly as we have been doing up to now due to our brain’s programming. Change happens daily, slowly slowly through the creation of a new infrastructure in our mind. In order to succeed, all that we have mentioned here above regarding permanent inner fullness and joy, we should:
A. Protect our minds from the constant wrong programming, closing all roads that infiltrate elements of corruption and that are unrelated to our true nature, which is love.
B. Acquire the necessary elements that will not only provide us inner (spiritual) fullness but will shield and protect this spiritual euphoria from the presence of negative situations.
PROTECTING THE MIND: We can protect the mind by giving particular consideration and attention to the following:
1. In what we are thinking. Neutral thoughts do not exist. Every thought leads us a little - or a lot to either a lie or a truth. To the wrong or to the right. We should not allow the mind to be governed by thoughts that directly or indirectly damage or destroy the tranquility of our inner world and erode our conscience. Instead, let’s filter everything that we think of through God’s love. One way in which we can do this is by asking ourselves the question, what would Jesus have done? When people have harmed you with either their words or their actions do you seek to avenge? Do you ask God for forgiveness? Do you ask for love to come in and overcome your negative emotions? Remember one thing, Jesus was hanged on a cross, his whole body weight supported by three pegs, two drilled through his wrists and the other through his legs and despite all this agony and the laughter and ridicule he receives from the soldiers and the people around him, He asks God to forgive them because they know not what they have done. (Luke 23:34)
Every time we are faced with the election or rejection of a multitude of thoughts which concern God, ourselves, our fellow man; let’s retain and strengthen thoughts of happiness, trust, love, forgiveness, unity and generally every thought that we discern to be in favor of God, in favor of ourselves, in favor for our fellow man. This keeps us in spiritual contact with God, it fills us with vitality, energy and spiritual euphoria. While the reception and cultivation of thoughts which contain condemnation, jealousy, anger, fear, anxiety, hatred etc., certainly lead us to a spiritual decline (ruin). Any bad thought can come to our mind. In order to constantly keep our inner state happy, we should automatically remove every bad thought from our mind. How? The only way as one of our brothers tells us is by ignoring and not conversing with the liar who whispers the bad thought to us. This take continuous practice. Think of the mind as a muscle. One day you can lift 25 lbs but if you keep exercising this muscle, it will get stronger and it will be able to lift more weight. The same applies for the mind, as you consciously seek out to discard negative thoughts and fill yourself with positive thoughts the mind will program itself more efficiently to do this automatically. One may argue that we need sadness and we need anger and the full spectrum of emotions. This is not necessarily so. We know now and science is proving it that every negative emotion causes an equal harm in our bodily functions. This harm ranges from lack of cell reproduction to cell mutation to organ failure. One way that you can mitigate negative emotion is by changing language. Thomas states not to see everything bad as a “sin” therefore attaching a huge negative emotion to every action or thought. Instead he says, learn to replace the word sin with “experience”. It sounds a bit simplistic in nature and therein lies its beauty. When you approach a situation with this perspective you are in the driver’s seat. Let’s take an example, you are invited to a home where the host has prepared a meal. You take a bite and it is not exactly to your liking. The host asks for your opinion on the food. You are now placed in a position where you are given the option to say the truth or lie. If you say the truth you will probably offend the host, yet if you lie you will temporarily escape offending your host but you will stress yourself. There is a better option, you don’t have to say it is good (lying) or bad (the truth) you can say it is different (an experience). Seek out the positive in the food. Like you have never seen the meal prepared this way, the spices are exotic (even though they are really exotic and don’t agree to your digestive system). The way the food is chopped up and prepared is original etc. Once you train your mind to seek out the positive, it will do it in everything and in this manner you will learn a very important lesson in not offending people and bringing peace, not only to yourself but to those around you.
2. Criticism invites itself in whatever we say, in what we speak of, as it does in public gossip and in general irrelevant conversation with which we usually fill up most of our time. All this should be avoided. A seemingly harmless discussion which takes place unnecessarily, directly or indirectly drains us spiritually and fills our mind with unnecessary information. In most cases, this unnecessary (or useless) information not only delay us in our spiritual development but also creates unnecessary work because it will take some struggle to expel these thoughts and cleanse our minds. Do not criticize and do not talk bad at all, neither should we be messengers of bad news even if they are true. We should talk using expressions that are positive, pleasant, and optimistic. Every time we speak let us pass our words through three filters that Socrates used to say:
a. Say what is necessary to be said
b. Say it with love
c. Be sure that it is true.
3. Τhe type of words that we allow ourselves to accept from others. If there is a risk that we may get affected, let us be more careful and more selective with those we keep company with and those we are in contact with in either our group of friends or in our working environment.
4. Feelings. We must be careful and monitor the feelings that we allow to control us. In order to cultivate and cement happiness and optimism, it would be in our spiritual benefit to acquire positive spiritual messages, positive thoughts and positive feelings.
5. We can choose carefully, whatever enters into our mind from television, periodicals (magazines), cinema, newspapers, books etc.. Most of the time they are surely not sources of truth for someone who wishes to get to know himself because all these sources program us negatively, passing on messages to our minds like violence, corruption, vengeance, materialism and the most important, a limitation of our faith and our spiritual potential. Always keep trying things but in order to maintain our spiritual well being, let’s keep only the good. The protection of our mind is clearly in our hands. It is within our control to be guardians of the mind therefore let us not allow it to host negative thoughts for too long. With patience we can teach our mind to think positively. This will surely reflect in our inner world and keep us in constant spiritual well being. Since there is a direct relationship between body and spirit, it would also be good to work in parallel and have a proper diet and exercise routine for the body and to avoid any personal physical abuse (like drinking excessively, smoking, taking drugs etc.).
B. Renewal of the mind. Τhis can be achieved with the following ways:
1. Continuous activity: Our time must not be spent unobserved or unused. Inaction in our efforts for spiritual fulfillment does have consequences. The homicidal devil, works 24 of the 24 hours in the day. He does not idle for even one second. He does not take breaks for even one day. He works daily for the extinction of the human race. From one spiritual misstep or one small worry up to our death, this is his great contribution to man and due to our ignorance, he continues his path largely uncontested (or shall I say unchallenged) and without any resistance. For all those who have believed in Christ though beyond the necessary work and rest time, our free time should be spent for the establishment of God’s kingdom both on a personal and collective level and not let it go lost and irrecoverable. Let’s take action through preaching because it helps us to have continuous and endless spiritual and physical strength. We activate all our potential and increase our spiritual will and enthusiasm because the manner that Christ’s truths are transmitted to the whole world excite us. We accepted these truths by faith yet we experience them now through our efforts. Inactivity leads to a belief in nothing, towards a loss of vitality. Activity, primarily of the spiritual kind is a spring of life because it leads to activation, it leads to the mind’s management and to its administrators and the mind is constantly working on the good. The mind enrichens with experiences. It increases in optimism (and hope). It acquires through the study and application of God’s word, godly elements, true objectives and ideals. Christ’s ideals get adopted and accepted by us and by others who are around us. So in one hand, unity in purpose and our willingness to fight is strengthened for the attainment of a common objective which is the establishment of God’s Kingdom. On the other hand, a state of continuous euphoria and physical fullness is created. Because, a continuous spiritual communication, with God’s word through preaching, through studying, through application and prayer, ensures us a seamless (uninterrupted) and continuous spiritual flow within us.
2. Prayer. Prayer and its importance has oftentimes been talked about and emphasized in:
a. spiritual struggles.
b. problem solving
c. in the application and acquisition of pure spiritual gifts
The apostle Paul emphasizes and urges us to incessant prayer, “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 6:17. Our Lord orders us not to get tired with prayer. God wants our mind to be near him because when man is connected with God, on one hand his mind does not wander here or there where it can get caught in a trap of the devil (the exact word Thomas uses is diabolis which comes from two Greek words dio - meaning two and boli -which means shot or approach. Evil likes to introduce diaboli into our lives which is 2 possibilities so it can introduce doubt and inaction.) and on the other hand, the spiritual connection we have with God, allows for a continual flow of spiritual energy that increases and maintains soaring spiritual excitement (sort of like an adrenaline rush). Many scientists and specifically experts in physical health and well-being often employ prayer as therapeutic treatment which is applied in situations of tension, lack of self confidence, fear etc. Since the world, scientists (those that believe in Christ) use prayer for therapy, we above that can dedicate this invincible (and undefeatable) weapon for the pumping up and stabilization of our spiritual euphoria. It is remarkable how prayer restores and fixes the harmonious function of body and spirit. It increases and energizes our personal power, it penetrates the subconscious, directs our minds to proper and stable thoughts and reactions. It causes creative ideas such that our mind can easily capture solutions to any obstacle. This in effect reduces or even eliminates the possibility of our mind being influenced from any adversity or problem. Our spiritual euphoria then is maintained on a high level. He who prays: thinks better, works better, feels better, acts better, sleeps better, and is just better. He who prays incessantly is continually better and in constant spiritual excitement because he is continually being filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s powers.
3. Faith. Faith nurtures and molds the mind and precedes all of our efforts. Active faith successfully overcomes whatever difficulty we may encounter in our spiritual struggle. All obstacles fall to the wayside when confronted with the intensity, decisiveness and power of this type of faith. It is this faith that strengthens and renders permanent our inner completeness and spiritual euphoria. Living faith is an active state. Through faith, experience is gained, wisdom and trust in God are acquired which are important elements for our spiritual completeness. As such a conscious communication develops between man and God within the context of happiness, love, and life. The existence of complete faith makes it very difficult to be shocked in any adversity and difficulty and yet in parallel it strengthens and makes final our inner happiness and euphoria.
4. The pursuit of love. A fourth element (and perhaps the most important) that we should continually strive to acquire so that we may always be in spiritual resurrection is the power of divine love. Love is the power that unites everything in the universe. It is the power that works against dissolution and self destruction. It sustains the universe. It keeps the electrons close to the atom’s nucleus. It unites the body’s cells to create new organs. It coordinates the functions of different bodily systems into one united and harmonious whole. It is expressed in gravity that keeps the moon on its orbit around the earth, the earth around the sun, the sun around the center of the galaxy etc. With love we stand above all problems, above passions and weaknesses, above all negative elements that cause spiritual decline. Our inner world is flooded with joy and happiness. On one hand, this happens because the power of unity and constant regeneration (of the mind and spirit) eradicates every element of disharmony and corruption from the mind. On the other hand, it creates a high spiritual exhilaration because love’s uniting and harmonious nature penetrates and fills the brain’s cells with life creating juices which activate them up to 100% from the 6% that is their average level of activity today. Brother Stiliano says: Man’s heart is molded exclusively by love. The most suitable climate for man’s heart is found in Christ’s oceans of love. Love warms, brings to life and regenerates the heart. The essence of man’s nature is love and the desire to be love. Love introduces us to continual spiritual euphoria because it brings us back gradually to the original structure of the body and spirit which is perfection. Every conflicting situation cannot replace the spiritual euphoria which permeates in us physiologically because the mind that is regenerated by this love cannot be infected by anything. The permeating power of love in our mind was and is the greatest power that exists in the universe. It is God himself and there is nothing more powerful or above Him. Love brings joy, brings inner fullness and euphoria and according to the Lord’s words, it brings life. So love the Lord, joy in life, life in joy. May it be Amen.