There is a Universal Mind, Spirit, and Intelligence that are the origins of everything: It is First Cause. It is God. This Universal Life and Energy finds an outlet in and through all that is energized, and through everything that lives. There is one life source behind everything that lives. There is One Energy back of all that is energized. This Energy is in everything. There is One Spirit back of all expressions. This is the meaning of that mystical expression: In Him we live, and move and have our being.” ( Acts 17:28) Ernest Holmes p.11

Nous- Mind and Soul of man

 

           From the theological point of view, it is important to point out that the “renewal of the mind” that St. Paul speaks about is actually the “renewal of the nous.” In Greek, the word for mind here is nous. In Orthodox theology, the nous is the highest faculty or power of the human soul. It is the faculty that knows God directly; it is the seat of our personhood, which experiences the Person of God in a communion of love. At the Fall of man, the nous was darkened and became sick. The Uncreated Energy, Light or Grace of God became foreign to it. He dampens the Light of Grace inside of him; he once again darkens or sickens his nous. Instead of turning to and uniting with God, his nous turns aside to the passions, to self-love and love of sensual pleasure. By turning to the passions, the nous repels the Grace of God; it prevents the Christian from continuing on the path to deification in Christ.

             The sickness of the nous leads to spiritual death. The darkness of the nous leads to spiritual darkness, in which we cannot see things clearly and soberly. We cannot see things as God sees them; instead, we see them through the filter of our passions. Thus we grope about blindly in life, hurting ourselves and hurting others, either wittingly or unwittingly. We stray far from our purpose in life, which is union with God. Our nous is sick because we have separated ourselves from God, because we have sought after our passions rather than Him.

             We must at all times watch over our thoughts when we entertain a negative thought, it separates us from God. When we entertain negative thoughts, our nous becomes deprived of Light. we must cut off the where it starts, in our thoughts.

             To cut off sinful thoughts, we first must recognize such thoughts as our enemy. We must realize that they can separate us from God. For example, when we have a resentful or judgmental thought against our neighbor, we must recognize that entertaining this thought will put us at enmity with God. So we refuse to entertain it. We just let it go. And if it comes back again an hour later, or even (as often happens) a few minutes later, we again cut if off.

             In the Orthodox Church, we have a special means of cutting off thoughts: the Jesus Prayer. The effects of this Prayer are twofold. In the first place the Prayer helps us to cut off and turn away from impassioned thoughts. And in the second place the Prayer helps us to turn and keep turning to Christ our Savior at all times.

           When we practice watchfulness with the help of the Jesus Prayer, we make our soul open to receive the Spirit, which transforms us. We are no longer repelling Grace, but attracting it. We are calling upon Christ to have mercy on our darkened souls, to dwell within us more fully, to fill us with, with the Light of the Holy Spirit Thus our darkened nous is illumined by the Light of the Uncreated Grace of God. “Only the Spirit can purify the nous,” writes In every way, therefore, and especially through peace of soul, we must make ourselves a -place for the Holy Spirit. Then we shall have the spiritual knowledge burning within us.” [13]

saying the Prayer, cultivate the habit of calling out to God in our own words should be done throughout the day. we should pray simply, from the heart. call out either verbally or mentally, depending on the situation. call out when temptations, but no means wait for such moments before we speak to Him. had the practice of praying to God each time he was about to see and speak to someone. He prayed that God would bless the encounter that was about to take place, so that Gods Grace would be upon it. If we were to follow this very simple practice, just think how our daily encounters with people would be transformed, and how our lives would be different.

praying throughout the day is important to devote certain times of the day to prayer.

Setting aside time for daily prayer is an indispensable part of spiritual life. In families there should be daily common prayer before the family icon corner. Even if only a little time is set aside for this, it can make a huge difference in the life of a family. But in order for it to make a difference, it should be regular

The key to prayer rules is constancy. If we skip our prayer rule, our Scripture readings and our spiritual readings for one day, we will find that already the world will start to invade us: the world of the passions, the world of distractions. If we skip our prayers for two days, we will be invaded even more, and so on. As time goes on, we will have less of the mind of Christ and more of the mind of the world. We will find ourselves more and more “conformed to this world.” [16]

In order to grow in spiritual life and bear fruit, we need to put down roots, as in Christs parable of the sower. And in order to put down roots, we need to have constancy, consistency, in our daily prayer and spiritual reading. In this practice, too, we can “renew ourselves from day to day,” this practice can prepare us for receiving deepen experience of them. St.

  1. The Primary Mark of Spiritual Transformation Now, having looked at the nature of spiritual transformation and the way to that transformation, let us examine more closely the marks of transformation in a Christian.

We have already discussed in some detail the first two verses of Romans, chapter 12. St. Paul devotes the remainder of this chapter precisely to the marks of transformation. Continuing his exhortation, he tells us what we are to be transformed into. He tells us we are to show mercy with cheerfulness, to let love be without hypocrisy, to be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Then the Apostle goes on to say: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Set not your mind on high things, but associate with the lowly. Be not wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:818, 21).

What a profound and beautiful blueprint of the Christian life! It is the blueprint of a life not conformed to this world, but transformed and renewed in Christ. Each point in St. Pauls exhortation deserves a discourse of its own, but here I will only discuss all the points generally. What is it that all of them have in common? Clearly, it is that we are to have love for one another, and even for our enemies. St. Paul is only expounding on the great commandments of Christ.

The most essential mark of spiritual transformation is that we have love. Our Lord tells us: By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).

The problem lies with us. The problem is that, deep down, we feel that we have a “right” to our favorite passions. “I have a right to be angry,” “I have a right to be resentful,” “I have a right to this sinful little pleasure,” or whatever it is. Deep down, we do not want to give up our passions.

So the question comes down to this: What do we really want? Do we want to stay in our ruts, so that we can freely indulge our pride, our self-love, our self-righteousness, our desire to be right, our anger and resentments, our sinful pleasures? What do we want? Do we want to be fashioned after the passions of this world, which pass away, or do we want to have Christ dwelling within us, re-creating us into new beings who will dwell with Him and in Him forever?

 

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