Thursday, March 3, 2011

On Logisimoi

What are Logisimoi?

One of the most difficult tasks, but one which must be undertaken, is the guarding of one's self from the distraction and despondency that can occur from Logisimoi, Greek for "random" or "distracting" thoughts. These thoughts seemingly arise from nothingness, or a foreign line of thought, but serve only one purpose: to distract your attention from God. It can be the most harmless thing or the most terrifying prospect. In the end, the goal is the same. To tear us away from the Peace of the Spirit. But we can fight it. By guarding our hearts, discerning our thoughts and actions, and praying. In this way we are always attuned to Christ. 

The Prayer of the Heart

The Fathers offer another potent weapon. The acquisition of unceasing prayer. Without any lull in your heart and mind, the devil no longer has room for seduction. Acquire the prayer of the heart as the pilgrim says in The Way of a Pilgrim; and you will always be at peace as John Chrysostom instructs.1 This is the prayer that at every moment, with every heartbeat, even in sleep your soul calls upon the name of Christ. This is the weapon which Saint Hesychios says rebukes the devil.2 Mastery of this is no easy feat by any means, and it will involve struggle and failure, but to strive for prayer as often as possible, whenever you can. 


1 'It is necessary for everyone, whether eating, drinking, sitting, serving, traveling, or doing anything, to unceasingly cry: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,' that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, descending into the depths of the heart, may subdue the evil serpent, and save and restore to life the soul.' - St. John Chrysostom

2 'If we have not attained prayer that is free from distracting thoughts [logismoi], we have no weapon to fight with. By this prayer I mean the prayer which is ever active in the inner shrine of the soul, and which by invoking Christ scourges and sears our secret enemy.' - St. Hesychios the Presbyter