Friday, December 26, 2008

About that "mind poison of delusion"

Some years ago I read a rather marvelous book called The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham. I was reminded of it today when I came across a posting on a blog called living on both ends - an exploration of best and worst. The blog author offers this excerpt from the book:
[T]he essential thing, the great spiritual teachers constantly remind, is to see oneself in the proper perspective. “Pay attention to yourself!”

This approach was imprinted irrevocably on the tradition of Evagrius Ponticus, one of the more influential of the Egyptian monks.. Evagrius…emphasized honest self-knowledge. He set himself the task of detailing the different traps and temptations that can distort understanding by imposing on the mind some false perspective. Evagrius called these traps logismos – thoughts that bewilder and befog the mind so that slowly, bit by bit, we drift into a world of self-destructive fantasy.

The problem, Evagrius took care to point out, lay not in “bad thoughts” but in a process of bad thinking that is really wrong vision- seeing things from the perspective of our fears and fantasies (unrealities) rather than seeing things truly…Logismos are the arch-enemies of the soul, the demons from within that destroy proper perspective on the world, and thus prevent us from concentrating on the actual reality of our life, leading us further and further from our actual condition, making us try to solve problems that have not yet arisen and need never arise.
Over and over we are taught in the meditative tradition not to judge our thoughts. I really like this distinction between "bad thoughts" and "bad thinking". The problem is our perspective. How very true.

No comments:

Post a Comment

New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.