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05 - DISCIPLINE OF THE SENSES

DISCIPLINE OF THE SENSES

Theophan the Recluse likens man to a king (the soul) who lives in a castle (the body) The castle has 5 windows and a door. The 5 windows are the five senses. The door is the mind. The enemy, can not enter into the castle except through the windows or the door. If these are closed shut, the enemy can not enter into the castle.
Through these windows, the salesman of sin can bring in samples of different experiences or sensations that bring delights to the soul. Out of these, the soul bundles together a circle of comfort and pleasure (fun). The soul comes to consider this circle of pleasure as its primary good and goal. In this way, the order of things becomes inverted, and instead of seeking God and His Kingdom, the soul seeks “fun”.
A person who seeks to start on the road of spiritual perfection, has to re-establish the original order of life; to find comfort in God and not in fun. Sometimes we take this decision, yet the struggle is long and difficult. After years of pleasing and pandering to one’s self, it is very difficult to wean the soul from the bad habits it had acquired over the years. Disciplining the senses is crucial for success in this struggle to reestablish the normal order of things within oneself.
Each sense has its pleasant and unpleasant subjects. The soul delights in pleasurable things and, becoming addicted to them, always lusts after them. In this way, each sense introduces into the soul several lusts or passionate attachments. These lusts lie dormant in the soul until the object of lust is once again experienced by the sense. Once the lust is re-ignited within the soul, a chain reaction begins as St. James tells us in James1:15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Now the saying of Jeremiah becomes fulfilled, “death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces” (Jer 9:21) That is death has entered through the senses into the soul.
The discipline of the senses is twofold. Not only should we prevent our senses from wandering about and getting harmful impressions, but we should also train them to receive profitable impressions from every creature and every thing.

 

 

 


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