Posted by: lostperception | 10/28/2010

About Positive Thinking – Elder Paisios

“For perverse thoughts separate men from God” (Wis 1:3)

We once asked Father Paisios: – Father, you constantly tell us to have positive thinking. We would like you to give us some advice on how to deal with the following problem: – Often people come to us to tell us that some priests charge a lot of money for performing the Holy Sacraments; they say that they smoke, or hang around coffee shops; they even say that some priests are involved in immoral acts, and in general, make strong accusations against them and present evidence to justify them. What answers can we give to people who accuse the clergy?

The Elder started telling us: – I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist; people either belong to one or the other. The first one resembles the fly. The main characteristic of the fly is that it is attracted by dirt. For example, when a fly is found in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and will go sit on top of some dirt found on the ground. It will start messing around with it and feel comfortable with the bad smell. If the fly could talk, and you asked it to show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: “I don’t even know what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets and dirt.” There are some people who resemble the fly. People belonging to this category have learned to think negatively and always look for the bad things in life, ignoring and refusing the presence of good.

The other category is like the bee whose main characteristic is to always look for something sweet and nice to sit on. When a bee is found in a room full of dirt and there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the dirt and will go to sit on top of the sweet. Now, if we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: “I don’t know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey and sugar; it only knows the good things in life and is ignorant of all evil.” This is the second category of people who have a positive thinking and see only the good side of things. They always try to cover up the evil in order to protect their fellow men; on the contrary, people in the first category try to expose the evil and bring it to the surface. When someone comes to me and starts accusing other people and puts me in a difficult situation, I tell him the above example. Then, I ask him to decide to which category he wishes to belong, so he may find people of the same kind to socialize with.

 

elder Paisios with visitors

Once, a young man visited the Elder for advice. Being simple-hearted, however, he couldn’t restrain from listening to negative thoughts. These thoughts were acting as an obstacle to every good work he was trying to accomplish. Father Paisios, due to his discretion, realised that his negative thoughts were the cause of his problem and told him the following: -There was a man who used to say: “If I get married and have children, and my children are boys and there is war, they will have to join the army and finally they will get killed. So, there is no reason for me to get married.” Then, the Elder turns to him and says: – Isn’t that a silly thought? – Yes, the young man replied. The Elder went on: -Be careful, because you are doing the same thing. Bear in mind that you will never achieve anything good, if you think and act this way.

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