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If you compress the spring, it will surely straighten out

If you compress the spring, it will surely straighten out

14.03.2018
Tags: Religion, Christianity

Do Christians need to suppress emotions?

"I am a Christian - I can not allow myself to feel this," - so many argue, feeling in their souls or other negative emotions. Meanwhile in the popular psychological literature very often it is possible to meet the statement: anger, insult, envy, like any other feelings, it is necessary to "live", otherwise not to pass psychosomatic illnesses. So what is the result in the end right? And how can a Christian not turn into a "pressure cooker", because of the internal pressure the steam can just fly off the lid? How to find harmony between the manifestation of feelings and restraint?

"Be silent, be silent, be silent! .."?

The idea that a Christian should suppress all human feelings is a common misconception, and I have to meet with him quite often. From the spiritual point of view, this is the wrong way. It's like screwing a nut harder and stronger and eventually breaking the thread - the bolt after that will already be useless. It's the same with a person: besides that, by doing this way, sooner or later he will simply break and it will be bad for him and for others, it is also very dangerous experiments with the psyche. And that there will be a breakdown, one can not doubt: a person is such a creature that he can not not experience emotions, and if we deny ourselves this, then we begin to approach the internal limit, beyond which the compressed spring will necessarily straighten out.

What does the patristic teaching say about emotions? Perhaps the first and most graphic that is remembered is the example described in the Father's House of St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov): a case from the life of the Monk Pimen the Great and his brothers. It is known that they, the ascetics, had to live at one time in an abandoned pagan temple, and Abba Anth, the eldest of the brothers, came every day to the statue that stood in this temple. First he threw stones at her, and then bowed to her. The brothers, of course, were at a loss: how can a Christian bow his head before an idol! - and finally decided to talk. Abba Anu explained that he was doing all this for their edification: you could see that when he threw stones at the statue's face, or when he bowed before her, she was not embarrassed, angry, not overbearing him. So it is necessary for people to do also to have peace between themselves.

However, this edification does not at all mean that a Christian should become a stone statue and his heart should also become a stone statue. It is very important to understand that, and having adopted this attitude of behavior, people did not become insensitive. And the same Abba Anw, when one of his younger brothers made a fight, vividly, as we can see, was worried about all this. However, our mood and attitude to life is sometimes such that "we do not be proud or angry" we perceive as "not to feel anything at all". This is a flat and wrong approach - the Christian faces a completely different task.

An inner work is needed - the realization that you yourself have come into conflict with the Gospel

What is important? It is important not to let go of an emotion at a particular moment, not to let it turn into an element that in the life of a person will break the firewood and devastate it. Rev. John Climacus says that when a person really wants to manifest, say, his anger, he should at least not let her express herself verbally - to protect her mouth with silence. But further - and this is the most important moment - you need to understand this emotion. What is this anger, what is its source, why did it arise at that moment? A person must understand that in his way of life is so wrong that such a sinful feeling has appeared. And this inner work - the realization that you yourself has come into conflict with the Gospel, repentance, correction, return to God - can be dismantled to the ground, any negative feeling. Do not squeeze, so that it becomes invisible or invisible, but to make it simply not. Man alone can not do this by himself, but the Lord helps in this. Therefore, before an unbeliever, there may be a dilemma: to throw out a negative or drive it inside yourself - but the Christian does not have it, it has a third way.

Do not constantly tell yourself: "Be silent, be silent, be silent! .." So you can behave with an animal to develop a conditioned reflex. But man is a creature of a different order. And it does not work with a man - internal work must be done, which eliminates the undue, sinful feelings.

"Who laughs for a long time, then he will cry"?

Do not forget about the feeling of joy, a sense of gratitude, a feeling of affection

But along with so frequent among believing people attempts to crush any emotions in themselves, disturbs both. A person, asking what to do with his feelings, sees before him only the feelings of evil and as if completely forgets that there is a feeling of joy and a feeling of gratitude, a feeling of tenderness and a sense of duty ... And this is clear evidence of how little these feelings in the lives of many Christians, how little they are given attention. But meanwhile, good feelings, of course, do not need to be clamped in, or replaced with something rational - they must be alive, spontaneous. Another thing is that in expressing these feelings one must be educated, delicate. And probably, it can be said that in general in its emotional sphere it is necessary to maintain a certain balance - then any expression of our emotions will be balanced, not beyond all possible limits.

And to begin with, expressing emotions, even joyful and good, you need to try to keep the inner attention. There is a saying: "Who laughs for a long time, then he will cry." It seems to be a wonderful thing, but there is quite common sense in it: the person laughs, laughs, and flies on the lamp post, because, laughing, he stops completely watching where he goes. And this is the most visible, material and at the same time an allegorical example of what can happen to a person who is completely immersed in his emotions.

Similarly, you need to find a balance in assessing any situation - so that, on the one hand, emotion does not catch us and does not lead to passion, and on the other hand, our restraint does not turn into detachment. And this is the golden mean, which can only be acquired by experience, individually: we all have a different sense of balance, and each person finds this balance through his own mistakes. It's like learning to walk on a rope: you need to feel your center of gravity, to feel where you are more often leads - to the left or to the right, and gradually the probability not to fly away from this rope and pass the required segment will increase.

Change the angle of view

Express your feelings not for your own sake, but for another person to be well with you

And one more question people, sometimes having already visited a psychologist, are asked the priest. How to start expressing your feelings, if the people around us are not used to this? Here, the essence, probably, is not even in the possible answer, but why this question arises in a person, why it becomes a problem for him. As a rule - because having read somewhere or heard from someone that it is necessary to give freedom to their feelings in relations with people, he starts to "cause" these feelings "to others" - maybe, in a kind way, but not to the place and very much awkward. And the priest can give here only one simple, but, as practice shows, effective advice: while a person tries to learn how to express his feelings for his own sake, he will perform the silly acts - but it is necessary to change the angle of view and do something not "for that , in order to become different, "but for another person to be happy with us, and an understanding of the relevance, and the necessary forms of expression begin to come to us themselves. It is important only not to forget to fill these feelings with good and to protect as a gift.

Abbot Nectarios (Morozov)
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