Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna, Empirical Dogmatics, Genuine Orthodoxy, Hesychasm, Human Rights, Metropolitan (Emeritus) Chrysostomos, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, Nepsis, Noetic Faculty, nous, self-knowledge, Spiritual Law, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mark the Ascetic
-Can you [Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos] tell us, said Fr. Philip, something about nous‘ movement according to nature, contrary to nature and above nature? I think that this will help us see even more clearly all the things you have mentioned up to this point.
-The holy Fathers have dealt with all these aspects of spiritual life. And since they considered that the subject of the nous is a dominant one for man’s malady and cure they spoke about it. St. Mark the ascetic teaches that there are three movements-states of the nous: according to nature, contrary to nature and above nature. The nous moves contrary to nature when it does not see the righteousness and providence of God, but fights with men, believing that he is unjustly treated. In other words, when moving contrary to nature the nous leaves God and is dispersed in the creation through the senses. Then he blames the others for whatever evil exists around him. A person’s nous moves according to nature when he does not blame other people, but considers himself responsible for his evil thoughts. In this case man knows the causes of his passions and confesses his sins to God; that is, instead of putting the blame on others, as Adam and Eve did, he blames himself and struggles to be cured. When man receives the fruits of the Most holy Spirit this nous moves above nature. In this state the nous is united with God and rejoices in His presence. When the nous is illumined and united with God, it becomes formless and shapeless, that is it is delivered from images, phantasies and demonic thoughts. It has good thoughts and thus it feels free from inner restraints. For, as you understand, evil thoughts which turn against God, and against his fellow men are a result of the nous’ illness. You can realise, therefore, of how great importance the nous and the heart are, concerning malady and cure of the soul; concerning, in general, spiritual life.