Destroying the Passions - becoming a Holy Vulcan

I never cease to be amazed by the emphasis of Orthodoxy on self-discipline and over-coming the passions, which appear (note this very deliberate choice of terminology) to enslave us. Be also aware of my use of the word "passions" because in our society it has become utilized as a positive character trait, but in the writings of the Fathers it is exclusively understood as being one and the same with sinful behavior. In a sense we are to become so self-controlled so as to be passionless...I've even heard advised that when lighting a vigil lamp to keep the wick trimmed so as to create a steady, consistent, and passionless flame. This is intended to remind us of our state of being - to burn brightly but not out of control.

Orthodox ascetics remind me of Vulcans (yes I am a geek) except that instead of focusing on logic they focus on selfless love. In the same sense that humor is rebuffed by the lack of receptivity of Vulcans, so also are insults and the accompanying inclinations towards anger (among many other things) on the ascetically disciplined.

Upon the counsel of my priest I have been slowly reading Unseen Warfare and came upon an interesting section just this morning. Basically the author demonstrates methods by which we can overcome the passions and he lists three practical steps to go through when faced with an intruding passion:

1. Decide and learn to hate the passion. Identify it and forever consider it your mortal enemy.
2. Turn to Christ for help.
and here is the real kicker...
3. KILL the passion by immediately and decisively practicing the opposing virtue, in so you will utterly destroy that passion. And in time, with consistency, as you continue to sow and cultivate the virtue, the passion will whither away.

I have a very cool chart which gives a lengthy listing of various passions and their opposing virtues, but I have been unable to locate it online...if I cannot find it I will scan it and upload it.


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