“Cleanse me from secret faults! O God, purify me from hidden iniquities. Give me a good answer at your dread judgment seat. Lord of great mercy and measureless love for all people: Hear my prayer!”
I’ll be putting this meme somewhere that I can see easily see it. I need the reminder.
Neuroscience tells us that what’s going on in this quote is a function of something called myelination. Myelin is a chemical that allows signals to travel faster in our neural pathways. We build up myelin by repetition. The more we do something, the stronger the pathways in the brain needed to get it done. That’s why “practice makes perfect.”
Myelination doesn’t just affect learning skills, it also shapes things like character and attitudes. Choosing to be positive will make us a more positive person, because we are strengthening the “positive” pathways in our brains. The same is true for negative thinking.
In the words of the 20th-century Eastern Orthodox monk, Elder Thaddeus:
Our thoughts determine our lives.
“Keep saying the Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!”
We usually think of a spiritual pilgrimage as a journey to some hard-to-reach holy place in a far-off land. The desert fathers and mothers (who definitely knew something about hard-to-reach holy places) remind us that an authentic spiritual journey begins much closer to home.