The human heart as the battlefield of mental health

By Hanne Nabintu Herland

Read Hanne’s The Herland Report.

As mental health issues are exploding in the atheist West, with peaking suicide rates, the knowledge of how to protect the heart has never been more vital. How do we stay sane, balanced and healthy in a world where demons and men are waging horrendous wars, the young are ruthlessly slaughtered, and existential confusion and depression fill hearts with darkness and despair?

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do – life itself – flows from it,” said the wise king Solomon of Israel, as recorded in the ancient book of Proverbs, 4:23. The key to healing when the heart is hurt by the turmoil of this world is carefully outlined in the road map to mental health found in the thousands of years old, metaphysical writings of the Holy Scriptures.

The health of the heart of man, defined beyond the mere physical as his innermost being, begins with attention to the thoughts he allows to penetrate his mind. The path to peace of mind implies the need first to clean the heart of its evil passions. Without purity and a clear view of what is right and wrong, what leads into darkness and what carves the path into existential light, there can be no lasting mental peace.

Marxist atheism preaches a nihilist, relativist view of morality that leaves to the individual to decide what he feels is right or wrong. The traditional, historic Western view of these issues outline the very opposite, that the law of nature is a set order that applies to all men, that clearly defines good and evil as separate forces at work in the world. The road map to peace is not relative. It is not an individualized exercise in which each man decides for himself what he considers to be right or wrong, and thereby lives happily ever after. Man needs to use his mind to choose which forces he will allow to work within him. His own choices often produce the result.

What do we allow to enter our heart and which thoughts do we stop at the gate of the mind and prohibit from running their course of destruction within us? “The mind is like a guard, like a vigilant keeper of the inner Jerusalem,” says St. Seraphim of Sarov, as found in the book “The Life and Teaching of Saint Seraphim of Sarov”: “Standing on the height of spiritual contemplation, it watches through the eyes of purity the hostile powers which try to sneak into the soul and nestle themselves there.” He describes your inner king as the mind, the ruler of your feelings. So, which thoughts do you allow to rule your feelings?

The person who pays heed to himself and the innermost workings of his mind, will thereby be following the teaching of St. Paul, taking the whole armor of God upon him, that he may be able to withstand the evil day and stand by the grace of God, as described in the ancient book of wisdom Ephesians, 6:13. The invisible enemies of men are actively trying to corrupt the mind, the entrance to the heart, in order to bring man into the same state of doom the demons of this world are already in. Their pleasure is to take dominion and engrave the heart with the same death and destruction that has sealed their own fate.

“God was favorably disposed to communicate and to take into his spiritual nature none of the manifested creatures but man, whom He came to love most of all His creatures,” Macarius the Great, the Egyptian early church father, proclaimed. Man’s soul, where God brings peace to his restless heart, is therefore the most valuable asset man has. It is from this source that his mental health springs forth.

“Where, except in uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?” asks the famous writer C.S. Lewis, author of “The Chronicles of Narnia.” He proclaims that Christianity gives a rational explanation to the road map for mental peace.

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