I wonder if the terms heart, mind and body can be similarly understood in Metropolitan Hierotheos’ description of soul, nous, heart, and body.

“According to St. Gregory Palamas, the soul is called the nous as well. Yet, both the essence of the soul – the heart – and its energy – consisting of the thoughts – are called nous.

However, although in the Biblical-Patristic tradition the terms are interchangeable, to avoid any confusion the soul is referred to as the spiritual element of man’s existence; the heart, as the essence of the soul, and the nous as the energy of the soul. Thus, when the nous enters the heart and acts therein, there exists a unity between the nous (energy), the heart (essence) and the soul.

… The heart is the centre of man’s psychosomatic constitution, since, as we noted previously, there is an “unconfused” union between soul and body. The centre of this union is called heart.” (Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos’s Orthodox Spirituality, Chapter 3)

In other words, out of the heart proceed the thoughts, then the words/actions of the body. Heart, mind, body. To the heart turned toward God, he goes on to say,

“The heart is the place which is discovered through ascetic practice in a state of grace; it is the place wherein God is revealed and made manifest…. Noone can fully show the place of the heart by rational and speculative definitions. In any case the heart is the centre and summation of the three faculties of the soul: of the intellect, the appetitive and the irascible.”

Not sure why irascible is in there. If the above is uniting, here comes the dividing part, at least in my mind,

“Quite illustrative of the above then are two passages from St. Basil the Great’s writings. In one text he says that in the spiritual man – who has become a temple of God and of the most Holy Spirit – reason and the nous exist and operate simultaneously. Reason is engaged in earthly cares and the nous is engaged in the unceasing remembrance of God. [see the division?] Moreover, because his nous is united with the heart and has communion with God, man is not disturbed by unexpected temptations, that is to say, by temptations caused by the decay and transiency of his nature.

In the other passage St. Basil refers to the return of the nous into the heart and its ascent to God.

The latter passage should be interpreted within the context of the former one and in relationship to all of St. Basil’s teaching. The nous which is scattered outwards and diffused through the senses into the world is sick, fallen, prodigal. It must return from its diffused state to its union with God. Illumined by the uncreated Light (the state of theosis), the nous neglects even its nature, and the soul is not preoccupied with clothing and shelter. This does not mean that man does not care about food, etc. But, because man has attained to the state of theoria (vision of God) and theosis, his bodily forces – not those of his soul – are in a state of suspension, in other words, the soul and nous are not subjugated by the influences of the world and material things. Man is, of course, concerned about them, yet he is not enslaved by them. [oh.] Additionally, St. Basil the Great clearly states that by this movement of the nous’ return within the heart, virtue as a whole is acquired: prudence, bravery, justice, wisdom along with all of the other virtues.”

My practical mind worries that this approach can lead to neglect of the body or those one is responsible for in the world, but I guess he deflects that by saying one will become properly prudent in this state.

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