“It is less difficult to cleanse an impure soul than to restore to health a soul which was once cleansed but has been wounded anew. … This is due partly to the influence of bad habit and partly to the fact that the demon of objection is always dangling the image of sin before them. But with the co-operation of divine grace, a diligent and assiduous soul may readily achieve even this difficult feat of regaining its dispassion …
“No one among us can prevail by his own unaided strength over the devices and wiles of the evil one; he can prevail only through the invincible power of Christ. … Thus I entreat you neither to entrust everything to God and then fall asleep, nor to think, when you are striving diligently, that you will achieve everything by your own efforts.” ~The Philokalia
A Pure Soul
Rather than cleansing the soul, it would be more accurate to say awakening the soul. It is not that the soul of the materialistic types are soiled or rotten, but that they have never been awakened at all. I’m not sure it is always harder to reclaim a fallen soul than it is to initially awaken one, but it could be true in many cases.
One reason why it might be true is that you cannot really be blamed for having a dormant spirit and soul if no one has after taught you how to awaken those faculties, or even that it is necessary to do so. Once they have been awakened, however, and then you return to the world of materialism and give up on spiritual development, you now must accept at least some of the blame when you realize your mistake. In doing so, you admit that you are weak, and that does not put you in a good mental state to return to the spiritual.
The other reason is because once you have awakened your spirit and soul, you become a target of the evil demons who want such behavior stopped. The world of matter is Satan realm and their realm and they don’t want anyone attempting to go beyond that, to escape the prison in a sense. Those who have never been awakened are generally ignored by demons, but they delight in making those who have awakened fall by the wayside. Also, these demons feed on the light of the awakened, so that is another reason why they attack them. It is like moths being drawn to a porch light at night. The demons are creatures of darkness, and yet even they find the Light of awakened spirits and a pure soul oddly attractive.
Two Ways to Fail Your Pure Soul
The section I quoted ends by warning us that two very different extremes can result in us failing in our quest for spiritual enlightenment. One way is that we can sit back and do nothing and think that for some reason God will do all the work to save us, as if God is the servant of man and not the other way around. Sadly and strangely, this is the method being taught by many popular churches today and notice that you see few if any truly enlightened people coming out of those institutions.
The second way to fail is the other extreme: the egotistic belief that we can do it all on our own. Even great spiritual master like Jesus and Buddha turned to God and angels for help, and we are certainly no better than they are.
We all need help from God, from angels, and on a more earthly level, from a community of fellow seekers of higher consciousness. A pure soul is an awakened soul, and once awakened, it must be cared for, nurtured, fed Divine Light, and “exercised” through regular contact with the spiritual levels of reality. We all need help to accomplish that, but we also need to work hard to achieve that goal ourselves.