“When the soul is disturbed by anger, confused by drunkenness, or sunk in deep depression, the intellect cannot hold fast to the remembrance of God no matter how hard we try to force it. Completely darkened by the violence of the passions, it loses totally the form of perception which is proper to it. Thus our desire that our intellect should keep the remembrance of God cannot make any impression, because the recollective faculty of our mind has been hardened by the rawness of the passions. But, on the other hand, when the soul has obtained freedom from there passions, then, even though the intellect is momentarily deprived by forgetfulness of the object of its longing, it at once resumes its proper activity.” ~The Philokalia
While I agree with what this quote says, I would change a few things. First, the soul does not get angry, depressed, or drunk. Those are all attributes of the mind. On the other hand, it is the soul that remembers God and communicates with God, not the mind or intellect. It seems that the writer of this section of the Philokalia gets the two confused, or perhaps worse, thinks they are one and the same thing. In a sense, this might be true is we are talking about the mundane soul, the animal soul, but I can’t see why a book of religious instruction would be talking about that soul.
The spiritual soul, the divine soul, does not suffer from any of the weaknesses mentioned. What can happen is that the spiritual soul is not awakened, but remains in a coma-like condition when the material mind, specifically the ego, dominates and controls what we do. So in a sense, the soul can be a captive of passions and material desires because it it not allowed to awaken and grow when we spend all our time and all our thoughts on material matters. Also, even after the soul has been awakened, the ego, often with some help from dark or demonic beings, can push it away and force it back into that comatose condition.
So the secret to knowing truth and knowing God is to awaken the soul and nourish it so it stays awake. This usually means that we have to convince the ego that it is in it’s own interest to allow the soul to awaken, not an easy thing to do. The ego has to be reminded that it is part of the brain/mind and therefore mortal. No matter how hard the scientists try—and some are trying very hard—they cannot make the physical body immortal and therefore they cannot make the physical brain/mind immortal. The only way the mind can become immortal is to become integrated into a complete spiritual being by merging in a sense with the soul. The soul and spirit are immortal, the body is not.
But in addition to convincing the ego to allow it to happen, the soul also needs the energy necessary to awaken and grow. That energy comes to us primarily from the spiritual sun just as physical energy comes to us primarily from the physical sun (as above, so below). So we need to learn how to take in the light from the spiritual sun, or, as it is now, the Sun of Righteousness, in order to truly know God and the worlds of spirit and not just speculate about them. While to some degree we are all being bombarded with this energy constantly, we absorb very little of it unless we are trained in how to attune to it mush like tuning a radio to a specific channel. While tools like certain crystals and sounds can help, the best results are obtained by learning the proper techniques for absorption of this energy from a good spiritual school. I encourage those of you who are seriously interested in spiritual development to request more information by filling in the form on the Contact page.