“The thoughts of the world drag the mind down to earthly and corruptible things, and do not suffer it to love God or to remember the Lord. And oftentimes, on the other hand, the unlearned man goes to prayer, and bends the knee, and his mind enters into rest, and deep as he may dig and get below, the wall of evil that withstands him breaks down, and he enters into vision and wisdom, where potentates and wise men and orators cannot penetrate to understand and know the delicacy of his mind, since he is engrossed in divine mysteries. One who is inexperienced in judging of hearts does not know how to value them, for lack of experience. Well, Christians abhor the glorious things of the earth, and account them but dung in comparison with the magnificence of those things—a magnificence which works effectually in them. …
“The adversary never ceases from warring. Satan is merciless in his hatred of men; therefore he never shirks from warring against every man. But he is not seen to set upon all to the same degree.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian
Yes, worldly thoughts can drag down the mind. More importantly, they can drag down the spirit and soul. But we can’t live in a material world and not think about material things. We would not be able to hold a job, have a home, or even eat if we never thought about worldly things. The trick for the spiritual person is to function in the physical world, but without becoming attached to it. We must think about worldly things, but not let them rule the mind.
Macarius calls those worldly things “corruptible”. Usually, we only see that word used in reference to people. Children can be corrupted into becoming thieves or murderers. But things are corruptible because they rot, they age, they rust away. Nothing physical is permanent. Even mountains are worn down by wind and rain. So we don’t want our worldly thoughts to become attached to the temporary and corruptible.
The Unlearned Man
The person who is not well educated often has an advantage when it comes to awakening his spiritual self. He has fewer beliefs and preconceptions that serve to block out the truth that doesn’t agree with those beliefs. The other side of that coin, however, is that the educated person can more easily understand the material that comes through to him when his spiritual faculties are awakened. So both have advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps a good solution would be for the well-educated person to work together with the unlearned one. Then both could learn and comprehend the new spiritual things they are learning.
Christians Abhor Glorious Things
It was true in the early years of Christianity that rampant materialism was rejected as a lifestyle or goal for most Christians. Real Christianity was about spiritual growth, not getting wealthy in a material sense. Sadly, that is no longer the case. Now we even have preachers telling their flocks of fools that God wants them to be wealthy so give them all you can, and the fools listen and do it. And now we have a United Stated President who is the epitome of greed, selfishness, and atheism being worshiped as a demigod by the Evangelical Christians. Sad.
Satan and his minions are constantly warring against humanity. But not material man, just spiritual man. They love matter. They love man as a being of matter. It is only the spiritual self that gets in their way, so they war against it. But generally, this is not a war of guns and bombs. Satan is far too subtle for that. He whispers ideas into our heads. He rewards the most materialistic among us with more material wealth. In short, Satan and his assistants are the transmitters of worldly thought. If they can convince us to pursue material wealth, material goods, they keep us trapped in the dark realm where they rule. But the few who awaken and give up those worldly thoughts can escape into a truly glorious realm of spirit. A world where there is no death or disease. A place where there is no greed or jealousy. The realm where those worldly thoughts of material possessions seem like the cartoonish fantasies of children.
The adversary is full of worldly thoughts because matter is his realm. Don’t help him conquer by also clinging to worldly thoughts.