Either we want it or not, because of the original sin, because of our falls and of the guile that entered man, he folds his soul in two –hides his soul. Ultimately, to speak with psychological terms and definitions, man has the conscious, the subconscious and the unconscious: namely, the soul is multilayered. This means that if man’s soul was divided into ten layers, the six lowest layers would be the unconscious, the next three would be the subconscious, and the topmost layer would be the conscious. Thus, from these ten layers which are the object of man’s soul, only 1/10 is conscious –and barely. This means that someone knows, is aware of, and is able to control, only a very small part of himself.
As a result, the moment someone says “I love God and I give myself to Him”, no matter how well disposed he is, he’s only actually giving that 1/10. Over the other 9/10 he has absolutely no control, and is unable to give them over. Someone, however, doing this work, namely giving his whole self to God –in reality giving this 1/10- somehow experiences the following. The next day, or even within that exact moment, a certain part of that 9/10 which is hidden inside the subconscious and the unconscious, becomes conscious.
Consequently, the next day someone, if he is honest with himself, will admit that although yesterday he gave his whole self to God, today he feels as though he must give himself again to God, as a new state has arisen within him. In the spiritual life it is in this way that one makes a start and again makes a new start, giving himself again and again to God. And, if one does this both honestly, and honourably, he progresses and someday arrives at a state where he has finally given his whole self to God. And because of this the saints don’t have what we have: a conscious, a subconscious and an unconscious. No; their entire being is transparent before God. In this way, the saint controls himself completely. Never does a saint feel that within him exists states that are crude and dark, let’s say, a basement of the soul, states that he doesn’t know, and doesn’t control. The saint doesn’t have such things.
You understand, therefore, what work we have to do on ourselves. And this work is interesting. This is not, however, simply like a practical work. This is the great mystery; the more someone knows himself and gives himself to God, the more he is immersed in the grace of God, in the love of God, and the more he is captured by this grace, and this love of God. In this way, man becomes radiant, is illumined, is gladdened, rejoices, has joy, and is made gleeful.
Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.
Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos