Discretion and the importance of the revelation of one's thoughts; the graces of the humble recognition of one's sins and the safety it brings in the spiritual life; the importance of the spiritual elder and the concurrent dangers of false teachers.
The Importance of Discretion in the Spiritual Life; Various Titles of Discretion; Necessity to attain and sustain virtue; examples of lack of discretion; Necessity of Humility for Attain Discretion; Importance of the Revelation of one's thoughts to another.
Conferences of St. John Cassian: Conference One Part IV - Goal of the Spiritual life (Purity of Heart)
Responsibility for guarding the heart and for improving the character of our thoughts; sources of thoughts; the skill of discernment; impact of cultural trends of contemporary "spirituality"
FOSTERING OBEDIENCE, THE DEVIL'S ASSAULTS ON THE OBEDIENT, THE VALUE OF A SPIRITUAL FATHER
Climacus then turns his thoughts to how this virtue is fostered and developed. One must begin by being watchful of every thought, seeking purity of heart through true contrition. A monk should willingly accept rebukes and criticism, freely exposing his thoughts to his director. If one is truly obedient this will be reflected in his speech and his unwillingness to cling to his own opinions.
The truly obedient need have no fear of death or judgment.
Having to confess one's thoughts to spiritual father will keep a monk from committing sins. Obedience is perfected when simply the thought of the spiritual father keeps a monk from doing wrong. The truly obedient monk in humility attributes all good that he does to the prayers of his spiritual father.
The Devil's attacks on those who are obedient.
The necessity of constancy in obedience and completeness in the revelation of thoughts. A monk must develop that habit of doing both.
Climacus warns that a monk should not get into the practice of leaving one healer for another. Again the monk should not enter the solitary life or leave his spiritual father too quickly.