Akedia (ἀκηδία, akedia) is the sixth evil thought. Akedia is a type of restlessness that comes upon the monk around noon. What generally happens is this. First, the monk begins to feel that the day is just dragging along or that the task set before him is too difficult. Then, the monk searches to see if any of the other monks are coming to visit him. If not, he returns to his task. However, soon there grows dissatisfaction with where he is at in his life and that none of the other monks care about him. If anyone has done him wrong, he begins to think on that which then leads to anger. Since where he is at now is so terrible, he dwells on thoughts of foreign places and thinks about how wonderful they would be. He then begins to rationalize the need to leave his current location, often using Scripture as a justification.
This thought encompasses all the other thoughts as it draws from both the animal (i.e., irrational) and human (i.e., rational) parts of the soul. That is, it can draw from a combination of any of the thoughts. For example, akedia can arise from the thought of fornication which is closely associated to the concupiscible part of the soul. It can also arise after anger, which is closer to the irascible part of the soul. Finally, it can also arise from the thoughts that are closer to the rational part of the soul, that is, sadness, vainglory, and pride. While sadness was the result of a frustrated desire, akedia seems to be a type of weariness with the ascetical life. It may come upon the monk in response to what appears to be the overwhelming difficulty of such a life. It also may come upon the monk after a moral failure, closely accompanied by sadness. In either case, there is a seemingly hopelessness to his situation. Like sadness, akedia begins a perpetual downward spiral into more and more sin. The irascible part as been cooled to the point where it cannot even function properly to fight against temptation.
Perseverance is the most direct way to combat the thought of akedia. The key feature of akedia is best described in the English word, restlessness. If one is restless about his labors, whether they be manual or ascetical, it is important not to give in to the restlessness and go here or there to avoid ones responsibilities. Instead, perseverance does not give into those distractions but through joy and thanksgiving meditates on the cross of Christ. Reciting the psalms can also be helpful in fighting akedia. However, one must be careful not to be lead into vainglory or excessive asceticism. Vainglory comes about if the monk does persevere through the temptation of akedia and begins to think of his own accomplishments forgetting that perseverance comes from God. Excessive asceticism arises are a way of combating akedia. If akedia is a powering down, then the monk considers the natural solution is the power up. However, such powering up will only drain the monk of all power to the point where he is unable to combat any temptation.
 Which is why sometimes it is referred to as the noonday demon. Cf. Praktikos 12; ET, Sinkewicz, 99.
 Reflections 40; ET, Sinkewicz, 214.
Other posts in this series:
- Divisions of the Soul according to Evagrius
- The Evagrian Psychology of Temptation
- The First Evil Thought – Gluttony
- The Second Evil Thought – Fornication
- The Third Evil Thought – Avarice
- The Fourth Evil Thought – Anger
- The Fifth Evil Thought – Sadness
- The Seventh Evil Thought – Vainglory
- The Eighth Evil Thought – Pride
- Critique, Conclusion, and Bibliography