In her book Thoughts Matter, Mary Margaret Funk discusses spiritual struggle: "The thoughts that we find in our interior chatter cluster into eight themes which recur constantly...These thoughts are classic since they recur in every person of every era and cycle continuously..." The eight thoughts are thoughts "about food, about sex, about things, about anger, about dejection, about acedia, about vainglory, and about pride."
"If I lay aside my own thoughts, grace emerges and provides me strength for the good life. There need be no striving for virtue. The practice of laying aside thoughts uncovers divine grace, the glory of God, whose energy takes over. Charity springs up....There is no corresponding list of eight virtues to replace the eight thoughts. Lay aside one's thoughts and all the virtues emerge. I cannot pull out a spiritual repertoire to indicate what response is needed. When I live with a discerning heart, there are no causes or right actions that tell me what to do. I simply have a loving heart, ready to do whatever is necessary. I don't dwell on outside causes. I lead a life close to the heart and am guided by whispers."