Dearly beloved,

It is productive to review our lives and recall some of the sins we have committed, for which we have the greatest shame and regret.  When we have accumulated five such instances, we should take them and "attach" them, in our memory, one to each of the fingers of our left hand, beginning with the thumb and working toward the little finger.  Our goal should be that we can readily list these five sins in our mind, holding out first our thumb and recalling that sin, then our index finger recalling the next sin, and so on.

Having done this, our own left hand (i.e. our own sins) becomes for us a powerful weapon against the adversary, especially against the father pride and its sons anger and judgmentalism.  Immediately, when signs of these sins arise, we respond by holding out our thumb and then our fingers, bringing to life that line from the prayer of St. Ephraim The Syrian, "Lord, grant me to see my own sins, and not to judge my brother."

My own experience in this exercise is that I seldom make it past my index finger before I deeply regret the thoughts that had entered my mind, and am reduced to the prayer of the Publican, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Of course, if we find in our recollections sins which we have not sincerely confessed to our spiritual father we should make haste to do so.

Also, this practice should not be done if it leads to despondency, for that would simply be trading one sin for another equally as damaging.

May God grant us Wisdom!