Because we can analyze and study temptation, we can know a great deal about the parties involved and the techniques employed. Building comprehensive definitions of the patterns of impure thought is helpful, but more can be done. This is because the patterns are not neatly isolated from each other. Temptation is most often manifested as a combination of patterns. We don't need to blur the distinctions between patterns to see how they work together.
Virtually every ancient authority recognized this phenomenon and classified the patterns in various ways by common features. For instance, John Cassian observed that some of the patterns were provoked from within (Gl Ac Sa Pr) while others were externally provoked (Lu Gr An Va). There are several additional pattern combinations.
This is significant because the various patterns take on different forms depending on how they are working together. For example, lust is often accompanied by either gluttony or greed. A lust/greed combination might be addressed differently than a lust/gluttony combination.
I propose ten significant pattern aggregates, or indices. Each one of these indices are formed by dividing the eight patterns into two distinct subgroups (which I call Gray and White). Each index addresses a specific question about the tempting thoughts:
- Faculty: How do the patterns of impure thought operate?
- Gateway: Which patterns of impure thought deserve special attention?
- Provocation: What activates, arouses or provokes the patterns of impure thought?
- Manifestation: What manner of conduct springs from the patterns of impure thought?
- Caution: How do the patterns of impure thought impact one's judgment?
- Moderation: How are the patterns of impure thought subdued or defeated?
- Activity: Where do the patterns of impure thought ultimately lead?
- Identification: How are the patterns of impure thought identified?
- Impediment: How do the patterns of impure thought impede the pursuit of God?
- Relationship: How do the patterns of impure thought impact my relationships with others?
Here is a brief summary of these indices: