Desert Fathers and Mothers

The name Desert Fathers and Mothers is given to those early monks in the Christian Tradition who went into the desert in Egypt in the third century. Even though life then was probably much simpler than now, they were convinced that they could develop their inner life better in the quietness of the desert rather than in the distractions of the city.

Their thoughts on the practice of meditation and prayer have been passed down to us in the form of short sayings and stories. Many of these have strong resonances with the practice of mindfulness meditation. They emphaisize paying attention to thoughts, staying in the one place or the one activity, patience with one’s self, compassion for others.

Abba Anthony said:
When you sit quietly alone,
you escape three sources of distaction,
hearing, speaking and seeing.
The only thing you will fight the whole time
is with your own heart”

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