Keeping watch

File:Sterkenburg 02.jpg

More on thoughts as constructive or destructive, this time from an early Christian monk who was remarkable for his insights into processes of the mind or heart. His encouragement to be watchful of what thoughts we dwell on and resist negative,  self-critical,  ones, is very similar to one of the descriptions found in ancient texts of mindfulness as a gatekeeper,  and to exercises used in modern Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

Be the guardian of your own heart and do not let any thought pass through without checking them! Ask each one of them: “Are you from our side or from that of those against us?“.  If they come from your own house, they will fill you full of peace, but if they come from your enemy they will stir up anger and agitate your emotions.

Evagrius Pontius, 345 – 399.

photo guus van der valk

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