Thoughts

When I was at St. John's monastery over spring break I picked up a copy of "Becoming Fire." A thick book with daily readings from the desert fathers and mothers. I thought today's reading encapsulates an important teaching of these writers on their understanding of mindfulness.

With regard to thoughts about sexual sin, another old man said, ‘Be like someone who, passing by a tavern in the marketplace, catches the scent of cooking meat or something roasting. Whoever wishes to, goes inside and eats; whoever does not wish to, simply smells what is cooking, passes on by, and goes his way. It is the same with you: shake off what smells bad; get up and pray, saying, “Son of God, help me!” Do this also for other thoughts, for our job is not to yank out thoughts by the roots but to struggle against them.’

Vivian, Tim. Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers Cistercian Studies Series. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2008, 164-5.