Father Placid continues our series on ‘What is One Thing you have Learned in the Monastery?’ “The one thing I have learned in the monastery is how to track my thoughts: this has been the staple of what is the day-to-day normal practice of the monk, starting with the monastic tradition of the Monks of the Egyptian Desert. I have learned to deal often with thoughts that are emotive in character in reacting to situations. These thoughts or ‘adverse impressions’ can arise from a situation that reminds me of a similar one from the past. They are usually negative and have adverse effects on my well-being, causing reactions of anger, depressive moods, thoughts of escaping whatever is going in the community, and the like. I had to realize that these thoughts are not the truth, but impressions that SEEM to be so.
By navigating myself out them and learning to recognize what was an ‘impression’, i.e. a feeling that colors my thinking, I was able to realize the experience for what it is and neutralize the experience overwhelming me. I also learned to gauge when the reactions were about to come by being aware of which memories or situations usually evoke them. I don’t catch them all time, but when I remember, I am able to grapple with them more easily.”
God bless you,
Your brothers of New Clairvaux
#thoughts #impression #monks #desertFathers #trappists