In time of trial do not leave your monastery but stand up courageously against the thoughts that surge over you, especially those of irritation and listlessness.
-St. Maximos The Confessor
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When I sit in silence, I often think upon those things that irritate me. Sometimes things do not go the way I want them to go. I work on a task and for some reason or another, it does not go well. I encounter challenges and issues. What I thought would be an easy task to complete has tuned into a much larger challenge than I had anticipated. This will irritate me.
During centering prayer, I need to let go of these irritating thoughts and emotions. I need to stand up courageously against these thoughts and emotions and then let them go.
As I sit in silence, I might characterize my mood as one of listlessness. I have a lack of interest. I am tired. I am indifferent to what is going on. My spirits are low. I no longer have enthusiasm for life. Perhaps I just did not have a good day. I have forced myself to sit in silence but I don’t even want to do that.
During centering prayer, I need to let go of these thoughts of listlessness. Again, I need to courageously stand up to them and then let them go too.
When I arise from my sit, I am a new person. God has refreshed my soul. God has purged my irritating and listless thoughts from my soul. I no longer feel listless. I am alert. I feel alive. I am excited to see what I will encounter the rest of this day. I also notice that I am no longer irritated. I am calm. I feel encouraged by what the day may bring. I feel very comfortable in my own skin.
My centering prayer practice teaches me how to live. It teaches me how to cope with life and the many challenges that I will face each day. Even during my non silent portions of the day, I do not need to leave my monastery. I no longer need to fear these irritating and listless thoughts. They cannot win. My monastery is always available. It is my constant companion. It is my mobile hermitage.