Posted by: Mark Nielsen | July 31, 2017

Contemplating -With the Desert Fathers and Eric Burdon, the War Gnome

Anthony the Great, founder of Christianity’s oldest monastic movement, the Desert Fathers and Mothers of Egypt.

In honor of the Feast of St. Ignatius today…
A freaky little freeform meditation below.

I suppose it’s on asceticism, hedonism, monks, inner peace, and distractions from the mystical and highly-focused Way of Jesus:
“[1] Have no confidence in your own virtuousness.

[2] Do not worry about a thing once it has been done.

[3]Control your tongue and your belly.

–sayings of Abba Anthony (The Great), the 4th century Egyptian “Desert Father” monk and Christian mystic [as quoted by Kathleen Norris in _Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life_, (c)2008, Riverhead Books/Penguin… I recommend this book highly, especially to those who struggle with melancholy or depression]

Regarding the three sayings or challenges above, perhaps the best that we lay people in the cities, suburbs, corporations and denominations can hope for –esp. in our distraction-soaked postmodern era –is about 70% mastery, on just two of Tony’s three challenges above, at any one time.

Or am I being too lenient?
What do you think?

An extra BONUS challenge below, to the Post-Hippie Jesus Freaks like me out there:

The above 3-part mantra may be sung/prayed to the tune of “Spill the Wine”, as sung by the Overfed Long-Haired Leaping Gnome, Eric Burdon of the band War (probably while lying in a field, tripping on acid).

That song– which played in the background as I read Anthony’s challenge– seems the worldly, immature, post-modern antithesis to the original “Turn on, tune in, drop out” mystics and monks in the desert.

—–     —–
Here is a partial lyric quote, with my own monastic/contemplative **notations** and [contemplative conversion comments] .

     Spill the Wine

(Eric Burdon and War [1970] )

“I was once out strolling one very hot summer’s day
When I thought I’d lay myself down **to rest**
In a big field of tall grass.
I laid there **in the sun** and felt it caressing my face.
As I fell asleep and dreamed,
I dreamed I was in a Hollywood 🎥 movie
And that I was the star of the movie
**This really blew my mind**
The fact that me, an overfed long-haired leaping gnome
Should be **the star**
[Are you a star in the eyes of God?]
of a Hollywood movie, hmmm
But there I was.
Hmm, I was taken to a place
The **hall of the mountain kings**.
[What is your “sacred space”, either real or imagined?]
I stood high by the mountain tops
**Naked to the world** [note the vulnerability]
In front of
Every kind of girl
There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones
Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones
Out of the middle, came **a lady**

[Consider the traditions that consider The Holy Spirit as the feminine element of the Trinity…]
She **whispered** in my ear
Something crazy
[Are you a “fool in the eyes of the world”? Could you be?]
She said,

SPILL THE WINE [of Communion], TAKE THAT PEARL” [of great price]

— — —

Finally, from Wikipedia…

*Hesychasm* (from the Greek for “stillness, rest, quiet, silence”) is a mystical tradition and movement that originated with the Desert Fathers and was central to their practice of prayer.

For personal practice, see, feel, say and repeat with intention as necessary The Jesus Prayer (or Prayer of the Heart), well-known to Eastern Orthodox Christians, which is rooted in the Desert Fathers’ and Mothers’ practices and ideas:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Just add water, maybe fast (one day a month?), then stir and serve, perhaps 20 minutes a day, along with the original mantras from Anthony, suggested above.

Have no confidence in your own virtuousness. Do not worry about a thing once it has been done. Control your tongue and your belly.



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