St. Macarius, continuing the hesychast tradition, understands the seat of consciousness to be the heart. This is quite a contrast from our modern Western worldview in which the head or brain goes unquestioned as the seat of consciousness. But where does this get us? Relying on the head do we find peace, stillness, love, joy, forgiveness, repentance, or humility? Rather we so often find endless justifications for our harmful actions and our prideful thoughts. The great travesty in the West has been to disembody consciousness. Macarius draws us back to our true center:

“Thus it is possible to taste in Christianity the grace of God: Taste and see that the Lord is sweet (Ps 34:9). This tasting is the dynamic power of the Spirit manifesting itself in full certitude in the heart. The sons of light, ministers of the New Covenant in the Holy Spirit, have nothing to learn from men; they are taught by God. Grace itself engraves the laws of the Spirit on their hearts . . . In fact the heart is master and king of the whole bodily organism, and when grace takes possession of the pasture-land of the heart, it rolls over all its members and all its thoughts; for it is in the heart that the intelligence dwells, and there dwell all the soul’s thoughts; it finds all its good in the heart. That is why grace penetrates all the members of the body.”

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