How can we keep watch over our hearts and minds — our inner landscapes? One way is to "frisk" our thoughts and choosing what to think about. In this All Saints conversation, Brock Bingaman and Connie Willems discuss the "inner city" of the mind, and what it looks like to set a watch on the gate, paying attention to what we are thinking about and why.
"Watchfulness is a spiritual method which, if sedulously practiced over a long period, completely frees us: with God's help from impassioned thoughts, impassioned words and evil actions. It leads, in so far as this is possible, to a sure knowledge of the inapprehensible God, and helps us to penetrate the divine and hidden mysteries. It enables us to fulfill every divine commandment in the Old and New Testaments and bestows upon us every blessing of the age to come. It is, in the true sense, purity of heart, a state blessed by Christ when He says: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God' (Matt. 5:8); and one which, because of its spiritual nobility and beauty - or, rather, because of our negligence - is now extremely rare among monks. Because this is its nature, watchfulness is to be bought only at a great price. But once established in us, it guides us to a true and holy way of life. It teaches us how to activate the three aspects of our soul correctly, and how to keep a firm guard over the senses."
—St. Hesychios the Priest, On Watchfulness and Holiness, The Philokalia, Volume 1, p. 162.