The hermitage of the heart, Different kinds of feelings in prayer
You dream of a hermitage. But you already have your hermitage, here and now! Sit still, and call out: ‘Lord, have mercy!’
When you are isolated from the rest of the world, how will you fulfil the will of God ? Simply by preserving within yourself the right inner state. And what is this ? It is a state of unceasing remembrance of God in fear and piety, together with the remembrance of death.
The habit of walking before God and keeping Him in remembrance—such is the air we breathe in the spiritual life. Created as we are in the image of God, this habit should exist in our spirit naturally : if it is absent, that is because we have fallen away from God. As a result of this fall, we have to fight to acquire the habit of walking before God. Our ascetic struggle consists essentially in the effort to stand consciously before the face of the ever-present God ; but there are also various secondary activities, which likewise form part of the spiritual life. Here too, there is work to be done, in order to direct these activities to their true aim. Reading, meditation, prayer, all our occupations and contacts, must be conducted in such a way as not to blot out or disturb the remembrance of God. The seat of our consciousness and attention must also be concentrated on this remembrance of God.
-Theophan The Recluse, The Art of Prayer, p. 185