I've long been a fan of the Stoics. Epictetus especially, but Marcus Aurelius' Meditations and the works of Seneca have always held a sort of mesmerizing sway over me.
And, of course, Evagrius.
“Evagrius the Solitary” or “Evagrius of Pontus.” Sometimes spelled “Evagrios.”
He lived from 345 to 399. He wrote On Asceticism and Stillness.
I'm not sure there's ever been a more Stoic-sounding title in the history of literature.
But though Stoicism has gained a lot of popularity thanks largely to the efforts of Ryan Holiday, Evagrius hasn't, and neither has Evagrius' literary tradition: Hesychasm.
The Sound of Silence
Stoicism is, at bottom, all about silencing the mind. Dispassion in the face of things that otherwise arouse passion. Resignation in the face of things that disappoint. Indifference in the face of things that raise emotions.
Mental silence. It's a good trait, but human development didn't stop with the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 AD, and neither did the development of Stoicism.
Stoicism, you see, had a child.
And her name was “Hesychasm.”
Whereas Stoicism is all about quieting the mind, Hesychasm is, at bottom, all about quieting the heart.