From Words to Silence
Reaching out towards the eternal Truth that lies beyond all human words and thoughts, the seeker begins to wait upon God in quietness and silence, no longer talking about or to God but simply listening. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
This stillness or inward silence is known in Greek as hesychia, and he who seeks the prayer of stillness is termed a hesychast.
Hesychia it denotes in a positive way the openness of the human heart towards God’s love.
But how are we to stop talking and to start listening? Of all the lessons in prayer, this is the hardest to learn…The ever-restless mind demands from us some task, so as to satisfy its constant need to be active…In the Orthodox hesychast tradition, the work that is usually assigned to it is the frequent repetition of some short “arrow prayer,” most commonly the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.
It starts with the “prayer of the lips,”Finally the intellect “descends” into the heart and is united with it, and so the prayer becomes the “prayer of the heart”…It ceases to be “my” prayer and becomes the
prayer of Christ in me....At those times, the words of prayer recede into the background or disappear altogether, and are replaced by an immediate sense of God?s presence and love.Confine your mind within the words of prayer?(St. John Climacus).If we do this God will do the rest, but in His own way and own time.
Understand that you have within yourself, upon a small scale, a second universe: within you there is a sun, there is a moon, and there are also stars? (Origen).