From the book : ”The Privilege of Love- Camaldolese Benedictine Spirituality edited by Peter- Damien Belisle it reads: ”The Greek term hesychia means a state of silence, stillness, or tranquility, as a result of the cessation of external trouble and internal agitation.
Cassian’s ”purity of heart” contains the aspect of ”tranquility of mind” and thus, the idea of hesychia. The term also means solitude of retreat. ” Watch your thought like a good fisherman watching for fish. ” To attain interior hesychia and freedom from concern, the desert tradition offers two other ke concepts: vigilence (nepsis) and attention (prosoche). According to John Climacus, vigilance is the distinctive attitude of the friend of hesychia, which is ”always on the watch at the doors of the heart, killing or driving off invading notions.” ” The vigilant monk is a fisher of thoughts, and in the quiet of the night he can easily observe and catch them.”
Becoming the mindful watcher of all thought, all sensation, all experience – always awakening – opening- to the divisions of our wandering mind, and by cultivating an internal gentle rippling pond of silence, the experience of ”contrast” within our lives is heightened. The echo of this previously gently ruffling surface, becomes the mighty roar of an untamed river – a river violently tumbling over the craggy rocks of internal divisions, and obscuring self vision under it’s watery veil of subconscious reverberations and unconscious patterns of being.
The inner and monastic path embraces this, and I believe is also a path of a deep internal discerning and awakening, alongside a deeply vulnerable ”shedding”, of all the shadowy shadings that obscure this divine light from our sight – the divine nature of this truth yawns inside the heart of our receptive spirit painfully open to the paradox of this same celestial light and holy dark. Within this hesychia, this silence – this stillness; one begins to hear the river of humanity inside of our self, that in times of dis-quiet gives rise to the obsessive attachment and compulsion to avoid that which seems unbearable – that which suppresses this inner tension – to squashing, and fleeing from that which is unclaimed within; and subsequently journey toward the wholeness of divine healing; where tensions are soothed and divisions within our fractured souls find a synthesis of wholeness within the silence of a paradoxical yet tangible mystery of an effervescent yet often seemingly absent and shadowy God.