Many meditational practices in modern psychology are based on Zen Buddhist techniques. However, there is a spiritual tradition that is as old and as effective: It is called hesychasm . In the 1st-3rd centuries, the Eastern Orthodox monastic tradition instilled the virtues of asceticism, Stoicism, and a form of constant prayer in the form of the Jesus Prayer in its practitioners. Ordinary people escaped the cities and took on monastic vows becoming monks and nuns in the deserts of Nitrea, Cappodoccia, and the Sinai to practice this form of nepsis, or vigilance over one’s thoughts. Hesychasm, in Eastern Christianity, is a type of monastic life in which practitioners seek divine quietness (Greek hēsychia) through the contemplation of God in uninterrupted prayer. Such prayer, involving the entire human being—soul, mind, and body—is often called “pure,” or “intellectual,” prayer or the Jesus prayer.
In a series of workshops, I introduce the post-modern world to this ancient Christian form of meditation, depth psychology, and its healing practices. Our exploration delves into:
-Orthodox Psychology: the concept of the human soul divided into nous, the deep heart which is the center of the human being as opposed to the rational mind ; how to do battle against “logismoi” or recurring thoughts arising from our fleshy passions; how our thoughts became distracted and distractible after the Fall and how to cultivate inner stillness or “hesychia”
-Practice of the Jesus Prayer: the short versatile prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” becomes the Christian mantra that anchors the nous on the salvific Name of Jesus and the breath work that synchronizes inhaling and exhaling to bring calmness, centeredness and focus
-Wisdom of the Desert Fathers and Mothers: we explore the writings and sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers as well as modern-day Orthodox saints that lend practical advice to the problems of every-day living, but especially how to overcome addictions, depression, anxiety so we can connect to the source of healing, our Maker and to keep inner stillness or “hesychia.”
This workshop comes with a series of discussions that are supplemented with key texts, video presentations, and time for practicing the Jesus Prayer.
Venue: in Ios and Astoria, NYC
Duration: 2 hours
Price: 30 Euros