Eternal Life: Liberating Release

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Eternal life in Christ is liberating release, undoing every reified fixation as way of revelatory truth.  It is deifying life lived out of ‘I AM,’ God dwelling in the midst, the uncreated light of Christ overflowing as transforming grace in disinterested love.  The Name is God’s liberating presence in our midst, which is our life in God, present in his midst, releasing into freedom.  This total turning, teshuvah, unveils God in the midst, going beyond every objectifying mind-set.   It is a profound and liberating inversion of the mind, metanoia, that reveals God as seer and seen, ‘I AM’ as knower and known.  Revealing God to God, in God, within us, this turning and seeing undoes the fall from glory by releasing vanity from vainglory, opening wisdom to glory in the groundless ground of ordinary perception.  Saint Symeon the New Theologian spoke from within the uncreated light of this metanoia, piercing the heart of Saint Gregory Palamas, inspiring his defence of the hesychasts and the Tome of Mount Athos.  The Palamite Councils canonised the Orthodoxy of this wisdom, confirmed by Saint Gregory of Sinai, although it was often contested by those whose hearts remained hard and closed.  The negation of God is negated whenever hearts are pierced by the hallowing Logos, whenever the Name is hallowed, so the Kingdom comes.  Hesychasm continues to bear witness to metanoia, transposing the lower registers of conventional religion into the upper registers of metanoesis.

Saint Gregory Palamas spoke of the divine essence, which is a way of showing forth what is ineffable, the nameless Godhead of God in himself, beyond God for us, whose names and energies reveal God to us.  Godhead or divine essence is ineffable oneness, ineffably opening to ineffable openness, unveiled by the Holy Name, beyond every name.  The Name,’I AM,’ faces into Godhead, and faces out as God for us in our relativity and finitude.   It is the ground of Holy Trinity in God and the ground of ineffable Godhead beyond God.  There is no otherness that is not always already included within the Name, no constriction which is not unbound in ‘I AM.’  Transcending our restricted notions of personality, ‘I AM’ grounds Godhead in ineffable personhood beyond every restricted notion of the personal.  When Archimandrite Sophrony transmitted the wisdom of ‘I AM,’ he radically freed the Greek notion of hypostasis from the conventional restrictions of modern individualistic personalism.  This uncovered the primordial meaning of in-divid-ual, indivisible, by healing the divisive incision which separates each individual from another, restoring indivisibilty as it is unveiled by Christ in the Name,’ I AM.’  Hesychasm freed the Name from the overpowering metaphysics of Scholasticism, preserving the Name from the confusions of Cartesian dualism, so as to impart the Name in an age of consumerism, dissolving the delusions of materialism.  

Saint Symeon the New Theologian bore witness to the wisdom of uncreated light by unveiling the Name in glory in the midst, renewing the sacred tradition whilst veiling it from profane objectification.  This hallowing reserve preserved the mysteries of glory from reification, whilst handing them on from elders to saints in communion with archangels and angels, prophets and apostles.  Saint Gregory Palamas did not separate the divine essence from God’s revelatory energy, but on the contrary dissolved every dualism which divided wisdom from God, glory from Godhead.  He acknowledged his debt to Saint Maximus the Confessor for this wisdom, who bore witness to the wisdom of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite and Saint Gregory Nazianzus.  At the heart of this tradition, the ineffable mystery of ‘I AM’ in God and ‘I AM’ in us illumines hearts with uncreated light, opening to glory in Godhead and wisdom in God.  ‘I AM’ sayings without names like, ‘Before Abraham was, I AM’ (John 8:58), are the groundless, ground of ‘I AM’ sayings with names like, ‘I AM the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14: 6).  The nameless Name opens to Godhead and to God, to God in himself and to God for us. The Name ‘I AM’ is the  ineffable ‘between,’ opening in all directions at once, uniting and freeing, in every direction, up and down, in and out, directionless at centre, because totally direct.   The Name releases every reifying fixation to ensure the way of truth and life as unbroken, liberating release.  To abide here in Christ who is ‘I AM,’ is to dwell in radical freedom at centre where all centres coincide.  The coherence of the tradition lies in the co-inherence of Christ’s releasing Name, in whom all things co-inherently release with God at centre in the midst.