The desert transmits the Holy Name in accordance with the revelation of the Name on Mount Sinai, in the light of the ‘I AM’ sayings of Christ in the Gospel of John, which unveil the transmission of the Name to the Beloved Disciple. This revelation of the Name on the Mountain of transfiguration informs every dimension of desert wisdom, unveiling not only her vision from on high, but also her view of the many valleys below. From below, wisdom from on high remains hidden, but from above, the heart generously shares in the mysteries of glory unveiled in the Name. This is the mystical legacy of desert wisdom, which shares her treasures with all who turn and see her ineffable heights and depths. The Beloved Disciple was not only an apostle to the apostles, but also at the heart of all prophetic transmission of the wisdom of the Name ‘I AM.’ The Holy Name reveals God transcending every objectifying concept of God, unveiling the glory of ‘I AM’ beyond every reified egocentric notion of the self, disclosing presence free of everything present, everything arising in the omnipresence of ever-present awareness. The Name awakens wisdom that discerns the glory of ‘I AM,’ which is ‘way, truth and life’ to all who are illumined in uncreated light, for ‘I AM’ is uncreated glory whose light enlightens all without exception, including those who turn their back on glory, preferring the delusions of vainglory to glorification of God in his Name.
The Holy Name is uncreated grace transcending every lower approach that calls for conditioned effort or achievement. Conditioned ways and means require conditioned renunciation and struggle, whereas unconditioned grace calls for the mature asceticism of co-operation, the unconditioned ‘yes’ of the awakened heart. This wisdom breathes purity of heart as inspiration for glorification in the Holy Spirit, giving desert elders insight into radical self-emptying humility. It frees the heart from the conditioned posturing of self-imposed humility, which obscures the limpid purity of unconditioned wisdom, wisdom that discerns the glory of ‘I AM.’ Present in all, uncreated awareness is recognised only by wisdom that turns and sees the uncreated union of awareness with uncreated presence, the communion of wisdom with glory which deifies its seers. Such seeing is a union of seer and seen, a oneness of knower and known in a knowing that transcends dualistic knowledge. Wisdom is aware of this oneness as a union of awareness and presence, of ‘I’ and ‘AM,’ which unveils the reciprocal union of the Father and the Son, a co-inherent union to which the Holy Spirit bears timeless witness. The Name is being revealed by Holy Trinity eternally so each divine person is the revelation of ‘I AM,’ both as awareness and as presence. The desert has always born witness to these mysteries but often chose to remain silent, because reifying speech always falls short of the ineffable completeness of the holy mysteries of wisdom.
Desert wisdom knows that it is hesychast stillness that bears witness to the Spirit’s witness to the union of the Father and the Son, because it is only in stillness that the murky sediments of egocentric obscuration settle. Stillness is uncreated grace, not the conditioned result of created conditioning. Impurity dissolves in the uncreated light of purifying stillness, not by impure egoism struggling to purify itself. The Father is the timeless ground of enlightenment, the Son the timeless revelation of the illumining Name, which the Spirit unveils in the awakened heart as the fruit of prophecy and prayer. The Spirit is unceasing in this revelation through prophecy and its assimilation in pure prayer. The desert knows that its sacred tradition is not a conditioned phenomenon but is God’s infallible wisdom transmitting God’s certainty of God, which is the Son’s unity with the Father. But without the Name’s union of awareness and presence, ‘I’ and ‘AM,’ the heart would know nothing of the union of wisdom and glory. Desert tradition hands on this wisdom from elders to saints in difficult conditions because we are conditioned to trust only in conditioned ways and means, not in the uncreated grace of the unconditioned. This means that desert wisdom is under constant pressure to dumb down its unconditioned wisdom, to reduce the revelation of the Name to new conditioned ways and conditioning means. But God is revelation of God through God in his Name, and the uncreated grace of revelation is unconditioned, transcending all conditioned ways and means.