Wisdom in desert Hesychasm listens to the Logos of the Cross in the light of the Logos of prophecy in prophets such as Isaiah and of the Logos of wisdom in sages such as Heraclitus and in Scripture such as the Logos in the Johannine Prologue. When wisdom is listening to the Logos of the Cross, it is a principle of deconstruction, deconstructing shallow, reified confusion and narrow, objectified division, gloriously deconstructing itself and every fixation of itself. The wisdom of the desert enquires within, turning the attention round to attend, in pure attention, to wisdom awakening awareness to awareness of uncreated presence, embracing uncreated presence as the presence of glorifying awareness. When turning turns in the hallowing Name, there are no traces of created characteristics in ‘I’ awareness or in ‘AM’ presence. Elders bless saints in the Name ‘I AM,’ uncreated grace liberating ‘I’ awareness and ‘AM’ presence of all traces of reification as glory unveils glory.
Wisdom awakens uncreated awareness of uncreated presence of glory. Body and soul, unrefined by wisdom, release into uncreated glory as the heart turns and awakens to the Holy Spirit’s praying presence in the midst, revealing the only-begotten Son’s union with the unbegotten Father at centre in the heart, where all centres coincide. Deifying union unites noetic intelligence with heart intelligence in the midst, where Christ unveils all deifying mysteries in the midst, in glory that transcends all reification. Listening to the Logos of the Cross deconstructs every reification but also every unconscious contraction that conditions reification. Wisdom penetrates the reifying unconscious as it transforms reifying consciousness, not forgetting the Logos is present in sleep, at work as spontaneous, uncreated energy in stillness, present amidst the boundless, expansive energies of creative imagination in dream sleep. The Logos of prophecy creates icons that communicate deification (theosis) by releasing reification, whilst the Logos of wisdom creates gnomic paradoxes (aporia) that cut through reification, shattering fixation, infusing the heart with gnomic insight, leaping over mountains of obscuration.
The Logos of the Cross drives the logic of paradox beyond every negation and every negation of the negation, turning discursive, apophatic theology into ineffable, apophatic glorification. Wisdom in the desert is neither dry logic nor watery enthusiasm, so it can cure dry, nihilistic cynicism and sloppy, soporific complacency. It consumes religious confusions and dissolves fundamentalist divisions with the same lightening luminosity as wisdom’s apperception of glory. Such wisdom is neither Jewish nor Greek, yet integrates both wisdom traditions with a poetics of dissonance that holds critical tension steady. No hell escapes the piercing power of this descent, for no heaven avoids the renewing energy of this ascent. Nothing can hide from this Logos, which crucifies and resurrects everything it touches. Elders resort to apophatic aphorism as an incendiary device that explodes reification, shattering fixated incompleteness into luminous shards of staggering completeness. Here, the medium is the message, the inkling is the glory, the fragment is the whole. Lightening grace glorifies saints, whose lost gospels were never wholly lost because the wisdom that inspired them was never wholly forgotten. The desert never totally lost the wisdom inspiration which pierces as it enlightens every heart. Completeness keeps its secrets even when incompleteness shatters its constricted reifications and impasse closes all known ways, opening to ineffable openness.
The mystical theology of Abba Evagrius was free of shallow mystification, just as the wise unknowing of Saint Denys was free of sophisticated agnosticism. The wisdom of the Logos of the Cross reveals things as they are, but without reification. Holy hints and glancing glimpses are always already clear that the rational explanations and the supra-rational over-interpretations are all redundant. Wisdom conceals as it reveals, preferring metaphors to concepts, images to explanations, profound insight to external observation. Explanations age, sophisticated theologies die, whereas the riddles of apophatic paradox defy explanation and outlive theologies with hidden mystery that dazzles as it deifies. Elders riddle their way through centuries of oblivion, sowing seeds of light that wisdom reeps as glory and sows as light dying into glory. Theological treatises date and hagiographies are no longer able to tell their stories in the fantastic ways they used to tell them. But wisdom rejuvenates itself when it deconstructs itself. The timeless flow of uncreated grace is never the same in its ineffable difference, even as it is always the same today as it was yesterday, the same ineffable difference that grace reveals in timeless openness. God is new in every moment, creating anew in every moment, because the Logos and Spirit of the Father are not fixed in time, but undo temporal fixation anew in every timeless moment.
DARK MATTER: UNCREATED LIGHT?
If, as Einstein concluded, energy is the dynamic essence of matter, perhaps some elder will one day suggest that ‘dark matter’ might actually be the creative energy of uncreated light, but because we cannot observe or measure it and because we are materialists, we call it ‘dark matter.’ In fact, as scientists, we do not know what it is, but know from what we do know that something we do not yet know must be present. Desert elders have always known that everything is an expression of uncreated energy, an effulgence of the flow of uncreated light, so as Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and British empires come and go, wisdom discerns uncreated energies of light and glory, where passing imperial worlds saw matter. Wisdom’s glory has always known the body is light and its energies are reverberations of uncreated glory, but its learned unknowing does not reify this knowing, but knows glory permeates all as uncreated energy. Wisdom is not obliged to see ‘dark matter’ as dark, rather, if matter is energy, it is a created effulgence of ‘dazzling darkness,’ the cosmos an icon of uncreated light. Wisdom listens to the Logos that co-inheres and guides all things, uniting mind and heart where light is glory beyond the scope of reifying speech. Inherently ineffable, mystery is not mystification but utter clarity. The wisdom poetry of prophecy is no poet’s poetic poetry, but a poetics that explodes matter into light, the observable into the ineffable, the reified into unreifiable glory. Presence is wise awareness when awareness is glorious presence, where matter is energy and the heart is illumined with uncreated wisdom.
Science overlooks the uncreated light of glory, the glory that graces matter with uncreated energy, the objectively unknowable that is known when unknowing is unveiled in the light of wise insight. It is not that science fails to do what in fact it does well; it is that it falls short of doing what it was never meant to do. Wisdom does not obscure, nor does it explain; it signifies, indicates, or reveals what prophecy unveils and wisdom knows. Uncreated light is the ground of being which desert wisdom knows, infusing elders with ‘dazzling darkness’ that transfigures matter, transfiguring saints with uncreated light that turns and sees glory in the midst. Elders speak the truth in the Spirit of Truth; they do not prefer their own opinion. They do not confuse their paltry efforts to express truth with the Spirit’s revelation of Truth. They bear witness to Truth as humble witnesses, deferring to wisdom whenever dispute arises. The expressions of wisdom in the desert fall far short of wisdom imbibed in stillness, still further short of the wisdom that awakens glorification when hearts discover glory at the heart of light. Wisdom speaks truth as a crucifying, resurrecting Cross of glorifying love, resurrecting God’s glorification of God, unveiling matter as energy and energy as created effulgence of uncreated glory.