The union of the mind and the heart in God empties the mind into God in the heart, a grace of union that unveils the ineffability of God’s self-emptying into us and our self-emptying into God. Wisdom and glory are ineffable both divinely and humanly, but ineffability is not nihilism, neither is self-emptying facile fusion, because ineffability is not confusion which extinguishes difference nor division which destroys communion. Union with God is ineffable because it transcends literal description, formal imagination and verbal expression, but it does not, of course, follow that Hesychast elders are utterly unable to communicate its mysteries. In fact, Hesychast tradition offers a rich variety of symbols, rites and visionary language that elders have employed to transmit the mysteries of union to saints over many centuries, traditions that go back to the Jerusalem Temple and to far more ancient prophetic origins in long forgotten mountain sanctuaries. Wisdom transcends rational thinking, but does so with the help of her own well-pondered envisioning that turns to see, uniting heart and mind in God’s vision of God in God. Holy Trinity lies at the heart of this knowing that knows as it is known, that loves as it is loved, that sees as it is seen. Holy Trinity reveals as it is revealed at the living heart of vibrant Orthodox Christian Hesychasm.
Union with God is the fruit of the vision of God, theoria, that springs from turning, metanoia: turning the light of the mind around to behold the glory of God abiding at centre in the midst. This noetic transformation of awareness at the deepest centre of the heart renews the tradition of Hesychasm as well as Holy Orthodoxy as a whole, well serving the timeless well-being of all without exception. The union of heart and mind is an expression of the glory of God’s self-revelatory Name, a direct consequence of its saving energy, its light and its ineffable glory. Ineffability, here, is not an incapacity or a lack, but an expressive super-abundance that overflows every receptacle. Wisdom beholds the glory of grace as grace hallows the Name in God’s revelatory reign. Wisdom is integral in its wondrous capacity to behold glory everywhere and everything in glory, revealing God’s transfiguring reign. When error arises, its obscuration dissolves into this same glory, like cloud lifting from the summits. Isles of glory extend far beyond every horizon, once the glory of grace is beheld by wisdom.
The union of the mind and the heart is a simple expression of a mystery that goes way beyond both the mind and the heart as conventionally understood. Similarly, the descent of the mind into the heart is an expression of a mystery that transcends what at first sight looks like a union of two human faculties, since it is actually union with God of which it is speaking. This union is God’s self-emptying revelation of God in his Name and our self-emptying of ourselves into God’s glory, to the glory of God in his Name. This mutual, reciprocal KENOSIS is direct and precise, whilst being profoundly ineffable. It would be a big mistake to think that ineffability entails imprecision or confusion, just as it would be a mistake to think that what transcends thought is not direct and precise. This is baffling to every sort of rationalism but that is just evidence that rationalism has its logical limits. Union may be unthinkable but that is evidence that communion is ineffable, not that union is impossible. Ineffable when examined, union is also ineffable when unexamined. But union is who Christ is, what the Spirit knows as its truth, what the Father unveils through the Son in the Spirit, the wisdom and glory of the Holy Trinity. The mind and the heart are yoked by this union, conjoined by this communion, unveiling union in the Holy of Holies as the holiest mystery of all.