Turning and seeing awaken the heart to union with God, whose timeless omnipresence is a liberating unveiling, not a rigid fixation on temporal ways and means. Turning and seeing are indivisible: turning, metanoia, transforms separation into deifying union whilst seeing, theoria, partakes in God’s vision of God through God, the Holy Trinity. Turning and seeing are mysteriously one in their inseparable indivisibility, one in their mystical efficacy as theosis, deification. God’s vision of God is insightful wisdom that cannot be grasped conceptually but which, instead, liberates awareness from grasping. Wisdom penetrates through conceptual thoughts to vision and vision to ineffable insight, supporting turning which sees, and seeing which turns, releasing all thought that tries to impose constriction on the heart’s pristine awareness of liberating presence. Since God cannot be grasped, contemplative vision is not confused with conceptual perception, but turns to awaken awareness, through purifying metanoia, to enlightened theoria, sustaining wisdom and insight. Sound turning releases constricted as well as dissipating thought, so that seeing may freely cultivate wisdom. Turning without seeing can be an external act, without spiritual power, like a repeated prostration, whilst seeing without turning is either just a thought or if genuine, wise insight. Single-minded practice of metanoia and theoria purifies the heart and enlightens the mind in the heart, freeing awareness from oblivious distractions in stillness, unveiling glory to wisdom.
Hesychast wisdom does not forget that stillness is an infusion of the Holy Spirit that breathes Christ into every perception, sustaining union with God. Awareness and breath support each other in the practice of turning and seeing, the medicine of stillness that transforms oblivious distractions into wisdom. Hesychast practice of metanoia and theoria empowers union with God in liberating stillness. Union of awareness and presence in the heart deifies created energies through the uncreated glory that glorifies them. This is the practice of turning and seeing that sustains union with God in stillness. It listens to the Spirit’s unceasing prayer of the Name in the heart, conjoining with it by co-operating with its living flame. The flame of the Name, when invoked, regenerates the heart, consuming delusion by releasing confusion into union, healing division by uncovering original union through deifying communion. Dull oblivion spawns spiritual paralysis but is regenerated by the invocation of the Name, which deprives oblivious distractions of anything to get hold of. Hesychia is stillness that quietens the mind in the heart, curing racing thoughts in the completeness of God’s timeless presence in stillness.
Awareness and presence are, indeed, torn apart by oblivious distraction, whereas the remembrance of God unites them. Union with God is not a concept to be conceived or notionally grasped, but grace that abides at centre as awareness of uncreated presence delighting in the presence of uncreated awareness. Awareness is formless insight and presence is the ineffable glory of the hallowing Name. The Hesychast’s love of stillness is really love of God’s deifying wisdom of stillness, not mere attachment to external silence or solitude. It is love of God, whose timeless presence is stillness. Nihilism thinks God’s presence is nothingness and so confuses union with God with shallow indifference, whereas genuine union with God rejoices in the God-centred joy of others, delighting in the well-being of all and fervently praying for their timeless well-being. To rejoice in the union of uncreated awareness and divine presence is to delight in the union of wisdom and glory, enabling joy to erupt in the heart of the efflorescence of uncreated light. Transfiguring creation with uncreated glory, wisdom rejoices in glory’s unbroken union with God, releasing saints from vainglory and pride, purifying divine union of the impurities of self-obsession. This ensures that union with God is unselfish openness, ineffably centred in God’s own unselfish love.