PRAYING FOR THEOSIS

The steps to a state of Theosis are also steps in understanding. Each of them is only a possibility until we experience it, and prayer consists, among other things, in ways of gaining such 'spiritual experience'. In particular, understanding is gained over a period of years - through prayer, and in the communion of those who pray.

Now, instead of being moved by everything that happens, our attention becomes two-pointed “ aware of the external world and our inner activity at the same time. At this point, the ordinary functions of the psyche come under the control of the nous, and the activity of the psyche is reintegrated by our self-awareness, for, at the risk of repetition, it is when the awareness of the nous is drawn into the kardia that it ceases to get caught up in the ungoverned actions of the psyche. Then it can be kept under control.

A recent retranslation of a passage by Saint Gregory Palamas shows that he said of this, which in English is: "To maintain our attention in total stillness, in which the nous remains entirely withdrawn into itself. 

In this condition, we no longer become easily ˜carried away' by thoughts or events. We learn to act with attention, but then turn back immediately and attentively to ourselves. This is the beginning of circular attention, which turns prayer into a means of learning truth and so changing oneself. The significance of this is encapsulated in Saint Gregory's teaching from the Early Fathers which said: "For myself, I listen to the father who says, truly,  ˜Woe to the body which does not take in nourishment from outside itself, and woe to the psyche which does not receive grace from above itself!' For the body will perish once it has been transformed into an inanimate being, and the psyche, when it turns away from what is proper to it, will be caught-up with mechanical life and mechanical thoughts. (Saint Gregory Palamas - The Triads. - see Bookshop)