SEARCH FOR ORIGINAL MEANING
Christ, as the 'Doctor of souls', taught the original therapeutic form of Christianity which healed the fallen human psyche and opened the paths to Theosis. That Tradition, first planted as a seed in pagan Europe, took form in practical transformation leading to the sanctity known in the early Church as 'Theosis', a fulfillment little known in our Western world, which yet still exists today among the more devout Christians in the Eastern Church, particularly in some monasteries, but even there, today, not everyone understands it or follows the path it has mapped out for them. Even there, since a recent Greek government reduced the religious curriculum of the schools, and because of a constant interchange of University teachers between the USA and the Orthodox world, Western educational principles are now being rapidly adopted in an Eastern Christendom strongly integrated in a multinational commercial economy.
In addition, certain accidents of history, beginning during the breakup of the Roman Empire in its original form, have meant that few of the basic writings of that traditional form of Christianity were readily available in the west until the 17th Century or later. Those that did make the journey westward mostly arrived changed beyond recognition, so that what of that original tradition survived was barely enough to provide the strong substructure of evidence that, in the original Eastern Church, still supports the truth of those teachings, at least for those who will go out of their way to look for them.
Without the individuals who search for the original meaning, almost entirely dependent in the East on the monastic world, the special faculties of the trained nous become a hobby; the object of a parlor-game; a search for something lost or secret, instead of what they once were: a civilizing force that for hundreds of years drove the growth of a civilization and an Empire.
One clue to this search has been left in plain sight, as might happen in a children's party-game, but even so, nobody recognizes it. In the Greek of early centuries, and certainly in the Greek used by Saint Paul, the single word 'psyche' means several things which we now think of as entirely different from one another. It means 'life', in the sense of 'the life we live', and at the same time it also refers to the changing life-processes which we more often understand as 'mind', and many of which we study under the name of 'psychology'.
When our minds become incoherent, our minds become incoherent - or is it the other way round. Today, in our Western civilisation, many problems stem from the fact that the relation between the outer, descriptive psychology and our inner psychology, learned only by attending to what happens within us, is not correctly balanced. This situation has led us - individually and collectively - to a kind of mental blindness in which we become totally unaware of certain kinds of knowledge - not just to its idea, but to the evidence which we see and yet don't see, know yet do not know it; an imagined blindness, in which we think that we do not know things that we actually know very well; the only reason for this being that we have never learned to put them into our more local forms of words.
This in turn leads to one or other of two kinds of difficulty, sometimes with swings between the one and the other. These are:
1. Suppression of mental energies, due to too rigid or insensitive outer control, or ..
2. Uncontrolled eruption of uncontrolled and previously suppressed energies.
Years of research have now proved to us that the original effectiveness of the Christian religion was an esoteric core-teaching from Saint Paul in response to the Gospel which was then further developed - during the first Christian Millennium - by the early saints of the Orthodox Church. At one time, that teaching consistently created new saints from the best of its students, and the presence of those saints became the living core of the Christian civilization. But as will be explained later, the greater part of the original esoteric message of that teaching never reached the West. Instead, the incomplete Western form of theological thought is now powerfully influencing the Christian East. The esoteric message of the saints is still taught today only in and around a few monasteries on the Eastern edge of the Christian world, while the civilization formed by that earlier Christianity is changing as a result.
As Boris Mouravieff wrote about the search for the Christian Gnosis: The labourer is worthy of his wage. In this inner tradition, the wage itself is inner. The basic conclusions are that: Christianity possesses a medicine that heals the human psyche; but we have to make our own efforts if it is to succeed.
This medicine of Christ is the grace of God, but like many medicines, it must be combined with a therapeutic regime, a program of study and practice, so that together, grace and effort act directly in the lives of the student. This is not an attempt to describe what I actually do but to explain what Palamas taught and what St. Paul taught against a patristic Christian framework.