Prayer of the Heart

Prayer of the Heart is at the core of the best-kept secrets of western esotericism. Due to its all-encompassing nature, affirming the human self, it does not easily mesh with the popular non-self spiritual sensibilities. Prayer of the Heart is dual and non-dual, a self-inquiry and worship, a particular spiritual practice and a whole wisdom tradition in one. It is rooted in an understanding of the Godliness of men, and the humanness of God. Its focus is on what it really means to be a human person, rather than on how to transcend the human person.

Formally, Prayer of the Heart is a part of Hesychasm (from Hesychia, inner stillness, Greek), an early Christian mysticism later absorbed by the orthodox Church. But in reality the history of the Prayer of the Heart goes back long before Hesychasm. This non-denominational practice exceeds the frames of Christianity and can be use by seekers or any orientation. Hermetic mysteries, teachings of God-Man in early Egypt, visions of God in ancient Judaism, and artifacts of earlier cults of the Mediterranean region all contain references to a prayerful navigation of the heart. The same inquiry flourished in the Tantrik practice of Sri Yantra, and danced in the wild Sufi dhikr of Divine Names. Due to its dimension of bodily awareness, Prayer of the Heart is sometimes called Christian Yoga. It is close to the atma-vichara (self-inquiry, Sanskrit) of Sri Ramana Maharshi, and to Tantrik meditations on the self in the heart in the Kashmiri Shaivism of Abhinavagupta.

Related Publications

  • Louchakova-Schwartz, O. 2014. Transpersonal Psychology as a Lifestyle: Reflections on the recent developments in the field of transpersonal psychology. Newsletter of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology.
  • Louchakova-Schwartz, O. 2012. Self in the Path(o)s of the New Enlightenment: Towards a New Clinical Theory. Agathos. An International Review of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 1 / 2012,
  • Louchakova-Schwartz, O. 2011. Self and world: Vedanta, Sufism, and Presocratics in a phenomenological view.  In A.-T. Tymieniecka (Ed.), Phenomenology/Ontopoiesis: Retrieving Cosmic Horizons of Antiquity (pp. 423-438)Dordrecht, Netherlands:Springer.
  • Louchakova, O. 2009. Fondements de la therapie transpersonnelle: Une approche phenomenologique feministe. [Visioning the foundations of transpersonal therapy: Feminist phenomenological approach]. Synodies,81-87.
  • Louchakova, O., & Lucas, M. 2009. Self as the clinical category: Reflections on culture, gender and phenomenology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 39(2), 111-136.
  • Louchakova, O. 2007. Prayer of the Heart, Ego-transcendence and adult development. Existential Analysis, 18(2), 261-287.
  • Louchakova, O. 2007. Ontopoiesis and spiritual emergence: Bridging Tymieniecka's Phenomenology of Life and transpersonal psychology.  In A.-T.Tymieniecka (ed.), Analecta Husserliana: From the Animal Soul to the Human Mind (Vol. 94) (pp. 43-68). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer.
  • Louchakova, O. 2005. Awakening to spiritual consciousness in times of religious violence: Reflections on culture and transpersonal psychology. In J. Drew & D. Lorimer (Eds.), Ways through the wall: Approaches to citizenship in an interconnected world (pp. 32- 46). Lydney, UK: First Stone.
  • Louchakova, O. 2004. Essence of the Prayer of the Heart. In L. Lozowick, Gasping for air in a vacuum (pp. 35-50). Prescott, AZ: Hohm Press.
  • Louchakova, O. 2003,Transpersonalnaya Psyhologia v SShA: Istoria, problemy, perspectivy. [Transpersonal Psychology in the United States: History, problems, perspectives]. Vestnik Integrativnoi Psihologii1, 14-16 (with G. Brevde).
  • Louchakova, O. & Wall, K. 2002. Evolution of consciousness in responses to terrorist attacks: Towards a transpersonal theory of cultural transformation. The Humanistic Psychologist30(3), 252-273.
  • Louchakova, O., & Johnson, K. 2000. Icons: Windows to the divine. The Quest, 88(2), 44-50 (with K. Johnson).
  • Louchakova, O. 1998. Kundalini yoga/Cognitive science: The study and model of human emotions. In B. Greenwell and O. Louchakova (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium, Kundalini Research Network “Understanding Kundalini: Quantum evolution for the new millennium” (pp. 61-70). Norcross, GA: Simpson.
  • Kungurtsev, I. & Louchakova, O. 1994. The unknown Russian mysticism: Pagan sorcery, Christian yoga, and other esoteric practices in the former Soviet Union. Gnosis32, 20-27. Reprint: (1997). In T. R. Soidla & S. I. Shapiro (Eds.), Voices of Russian Transpersonalism (pp. 7-15).  Brisbane, Australia: Bolda-Lok.
  • Kungurtsev, I. & Louchakova, O. 1994.  Earth and spirit. Gnosis33, 14-21.
  • Louchakova, O. 1992. Principy chteniya esotericheskoi literatury. [Principles of esoteric literature reading]. In V. Chvanov (Ed.), Proceedings of the All-Union Symposium "Phenomeny jivoi i nejivoi prirody," Moscow, 1990. Moscow, Russia: Baikal Foundation.