The Eastern Orthodox Church has also preserved a tradition of repetitive prayer. Their story demonstrates the immense power of the spoken word.
For hundreds of years, Greek Orthodox monks have reported extraordinary mystical experiences that stemmed from their repetition of a simple prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.
They repeated the prayer over and over again, while sitting with their chins resting on their chests to focus their attention on the heart. They believed the prayer facilitated divine union by attracting the mind to the heart, which they saw as the seat of divinity.
As they said the prayer, the monks synchronized it with their breathing—a practice that is similar to Buddhist and Hindu techniques—breathing in with the first half of the sentence and out with the second.
The monks attempted to repeat the prayer continuously, pursuing Paul's directive to “Pray without ceasing.”
One elder advised that they should even attempt to repeat the prayer while sleeping! He instructed them to meditate or repeat the prayer “without interruption, whether asleep or awake, eating, drinking, or in company.” (Hindu yogis also train their minds to repeat mantras during sleep.)
The monks claimed that after several weeks of repeating the prayer for hours a day, they would enter a transformed state of being. They said they could see a powerful light around them, as powerful as that witnessed by the disciples at Jesus' transfiguration.
One monk described the condition as a “most pleasant heat,” a “joyful boiling.” He claimed to live in a state that was beyond pleasure and pain, experiencing a “lightness and freshness, pleasantness of living, insensibility to sickness and sorrows.”4
This is a state in which “the flesh” is “kindled by the Spirit, so that the whole man becomes spiritual.”
The monks' description brings to mind the idea of nonlocal reality.
Apparently, these monks had chanted and meditated themselves into a nonlocal state. The prayers had propelled them into a constant experience of heavenly fire.
This goal — entering a higher state of consciousness, a state of oneness with God — is why people repeat their decrees, chants, mantras and prayers.