Of course not.
But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.(Matt 6:6)
I'm pretty sure there that hesychasm is not summarized in that verse. Where is the use of stillness/quiet/silence/hesychia?
Even if it was there, that is not a proof text that qualifies all of the meditation techniques involved as being distinctly apostolic in origin. Do the Orientals practice hesychasm? Nope. Do the Latins? Nope. Do the Nestorians? Nope. Any Protestants? Nope. Well, it looks like it's just the Byzantines on this one, kids. If the practice had existed since early apostolic times, then it would be in more than one geographically isolated communion. Hell, do the Arab Orthodox in the Greek tradition practice it? I don't even think I've come across anything showing that they do. Maybe they do, but that wouldn't change anything.
You are getting so huffy and snarly about "post-schism innovations", and it's a real bore. Hesychasm as the specific discipline that currently exists developed
in the East after the schism. Sure, there are plenty of precursors to it in Eastern patristics leading up to the schism, but there was no uniform practice that was Catholic in nature. The Latins had their own Western Fathers who's ideas gradually developed
into purgatory, the natural extrapolation of their isolated trajectory. I consider hesychasm to be the Eastern equivalent to doctrinal developments like purgatory, the immaculate conception and Papal infallibility.
The term 'innovations' takes on an accusatory tone. "Oh, those Catholics, changing the faith with their innovations
. Well, not us! We haven't had any theological developments since the schism! There's nothing innovative about hesychasm! True-Church-Bot; ascend!"
Perhaps a fair distinction to make is that hesychasm is not dogmatic as far as I know. The energies/essence distinction is, but as far as the whole 'hesychast way', I don't think anyone is actually dogmatically required to pray in that way. Some of the developments in the West are theological in nature, and dogmatic to boot.
But it seems like on both sides both parties are making the same case: That the belief that was clarified post-schism had always existed pre-schism; purgatory or hesychasm. And in a way, both are right in their respective theological spheres. Prototypical thoughts seemed to have been floating around, the ideas were just later synthesized and codified. They had always been to some degree a part of the faith, they were just never sufficiently outlined in cooperation before the split.
I'm going to state my opinion as a non-orthodox. I think it's fairly certain that when some Orthodox INSIST on interpreting Christ's words in Mathew 6:6 as refering to some mystical inward practice of apophatic prayer, they distort the obvious and simple meaning of the text and ignore the context entirely. What was Jesus talking about before this? Hypocrites
who love to pray "standing in the synagogs and in the corners of the street to be seen of men". And what did he say the Christian was to do? To pray in private. Not that you CAN'T pray in public, but what he meant was simply to avoid doing things to win approval from men rather than God. It is that simple.
I'll be blunt: I agree with you in that Hesychasm as it is practiced today is an innovation. It was not practiced or taught by the apostles or earliest Fathers of the Church. It may be a helpful tool for some, but to teach it as a necessary thing for spiritual life and 'theosis' to distort the truth and add to the teachings of the apostles: clearly the early saints got along just fine without it. And to state that it was taught by the apostles is simply a historically and factually baseless attempt to justify a highly questionable practice and the highly questionable and apparently skewed theological system that has developed around it by retroactively patching it into the historic foundations of the Church. Such patchwork cannot stand.
What is actual prayer? Look at examples of prayer in the Bible. Look at the Lords Prayer given just a little later on in the same passage... Prayer is simply speaking with God, glorifying Him, thanking Him, petitioning Him, interceding for others, and so forth. using integrable words and thoughts. Prayer in not a negation of thought, but an affirmation of thought.
Endless repetitions of a single thought or string of words, encouraging ones mind to ceaselessly focus on that one single phrase...it doesn't surprise me that people who view prayer in this way think they have mystical experiences of uncreated light and so forth. Self hypnosis will do that.