Ionnis I'm going to need you to explain more of your discontent with the book, it's practically the biggest selling Christian spiritual book.And what a loss it is. I think every non-Orthodox book requires extremely close examination before we should acknowledge its "insight".
The book effectively builds up spiritual pride while claiming to encourage humility. It seeks to bring one into advanced spiritual states without the necessary asceticism (whereas this is central to Orthodox works such as The Ladder of Divine Ascent). In short, it is rooted in post-schism western spirituality (which later became focused on feelings and spiritual experience). As Orthodox Christians, we should not seek ecstasy, rather, we should strive for repentance. Pursual of divine experience is a gateway to deception.
So poo-poo to the holy fathers who exhorted: "Become Fire!!"
The idea that the west seeks ecstasy without prayer, sacrifice and alms giving, poverty, chastity and obedience come from the vastly ignorant who live both outside and inside the tradition.
That's a fact...and is demonstrable by the exceptional list of virtually unknown works from the west.
As I said earlier Thomas a Kempis was a follower of the Flemish mystic, John of Ruysbroeck who led an exceptionally ascetic life. So that in the Life of Christ, asceticism is presumed as part of the mystical life, or life of holiness, or life of sanctity: whatever you want to call it.
The west's spirituality, a great portion of it that stems from the Benedictine tradition influenced by John Cassian, comes directly out of the writings of Evagrios the Solitary. John Cassian is known as the Evagrios of the west. The mendicant orders are inherently ascetic and apophatic.
Just as in Orthodoxy there are some who fast strictly and religiously and others who may do less: one does NOT compare one's practice for the purpose of getting one-up on one's neighbor. The principles are there to guide the practice and God places his graces FREELY where He chooses.
I get pretty sick of ignorance passing as gnosis among the Orthodox who don't know a footin' thing about the spirituality of the Catholic west...at least not much of what's true and real and lives through till today.
Read the Imitation of Christ and God bless!!
And if you think Orthodoxy has it all sewn up: Go to "Lite" and Life publishing and see what is there for the regular folk in the pew who do the best they can to keep in mind the principles even if the practice slips more often than not. Not all those books are spiritual masterpieces.
Get over your convertitis because it is most unbecoming a member of the Body of Christ.