OK, so as I've said in other posts, I'm an inquirer, tempted to join the church, liking a lot of what I see from visiting a local parish and talking to people there, and likeing a lot of what I'm learning, but not sure about some of it. I'm just kind of praying my way through it and seeking the truth.
I've read a bit about the Orthodox tradition of Hesychasm. I don't have time to go into what I've learned about it, but I think I understand the idea. It sounds interesting, but I'm reading certain things that give me the impression that many Orthodox Christians feel that it's a necessary part of Theosis, basically along the lines of, "to be saved you must be deified, to be deified you must achieve Theoria, to achieve Theoria you must achieve the unceacing prayer of the heart, and to achieve this you must practice the Hesychastic techniques, and so forth". And yet at the Orthodox parish I'm going to, it's never talked about, and more often than not it's not even mentioned. These forums for example--there are like two or three threads on the subject of Hesychasm.
My question: How important is Hesychasm in the life of the average Orthodox layman? Is it something taught as essential to spiritual life, or is it thought of as a tool that could be helpful to some, but not needed by all? How do you look at this?
Thanks in advance!