Contemplation, prayer, spirituality — these words have become popular in our day among those despairing at the banality and emptiness of the contemporary scene. But popular as well are a myriad of pseudo-spiritualities, each offering its own shortcut to spiritual satisfaction. His Life is Mine is a refreshing contrast. The book deals with prayers, and especially with the "Jesus Prayer" of Orthodox monasticism. Yet it is not simply a presentation of "techniques." The book is permeated by the awareness that prayer is not just the cultivation of a particular spiritual state, not the investigation of an abstract Idea or dissolution in an anonymous Whole, but encounter with the personal Being, I AM, demanding in turn our own growth in personhood.
As remarkable as the book is its author, Archimandrite Sophrony. Like a good plot, his life has proceeded from possibility to probability to necessity — from marked success as a painter exhibiting in the great Paris salons after the Russian Revolution via a brief period of study at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris to Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain of Eastern monasticism, where he spent twenty-two years, first as a monk in the Russian Monastery of St Panteleimon and for the final seven years as a hermit in the "desert.