There is of course for every spiritual traveler, inevitably, a certain cycle of alternation between times of dryness and times of consolation. The sense of “distance” from God which you mention is not unexpected and you need not be concerned about it; my counsel is simply to turn your attention, gently, away from the question of how you are “feeling” so as to focus more directly, and consistently, on the “task” at hand, which is simply to invoke the Name.

As for differences between Hinduism and Orthodoxy, let us be careful not to compare “apples and oranges”. The proper comparison, surely, is between Hindu japa and the Hesychastic use of monologic prayer, and at this level the parallels are precise. True enough, there is a certain complexity or subtlety in the methodic use of psychosomatic techniques in various yogic schools, and you are right that one finds nothing quite like this in the Christian tradition. But we need not feel disappointed about this, to say the least, for according to no less an authority than the Bhagavad Gita, japa is the best method for our yuga.