Recently I had a bout of sciatica that took me way down to the point where all I wanted was relief from the pain. This planted the seed of a new metanoia in my relationship to the divine.
The term “metanoia” is explained in Maurice Nicoll’s book The Mark. He discusses the word’s translation as “repentance” in the New Testament as being inadequate in its meaning. Instead, he says, “metanoia” refers to a deeper process, of grieving or suffering to the point where life as seen through the physical senses seems unreal, and this is the point at which a change of consciousness, or waking up, becomes possible. Faith is more than simple belief, but an inner knowing of something higher. People may have many such moments in their lives; these moments provide opportunity toward an awakening of the higher mind. Not everyone makes conscious use of these moments for spiritual evolution; some people’s lives are so hard that they give up on hope and simply do the best they can for themselves.
The challenge for me has been to turn away from old judgmental thoughts that no longer serve me because they were fed by unhappy experiences I had as a child. These thoughts generally followed a comparative pattern, and when I felt someone, usually my sister, had something I wanted or I felt I had been treated unfairly, these thoughts manifested as critical judgments of other people that fed my unhappy ego. I needed to feel superior to other people because I felt so diminished in myself. My sister was the one who commanded the attention in our family, because she wasn’t well. I lacked the parental nourishment that would let me feel satisfied and joyful in my accomplishments.
When the pain had taken me down to the point where all I wanted was relief, there was room for the divine to enter. I received help in seeing through my childhood memories to the grief that was buried deeply inside my nerves and bones. I allow myself to process this grief, and as I do this inner work, my inner child begins to experience levels of joy and clarity I have not known for a long time. I still hear my ego mind repeating those old judgmental stories, but now I can see them for what they are: stories that keep me from living in my fullest happiness. I can ask myself whether this story is true, and if it is not, I can re-write a new tale.
Meanwhile, there are new connections to make, new relationships to form, and old relationships to deepen. I feel like a new person, and I am still learning sides to Susan that I was unaware she had – I have.
The journey to self-knowledge is not always an easy one, but the person I am becoming is happier and more able to take better care of herself. Why am I sharing something so personal as this on my blog? It is my hope that people going through these hard times will turn inward and see what is possible for them with the awakening to a higher state of mind. It is so very worthwhile.