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Metanoia:
The Art of Changing Your Mind

Frater Adonai

The Greek word Metanoia is referred to in a very good book by Maurice Nicoll titled, The Mark - indeed an entire sub-chapter is dedicated to this concept.

This word, from its Greek translation, indicates a complete transformation of the mind from Meta; a transference, beyondness, or simply transformation. The term Noia is from Nous, meaning the mind, hence a 'Transformation of the Mind."

This word was at a later time mistranslated to the meaning 'repentance' by those of the orthodoxy, as it occurs in the New Testament, however we in the Thelemic school of thought find the concept "Transformation of the mind" to be the original, and more correct one.

The transformation of mind spoken of is one of transferring the individual consciousness from the platform of the mundane, or worldly, to the higher level where we find the upliftment of Spirit.

The metaphor of the cave, found in Plato's Republic comes to mind here. Within this metaphor, the people inside the cave can only look upon the shadows cast upon the wall of the cave before them. Light comes to them from a great fire burning behind them, higher up, and at a distance. Located between this fire and the people of the cave is a road at a higher level along this road a low wall has been built. Here other people have puppets which they use to cast the shadows upon the cave wall.

These shadows are given names by the people in the cave, and they consider them to be real things. However anyone outside of the cave in the bright sunlight would no longer see the shadows (or be under the illusion manifested by the puppet show). The people inside the cave cannot stand the bright light of the sun outside, and so always avert their eyes back to the shadow wall.

These are the people who seem to be asleep to the spiritual world, dreaming a dream of worldly consciousness, and afraid of waking up. The process of 'waking up' or turning away from the obsession with ego, and the mundane awareness, away from the shadows and back toward the light, is Metanoia - the transformation of the mind from that which is worldly to that which is the light of true consciousness.

I am reminded of the line found in Liber Legis; "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and are done; but there is that which remains."

This also brings to mind an E-mail sent to me by Brother Richard which I may share with you here, "The Adepts were fully aware that most of humanity is asleep in consciousness, and they have no Light of truth to illuminate the dark recesses of the body/mind." Plato, in The Republic (Book 7) writes of the "Allegory of the Cave". He states that the average person is in a "cave" of his/her own design with the back to the light, and is chained in the cave. They only see shadows that play on the wall of the cave. The individual who is Self-directed will begin the process of re-membering (in bring the fragments together), and turn (Metanoia: Greek which denotes a radical change in direction of one's life to climb out of the cave and face the Light direct. This we refer to as the beginning of the process of Regeneration."

What we need to do is turn away from the shadow-world of clinging to things which can never last, and turn toward the pure Light of spiritual bliss. This is the transformation of the mind which spells Metanoia.

One must keep in mind that this is only the first step, we should learn to think in an altogether new way. The uplifting, or positive spiritual way. We need to think creatively instead of by habit, then will one's individual spiritual evolution be possible.

The mind, if left to itself would only fall into a kind of groove, or habitual way of thinking. To spiritualize the mind is to give it the freedom to function in a new direction. This 'newness' is also the Light of spirit which is joy. Everything is in a state of change, and being created anew, by our own mental and spiritual attitude.

This book The Mark as a whole are the last collected writings of Maurice Nicoll, which serve as a Psychological commentary on the teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, and so come out of that school of thought The Mark was in the process of being written when Maurice Nicoll died on August 30 in 1953. The book was then arranged in order, from the notebooks he left behind by Jane Mounsey. Who has also stated in the preface that in this book, "often in passages of great beauty, is the key for those who long for a greater understanding of the teaching of Christ, and the meaning of our existence on this earth".

The Mark itself is a concept which comes out of the Greek word (hamartia) meaning, to literally 'miss the mark', this has been translated from the Bible to mean 'sin', but the fact of the matter is that this was a word used in archery to indicate that the target had been missed.

This brings us to the question: what is this mark? To hit this mark is the aim, the end, of our entire journey of transformation. Hitting the mark is the Understanding, the spiritual awareness dawning out of the process of transformation. The manifestation of the divine, which grows out of the divine spark already latent within each of us as human beings.


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