If you think you are in a miserable condition, I want to remind you, that, you were once perfect. This means that perfection is within us, like a faint memory of a dream known long ago. We do not have to establish anything new: instead we must re-establish what we once were. In Greek, the word metanoiete means literally to “turn the mind, (noia) around, (meta).” Open the mind in Ascetic prayer, Contemplation and turn it towards ancient wisdom.
The orthodox call this practice intelligent action; a modern term is contemplation.
The metanoia, is the action for the mind to turn away from endless sleeping; it surrenders to the Word. The mind discovers an essential fact that Christ is “the true light which illuminates every man that comes into the world”.
We needn’t storm the heavens by violence to reach the heights of divine love. We can do this through Ascetic prayer and Contemplation. “I am blind and have begun to see”. I see the terrible violence and lies that arises within from my own blindness and this blindness is the root of ignorance. At times I am blind to the temptations, my habits and illusions I believe about myself. I have fashion and cherish the lies I have invented about myself. My mental life is disastrously chained to my ego; my mind is swallowed up and consumed by too many unrestrained emotions. As a result, my mind is no longer focused on God and my emotions are no longer nourishing the harmony of mind and body.
The Inner Connections
Meditation is contemplation and a precursor to prayer. It may be defined as a type of thinking in which the mind bypasses what is inessential mind and comprehends, in a single instant, the essence of all things. Contemplation is meditation, holding the mind in absolute silence, concentrating all-knowing onto a simple point that is Christ or OM. The practice of writing of icons can provide the perfect method of contemplative concentration.
How? “God” the “Word” is, in the icon, made visible in image. The iconographer in the process uses Ascetic prayer, Contemplation to achieve focused concentration. All work potentially is contemplative concentration, of course, but the true work in iconography is an act of Ascetic prayer, contemplation. The knowing and seeing the self at work, the self as the observer and the self as loved and complete.