metanoia / nous stuff

I was Eastern Orthodox for a few years in my 20s and metanoia was very important. Here’s an extract from a Greek Orthodox site (remember metanoia comes from the Greek) – and I’ve removed the God stuff to generalize it:

The Greek term for repentance, metanoia, denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transforma­tion of outlook, of man’s vision of the world and of himself,


The last part of the sentence, which applies strictly to a Christian context is:

and a new way of loving others and God.


As “loving others and loving God” isn’t necessarily a humanistic / secular concern, I left those out. But the initial part of the definition can hold as generic and applicable universally for metanoia.


Now, to understand “metanoia”, know what it’s “Meta” of: It’s meta of:



The context from within which metanoia and nous was born is this one. I’m quoting from the Wikipedia which gives a decent description of nous:
Eastern Orthodox

The human nous in Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the “eye of the heart or soul” or the “mind of the heart”.

The soul of man, is created by God in His image, man’s soul is intelligent and noetic. Saint Thalassius of Syria wrote that God created beings “with a capacity to receive the Spirit and to attain knowledge of Himself; He has brought into existence the senses and sensory perception to serve such beings”.

Eastern Orthodox Christians hold that God did this by creating mankind with intelligence and noetic faculties.
So, for further research, “noetic” and “nous” will improve your knowledge of metanoia.

=== This is a full-bodied explanation of Nous. Lots of perspectives in here to consider.


Kinda, although it’s more than the form of intellect we use today. It’s got a richer meaning… and multiple ways to describe it, hence the REALLY long Wikipedia entry.


Well, it’s “beyond nous”. It’s hard to say “beyond intellect” because we have a different set of cultural assumptions about what intellect “is” and “isn’t” than the ancients did.

But in a short form, yeah, you could say “beyond” or “overarching” or “deeply within” intellect.

It’s not just “higher than” but it can also be “deeply within” and driving it.


For example, Metanoia is important in Hesychasm – here’s description of part of the monastic practice. They speak of the concept of “descending the mind into the heart”.

This would be part of the techniques to reach metanoia.

“The descent of the mind into the heart is taken quite literally by the practitioners of Hesychasm and is not at all considered to be a metaphorical expression. Some of the psychophysical techniques described in the texts are to assist the descent of the mind into the heart at those times that only with difficulty it descends on its own.”



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