Gnosis--A New Way of Seeing and Hearing

We have just spent the last week vacationing in Mexico along the Pacific Ocean. It has been a wonderful time to rest, relax, and reflect. I have been surrounded by Mother Nature and have been enveloped by the beauty and spaciousness of the feminine aspect of creation. The expansive sky reminds me of the Spirit of God and the endless waves of the ocean are like the steady heartbeat of the earth. Nature sounds the truth that God is love and to hearts that are open to hear, it is a message of comfort and hope.

What are your ears tuned to and what does your heart listen for? Your answer will depend on what you experience everyday. If you create time for quiet in your life, your experience will be quite different than when every waking moment is filled with sound. It is in the quiet moments that we create in our schedule that allow us access to the more beautiful and esoteric sounds of our world.

When you feel like you are overwhelmed with the chaos in the world and the sound of politics, war, opinion, and commerce have drowned out the beauty that exists in creation, it might be time to turn off the radio, TV, and ipod, and tune in to a different frequency.

There is a great story in the book of St. John, chapter 3, about a religious leader during the time of Jesus that teaches us about how to develop spiritual hearing and seeing. It is a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus that takes place after dark. Even the setting of the story reveals spiritual truths. Nicodemus does not want his other religious friends to know that he is talking with Jesus, so he sneaks in a little interview after dark.

The conversation is about the Spirit. This is not what Nicodemus actually came to talk to Jesus about, but it’s what Jesus knows is the thing most needed for Nicodemus at this point in time. Nicodemus is spiritually hard of hearing. He can only hear the religious noise surrounding him. He is, however, awakening to gnosis, and is trying to see and hear whether or not Jesus might be the Christ. So Jesus instructs him in the first thing he must learn to enter the path of gnosis. He has to begin again.

Jesus refers to this as being born again. It was a familiar concept then as now, but just as poorly understood. Nicodemus thought he knew what this meant, but he also believed that it applied to the baby believer—to the one who had just been introduced to religious ideas. He did not see himself in this category.

This is where most religious folks believe they are at also, past the need for re-birth. But in reality, it is where the path of gnosis begins, being born again by the Spirit. True gnosis is about an indwelling Christ. It is made possible only by a shattering of the old ways of thinking and being and by being born again by the Spirit.

We can only see and hear spiritually and discern and see God’s Spirit working in the world and in the works of creation when we are given new spiritual eyes and ears. This is accomplished by the Spirit living within us. God doesn’t want to just give us a tune-up; God wants to make us over again in the image of Christ.

The Apostle Paul helps us to understand this idea in his many comments about “being a new creature”, “putting on the mind of Christ”, “circumcising our hearts”, and “putting on new clothes”. These are all references to a life lived by the Spirit’s indwelling presence.

At some point in our spiritual journey we awaken to the need to be made new by the presence of Christ living within. It is then that meditation, prayer, and all that makes up our spiritual practice becomes our top priority in life. We then make certain that there is time in our lives for these activities. This is when gnosis, personally knowing God within, starts to dawn. It is a path that is made possible by the Spirit.

When the Spirit lives within us we begin to see all of creation in a new light. The sound of God’s voice can be heard in the things that God has made for our enjoyment and the spark of God’s light can be seen in one’s self and in others. This is the light on the path of gnosis.