The Grace of Self-Knowledge: What the Mystics Taught about Turning Inward to the Heart
In pursuing the presence of God, the Christian mystics emphasized the importance of self-knowledge gained by turning inward to the heart. The mystics recognized that spiritual maturity begins with understanding and knowing oneself in the fullest way possible. The mystics understood that “going within” was how you would find a connection to the presence of God, the divine spark, within. In this blog post, we will explore the grace of self-knowledge and how it relates to the transformative process of spiritual direction.
Discover the power of turning inward to the heart
The Journey Within
The mystics believed that the path of Christian spiritual formation begins by turning inward to the heart. Through self-reflection, looking at ourselves as in a mirror, we gain insight into our true nature and the divine presence within us. One author in the 13th Century put it this way: “I have decided to leave those things which are without and go to those within…this way I shall find out from whence I came, and whither I am going. I shall discover what I am and who made me. From the knowledge of myself I shall go onward to the knowledge of God, and the more I know myself, the more I shall know him” (The School of Self-Knowledge, 2002, p. 17). This inner journey forms the foundation for
personal transformation and spiritual direction.
Embracing Divine Grace
The mystics taught that self-knowledge is not something we can attain solely through our own efforts but is rather a gift of divine grace facilitated by the wise and discerning presence of others. When we open ourselves to the listening presence of a Spiritual Director, they can help us notice the gifts of God’s presence, action, and invitation within our own hearts. This is the essence of Spiritual Direction.
Cultivating a Deeper Connection
As we grow in self-knowledge, we cultivate a deeper connection with God. The mystics believed that the divine spark resides within each of us, and by uncovering our true nature, being created in the image of God, we can encounter the divine source of our lives, what Jesus called “a spring of water” (Jn 4:14). Spiritual direction helps us discern and connect to the living presence of the Spirit.
The grace of self-knowledge and the practice of turning inward to the heart are essential elements of Christian spirituality. If you want to grow spiritually, then contact The Studion School for Spiritual Direction. We recognize the transformative power of self-understanding and offer guidance and support to individuals seeking to embark on this inner journey. Through our training in Spiritual Direction, you can open yourself to the profound gift of self-knowledge as it connects you to deeper communion with God.