The very first imperative or instruction that Jesus is recorded to have taught is to “repent” (Mark 1:15). What did he mean by that?
The Greek word translated in that verse as “repent” is metanoeite (μετανοεῖτε), from metanoeó (verb form “to repent”) or metanoia (noun form “repentance”). This word is made up of two parts, namely “meta,” meaning a change or beyond or after, and “noia,” from noeó or nous, meaning mind, to think, to apprehend, mental effort.
So metanoia essentially means a “change of mind,” or going “beyond mind,” or “transcending the mind,” even “after mind,” which implies perhaps quite a different meaning from the moralistic “repentance” that we are familiar with in traditional Christianity.
I suggest this is more closely what Jesus was teaching people to do: he was teaching a contemplative practice, saying that people had to transcend their thinking mind, going beyond their duality of mind, the subject-object split of the psyche, returning to a deeper form of awareness, even Awareness itself, pure consciousness. And if they did this, they would see the “Kingdom of God” is right here and now. We may do the same.
(The photograph at top is of one of the earliest manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus, dating to between 330-360 CE, and shows the first chapter of Mark. The Greek word metanoeite (μετανοεῖτε) is highlighted in Mark 1:15.)