Early Christians were divided between gnostics and orthodox, or literalists.
Orthodox Christianity became the norm via the Catholic Church.
The essential difference between the two groups, I think, is that the gnostics sought to find 'god' within the self whilst still alive and the Jesus story is an allegory.
The orthodox or literalists taught a need for church guidance to find God after you die and that the Jesus story is historical fact.
Freke and Gandy call this payment in advance with no guarantee.
A summary of the gnostic approach seems to be to step outside of everyday life and observe the soul. The soul in Greek, the language of early Christianity, is the psyche.
A contemporary meditation practise known as 'mindful meditation' or just mindfullness, teaches that we should step outside of ourselves and passively observe our stream of thoughts. Or passively become aware of the world around us without becoming involved. This can be combined with meditation practise such as focussing on the breathing.
(NHS description of mindfulness)
I wonder, what is the similarity between gnostic teaching and mindfulness...
What do you think?