Teshuva embodies a lifelong journey back in time.
It is a process of unflagging soul-searching that emerges from a pervading sense of spiritual disquiet, rather than simply a pang of guilt.
We feel the need to look back – and to go back – because we feel we are no longer the right person in the right place, because we are alienated from ourselves and from the world.
The "return" route that each of us will take will depend on who and where we are in life.
The uniqueness of our personalities logically ensures that each person will follow his or her own path, and that we will have no traveling companion on whom to rely.
Fortunately, the Gates of Heaven are numerous, so that each of us may lay claim to our own portal, as long as our desire to go through it – that is, to repent and return – is sufficiently sincere.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From an essay, "Teshuva" by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz