Christ, the Light of the World

May you experience the presence of Christ, the Light of the World, everywhere, in everyone, so that hope will abound in your life and the world you live in. There is no corner of the planet where Christ is not. And may you share the light of Christ that is within you with everyone you meet, wherever you are, everyday.

Wilfredo Juan Baez

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gospel of Thomas - coda 11

Gospel of Thomas coda 11

11. Jesus said, "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?"

Tau Malachi discusses the nature of God, reality and change.  Change is inherent to reality.  In fact it is in the nature of reality to change.  The nature of God is to create.  The activity of creation is change or transformation.  The nature of God is ceaseless change.  Certainly, God is that which was, is, and always be.  From the perspective of eternity there is no such thing as past, present, and future.  There is only now, always.  From this perspective nothing changes; everything is the same.  Everything in one with the One of Being.  Yet this timeless eternity generates time eternity.  Being generates becoming.  God is infinite and eternal Being, and at the same time God is becoming of what always was, is and is becoming.  So, God is constantly changing.  God is always coming into being, without beginning or end.  The heavens shall pass away.  Indeed the heaven above heaven will pass away.  Everything else in creation will pass away.  Everything is in flux, in the process of change, even heaven and even higher states of awareness and consciousness.  This is how the universe evolves; how consciousness and reality evolves.  The former heaven and earth and levels of consciousness and awareness transform into new heavens, new earth, and new levels of awareness and consciousness.  Change is happening, passing out of form and into new form, and this change is a matter of growth or development.  Even after the realization of Messianic Consciousness or Gnostic Being, there are higher, more refined states of consciousness and reality.  This growth never ends.  Although God is, and human perfection, and the perfection of creation, always was, is, and will be!  We’ll discuss one becoming two, and two becoming one later, but this is an instance where while there is Being there is also Becoming and multiple manifestations which ultimately become one again with the One Being.

Jesus says, in Thomas, “the dead are not alive, and the living will not die.”  Tau Malachi explains that in the innermost part of our being, it is possible to realize the bornless nature of our Spirit.   The essence of our being is the One True Being.  What we call death, whether it is death of the body or ego death is a shift of consciousness to another state of existence.  When aware of our bornless eternal nature we realize that death is an illusion.  Yet, if we aren’t awake or aware and have not developed a conscious continuity of self-awareness throughout all states of existence, waking, dream, sleep, death, and afterlife we aren’t alive.  We are alive when we awaken in the Spirit of the Messiah.  Until then it is like we are dead in life.  Once awakened and aware we are alive.  This bornless one within us, who we really are, is Christ.

Stevan Davies explains that when Jesus speaks of making alive the dead that you consumed that you are transforming what is dead into you who are alive.  He goes on to explain that when you are in the light you will only eat living things.  He suggests that this means that you will become vegetarian.  Eating only living thing, taken to its logical conclusion means eating raw foods and fruit and nuts as processing even vegetables kills them. 

Tau Malachi is less literal than Davies in his interpretation.  He states that when you are alive in the Spirit of the Messiah, you uplift and bring into life whatever you consume.  You do this as your prepare to eat the foot by way of pre-meal blessings and thanksgivings.  Blessed, purified and consumed the holy sparks contained in the food are restored to the body of Adam Kadmon and redeemed in the body of the Messiah and attached to you through Christ.

The task of the disciple of Jesus (Yeshua) is to uplift the sparks in all we do.

When we participate in the Eucharist we are eating what is alive (Christ), the dead (us) are brought to life.  In the supper, we rehearse Christ’s death (and ours) and receive the realization of the resurrection (Christ’s and ours), and receiving and realizing it, we are empowered in the Spirit of the Messiah to share and give this same eternal life, so others may realize it as well (until all the world does).  This is our very life mission as Christians!

Tau Malachi says of the question, “What will you do when you dwell in the Light?” that it is a trick question.  You will do nothing.  Once you come to abide in the Light, it is the Lord and the Holy Spirit that will through or as your Self will do and accomplish everything.  You will have the propensity to extend and share what you have received and realized but it will be the Spirit of Christ within you which is your True Self which will drive you to do this.  There will be no ego motivation or gratification in doing this.

Tau Malachi doesn’t answer Jesus’ question about what you will do when you are one you will become two, saying that answer must come from within.  There is quite a mystery here.  It is the ego that creates separation.  There is no such separation in the Self.  But as soon as I think about the Self I am separate from the Self.  Yet, I can live from that Self.  Living from that Self, that Spirit of the Messiah within, I enter a state that J. Krishnamurti called “choiceless awareness.”  I simply respond to life or do in life without responding or doing.  I know what to say and what to do.  I am responsive.  This kind of life is effortless although it appears to involve effort.  That essential unity with God or the One is never lost even as you live your life in the world.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gospel of Thomas - coda 10

Gospel of Thomas, coda 10
“Jesus said, ‘I have cast fire on the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes.’”

We begin looking at this scripture through the lens of Stevan Davies.  What is this fire Jesus speaks of?  First, what it is not.  It is not a world-historical event that will take place in some indefinite future.  It is not a future judgment day.  Rather, it is kingdom of God or heaven.  In saying 82 Jesus says that anyone who is near him is near the fire and anyone far from him is far from the kingdom.  Jesus’ teaching is about the kingdom.  It is about the realm, reality, or presence of God entering into the world.  Individuals who receive these teachings of Jesus, these sayings, and meditate and reflect upon them fan them into a blaze and Jesus guards them as they do.  The Master protects the disciple as the disciple pursues the path, fanning the flame.  Thomas mixes metaphors coda to coda, but this is like a person cultivating a seed until it grows into a shoot, flowers, and bears seed.    In this context, Jesus is revealing knowledge of the Kingdom (reality) of God that is going to spread like fire around the world.  To blaze is to burst into flame and engulf the world.

From Tau Malachi’s perspective the Master, Jesus, comes with a holy fire, a fire that consumes everything and makes everything like itself.  It is a purifying and transforming fire.  Jesus imparts, kindles and tends the fire until it blazes and his disciples, likewise, once receiving it, kindle and tend it until it blazes.  It is a cooperative venture between Master and Disciple.  Once the Disciple spreads the fire the Master is no longer needed.  The blessing and guardianship of the Master are essential for the effective and fruitful spiritual practice of the disciple.  The Master generates and imparts spiritual energy-intelligence-light to energize the practice of the disciple.  One might see this as emitting grace to the disciple.  And the Master holds around the disciple an energy field of protection against forces that would hinder or obstruct the person and practice of the disciple.  Thus there is a continuum that exists between Master and disciple that remains until it is brought to fruition or completion, culminating in the disciple imparting the teaching to another person.  This continuum, Master to disciple, disciple to next line of disciple, leads to the whole world being set afire with the Word of the Lord.

Jesus, Yeshua, is the incarnation of the Great World Teacher.  More than a Prophet, he is the Messiah, who ushers into the world a new Divine consciousness-force and with it a new dimension of teachings and transmissions corresponding to this Divine light force.  The Master embodies this Divine light-force and transmits it to his immediate disciples, and through his immediate disciples, to the larger collective of humanity and the world.    This light transmission passes generation to generation through the succession of apostles.  The disciples embody something of the light force brought into the world by the Master.   This Divine light force is like “fire.”  It transforms and illuminates everything it touches.  It transforms every level of consciousness into the likeness or image of itself.  This fire is like spiritual nuclear energy and exists hidden as the core of everything in the universe.  When this fire is actualized and released it can radically transform consciousness and matter.  The transfiguration and resurrection stories of the New Testament canonical gospels reveal something of the transformative nature and power of this spiritual consciousness force.
Although the Master, Jesus, has departed this world, his presence and power remain in the Holy Spirit, by which the Lord initiated and ordained the apostles.  This Divine presence and power remains and is alive in the world today in various spiritual orders and wherever grace manifests itself.  Indeed, the Master Jesus is present whenever his name is spoken with understanding.  In this way, the Master continues to cast his fire on the world and guard it until it blazes.

The blazing fire this passage anticipates represents a quantum leap in human consciousness.  When the leap finally occurs it will seem like it appears instantaneously.  But that transformation is developing gradually over time through the process of human development where the ground is being cultivated and prepared for that radical transformation to occur.   The Master is doing his job of transmitting the knowledge of the Kingdom and guarding it until it grows to its fruition in the great transformation or resurrection of the world.  It is the job of his disciples to labor faithfully toward the advent of the Second Coming.  This is the moment that we will experience the world ablaze in the transformative fire of enlightenment.  For this to occur, many people must embody and bring this divine fire into the world.  Therefore, you must embody the Spirit of Christ Jesus and work to bring about this Second Coming in your own lifetime.

The soul of the Messiah is coming from the universe of Adam Kadmon, the primordial human being, bringing divine power with it into the world.   In the process chaff is burned away and holy sparks released and the body of Adam Kadmon is restored to its primordial state to take its place in the image of the Lord in the new heaven and new earth.  Recall that the Master, Jesus, endeavored not only in the heavens on earth, but entered through the gates of Hades to liberate the souls who were bound in the hells.   As a result, each of the domains are blessed and liberated, even hell, darkness and demonic powers being transformed because the divine light hidden it them has been revealed and overcome them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gospel of Thomas , coda 9

Gospel of Thomas, coda 9
“Jesus said, ‘Look, there was a man who came out to sow seed.  He filled his hand with seed and threw it about.  Some fell onto the road, and birds ate it.  Some fell onto rocks and could not root and produced no grain.  Some fell into patches of thorny weeds that kept it from growing, and grubs ate it.  Some seed fell upon good soil and grew and produced good grain.  It was 60 units per measure and 120 units of measure. ‘”
According to Tau Malachi, You may be presented with the seed of knowledge and light.  Indeed, it may be sown in your consciousness.  But it is possible that even though you have received a teaching it will not take root in your life and bear fruit.  You may not integrate the teaching in your life.  This is so because receptivity is dependent upon the state of your consciousness, the development of your consciousness.  For the seed to take root in your life, you must prepare your consciousness and consecrate yourself to God, to light, to spirit and to truth.
In the first case, where the seed falls on the road and the birds came and devoured the seed, is the situation where you are confronted by dark and sinister forces or extremely negative influences. The forces are demonic.  They devour and dispel the influences of the teachings that are given.  You might have the wrong motives to seek these teachings, distorted, devious, and negative ulterior motives.  You might want physical, psychological, social, and spiritual power, prestige, gifts or gain.  It may be about ego for you.   You may even act to harm the teacher, disrupt the presentation of the teaching, or cause discord in the spiritual community.  This is due to extreme negativity, negative behavior and karma.
In the second case, where the seed falls on rocky ground and doesn’t take root in the soil and produce fruit, you may disinterested and unreceptive to spiritual teachings.  There may be reasons of grief that you don’t want healing from as you find some perverse sense of guilt.  Or you may be angry or hurt and are unwilling to forgive yourself or some other.  You may be caught up in the world or your ego, and have no desire to believe anything spiritual or divine.  Or you may be attached to certain religious dogmas and confused about God, salvation and enlightenment as well.  You may have preconceptions, preconditions and expectations that leave you unreceptive.  Or you may consider yourself unworthy and incapable of understanding or pursuing the path.  Your consciousness may be dense and dull such that the teaching cannot penetrate your consciousness.  You are blinded or blocked from realizing the truth the teaching is conveying or unable to act upon it.  This has to do with the lack of development of your consciousness. 
In the third case, the seed fell on thorn covered ground that chocked the sprouts from the seeds, suffocated them, or kept them from light and worms or grub came and ate them.   In this case, you have the capacity to receive the teaching, act upon it, and integrate it into your life but you are distracted by the world and lesser desires.  As a result, you don’t nurture and cultivate the seed.  You don’t spend the time to pursue your spiritual practices, learning and discipline.    The result is stagnation and regression in the development of your consciousness.  In this case what you are distracted by may not be intrinsically bad or evil.    It may be even be pleasurable and good in some ways.  But it takes away from what you need to do spiritually.  These are the most common reasons teachings don’t take root and blossom in people’s lives.

In the fourth case, the seed fell on good soil and produced good fruit, in some cases 60 per measure and others 120.  In this case, you have cultivated your consciousness through spiritual practice, study and discipline.  And not only are you receiving the teaching, integrating it into your life, and acting upon it, you are sharing and imparting it to others.  Teachings are not entirely received and integrated until you share and impart them to others.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gospel of Thomas - coda 8

Gospel of Thomas, coda 8

“And he (Jesus) said, ‘the man is like a thoughtful fisherman who threw his net into the sea and pulled it out full of fish.  Among all the little fish found one fine large fish that would be beneficial to him, and throwing all the little fish back into the sea, he easily chose to keep the big one.  Whoever has ears to hear let him hear.’”
To catch a large fish you have to fish for it.  You have to cast out your net.   However you don’t know what your catch is going to be when you fish.  The catching of the large fish was accidental.  It was caught along with all the little fish in the ordinary way.   The fisherman was going after the big fish.  But the fisherman is wise.  He examined his catch to see what was there.  And when he saw the large fish he realized its value.  What is the large fish?  It represents something valuable that exists in the world that is found in the ordinary course of life events.   The wise person is one who is open to seeing the extraordinary in the midst of the ordinary.

I turn to Tau Malachi, to explain this further.   From Malachi’s perspective, this large fish is the Christ within you.  It is your true self.  To believe in Christ is to believe in the divine potential that exists within you.  To follow Jesus is to follow the spirit of Christ that is within you.  Literally, to follow Jesus, is to become more and more like Jesus, to have the same mind or consciousness that was in Christ Jesus, and to embody the Christ Spirit that was in Christ Jesus.  Faith in Christ brings salvation, but it is knowledge of what Christ knows through identification with him that is knowledge, knowledge here being gnosis or spiritual knowledge or realization.

To find the big fish, you have to sort through all the little fish, the myriad of selves you have and choose the one that is most true.  Think of the many selves you are.  I am a Pastor, a teacher, a husband, a father, a son, a leader, a student, a writer, a seeker, etc . . . but who am I really, whose am I, what am I here for?   I have a lot of purposes or can have a lot of purposes but what is the one purpose that I am born to for this life.  I can get caught up in a direction that takes me away from my true purpose.  I don’t want to lose that purpose.  There is work in this sorting.  There is discernment.  The big fish can be overlooked and treated like one of the little fish or even discarded because you want to have a lot of fish.

The throwing back the little fish may involve giving up the smaller dreams, goals and ambitions, and pursuing the greater dream, goal, and ambition.  The keeping of the big fish may be pursuing the right spiritual path and practice, committing yourself to spiritual practice and living.  What if being spiritually awake at all costs was your most important goal and you stuck to practices that kept you spiritually awake or become more awake or wide awake?  Or more spiritually connected to God and motivated by God, that Christ within you?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gospel of Thomas , coda 7

Gospel of Thomas, coda 7

“Jesus said, ‘Blessed is a lion that a man eats, because the lion will become human.  Cursed is a man that a lion eats, because that lion will become human.’”

This coda doesn’t read like one would like it.  Logic dictates that coda 7b should read “Cursed is the man that a lion eats, because that man will become a lion.” 

What happens when a person eats an animal?  That person incorporates the meat of that animal into the human body.   That’s in the physical sense.   The lion in this case represents ignorance, evil, and the physical, animal nature.   When the human person devours the lion he transforms ignorance, evil, and animal nature into awareness, goodness, and spirituality.   In the process the person overcomes ignorance, evil, and animal nature.  When the lion devours the human, ignorance, evil, and animal nature overtake the person and turn him into something less than human.

This coda implies that it is possible for the person to obtain mastery over ignorance, evil, and animal nature.  Awareness, goodness, and higher nature are obtainable.  At the same time it is possible to give in to ignorance, evil, and animal nature.  There is a process to obtaining this mastery.  One’s ignorance has to be acknowledged.  One’s predilection for evil has to be faced.  One’s animal nature, instincts and desires must be owned, and then bridled and tamed.  The digestive metaphor is a good one because digestion breaks down food which is integrated into the body systems and becomes part of that body system. 

Given that one’s conscience is well formed, an increase in awareness naturally leads to an increase in goodness which produces a more refined or godly nature.

Most spiritual systems, oriental or occidental, east or west, postulate that while physical, psychological, and spiritual development occur continuously, birth through death, physical development figures more earlier in life, then moral development figures more, and then on the foundation of the mores formed, the spiritual enters prominently in the foreground.    It is unfortunate when one’s development stays merely physical.   Then one wants their physical needs met, for food, sex, survival, and safety.  The development of the psychological, ethical, and moral person is an advance.  However, many people never proceed beyond this psychological and moral level.   They develop codes to live by and seek to apply them as rules for living.  They are bothered by what seems to be the relative morality of those who see gray where they see black and white when it comes to ethical issues.   They never become spiritually, aware and free.  They never see the spectrum of color in the gray that spans between black and white.  

The person who eats the lion and fully integrates the lion into his humanity emanates this full-spectrum light.  Such a person is truly a being of light.  The person who is eaten by the lion is dark or without light.  He is unconscious, living a stimulus-response and primitive-instinctual life, rather than conscious, living a responsible, self-aware-choice life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jesus, Human or Divine

Jesus Christ, Son of God or Son of David?





Son of God or son of David; divine or human; who and what is Jesus?  This is the discussion we’ve had in my Wednesday night class on early Christian movements. 

The Ebionites, a group of Jewish Christians from early Christian times, insisted that Jesus was Son of David, human, not divine, and adopted at his Baptism by God as God’s Son and Messiah. The Marcionites, a group of Gentile Christians, insisted that Jesus was Son of God, divine, not human, and born into the world divine. 

It wasn’t easy for first century people to wrap their minds around whom and what Jesus was.  He couldn’t be divine and human, could he? And it’s not easy for Christians today to understand Jesus either.  How could anybody be Son of God and son of man at the same time?  How could somebody be both divine and human?  Pretty mysterious stuff!  It took the church at least three hundred years to get this right.  Get this; once we get Jesus right, we get ourselves right.

The Ebionites:  Jesus is A Man and Just a Man

Those Ebionites!  The Church Patriarchs of the second through sixth centuries condemned them as heretics.  A heretic was someone who chose to not believe the established, orthodox belief.  By the way, orthodox faith wasn’t defined until 325 CE at the Nicene Council.  Orthodoxy was on it’s with way to be defined from about 180 CE. 

The Ebionites were what we would call Jewish Christians; technically, Jewish Christian adoptionists.  The way they saw it, God could not bear a son, because God was one!  God couldn’t be divided!  Jews were monotheistic.  Three parts or persons of God; No way Jose!  Jesus was born in Bethlehem to Mary, a young woman.  And Joseph had his part in Jesus birth!  Jesus was Joseph’s biological son!  And doubt that Jesus?  Jesus was circumcised!  He attended Temple in Jerusalem with his parents.  He followed the dietary and cleanliness laws!  And, when as an adult, he broke them it was on purpose and caused quite a stir!  And he abided by the whole Torah, claiming that he didn’t come to change one iota of the law but to fulfill it. 

To be a disciple of Jesus was to be a better Jew that the Pharisees, the most law-abiding Jews you could find!  Jesus was born a human being and a Jew. 

It wasn’t until his baptism that he became God’s son.  And he wasn’t divine then either!  He was Spirit filled and he was the Messiah of the Jewish people but not God incarnate! 

How in the world did the Ebionites believe these things about Jesus?  Hadn’t they read the gospels?  Well, not the gospels we have.  They had something like Matthew, but without the birth narratives.  They didn’t have Mark, Luke, and John.  They might not have been written yet.  And for the Old Testament, likely they had the Torah, the Law and the Prophets, but probably not all of what we have today for the Prophets.
 But what they did believe was that Jesus died for human sin, particularly Jewish human sin, he being a perfect human sacrifice, and he rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples later, these appearances being some sort of superhuman feat, a reward for his faithfulness and the faithfulness of his disciples.

The Marcionites:  Jesus was Divine Not Human At All

And how about those Marcionites!  What did they believe?  Marcion was a second century Gentile Christian who lived and worked in Asia Minor.  The Church Patriarchs condemned Marcion, too, and others who believed like he and his followers as heretics.   The Marcionites were what we might call Gentile Christians. 
For the Marcionites Jesus was divine.  He was God’s son from the first time he stepped on the earth.  What Jesus wasn’t . . . was human.  He came from heaven to earth to show the way. 

Only Jesus wasn’t born.  He simply showed up on the scene during his thirtieth year.    Oh he was Jewish and complied with the Jewish Law.  But that was for appearance sake.  Jews could keep the Jewish Laws, but Gentile converts didn’t have to.  In fact, the Old Testament as we know it was no longer relevant.  It was the word of God, but not the true God.  The world was an evil place created by an evil God.  The God of the Old Testament was a God of wrath and punishment, not the God of Jesus Christ who was a God of love and mercy. 

Hey, I know some Christians who believe this today!

Jesus was at odds with this God and the religion he created!  Jesus appeared in human form, but again this 
was mere appearance.  Indeed Jesus never really died!  He only appeared to die!  And his death was to appease that Old Testament God, providing payment for the sins of human kind!  And Jesus was rewarded for his faithfulness by being raised from the dead, which too was but appearance.  The Old Testament God saw that what Jesus did was real, kind of duped into believing it, so real did it did it seem. 

How could the Marcionites believe these things?  Well, they didn’t have the scripture we have today.  The biblical canon wouldn’t start to form until after Marcion and wouldn’t be finalized until 325 CE!   The scripture they had were eleven letters of Paul, not including the Pastoral Epistles, plus part of the Gospel of Luke, minus the birth story!

This fight over just how human and divine Jesus is continues today!  It’s part and parcel of the fight to read the scripture correctly!  How should I look at the story of Jesus, literally?  Yes!  Psychologically, metaphorically, and symbolically, Yes!  Spiritually, Yes! 

Jesus Christ, Fully Human and Fully Divine

The Literal Truth; the Body

I read the story of Jesus as true.  And I understand Jesus as fully divine and fully human!  This is an orthodox reading!  And I read the story as they are written without concern for historicity.  I love to read and tell the story the way it was written!

The Inner Truth; the Mind

At the same time, the correct reading of the story is deeper than the surface and physical details!  When I read the story I interpret it.  Most people today are psychologically oriented.  They interpret the story.  They try to figure out what the story or scripture means for them and for the world.  Isn’t that what you do? I seek its meaning at the level of my mind, psyche and soul.  I ask of the story, what does it mean, what truth does it point to and represent. 

The Deepest Truth; the Self

And then I seek to understand the story from the perspective of spirit, its deepest sense.  This is the hardest sense of understanding to reach because only spirit can read spirit, if you haven’t been born again, from above or in the spirit, you cannot grasp this level.  This is the level of Being, of God, of Consciousness, and of Self.  You know it when you’ve been there.    However, you can be born again, from above, or in the spirit.  You can wake up to what is real beyond appearance!  And the fact of this is determinable in this fact . . . you, more or less, understand what I am referring to right now!

And when Jesus says he has been there, we believe him, because having been there, he speaks as one who knows and is able to convey that which he knows!  And his disciples did, too.  Jesus said to Nicodemus, “We speak of what we know.”

The Integral Way:  Three in One

All three levels are important.  They are integral.   They go together!   On one level we’re told Jesus is God’s son and David’s son.  He is divine and human, and wholly so!  You accept that because someone taught you that the Bible tells you so or the Creeds tell you so. 

 On the next level you believe it to be so because it makes perfect sense.  You can wrap your head around the concept.  It’s possible.  And the result of your thinking this has produced certain good in your life.   You have faith or belief that it is true. 

And on the third level, the deepest level, you are actually connected with God on an experiential level, beyond belief.  And you know God through unity with God, the way Jesus did, and you discover that you are God’s child and your parents’ child, divine and human. 

Who Are You?

You haven’t realized this like Jesus has, but the scripture says that you will, not yet, but while you see yourself now, like through a glass darkly, imperfect, and incomplete, you will ultimately see yourself as you really are, like Christ, perfect, whole and complete!

Let me close with an old civil rights song; one written like a spiritual.  It speaks of overcoming sin and darkness as it exists in our lives and world.  Join me as you remember it. 

We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome someday!           O deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday!

“We shall overcome.  We shall overcome.  We shall overcome someday.  Oh deep in my heart, I do believe.  We shall overcome someday.”  Once more:  “We shall overcome.  We shall overcome.  We shall overcome someday.  Oh deep in my heart, I do believe.  We shall overcome someday.”

We shall overcome the limitations of these bodies, mortal as they are.  We shall overcome the limitations of our minds, impermanent as they are.  And we shall discover who we are, whose we are, and what we are capable of!

Gospel of Thomas coda 6

Gospel of Thomas, coda 6

“His disciples questioned Jesus, ‘Should we fast?  In what way should we pray?  Should we give to charity?  From which foods should we abstain?’  Jesus responded, ‘Do not lie.  If there is something you hate, do not do it, for everything is revealed beneath heaven.  Nothing hidden will fail to be displayed.  Nothing covered will remain undisclosed.’”

In coda 14a Jesus will answer these questions directly.  Here, Jesus does not.   What is Jesus doing?  He is answering more important questions, perhaps questions his disciples aren’t keen to ask.  The answers to these questions seem obvious to the reader and the disciples probably knew the answers to what they asked in part.  Religious people, Jews of Jesus’ day, and religious people of many faiths fast, pray, give to charity, and many abstain from certain foods.  So they were looking for guidance about their religious obligations.  But Jesus instructs his disciples on more important matters.  Lying is destructive to self and others.  Trust is the foundation upon which relationships are built upon, including relationships with God, self, family, friends, and in business.  How much easier life would be if everyone was truthful! But likely, Jesus’ disciples from time to time lied.   How difficult it is to be truthful all the time!  Even the smallest lie tears away at the integrity of the fabric of our lives.  On one level one can even begin to believe one’s own lies.  What deception!  On another, at the deepest level, one knows that one is lying, and God knows that one is lying, and one is separate from self, others that are lied to, and to God.   In this sense, lying is a sin.

Stevan Davies says that “do not do what you hate” is a version of the golden rule, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.  He says, if spelt out completely, the statement would read, “Do not do to others what you would hate to have done to you.”  But perhaps Jesus is telling his disciples to not violate their consciences.  Children don’t necessarily know that they are doing wrong when they do it.  Their parents and guardians provide for them in the form of teaching, discipline, guidance, and example their moral code which they internalize and integrate into their lives in the formation of their conscience.  And the well bred adult has an internalized moral compass that we may call heart or conscience by which he decides how to think and behave.  The well bred adult knows what is right and wrong.  How many times to we say when we see an adult do wrong, “he should know better,” or “when is he going to grow up?”  To do wrong, to violate one’s conscience, to do what one hates or should hate, what causes hurt or harm to self, other people, other creatures, or the planet is a violation of conscience and a violation of truth.  It involves denial of the truth and worse, ignorance of the truth.

And there are consequences for doing what one hates, just like with lies.  Harm is done.  You can deny or ignore the truth all you want, but the consequences are the same.  It’s not that there is this God somebody somewhere that is going to reward or punish.  The judgment and its aftermath are a natural consequence of our actions including our thoughts and attitudes.   And this true for us as individuals, families, organizations, governments, and nations.  

If we lie or if we do what we hate we will pay the consequences for those behaviors.  No amount of fasting, prayer, charitable giving, and abstaining from foods that are forbidden is going to save us if we lie to ourselves and others or we do what we hate to ourselves, others, and the natural world.  There is no hiding from what we have done.  Jesus said in the New Testament, speaking of his disciples, that his disciples would be known by their fruit.  If you produce bad fruit in your life, likely you haven’t been the disciple you could have been.   You can dress up as a model fruit tree, but what kind of fruit tree if you don’t produce fruit.  An unproductive one!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gospel of Thomas coda 5

Gospel of Thomas , coda 5

Jesus said, “Notice what is right in front of you and that which is hidden from you will be revealed to you.  Nothing hidden will fail to be displayed.”

What is hidden from you is the realm of God.   The realm of God is everywhere.  You don’t have to search high and low.  And as you recognize it in you will recognize it in what you see right before you.  You may have to see through the filters that cloud your vision in order to see clearly what is right before you.
That which is hidden is precious.  There is nothing more valuable.  You will indeed perceive it and possess it.  In order to do so, rid yourself of illusion.  You have to rid yourself of wrong ideas, beliefs and thoughts.  You have to be yourself, pure and only.

This instruction could be instruction for meditation.  Sit in silence, your eyes on an object before you, and just observe it, being yourself, observing it, breathing, letting your attention rest on that object as you breathe in and breathe out, doing nothing otherwise.

What is hidden is your true self, the self within you, the self all around you.

You might notice as you watch the object before you, the space within you and the space around you, the space in the object before you and around it, that space around the object, the space between you and the object, the space around you, while you breathe in and out and do absolutely nothing.

This can be done with a picture of your teacher, of Christ Jesus, or of someone else who represents the true self to you or the God or Christ within, letting your attention flow out to the picture, focusing on the eyes of your teacher and experiencing the eyes of the teacher looking back at you, into your eyes, seeing your true self, the Christ or God within you, noticing the space like you did before, around the picture, around you and between you and your teacher.

And as you do this, let go of your thoughts as they arise, knowing that they arise and fall away in your consciousness; every sensation, every thought, every feeling appears and disappears, and you aware of the empty space before you and all around you.  You are awareness being aware of being aware.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gospel of Thomas coda 4

Gospel of Thomas, coda 4

“Jesus said, ‘The old man will not hesitate to ask seven-day old baby about the place of life, and he will live.  For there are many who will be first who will become last.  They will become a single one.’”

Davies explains that the symbolism as a seven-day old baby suggests a time before circumcision.  By Jewish law, the child is circumcised on the eighth day of his life.   Later in coda 53 Thomas refers to circumcision as being unnecessary for spiritual development.  According to Davies, the infant of seven days may refer to the image of God who rested on the seventh day until the second round of creation during which time Adam was created.  The old man, says Davies, likely represents the ordinary human who has not sought and found the realm of God.  The infant, says Davies, is representative of wisdom.  The infant signifies the seeker who finds his way back to the beginning of the world and time before the creation.
The old man is first, the infant last, and as the old man seeks answers from the infant, he and the infant become one.  But who is the old man.  The old man is the man who has developed physically, psychologically, and spiritually from infancy, through childhood and through adulthood.

Such development is necessary.  It’s interesting how Jesus in the canonical gospels says that one must become like an infant or a child to enter or obtain the realm of heaven or God.  In these cases, Jesus is talking to adults about adults.  On one level Jesus may be speaking about having the magical-seeming mind of the child, open, flexible, creative, and imaginative.

 But in the context of Thomas, Jesus appears to be pointing the adult seeker to a state of consciousness that pre-exists his own body and mind, and that through self-inquiry exists beyond body and mind.  Indeed, when the body is disciplined and mental processes quieted, what remains?  Who am I after I have determined that I am not my body and I am not my mind, who is aware of my physical and mental processes?  I think that this is what Buddhists refer to as Original nature and Beginner’s Mind before karma and without dependent origination.  I think that this is a Unititive Consciousness.  It is that which occurred before Creation, before the emergence of the archetypes of Adam Kadmon and Shekinah, and Christ.  I digress.  I refer you to discussions of Christian Kabala for this.

All this is to say that the seeker must search for know his or her true self, the Christ or God within, and learn to live in continuity with this true self, expressing this true self in the world, and recognizing this true self in others, embracing the true self in everyone and everything with love, and being creative in life with attributes and gifts one has obtained throughout one’s life journey(ies).  The result of the old man asking the infant about the place of life is regeneration or transformation.  This is a transformation that occurs in the body and  the  mind ,and is expressed in the body and mind,  and results in the old man becoming a new man, a new human with new spiritual facility.  It is also a transformation that occurs in society as corporate human-kind goes through transformations as well; society or the world goes through transformation when a critical mass of individuals find their true selves; the realm of God being realized on earth when a critical mass of human beings realize their true nature or are established in it.

The God in me bows to the God in you,


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gospel of Thomas coda 3

Gospel of Thomas, Coda 3
“Jesus said, ‘If your leaders say to you ‘Look!  The Kingdom is in the sky!’ then the birds will be there before you are.  If they say ‘the Kingdom is in the sea, ‘then the fish will be there before you are. Rather, the Kingdom is within you and it is outside of you.  When you understand yourselves you will be understood.  And that you will realize that you are Children of the Living Father-Mother God.  If you do not know yourselves then you exist in poverty and you are that poverty.”

Jesus, in this saying identifies the location of the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven.  It is within you and it is outside of you.  Jesus is challenging the view held by religious leaders, one group saying one place, another saying at this other place.  Actually, Jesus isn’t speaking about a place at all.  Even today people seek to locate heaven and hell in physical place.  People point upward to the sky or refer to the “guy upstairs” or they are going up to heaven and likewise down to hell.   Consciously anyways, many people don’t think of heaven as being a physical place, but think of it symbolically or spiritually.  Up is good.  Down is bad.  And Jesus isn’t suggesting that heaven is a physical place inside the person or invisible place outside the person.  Rather, Jesus is describing a state of consciousness and being or a condition of consciousness, or being or realm of consciousness or being.  It is the reality of God that is in and around the people; the consciousness or being of God that is inside and around people.  It is a consciousness that Jesus experienced himself as one with and which Jesus initiates his disciple to live in.  It is an experience of Self and of World that Jesus ushers his disciples into.

It is not possible to experience this kingdom reality around you until you experience it within you, but once you experience it within, it changes the way you approach, perceive, and experience the world around you.

For Thomas the way of salvation is the way of Self enquiry and Self knowledge.   The question “Who am I” is the key question in this inquiry.  Who am I that am hungry?  Who am I that am tired?  Who am I that am awake?  Who am I that thinks that I know?  Who am I that knows?  Who am I that is aware of being aware?  I know that I am not the body that is hungry, tired or awake, I am not the thoughts my mind is thinking, and that I am not the mind that has the thoughts.  I am that which is aware, and that which is aware of being aware.  Salvation is the result of knowing my Self in its state of knowledge of Self, which is a state of God/Self unity.   In this experience I realize that I am God’s child, as Jesus is God’s child, and that I am one with the Father-Mother God.  This is a process of attainment but of realization of what has always been but has been forgotten or lost, and which now is remembered or found.  This self-discovery is key to finding the wealth hidden in people and the world.  What is this wealth?  It is the Kingdom Reality of God, or God, God’s Self.    To live in their experience is to be whole and complete.

The spiritual journey is often arduous.  We find our way and then lose our way.  We pursue this practice and that practice, and this teacher and that teacher, and this teaching and that teaching.  But what we are seeking is right there within us, before us and around us!  God is right there within us, before us and around us.

There is a story that God gave the angels the task of hiding a treasure from human beings.  This treasure was the Knowledge of Truth that brought true Joy.  One thought to hide I on the highest mountain.  God said, “No.  They’ll figure out how to get to the highest peak and find it.”  Another thought to hide it in the deepest ocean.  God said, “No.  They’ll divine a craft that would take them to the deepest part of the ocean and find it.  One thought of a jungle, another on a planet in the outer reaches of outer place.  “No, no, no,” God said.  “They’ll develop technologies to reach all of those places. “

They had exhausted all of the possibilities when the littlest angel spoke up, “I know where they will never find it.  Hide it within themselves.  They’ll never look there.  All of the angels looked around at each other and nodded “yes.”  And God said, “That’s where we’ll put it.”

This is the key, to look within to where it already exists.

There’s also a riddle, “what is the gift that you have received, but you haven’t opened?”   The reality of God is already with you, within you, and around you, and you and you and you and you . . . and when you realize this in your life, you will discover that you are living it and living in it all the time.  Knowledge in this sense is power, spiritual power.  It is freedom.  It is love.  It is joy.
Of course, this knowledge is being realized over time.  I am, you are already perfect and I am and you are becoming perfect at the very same time.    And knowing who you are you as self or spirit are integrating or mixing yourself into the world, bringing it to life as you do it, discovering what you have found in yourself in others.  This is how the realm of God or Heaven is being realized on earth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gospel of Thomas Coda 2

Gospel of Thomas – Coda 2

Jesus said, “The seeker should not stop until he finds.  When he does find, he will be disturbed.  After having been disturbed, he will be astonished.  Then he will reign over everything.”

Another translation reads, “Jesus said, ‘let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.  When he finds he will be troubled.  When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and rule over everything.

Stevan Davies explains that Thomas Christianity is based upon active individual effort, not God’s gift of grace.  The particular effort is not works, but search, and the search leads to a discovery that is at first disturbing and then astonishing. Thomas refers to “searching and finding” in this saying and sayings 38, 92, and 94, but never makes clear what one is seeking.  But if one finds what one is seeking, one will reign over everything.

Ron Miller explains that the canonical gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John also refer to seeking and finding.  In this case, finding is not the end of it.  Disturbance, astonishment, and ruling follow.  Miller explains that what is disturbing is that what is found doesn’t bring closure but presents a new challenge.

There is a need to save one’s self.  Belief or faith in God or Christ or scripture no longer suffices to save us.  Rather one is faced with the need to wake up, grow up and assume responsibility for one’s own existence.  This allows one to enter into a new reality.  Arriving at this point one is astonished.  One discovers one’s true identity, power and heritage as children or expressions of God in the world.   It is at this time we have control over our reality.

One spends much of one’s live developing physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.  As one’s ego is developed, one learns to function in the world as a member of society.  One internalizes one’s society’s moral code.  One learns to think for oneself but within the framework society provides.  One learns to have relationships with others, some competitive, others cooperative, and some combination of both, and later altruistic.  One learns to balance the meeting of one’s own needs with other’s meeting there’s.  One learns how to love, first selfishly, and later selflessly.  One internalizes a map of reality that becomes one’s own overtime and then is altered in relationship to others.  One’s religion begins as superstition and internalization of rote rules, later becoming principled, responsive and creative.  One’s ego becomes more and more established, navigating one’s relationship to the world while marshalling one’s inner realities and resources for meeting one’s needs and negotiating, living, and later serving in the world.
Ultimately, one begins to seek meaning and purpose.  One begins to formulate questions and seek answers; the ultimate questions being who am I and what am I doing here, what is this life I am living?  How can I be happy and others be happy?  In the process of doing so we exhaust our understanding.  We reach the limits of our physicality.  We reach the limits of our minds or cognitive processes.  We reach the limits of our faith.  We come face to face with our mortality and finitude, and then there is horror, there is fear.  I, this body will cease to exist.  I this, mind, will cease to exist.  We, the world will cease to exist.  This earth, and the thing we call heaven will cease to exist.  This all must and will come to an end.  This all will die.  One’s ego, one’s identity with physical and mental phenomena must and will cease.  This is disturbing, don’t you think.

But one’s search must continue beyond this disturbing discovery; this sense of ego-annihilation spoken about as the dark night of the soul, where one feels absolutely alone, not even one’s faith a comfort.  Remember Jesus on the cross crying out to God, “Father, why have you abandoned me?” the final cry of Jesus’ ego, his body dying, his mind ceasing, there being nothing remaining outside his self!  Then nothing!

And then resurrection!  Then new life!  Body-Mind-Spirit One!  God and human One!  You wake up to who you are!  The world you live in is transformed.  The earth is new, heaven new!  You perceive experience, relate and otherwise live in a new way.  Wow!  This is what it means to be a child of God, a Christed one, anointed (by the Holy Spirit), and awakened.  Conscious of whom you are you experience the joy of your being.  How astonishing!  And the wonderful think is that not only are you awake, others are awake, and still others can awaken to this awesome, ancient, all-encompassing, reality called God and God’s kingdom or realm.  Salvation from this perspective is waking up to an in Truth.

A modern Indian sage, Sri Aurobindo spoke in cosmic terms about the emergence of a new global human consciousness called Gnostic Being, individual consciousness operating together as a global consciousness.  What vision!  This Gnostic Being might be a corporate Christ consciousness and might be what Jesus referred to as the Kingdom of God, a condition of collective human consciousness that has developed over the ages and is continuing to develop progressively.  One makes up individually, and we wake up collectively.

What is even more astonishing is that the possibility of this realm of God existing on the earth is more possible today than ever before.    What was hidden from the many before as spiritual truth is being shared and understood by more people than ever before!   Human consciousness has advanced from primitive, to magical, to mythic, to rational levels and is pushing beyond these to post-rational, psychic-intuitive and spiritual stages.

Back to earth, this entry into this new awakened or Gnostic way of being doesn’t take on away from life in the world, but into it in a new, awakened , enlightened , and transformed way, where the world one lives in is transformed for the good.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Give to Caesar Caesar's, Give to God God's

Give to Ceasar What is Caesar’s, Give to God What is God’s

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’sWhat is Caesar’s and what is God’s?  This question is to you today?  What is Caesar’s and what is God’s?  Will you figure that out today?

We begin our inquiry with the question of who and what was Caesar?  Caesar was Emperor, the ruler of the Roman Empire of which Jerusalem, Judea and Palestine were parts.  Think about what Caesar is for you today here in the United States of America.

From the Roman perspective, Caesar was divinely appointed King and Son of God.  His empire was comprised of all the land of Rome and the land conquered by Rome.  His kingdom or empire was a physical realm and reality.  We are living in such a physical empire today.

Caesar exacted from his subjects two things: loyalty and a tax.  It’s what the government exacts from us today.  And we submit to the government’s authority willingly.  These things belonged to Caesar and he expected them to be paid in full.  These things belong to the United States of America and  we are expected to pay our due.

From the perspective of Jesus and that of his disciples, Jesus was divinely appointed King and Son of God.  His kingdom was not comprised of land like Caesar’s, but was a spiritual realm and reality.  It didn’t belong to Jesus, but belonged to God, who exacted from his subjects, obedience and love. 
These things belonged to God and God expected them to be paid in full.  And these things belong to God today.  And made by God, in God’s very image, you belong to God.  You owe your very existence to God.  You have your very life in God.   And God expects your allegiance!

An interesting thing about the coin to be rendered to Caesar is that it bore Caesar’s image.  The money you use today has our past presidents’ images.  Although it’s a little different because we frame our most basic currency in the context of a simple phrase that speaks to what we believe is the relationship of the physical to the spiritual, “In God we trust!”  It is the basis of our American economy.  In God we trust!           

What image was borne on the face of the coin used in the Temple?  The image of God?  Devout Jews would not render an image of God.  That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t an image of God, just that it could not be made; certainly not by humans. The image of God was imageless, so there was no image on the Temple coin.  That image wasn’t even made, because God wasn’t made. Rather God was and is forever, eternal, infinite, from before the beginning . . .
Let’s look a little more at what constitutes Caesar in our world today.  The simplest understanding would be that some combination of the state, nation-state, consumer-state, and military-industrial complex are to us what Caesar was to the Roman empire of his time. 

You belong to this complex state.  You pay into it to the extent that you participate in it.   You work in it, participate in its economy, take from it and give to it.  It expects and exacts your participation.  It is what you know as the world. You can opt out of it, but not completely and not without difficulty, because it pays to participate in it.  It’s not bad to participate in it, only to be mastered by it, owned by it, controlled by it, and lost in it.

Let’s look at what constitutes God in our world today.  The simplest understanding would be a combination of the religious institutions that represent the religions of the world, their scriptures, beliefs, practices, activities, and structures are what constitute God’s presence in the world just like it did during Jesus’ day.  You belong, directly or indirectly to one of these religious entities.  You live in and though our religion, participate in its economy, take from it and give to it.  

But a deeper level, you belong directly to God, you participate in God’s economy, and you take from God and you give to God! And God expects and exacts your participation.  You can opt of God as well, on the surface, more easily than you can opt out of world, but not ultimately, because God is the ultimate reality.  The physical world will end, but not the spiritual!  God will continue forever, and you, when you are invested in God will live forever!
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that Jesus does not tell the Pharisees to opt out of the Roman world.   He does not tell you to opt out of the material world.  Rather, he says to you “participate in both.”  Participate in the world and participate in the spiritual reality of God’s Kingdom or realm.  

Jesus’ answer to Pharisees was astounding.  Surely they had him trapped.  He would have to say “Don’t pay Caesar” which would render him a traitor and enemy of the Roman state.  And to say “Pay Caesar” would render him disobedient to God and unclean as a Jew.  But Jesus says “do both.” 
The physical and spiritual are different obligations that don’t have to conflict.  You have physical obligations and you have spiritual obligations. Obviously the Pharisees had been doing both, but not with the pure heart Jesus exhibits. Jesus says “Give Caesar his due.”  Obviously what you give him belongs to him and not to God.  Jesus says to you “Pay your taxes. Pay your debts and bills.  Honor your marital vows and family commitments. Pay your child support.  Use your physical resources wisely!”

And Jesus says, “Give God God’s due! Give God everything else!  Give God your life because your life is issued from God and it returns to God!  If you want to realize God’s gifts and rewards invest in God and God’s enterprises now!  What you sow is what you reap?  You have obligations to God!  Build up your spiritual treasure in your physical life so you will have spiritual treasure to take with you on your eternal spiritual journey!

Recall how Jesus instructed his disciples to be in the world but not part of it.  As Christians, you do not deny that you are American Citizens, or New Yorkers, or earthlings,  or Yankee fans,  or Red Sox, but you identify yourselves in your core as citizens of heaven living here on earth.  The challenge Jesus offers you is to give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God’s.  Give to the world what belongs to the world and to God what belongs to God!

But, and Jesus is keenly aware of this, you can become spiritually tainted by the world.  You can get so caught up in the world and its ways that you lose yourself.  You can have your spirit corrupted.  You can lose your sense of spiritual vision and direction and have your values perverted for physical or social or material gain.  It was possible for the Temple of Jesus’ time to be corrupted.  It’s possible for the Church today.  It’s possible for Government.  And it is possible for you and for me!
So save yourself and your generation! Render to Caesar what is Caesars, what is the world’s to the world, but give to God what belongs to God. 
Be a good citizen of your country and world.  And at the same time seek God’s will for you,  and trust God and obey God!  Live your life like you belong to God!  Pay God what God expects of you, his off spring, his child, your obedience and your love.         

Will you put your trust in God today and every day?  Then say after me, “In God I trust!”  “In God I trust!” Right now,  “In God I trust!” Will you give yourself to God today?  Then say after me, “I will give myself to God!”  “I give myself to God!” Right now I will give myself to God!  Alleluia! Amen!

Gospel of Thomas - coda 1

Gospel of Thomas
As I didn’t have adequate registration for my class Sunday afternoons, I will simply share my reflections every day or two on one coda or verse of the Gospel of Thomas.   This Gospel is a sayings gospel that was discovered at Nag Hamadi in Egypt around 1945.  It is dated late first century or early second century.  Its sayings likely circulated as oral tradition as early as Mark and no later than John and may have even rivaled John.  Like the Gospel of John influences the reading of Matthew, Mark and Luke, a reading of Thomas could alter your understanding of those Synoptic Gospels.  Feel free to comment.

Saying 1
“These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.  And he said, ‘whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.

Another translation replaces the word “secret” with “hidden.”

Stevan Davies says that meaning of the sayings is “hidden” within them as “leaven is hidden in dough” (Saying 96) or “a treasure might be hidden in a field.”

He says that the “Gospel of Thomas is optimistic that what is hidden will be revealed.” (Sayings 5, 6, 108.)

These are not sayings meant to be kept secret from people.  Half of them are found in the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke which were widely circulated by the time Thomas was written.

Says Davies, “Interpret Jesus’ sayings in this Gospel, and you will experience immortality.   The correct interpretation is not the goal, but the means to the goal, the discovery of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Think of the Gospel of Thomas is a book of spiritual exercises, the sayings being riddles that need to be solved.  And the secret isn’t in the final answers, but in the effort to find the answers.

There are different ways to read scripture.  There is the outer “exoteric” reading.  There is the inner “esoteric” meaning.  And there is the “secret” or hidden meaning.  It doesn’t matter if you are reading one of the scriptures in the Bible or one of the later discovered gospels like Thomas; there are different levels to understanding scripture.  Or we might say there are different types of readers.

The exoteric reading is a literal, physical, or obvious reading of the scripture.   It is at the level of the material body.   Such a reading is by a person who is rather concrete in his understanding.  “Secret” means, “kept from someone.”  “Living” means “physically present.”  “Didymos Judas Thomas” is a proper name.  “Interpretation” means “the proper understanding.”  “Not experience death” means “the physical body won’t die.”

The esoteric reading is a psychological, metaphoric, symbolic reading of the scripture.  It is at the level of the psyche or mind or soul.  Such a reading is by a person who is psychological and insightful but in a mental kind of way. “Secret” here means beneath the surface or inner.  “Living” here is certainly isn’t physical.   “Living” is experience “as if” Jesus was really there and “meaningful.”  One might say, “Jesus lives on in me by my faith in him.”  This is a psychological, cognitive, mental or imaginative reality.  What’s in a name?   “Didymos Judas Thomas” isn’t just a proper name.  Didymos and Thomas are words that mean twin.   To be a twin is to be like someone or identical to someone.  DJT is like Jesus or Christ-like. “Interpretation” refers decoding the symbolic representation, figuring out the metaphor.  To “not experience death” is to attain the experience of living on beyond death.

The secret or hidden reading is the reading this gospel is alluding to.  It is a spiritual reading of the scripture.   It is at the level of the spirit, the level of God, or the level of true Self.  Such a reading is by a person who is spiritually awake or enlightened.  “Secret” or “hidden” in this sense means “that which is always there but which one is unaware of.”  This is the level of “who you really are in essence.”  The “Living Jesus” in this sense means “the Christ within you,” “the Christ you really are.”  It is that which is always alive and never dies.  You are not your body.  You have a body.  You are not your mind.  You have a mind.  You are not your soul.  Once you have created it you have a soul.  You are spirit.  You are one with the One Reality.  To be a twin is to be identical.  In this case Didymos Judas Thomas is Jesus’ twin.  This is not to say that he came out of Mary’s womb at the same time as Jesus.  This is not to say that he shares the same thoughts of Jesus.  This is to say that he shares the same mind, consciousness and being as Jesus.  The correct interpretation is not the outcome of thinking, reason or intellect but of experience, the experience of seeking, finding, and knowing.   “To not experience death” is discover and realize your deathless state, the substratum of your existence.  

Reading Thomas impacts my reading of the Gospel of John.  To be “born again” or “born from above” or as the Gospel of John defines the experience itself, “to be born in the spirit” is to wake up to who you really are in the realm or reality of God.  The Self never dies, either was it ever born.  Thomas will lead its reader to a realization of the reader’s true identity as a child of God in unity with God as one experiences one’s self in the physical and mental world.  Thomas is not interested in its reader believing in Jesus but being like Jesus real in this ultimate sense.