I am going through some – perhaps all? – of the verses from the beautiful Gospel of Thomas to share what comes up for me. I may also give a commentary or response from a few different viewpoints to make it more interesting. The Gospel of Thomas is thought to be older than the four gospels in the New Testament and may be a source for these.
1. And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”From The Gnostic Society Library, translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer
The verse says “interpretation” and interpretations can be helpful. But it’s what it refers to – the actual noticing – that’s important. In this case, as it comes from Jesus, I’ll assume what the verse refers to is discovering ourselves as Big Mind.
Big Mind. I am what time, birth, death and everything else happens within and as. So whoever discovers me will taste death – because everything within me comes and goes – but will not die.
Big Heart: You will taste death but the one you really are will never die. You are not only loved more deeply than you know, you are that love.
A scientist: When we discover ourselves as what our experience happens within and as, we are not the one who dies. What dies is this human being which others take us to be, and that’s an experience within what we are.
Of course, if consciousness dies with this human self, then consciousness – what we are – dies too. But if all of existence is consciousness, then what we are does not die even when this human self, this planet, and this universe dies.
Is the small or big interpretation of awakening correct? We’ll see when we die, and we may have hints before then.
A pragmatic: Is it true? The only way to find out is to explore and discover the meaning of these sayings. It’s very clear right there in the first verse: It’s not about faith or believing anything or taking anyones word for it. It’s about discovering it for ourselves.
How do we do that? There are many approaches. Find one you are drawn to and where you can find experienced people who can guide you. Try it out. Does it work? Then keep it. Does it not? Then change how you are in relation to it and try it again. If it’s still not working, then find another approach.
A personal note: In writing this post, I see that my usual writing-persona for this blog is the pragmatic scientist. I also noticed that the voice of Big Mind and Big Heart are easy and familiar to me. And the voice of the poet or the mystic drunk on the divine were more difficult to access and I judged what came out of them more. I guess I have set aside and perhaps even disowned those sides of me. And it’s also possible that, right now, this particular verse didn’t resonate so much with those voices.