When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below and the below like the above, and when you make the male like the female and the female like the male, then you will enter the Kingdom.– Gospel of Thomas, verse 22
This is a quite direct description of what we find when we notice what we are.
It’s not wrong that we are this human self. But in our own immediate experience, we are more fundamentally something else.
All my experiences – of this human self, the wider world, and anything else – happens within my sense fields. They happen within sight, sensations, sound, taste, smell, and thoughts, and we can include additional sense fields if we want.
In my sense field, there is no inherent inside or outside, or me or other. It’s all experiences within the sense fields, and any differentiation – including those – come from my mental field overlay.
It comes from mental representations of inside and outside, me and other, above and below, female and female, and so on.
These are very useful, and they are essential for us to be able to orient and function in the world. They don’t hold any final or absolute truth. They have practical value only. And they are really questions about the world.
If we hold these mental representations as more than that – if we mistake them for what they refer to, or hold them as telling us something true – then they will appear true to us. We perceive and live as if they are true.
That’s when all these ideas – including of any polarities like inside and outside, me and other, and so on – appear real and true to us.
The quote points to what happens when we notice more clearly what’s going on. There are a few different ways into noticing.
We can notice what I described above: All our experiences, of this human self and the wider world and anything else, happen within our sense fields. There are no inherent distinctions within these sense fields, and any distinctions come from an overlay of mental representations.
The more we explore this, the more we may find what we more fundamentally are. We find that our nature is capacity for the world as it appears to us, and we are what our experiences – of anything –happens within and as.
To ourselves, we are capacity for it all, and we are what forms itself into all these appearances.
And this is the metaphorical kingdom. It’s what’s essentially unchanging even as it takes on all the forms of our experiences.
It’s what’s inherently one and yet takes on innumerable forms. It’s what’s inherently stillness and silence, and yet takes the form of all movements and sounds. It’s what’s inherently love, and a love independent of any feelings, and sometimes in us takes on a form that temporarily obscures this love.
It’s what takes on forms that temporarily obscures itself from itself. It temporarily and here takes itself as particular forms within itself, as a separate self, as a human self with all sorts of identities.
And that’s part of the play and creativity of what we are.