Gospel of Thomas (22): When you make the two one

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.

Gospel of Thomas (v22): When you make the two into one

(1) Jesus saw infants being suckled.
(2) He said to his disciples: “These little ones being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.”
(3) They said to him: “Then will we enter the kingdom as little ones?”
(4) Jesus said to them: “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below —
(5) that is, to make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female will not be female —
(6) and when you make eyes instead of an eye and a hand instead of a hand and a foot instead of a foot, an image instead of an image,
(7) then you will enter [the kingdom].”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 22

(1) Jesus comes up with an analogy he wants to share with his disciples.

(2) To enter the kingdom, we have to become like little children. We need to set aside conventional views and what we think we know about ourselves and the world, explore with sincerity and curiosity, and be honest with ourselves about what we find.

(3) Do the disciples misunderstand? Or do they get it and just want more pointers?

(4+5) When we find ourselves as capacity for the world, and what all phenomena happen within and as, then these are all aspects of oneness. Here, we directly perceive two as one, inside as the outside, above as below, female as male. They all happen within and as what we are.

(6) Not sure about this one. My own limitation? Or translation problems?

(7) When we find ourselves as what all our experiences happen within and as, we enter the kingdom. We consciously enter the kingdom that’s always here and we always are.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 20

(1) The disciples said to Jesus: “Tell us whom the kingdom of heaven is like!”
(2) He said to them: “It is like a mustard seed.
(3) It is the smallest of all seeds.
(4) But when it falls on cultivated soil, it produces a large branch (and) becomes shelter for the birds of the sky.”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 20

(1) The disciples again want to know!

(2+3) Jesus says it’s like a very small seed, the smallest of all seeds. Our true nature – as capacity for all phenomena as they appear to us – is easy to overlook. When we notice it, we may think it’s nothing and not realize its significance.

(4) But if we are good soil for this seed, it grows and shelters the birds of the sky. If we recognize the significance of this noticing and keep noticing and keep living from it, and allow the different parts of us to be transformed by it, its effects grow. Its profoundly transformative, and it becomes a shelter for our life and all our experiences.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 18

(1) The disciples said to Jesus: “Tell us how our end will be.”
(2) Jesus said: “Have you already discovered the beginning that you are now asking about the end? For where the beginning is, there the end will be too.
(3) Blessed is he who will stand at the beginning. And he will know the end, and he will not taste death.”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 18

(1) The disciples may not be comfortable with uncertainty and want to know.

(2+3) When we find ourselves as capacity for the world as it appears to us, we find that all beginnings and ends happen within and as what we are. To us, all beginnings and ends happen here and now, within and as what we are.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 17

Jesus says: “I will give you what no eye has seen, and what no ear has heard, and what no hand has touched, and what has not occurred to the human mind.”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 17

Jesus will give his disciples a taste of their true nature, and this cannot be seen, heard, touched, or grasped by a thought.

This is similar to the Heart Sutra: no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body and no mind.

What we are is capacity for the world, and what all phenomena to us happen within and as. As Jesus said here, it cannot be touched by our senses or thoughts. And as the Heart Sutra says, what we are has no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, and no mind.

Why cannot it be touched by our senses? Because it’s what all our senses and sense experiences happen within and as.

Why cannot it be touched by thought? It’s not because it’s too complex or even hidden. In a sense, it’s because it’s too simple. Thoughts make distinctions and as capacity for the world, we have no distinctions, it goes beyond and contains and is all distinctions.

Why is there no eye and so on? The simple answer is what I mentioned above: As capacity for our experiences of all phenomena, we are none of those things. I’ll say a few more words about it in another post.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 15

Jesus says: “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your face (and) worship him. That one is your Father.”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 15

If you see someone who knows they were not born of a woman, that’s the one to learn from.

If you recognize someone as not born of a woman, you recognize their true nature – because you recognize your own.

When we find our true nature, we recognize we were not born and our parents are not our parents. Of course, in a conventional sense all of that is still true – we were born and have parents. But in a more immediate and real sense, in our own experience, what we are is capacity for all of this. All of this – the ideas about birth and parents and so on – happen within and as what we are.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 13

(1) Jesus said to his disciples: “Compare me, and tell me whom I am like.”
(2) Simon Peter said to him: “You are like a just messenger.”
(3) Matthew said to him: “You are like an (especially) wise philosopher.”
(4) Thomas said to him: “Teacher, my mouth cannot bear at all to say whom you are like.”
(5) Jesus said: “I am not your teacher. For you have drunk, you have become intoxicated at the bubbling spring that I have measured out.”
(6) And he took him, (and) withdrew, (and) he said three words to him.
(7) But when Thomas came back to his companions, they asked him: “What did Jesus say to you?”
(8) Thomas said to them: “If I tell you one of the words he said to me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me, and fire will come out of the stones (and) burn you up.”

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 13

(1) Jesus wants to know his disciples’ understanding, and perhaps help them become more aware of how they see him and what their understanding is.

(2) Simon Peter sees Jesus as a messenger, someone who gives teachings and pointers. This is not wrong but it’s not the whole picture.

(3) Matthew takes what Jesus talks about as a philosophy. Again, it’s not wrong but he is missing the point.

(4) Thomas cannot speak his understanding. He recognizes Jesus as Spirit awake to itself in human form. The true nature of all of us is awake to itself in the form of Jesus. And no words can express this very well. Words make distinctions, and this is beyond and includes all distinctions. Even if we find the most accurate words to describe it, it will be misunderstood by those who don’t recognize it for themselves.

(5) Jesus is no longer his teacher, since Thomas has himself drunk from the spring. In him, as in Jesus, there is a direct realization.

(6) Jesus must have told Thomas something that only makes sense to those who have a direct realization.

(7) The other disciples are naturally curious.

(8) Perhaps because they would inevitably misunderstand?

Gospel of Thomas 3b: When you know yourselves, then you will be known

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.

3b. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

I will explore this as Big Mind, Big Heart, and Lila – the play of consciousness or the divine.

Big Heart

Know yourself as me and you know that you not only are love but your whole world and all of your experiences are love. You see behind the surface appearances and the labels human puts on whatever is happening.

If you don’t know yourself as me, you are still me. Nothing has changed except your noticing. And you will feel you live in poverty. You will long for what you are and what you think you don’t have. You may not “have” it but you are it. You already are it.

Big Mind

Know yourself as me and you know what you are. You will understand that as a human being you are a child of me. You and all your experiences happen within and as me.

If you don’t know this, you will live in poverty. You take yourself as fundamentally a separate being subject of birth, loss, death, and whatever else.

Lila

I temporarily and locally forget myself and take myself to fundamentally be a human being. In this, I feel small, limited, temporary, and although my experiences are rich and varied I experience it as a kind of poverty.

I feel that something is missing. I may long for it and seek it. I may first seek it in the wider world. And then perhaps as what I am.

When I notice myself again I know what I am and I understand that this human being is a metaphorical child of me.

You may see me as the divine and the play of the divine as all of existence. You may see me as consciousness and the play of consciousness. It the same.

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Gospel of Thomas 3a: Rather, the Father’s kingdom is within you and it is outside you

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.

3a. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

I will explore this through Big Mind.

Big Mind

If you think I am in the sky, then the birds will get there before you. If it’s in the sea, the fish are already ahead of you. If you recognize that I am inside you and outside you – that everything already is me – then you are on the right track. You have never not known me, you have just not recognized me.

I am the one who takes all these forms, including as you – as a human being – looking for me and thinking and I am in the sky or in the oceans and then eventually discover all as myself and all as always having been myself.

A note

I cannot help thinking that Jesus was a bit snarky here. Who looks for the Divine in the ocean? Unless you are a fish, of course.

Gospel of Thomas 2: When they find, they will be disturbed

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.

2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”

I will explore this through the voices of Big Heart and Big Mind.

Big Heart

I love you as you are and you are love as you are, whether you know it or not and whether you seek love or your true nature or not. If life and love and all of existence has moved you to seek, then keep seeking until you find me and find me as what you always and already are.

At first, you – in the form of a human being – may be disoriented by what you find and you may be disturbed by seeing that all of what you held as true wasn’t true in the way you thought.

There is another way you may be disturbed. At some point in the process, you may be disturbed because all in you that was formed within not knowing all as love will need to be loved and recognized as love and heal through that. It’s a beautiful process, more beautiful than you may be able to see as it happens. And some experience it as deeply disturbing as it happens.

You will find an infinite richness and fullness in finding me as you and you as love and all as love and always having been love. (Even that which humans see as not love at all is love, it’s love in disguise. It’s love temporarily taking these forms and forgetting that it is itself.)

And you will find a rest beyond anything you have every imagined, even as you are active in the world. When you find me as you, and your human self gets infused with this and used to it, you will find a deep rest.

Big Mind

If you are drawn to seek me – which is me seeking myself – then keep on until you find.

As a human being, you may be disturbed by what you find. You discover that what you believed, including your most basic assumptions about yourself and reality, are not true the way you took them to be.

You will also marvel when you discover yourself as me and everything as me.

As me, you will reign over all since all happens within and as me, although that’s an old-fashioned way of talking about it and I wouldn’t say it that way now.

And as you become more familiar with me and everything as me and living from it, you will relax and rest in and as it even as you are in activity.

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Gospel of Thomas 1: Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death

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.

Gospel of Thomas: These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke

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.

These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

From The Gnostic Society Library, translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer

This is the introduction to the 114 verses of the Gospel of Thomas.

Why are they secret sayings?

Perhaps because they won’t resonate with so many. They resonate with those who are ready. The ones who intuit their true nature, or have tasted it, or even consciously live within it.

Most likely, these are the types of pointers Jesus gave to his close disciples and followers.

Others later wrote the gospels that would later be selected for the New Testament as we know it today. And they, reasonably enough, wrote it from a more conventional view so it would be accessible to more people.

One doesn’t exclude the other. It’s good we have both. Thank God we have both.

Gospel of Thomas: If you bring forth what is within you

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

Gospel of Thomas, verse 70

Here is one way of understanding this.

What’s within me includes both wounds and gifts. And the saying applies to both.

If I don’t bring my wounds forth, into the light of awareness, it will destroy me. They will continue to operate in me, and influence how I perceive and act in the world. And if I do – if I bring awareness, love, kindness, gentle curiosity to my wounds – it will save me. The wounds are not only OK, but become gifts.

If I bring my gifts forth, if I develop and apply them, they will save me. They will benefit me and others. (If done with kindness and skill.) If I don’t bring my gifts forth, it may destroy me. It may remain as a  gnawing discomfort in me.

In both cases, not bringing it forth tends to come from unquestioned fear. Continuing to not bring it forth means I am reinforcing those unquestioned fears. So those fears may be among the first I bring forth. I can bring them into awareness, meet them with kindness and love, and question the stories creating the fears.

I should also mention that the labels “wounds” and “gifts” are used in a conventional sense here, and it’s worth questioning these labels. Can I find a particular wound, or wounds in general? Can I find a particular gift, or gifts in general? When I look, can I find it outside of my own images, words, and sensations? And are those it?

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Blessed is the lion which becomes man

(7) Jesus said, “Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man.”
Gospel of Thomas

Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man. Blessed is the wild dynamics in us when tamed digested by clarity and awareness.

And cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man. Cursed is the man taken over by those wild dynamics created by confusion. (Well, cursed is perhaps a strong word!)

When he finds, he will become troubled

(2) Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”
Gospel of Thomas

That’s my experience with inquiry. I seek until I find. I may become troubled because it doesn’t fit into what’s familiar to me. I am astonished. And through finding truth and more clarity, there is a “ruling over the all” – at least in the sense of freedom from the confines of the earlier belief.

Simon Peter said to him

(114) Simon Peter said to him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.”
Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Gospel of Thomas

It’s of course possible to find a theological or metaphorical explanation for this. For instance, female may refer to the human self and male may refer to Spirit, so Jesus is talking about the human self aligning with Spirit or reality.

And it’s also possible that Jesus, as I sometimes do, responded with sarcasm to an obviously narrow minded statement.

Show me the stone which the builders have rejected

(66) Jesus said, “Show me the stone which the builders have rejected. That one is the cornerstone.”
Gospel of Thomas (Lambdin translation)

It can be fun to explore pointers from a more nondual context and inquiry.

I also notice a tendency to go to what’s already quite familiar to me. How would it be to stay with it as an inquiry and see what I find? How would it be to gather examples of how it’s true for me?

What’s coming up first for me here, with this verse from the Gospel of Thomas, is that what I may initially discard in myself and see as worthless or even problematic, often turns out to be the most valuable in hindsight, or when I have digested it more, found some resolution, or inquired into my thoughts around it.

I inquired into the simple label of a “dark night” and found a long list of genuine examples of how it’s a brilliant day, and the label doesn’t quite fit anymore. Someone who appeared as a bully to me in my childhood was equally or more a friend, and the bullying label doesn’t fit anymore. What appears as pain is revealed as something else, here too the label doesn’t fit anymore. The more challenging a situation appears, the more basic beliefs I am invited to inquire into in order to find clarity, peace and freedom. And all that’s required is simple, real and honest answers and examples to the turnarounds.

Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am

Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.
Gospel of Thomas, saying 108.

Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am

Big mind/heart/belly recognizes itself.

I myself shall become that person

Big mind/heart/belly is recognized as all there is, including anything human as is.

and the hidden things will be revealed

All is revealed as big mind/heart/belly.

Each of these lines are variations on the same theme: all is revealed as the play of the divine – including anything human and any experience as it is.

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Whoever among you becomes a child

But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the kingdom and will become greater than John.
Gospel of Thomas, Verse 48

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Mark 18:2-4

What does it mean to become like a child?

It can mean a certain orientation of receptivity, curiosity and sincerity in our relationship with God, ourselves and practice, all within a context of don’t know. Shifting into this, and then noticing that these are already here, they are a natural expression of what we are. (When not clouded over by beliefs in images and stories.)

It can also mean to ask questions that seem silly and naive, to leave no stone unturned, to question that which seems most obviously a given and true – and especially those stories I at first don’t even recognize as a story.

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Whoever has found a corpse

Whoever has come to understand the world has found (only) a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world.
– Gospel of Thomas, verse 56.

If all I know about is the world, content of experience, I have only found a corpse. It is already dead. Transient. Born and dies. (The world itself, and my knowledge about it.)

If I recognize it as a corpse, I have moved beyond it just a little. There is a chance of relating to it in a more realistic way. To get my priorities straigthened out. Also, if the world – including this body and all content of experience including the doer and observer – is all transient, am I that which comes and goes? What is it that does not come and go? What is it that content of experience happens within and as?

When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished

Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.
– Gospel of Thomas, verse 2.

First, we seek God or truth in whatever way we go about it. Prayer. Inquiry. Service.

Then, we get troubled. Especially if we realize that the inevitable outcome of the process – if its runs its full course – is the death of (identification with) everything we thought we were, and can think we are.

Then, astonished. Astonished of what is revealed. How simple it is. Obvious. Never not here.

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Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar

They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to Him, “Caesar’s men demand taxes from us.” He said to them, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give Me what is Mine.”
– Gospel of Thomas, verse 100, and the New Testament in Matthew 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26.

This famous verse can be taken in a relatively straight-forward way.

Take care of your life in the world as a human being. Live an ordinary life and take care of the obligations that comes with the roles you are playing. Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

And at the same time, know what you really are. Give god what belongs to God.

Don’t neglect one in favor of the other.

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He who made the inside

Do you not realize that he who made the inside is the same one who made the outside?
– Gospel of Thomas, verse 89.

The inside and outside of anything all happens within and as what we are.

Boundaries with insides and outsides are only found as an imagined overlay, and this too happens within and as what we are.

It all has the same creator, which is what we are. No thing appearing as something.

Split a piece of wood

It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the All. From Me did the All come forth, and unto Me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find Me there.
– Gospel of Thomas, verse 77.

What we are and everything is, is that which all happens within and as. When I explore anything through the sense fields, I find that the way it appears in each sense field is as ephemeral and insubstantial, as no thing appearing as something, as awakeness itself. A stone = sight, sensations, an overlay of images, and each of these are no thing appearing as something, awakeness itself.

I shall destroy this house

I shall destroy [this] house, and no one will be able to rebuild it.
Gospel of Thomas, verse 71.

This house – this sense of a me and I – is built of beliefs. It is built of stories taken as true, identification with content of experience.

And when what we are awakens to itself, this house is destroyed and cannot be rebuilt.

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Whoever believes

Whoever believes that the All itself is deficient is (himself) completely deficient.
Gospel of Thomas, verse 67.

This can be seen as referring to projections.

What I see in the world says more about me than the world. In a conventional sense, it says a lot about me and little about the world. In a real sense, it says all about me and nothing about the world.

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What you do not bring forth

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
– Gospel of Thomas, verse 70.

Some simple ways of looking at this…

It can be seen as referring to the shadow. What we don’t bring into light from the shadow will destroy us. The parts of us excluded because they don’t fit our conscious self image is gold and will save us if it is recognized and owned, and will destroy us if it is not. We will be at its mercy.

It can be seen as referring to what we are. If we notice what we are, it will save us. If we don’t, it will destroy us. We will destroy ourselves through delusion, through taking stories as true.

And it can be seen as referring to living from what we are. If we notice what we are and live from it, it will save us. If we notice what we are, to some extent, and don’t live from it, it will destroy us. We are still caught up in beliefs and fears.

I certainly know both sides of each one of these through personal experience, even right now. We probably all do, if we notice.

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What I do not have within me

The Gospel of Thomas is known to be more esoteric (in the sense of reflecting a mystic’s approach) and closer to Eastern philosophies than many of the other gospels, both those included in the New Testament and not.

One of the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas is…

What you do not have within you will kill you.

This seems closely related to the being eaten by time vs. eating time topic. And it is another topic that can be explored with the Big Mind process, even if what is (Big Mind, Buddha Mind, Spirit) has not yet completely awakened to its own nature.

Identification as a fragment

If there is an identification as a fragment of what is, then whatever is “other” can (and eventually will) harm me – at least in my own experience.

Identification as Witness

If there is a belief in the thought I, now referring to Witness, to pure awareness, then I find myself as a mirror for the world of phenomena. The world of phenomena, including this human self and anything else, is arising within me and I am not touched by it, I am stainless. The world of phenomena is a seamless whole, including this human self and anything else. It is absent of I and Other. There is nothing outside of me to harm me.

But there is still a belief in the thought I, which does create a sense of Other. I am pure awareness, the world of phenomena is Other. There is a subtle sense of subject and object. There is still an identification with a fragment, even if this fragment is timeless and pure awareness. There may be an experience of oneness, intimacy and no separation with all there is, yet within a context of a(n apparently) subtle I and Other. So there is still something outside of me which can harm me, and it will so I can have an opportunity to see this.

If there is stuckness here, there can be a fall from grace allowing the remaining belief in the thought I to wear down and off (the dark night of the soul). Immediate experience is out of alignment with the belief in the thought I, so existence shakes things up to allow even this belief to erode and fall away.

Absent of beliefs

When there is an absence of belief in thoughts, including the thought I, there is really no inside or outside, no subtle I remaining to create a sense of a subtle Other. It all is, as it is. Or we can say that the whole field is I, beyond any sense of subject or object. There is nothing outside to harm, and no “me” to be harmed. It is all just emptiness dancing.

Projections

Another way to look at this is in terms of projections. Whenever something is perceived as only or mostly “out there”, there is a blind projection going on, and this can and will (apparently) harm me.

There is a belief in a set of thoughts, creating an identity, and whatever does not fit into this identity is experienced as “Other”. As long as these are seen as Other, there will be a sense of struggle, a sense of war with what is, an experience of stress and even suffering.

As what is seen as Other is gradually included in I or me, there is a gradual and progressive sense of wholeness, of being at home, of being at peace with what is.