Jesus, according to the Gnostic scriptures, practiced his ministry in two ways: First, he was a teacher who offered verbal instructions of a particular kind. When he taught he imparted more than concepts and precepts. Rather, it appears that his teaching was in the nature of stimulating the operation of a creative and transformative process in his disciples. Second, he was a hierophant who instituted mysteries into which he initiated those who were ready to receive them. The Gospel of Thomas represents a partial record of his activities as teacher, although indications of his hierophantic mysteries are present also. By contemplating a selection of the sayings contained in The Gospel of Thomas, the reader may gain an impression of the tone of these secret sayings, and may come to discern the difference between the Gnostic Jesus and the Jesus of conventional Christianity. (p. 187)
.. To confront the ineffable greatness, we must first shed our false selfhood without fear of consequences.
If they say to you: "From where are your origins?" say to them, "We have come from the Light, where the Light has begun through itself." ... If they say to you, "Who are you?" say: "What is the sign of your Father in you?" say to them: "It is a movement and a quiet."
This is a most important saying inasmuch as it deals with the definition of the identity of the Gnostic disciple. The Gnostic knows that he originates in the fullness, where the supreme light of primordial divinity dwells. The elect are those who know themselves as emanations of the supreme light. "Movement" stands for the principle of dynamic change as evidenced in becoming, realization, living; whereas "quiet" may be taken to signify the pleromic state of equipoise. Becoming and being, outbreathing and inbreathing when balanced and consciously realized constitute the hallmark of true Gnosis within the individual. (pp. 188f)
The reconciliation of the opposites is the key that unlocks the storehouse of limitless psychic energy. Miracles are performed by those in whom "the two have become one." It is interesting to note how the above saying, with its intrapsychic emphasis, in the canonical Gospel of Matthew is turned into one possessing an extroverted emphasis: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." (18:19)
The true peacemaker, according to Thomas, is the one who has made peace with himself. (p.198)
Ignorance, not sin, is the cause of the suffering attendant upon the human condition. Knowledge of the self, which is essentially identical with the supreme Self or transcendental being, is the goal of the Gnostic life. This goal brings with it the unification of all opposites and thus union with all life. (pp. 200f)
It is not from sin, personal and original, that the redeeming Logus frees humankind, but rather from the confusion and illusion brought about by unconsciousness.
One flees to one knows not where or one remains fixed at the same sport when one desires to move forward, while pursuing one knows not whom. One feels that one is in a battle, one dispenses and receives blows. Or one feels as if one is falling from a great height, or one seems to be flying through the air without the benefit of wings. At times it appears as if one were killed by an unseen murderer, without having noticed any pursuer before.... These things happen until the moment when those who have experienced all this wake up. Then they see nothing ..for all those dreams were...naught. It is thus that they rid themselves of their ignorance, even as it were a dream which they esteem as naught. (p. 222)
It may be appropriate to conclude this summary of The Gospel of Truth with the beautiful injunction addressed to the redeemed:
The day from on high has no night, and its light never wanes, for it is perfect. Proclaim, then, that you are this perfect day and that it is you that the unfailing light dwells, you who possess the Gnosis of the heart. Utter the truth to those who seek it, and speak Gnosis to those who in their error have made mistakes. Make firm the foot of those who have stumbled and stretch out your hands to those who suffer from sickness. Feed those who are hungering and afford repose to those who are weary, and rise up those who wish to rise, and awaken those who sleep. For you are the "Gnosis of the heart" that is manifest. (p. 223)
...the "Book of the Great Invisible Spirit," or The Gospel of the Egyptians is not only a mythological or cosmological narrative but also a liturgical text ... (p. 224)
...the intent (of the two gospels) is the same: to remind humankind of its high and holy origins, as well as its present predicament of incomprehension , and to assure men and women of the availability of redemption and a return to consciousness, glory, and bliss.
...Transcendental experience is by definition incommunicable, and the instructions of Gnostics adepts contained in sayings, myths, parables, and exhortations could not communicate Gnosis (at best, they were merely similar to the proverbial Zen Buddhist finger pointing to the moon). "The knowledge of the things that are" (as G.R.S. Mead called it), must be arrived at by the individual, although select individualized teaching and practices may assist one to approach such knowledge within a meaningful and helpful context of psychological receptivity.
Such a knowledge always would appeal to relatively few. Those who would be satisfied with faith in the statements received from others, those who did not balk at having faith in the faith of someone else, would always disqualify themselves when it came to Gnosis. Many centuries after the time of the Gnostics, C.G. Jung expressed their attitude poignantly when describing his own position regarding the spiritual needs of the modern world:
I am not ... addressing myself to the happy possessors of faith, but to those many people from whom the light has gone out, the mystery faded, and God is dead. For most of them there is no going back, and one does not know either whether going back is the better way. To gain an understanding of religious matters, probably all that is left us today is the psychological approach. That is why I take these thought-forms that have become historically fixed, and try to melt them down again and put them into molds of immediate experience.
The "other gospels," long lost and now rediscovered appear to hold the potential of being of great assistance to those engaged in the task of melting down the rigid theologies and arid philosophies of this age and of pouring their essence into molds of the immediate and timeless Gnostic experience. (pp. 229f)
Destruction and its alternative; liberation from form and redemption within form. Those instructed by Jung's theory of synchronicity may readily recognize within this meaningful coincidence a signal from the heavens. Risen from the sleep of the centuries and emerging into the focus of consciousness, the other, alternative reality beckons to us with its vision of transformative redemption. We have nothing to fear but unconsciousness. The Antichrists, Behemoths, and Leviathans threatening us are but the creatures of our own unconscious projections, which may vanish like a nightmare when the process of individuation becomes operative. The kingdom, the reconstituted world of wholeness, opens its gates to us as the words of the archetype of the individuated Self of humanity receive their final vindication:
When you make the two one, and when you make the inmost as the outermost and the outer as the inner and the above as the below, and when you make the male and female into a single unity, so that the male will not be only male and the female will not be only female, when you create eyes in the place of an eye, and create a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in the place of a foot, and also an image in then place of an image, then surely will you enter the kingdom. (The Gospel According to Thomas, Logion 22.) (pp. 244f)
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