Over the past few weeks I was hearing “Gospel of Thomas” every time I walked by the neighborhood bookstore. In most cases, it takes a awhile for these kinds of messages to ring through, but thankfully the messenger doesn’t give up easily – initiating contact softly and gently, then increasing in feeling-hearing volume with each call. I have also found that consistent and delightful spiritual treasure lands in my lap as a result of listening and responding to them.
Now understand that I am not a practicing Christian. I’m not a practicing anything in terms of religion, though I do find myself inspired by wise words – no matter the source. So the other day I finally entered the store, acquired and then read over the course of two days, “The Gospel of Thomas”, Translated and Annotated by Stevan Davies. I must say that while I appreciate Mr. Davies’ work very much, I didn’t feel particularly aligned with all of his comments. I also remain sensitive to the fact that there are other interpretations available as there were quite a few ‘Gospel of Thomas’ books on the shelves by various authors. I have not read anything other than Mr. Davies’ work on the topic – scholarly or otherwise. The following sayings from the referenced book are ones that I took a particular interest in, wondered about, and eventually forgot… for awhile anyway.
Reference Saying 11c: [Jesus said] When you ate dead things, you made them alive. When you arrive into light, what will you do?
which also relates to Saying 111a:
[Jesus said] The Earth and Sky will roll up right in front of you. Anyone living from the living will not die.
Stevan Davies had this to say in regard to 11c, “such sayings support a vegetarian criticism of meat-eating, because eating “dead things” or animal flesh seems to be a practice that is ended when one begins to live from the living.” [pg. 10, para 4]
My first thought after reading the above quotation was this: When we sit down for a meal to consume our salad and veggies, I do believe at this stage these once-thriving life forms could be considered ‘dead’ as well. In other words, they are no longer planted in the ground, and no longer growing and sustained by the Life Force. And to me this felt important to note.
Of course as long as we are translating within the context of food and eating, I’d also like to throw in the contradictory and more familiar statement by Jesus. In the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ it is noted as Saying 14c; in the Book of Matthew (15:11): For what goes into your mouth will not defile you, but what comes out of your mouth can defile you. This statement seems pretty clear.
I received a vision-feeling this morning that I ‘knew’ to be related to Saying 11c (and others). I did not ask for this, it came as a result of dialoging my feelings this morning. As I have noted in earlier writings about this talking-my feelings-out-loud process, the clearing of personal feelings seems to make way for Divine Feeing and Knowing. At times it is an exceedingly grand new understanding, and sometimes it comes in to fill a vacuum left behind from a mild curiosity or question mark in my life – no matter how mundane it is! In this particular sitting, after the last personal feeling was acknowledged and neutralized – like misbehaving children who have been truly seen, heard and appreciated – all became very quiet and peaceful. The widening and receptive state was palpable as I sat and awaited the arrival of Wisdom in the present moment. Soon the energy in my body and consciousness increased into the ecstatic range, which contained a feeling-image message.
I became aware of myself as a withered, dead flower lying flattened on the earth – bereft of all energy and purpose – not unlike the human state of depression in which I have had the displeasure of knowing from time to time. But soon I felt the growing ecstatic rush of life force energy, and still from the perspective of the flower, I began to expand and stand erect once again. In a very short time I went from death to feeling fully plugged in and radiant. In this state, I was completely fed, not only by the elements, but by a liquid light that seemed to have preceded All of Creation and had given birth to my flowering self, the soil, the sun, and all of the Natural World. In the vision I was restored. I was completely natural, therefore one with all of the Natural World. I must add that the ever-expanding joy in these states is almost unbearable. This may sound strange, I know, but in my experience with this frequency I have found that it takes a while to adapt to, own, or embody that which I feel IS Creator’s Love (what I have affectionately named ‘Big Giant Love’ – not confined by the social mores and limiting context of human relationship).
Contained within these feelings and images was the message that this is our natural identity. When one is One, there is no longing, no desire, no hunger. Conversely, when we feel separate from, or ‘many’, we seek and feed on all else that perceives itself to be separate from. Even our animals (and some plants!) mirror our hungering, stalking, attacking, consuming behaviors in order to survive in this imbalanced state of creation. In assuming our top-of-the-food-chain status, I do believe we may have set that ball in motion.
So to answer Jesus’ question, “When you arrive into light, what will you do?” I believe the feeling answer to this is that once you arrive into this state there is no more doing based on past identifications with fear, lack and separation. When we are restored to our true nature in the present moment, we are fed. Period. It is not something that we have to think about. Rather, I believe that Jesus-as-teacher may have been asking us to reach for this state in our imagination. Could he have been asking, “When you are restored to your fullness, and everyone and everything in the world is fed, what will you create from this complete state of Love?”
Sadly, it is a pretty big reach for most of us in the western world, when it seems that ALL of our energy and activity is founded on the belief that ‘there is not enough’ and ‘I’ve got to get mine’. So with that belief obliterated, what do we ‘do’? I don’t know about you, but I rather like where this stretch of the imagination takes us.
Finally, in Saying 3a, [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 that 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.
The Kingdom IS the active state of equilibrium and wholeness. The Kingdom is within AND it is outside of us. All that is natural on Earth extends out from the Kingdom and is an expression of divine beauty, grace, and love – in form and action. I believe that Jesus, in referring to the ‘outside’, was acknowledging the Natural World, as well as all of our creations that come into form when one is firmly ‘planted within’ the natural state. The Kingdom is not person, place or thing. It is the stuff of life or Creator in all things. Therefore, all the Earth and Sky could roll up in front of us and we would not die, because the outer world is not our Source! Also interesting to note from Jesus’ illustrated statement is the fact that he is not inferring any movement from one place to another to achieve this transformation, i.e. ascension into the distant upward locale of ‘heaven’. He is specifically indicating that we are ‘in place’ in the Kingdom right now, departing for nowhere, and it is the Earth and Sky that roll up in front of us!
Further implication is that when humans arrive into the light, it is essentially the light swallowing up the dead – the dead being those who have perceived themselves and created their lives out of the mis-perception that they are disconnected from the Source. And this is mirrored in the case of humans eating dead, disconnected things and bringing them to life again through the digestive process.
I physically felt all of this with the visionary experience of being a dead flower brought back to life. And this was followed by the very real feeling and knowing that I was plugged back into the present-moment Source, where all of my needs are met without asking, without praying. No need for such things in Oneness!
While I didn’t catch the drift on all of Jesus’ sayings in their rendered
“Gospel of Thomas” form, I felt inspired by what I was able to perceive: Humans who have forgotten their connection to All can be restored and live fully again in the light.
I feel that love. I feel that light. But due to the fact that I’m still presenting within the dualistic framing of THAT love and THAT light, it suggests that I am not fully planted in it. I am filled with gratitude when I do feel and experience it though, which is the ultimate motivation to continue to welcome the fullness and grace of the eternal Now Presence in every waking moment.
And while suspended in this rather peculiar in-between existence, I continue to be a guilt-free, protein-demanding meat eater. And I give thanks to all of the animals AND plants who continue to sustain me until I fully KNOW the Truth – thereby setting these beloved creatures AND myself free.