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Awakened by Death

Chapter 63 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, There was a rich man who had much money. He said, ‘I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.’ Such were his intentions, but that same night he died. Let him who has ears hear. (63)

We are not just immortal, we are eternal, and even though our experience in this world seems to contradict that completely, nevertheless we have a subconscious awareness that we are essentially unchanging beings. This, however can lead to trouble, because we then tend to react to a temporary situation as though it were really permanent. Whether it be pleasant or unpleasant, we reflexively react as though it will last forever. Consequently we panic or overreact in a manner completely inconsistent with the reality of the situation when things are unpleasant, or unrealistically insist to ourselves that anything which we like will always be ours.

Death is one of the most powerful and upsetting intruders in our complacency. We think we will be young, healthy, wealthy, loved and content forever. Many things can overturn this mistaken conclusion, but death is the most shocking for there is no way to deny its absolutely irrevocable nature and effect on us. The death of others usually shakes us awake to a more reasonable view of things, but our own death can really change our viewpoint. That is what Jesus is explaining here.

Everything conduced to make the rich man content and assured. No doubt or fear clouded his mental horizons. Just the opposite: he felt that the cosmos itself could not bring about any detrimental change or diminish his total confidence in a future that would be exactly as he wished it to be, as well as unending. But suddenly he found himself in another realm of existence altogether where there were no such things as fields, crops or storehouses. To his mind, he had lost everything, since all he had filled his mind with for a lifetime had been objective, material things. Now he had no possessions whatsoever–just himself. And that was a very flimsy and unsatisfactory inventory indeed!

Death forces us to acknowledge a multitude of realities that we do not want to face, mostly because we do not want to adjust our thinking and behavior according to the way things really are–or are not. Many years ago I had a book of hymns that contained one entitled “With Eternity’s Values in View.” Many people may think that keeping death and our personal mortality in mind is morbid, but it is not if we order our life and thought in conformity with those realities. We cannot have life without death, or death without life. Those who acknowledge that principle and make provision for all possibilities will never have to be evicted by death before facing reality. There will be no surprises; only fulfillments. This Jesus is demonstrating to us.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Turning Ourselves Away

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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