Jesus said, Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest. (5. See Matthew 10:26, Mark 4:22, Luke 8:17, and Luke 12:2)
If we do not comprehend our real nature, who/what we really are, then we can understand nothing about our life. But it is equally necessary to have an understanding of the nature of the world around us. Dualistic philosophy postulates that we are spirits, whereas the world is matter only, that we are imprisoned in the world, and to escape from it somehow is liberation of the spirit. A misunderstanding of yoga seems to reinforce this, and most yogis subscribe to a dualistic view of things, though it may be overlaid with a veneer of non-dualism. Certainly the world is a prison, but only because we have imprisoned ourselves. A door can either keep us in or let us out–it depends on how we use it. We are the wardens of our own prison.
What is the purpose of the world? If we see it as a morass into which we have fallen and become entangled we will respond to it accordingly. If, however, we realize that the world is an instrument for our evolution, that it is itself an essential part of our liberation, we will think of it much differently than do most “spiritual” people, and we will approach and utilize it in that different perspective.
My beloved friend, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, wrote a poem entitled “Only God I Saw” in which he described seeing the entire world and all within it as a manifestation of Divinity. If we can really “see” with the awakened eye of our spirit that the entire field of relative existence is Divine, in that very moment we will see “that which is hidden.” The seeing and the revealing are simultaneous. Nothing remains unseen to the awakened sight. Nothing. One translation says: “Recognize Him in front of your face….” This brings to mind the opening verse of the Isha Upanishad: “All this–whatever exists in this changing universe–should be covered by the Lord.”
To recap: We are not to turn from the world; if we do that we will never see truly. Rather, we are to open the inner eye, remove what Shankara called “the glaucoma of ignorance,” and find ourselves face to face with Spirit. Those who seek spirit by shunning the world, longing for “blessed death” and such, will fulfill the declaration of the Isha Upanishad’s ninth verse that those who reject relative existence enter into an even greater darkness than those who plunge into materiality, denying or ignoring the existence of the spirit. For, disengaging themselves from the world, they will never solve its riddle and be free.
Read the next section in The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: What Jesus Wants Us To Do