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Live and Die Not

Chapter 59 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, Take heed of the living one while you are alive, lest you die and seek to see him and be unable to do so. (59)

Take heed of the living one. “The living one” can mean the Living God, our own living spirit and the Living Path–the life that leads to Life. Certainly all three should be kept in mind as we live our little life within the Infinite Life that is manifesting as the cosmos.

Only this morning there suddenly came to mind a blessed day over fifty years ago when a friend and I rode up the freeway north of Los Angeles singing Yogananda’s chant:

I am the sky, Mother, I am the sky.
I am the vast blue ocean of sky.
I am a little drop of that sky.
Frozen sky….

The joyous vibrations Yogananda had infused into those words were flowing in our hearts. We did not even quit singing when we stopped for gas! But it was not just the feeling: the profound meaning was also rising in our awareness as we sang.

The words seem simple, and to some perhaps childish, but they are not. In the chant the devotee is speaking to the Divine Mother within whose cosmic heart he is living and evolving. Here in this seemingly material universe (that is really God’s Light), we think we are in a purely material body, and we mostly identify with it. But in the chant the devotee is saying: “No, Mother, your motion picture creation will not fool me. I am not a mere body subject to birth and death; and though I dream karma, I am truly ever-free. Like your child Shankara sang in his Stanzas on Nirvana: I am formed of blissful consciousness: I am Spirit.

“I am myself the Chidakasha, the vast Conscious Ether of Space, the limitless Sky of Infinity. Thou art the Ocean Sky and I am a little drop in that Sky. Though momentarily frozen into a form, I am not limited to it. And as a yogi I am returning to my original state as part of–one with–Thee who art also beyond all form and name. For That Thou art and That am I.”

For nearly an hour we were so in touch with that experience that we spent the rest of our life seeking to become established in it.

While you are alive, lest you die. No human being is a stranger to delusion, but one of the saddest I have observed is the mistaken belief that a person has their entire life to begin spiritual endeavor–that they can delay and delay all they want, even years if not decades, and still God and the angels will be waiting for them to get on board and make the journey. But anyone who has observed life knows that things go in cycles or tides. Even a single day can make a tremendous difference in a person’s circumstances, inner and outer. Spiritual awakening and insight can be very fragile. I have seen it melt away without people even realizing it.

In past centuries, including Biblical times, a great deal that eventually became duties of officials such as soldiers and police was put into the hands of the ordinary people. For example, captured soldiers were often put into the custody of citizens who would be executed if the prisoner managed to escape. In the First Book of Kings a prophet in disguise goes to the king and tells him that someone brought a prisoner to him and warned him that he would pay with his life if the man got away. But, he tells the king, “as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone” (I Kings 20:40). Just like that! When the king tells him that his life is forfeit, he then reveals who he is and tells the king that it is he who is accountable with his life because he shirked his duty to God. How easy it is to be busy here and there and lose track of our own Self.

And seek to see him and be unable to do so. No one is “lost” or “damned” forever, but certainly times can come when a person cannot take up spiritual life and progress, either because they have completely lost interest or because conditions no longer allow it. That is why the prophet said: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

Some people decide to start spiritual life but begin looking in the wrong place, get distracted and wander into byways that are spiritual dead ends or they try to live a spiritual life while still avidly seeking material life. As the angel said to those who came to Jesus’ tomb on the first Easter: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

It is no joke. The words of Jesus often apply: “Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come” (John 7:33, 34). Then the lament may arise: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved [liberated]” (Jeremiah 8:20).

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: “Lest Thou Also…”

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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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