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Seeing Your Unknown Side

Chapter 84 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, When you see your likeness, you rejoice. But when you see your images which came into being before you, and which neither die nor become manifest, how much you will have to bear! (84)

Patterson and Maeyer: When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!

Nancy Johnson: When you see your likeness, you are happy, but when you see your images rising before you without subsiding or approaching, how long can you stand that?

Brill: When you see your likeness, you rejoice; but when you see your images which came into being before you–they neither die nor are made manifest–how much will you bear?

I doubt if anybody absolutely knows what this verse means, but I do know a possible interpretation so I will share it with you.

We have all had millions of incarnations, beginning with an atom of hydrogen and ending with our last human life. In each of these we have had a form, a body, in which we lived. And when death expelled us from those bodies we entered the astral world and took on a form there, as well.

Sometimes in meditation we see those previous forms in differing degrees of clarity. At other times we feel their vibration or intuit them more than we actually see a form. But whichever it might be, for me it is a very peculiar experience and one that I do not much care for. At such times I do not try to banish the experience, but just sit and keep on meditating as usual. After a bit the impression fades away and that is that, though on occasion another form takes its place.

Why does this happen? Mostly because our inner mind is doing a kind of psychic housecleaning and is discarding deep subconscious impressions that no longer have relevance. At such times it is a sign of karma being dissolved on a subliminal level. On other occasions it is an indication of some deeply buried impulse or karma that is being manifested momentarily. (We can reap or dissolve our karma both in dreams and during meditation just as we do in our ordinary waking life.)

In a sense those forms are “ghosts” of our former lives that are wandering in our subconscious mind. If it was not beneficial to perceive them it would not happen in meditation, so we should calmly observe them. There is no denying that it is something at least mildly unsettling, so this verse speaks of “bearing” or “standing” it. That is certainly my experience. But the only correct response is to keep centered on meditation and remain indifferent to everything else. After all, meditation called the ghosts up and will exorcise them, too. That is why Jesus said: “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19). The word translated “souls” is psyche–our own mind. Such experiencing of the forms of previous lives is a means for us to become masters of our entire psychic nature. We do not have to enjoy it, but we should value and appreciate it.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Our Forefather Adam

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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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