Jesus said, Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All. (2)
Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. For some reason, in reading over the above verse there popped into my mind a memory of the old Dragnet television show. During one episode a woman whose son had become a dangerous criminal whined to Sergeant Friday: “God knows I tried.” With his usual dry aplomb Friday retorted: “Yeah, but how hard did you try?” That question applies to these words of Jesus. It is not mere seeking that ends in finding, but effective and prolonged seeking. Jesus is being a bit like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland when he told Alice: “Begin at the beginning, and when you come to the end, stop.” Just keep going until you reach the goal. Very simple and often very hard to do.
Yet we must grasp this necessary fact of spiritual life: “He that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22).
Sri Ramakrishna told this parable: “Go forward. A wood-cutter once entered a forest to gather wood. A brahmachari said to him, ‘Go forward.’ He obeyed the injunction and discovered some sandal-wood trees. After a few days he reflected, ‘The holy man asked me to go forward. He didn’t tell me to stop here. So he went forward and found a silvermine. After a few days he went still farther and discovered a gold-mine, and next, mines of diamonds and precious stones. With these he became immensely rich.”
We, too, have to keep going forward, further and further, “from glory to glory” (II Corinthians 3:18), until we reach the supreme goal–for that alone is what we should be seeking. We must never stop the search. It has been said that the desire for God is the way to God. Those who slacken or stop have slacked or stopped in their desire for God. Where, then, is the possibility of finding?
When he finds, he will become troubled. Johnson has “bewildered” rather than “troubled,” and Patterson and Maeyer have “disturbed.” But others concur with Lambdin in rendering it “troubled.”
We read in the book of Acts that Saint Paul and his companions were once described by their religious enemies as “these that have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:26). We have lived for entire creation cycles in complete delusion. Only now, after more years than human mathematicians can calculate, has a glimmer of reality entered into our purview. And the result? It has seemed to disrupt–if not actually shatter–our life! Look at how people agonize over a very little spiritual insight. In the West it is to the point of absurdity and often insanity. I am not speaking of theory and speculation–Westerners love such mind-games. I am speaking of the sledgehammer impact a few grains of practical truth–for that is what reality is–has on everyone’s life. It is easy to forget, so maybe you may not recall what it was like the first time reality “struck” in your life. But if you will sit and look backwards you will see that every advance in true knowledge has necessitated a real struggle and perhaps even pain in bringing your life into conformity to it. If not, it still lies ahead for you.
Spiritual history is filled with accounts of people who when given a vision of the truth of things were devastated and disoriented. For never again could they go back to where they were the moment before the lightning struck. Many have foolishly wished it had not taken place. When Sri Ramakrishna opened the consciousness of Naren (the future Swami Vivekananda), his reaction was to weep bitterly and ask: “What have you done to me?” Such is the power of ignorance over our hearts. Like long-caged birds we fear freedom. Many people become upset and even angry when something occurs to open their understanding and make them see more clearly than they did before. What should be a cause for rejoicing becomes a matter of regret and complaint–such is the extent of our spiritual insanity.
It takes great courage to face truth and rise to the level it requires. Before reaching the human form, consciousness evolves blindly, automatically. But humans are on a different plateau, and although they may be forcibly faced with higher reality, they have to agree to it and move up on their own volition. In time they must come to consciously and willfully evolve themselves through the cultivation of inner life. They must become yogis (I mean this in the broadest sense, for every valid religion has produced ways to cultivate higher spiritual consciousness.) Without yoga, spiritual life can be nothing but haphazard, however sincere and devoted the seeker may be.
Even men and women of great wisdom have trembled and shrunk back at the dawning of higher vision, for such vision means a death of much that has heretofore flourished in the twilight world of half-knowledge–much that we have fostered and increased through ages, identifying with it and dominated by it. It is excruciatingly painful to acknowledge that our wisdom has been folly, our living has been death, and our faith has really been only superstition.
When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished. But when the leap is made, when the truth has been not only seen but assimilated into our consciousness, great wonder will arise within us. Lambdin uses the term “astonished,” but others prefer “marvel,” “amazed,” and “wonder.” It is said in India that Shiva, the divine yogi, usually sits in profound samadhi in total communion with his Self. But occasionally he emerges from that state and dances in bliss, exclaiming: “O! Who I am! Who I am!”
To enter into hitherto unknown and undreamed-of dimensions of consciousness is a delight and blessedness unthought of by those yet to open those doors of the spirit. Just as the hem of Jesus’ garment flowed healing virtue (Matthew 9:20; 14:36), so even the borders of the inner kingdom flow with a glory impossible to describe–but very easy to experience. I well remember the joyful awe that I lived and breathed daily when, after finding the path of yoga I began moving toward the dawning Light. It was something I could never have imagined possible, something undreamed of by the murky religion in which I had been brought up. At last I had found the real gospel (good news) of “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Light had come to me from the East, just as it had to Jesus, and earlier to the Essenes through Moses and Aaron.
Yes, if we can hold firm and bravely move on into the new territories opened by the inner sight, we will be astonished from day to day. Expanding awareness terrifies and panics the ego, but it rejoices the spirit. Many turn back to the ego’s realm, but others hasten on into the world of freedom in spirit. Perseverance becomes no longer a trial, but a happy anticipation. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
However, the order of things is never changed: first comes the troubling and then the wonder. We cannot have the second without the first.
And he will rule over the All. Jesus is not speaking to us of some kind of abstract intellectual delight or marvel, but of something eminently practical. “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is the limitless expanse of that infinite Consciousness that is God. Those who persevere to the end shall enter into the essential life of God, for “the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever” (Daniel 7:18). “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27).
Jesus spoke of this attainment when he told Saint John: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21). The identical status which Jesus attained shall be attained by all who seek, find, become troubled and become astonished. They, too, shall rule over all.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5, 6, 9-11). That this shall be said of each one of us is indicated by the words of Jesus: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12). The Kingdom shall be our kingdom, the Power shall be our power, and the Glory shall be our glory. Amen.
Read the next section in The Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Seeking the Kingdom Realistically