Jesus said, Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. A good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil things. (45)
Jesus said, Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. Even as children many of us heard older and wiser people say “Consider the source” when something–usually gossip–was being relayed. To determine the authenticity of anything we must find its source. Otherwise we may be fooled by the mere appearance of something. This is very much evident in today’s “food industry.” Consider all the fake food that people accept as equal to real food just because of the way it looks and tastes. And of course, some people prefer the synthetic to the authentic in all the departments of their life.
Only yesterday I read an excellent religious essay about how crucial it is to always check everything religious back to its roots. If its roots are not compatible with what it claims to be, or if it really has no roots, then it it not worthy of acceptance. This is why the concept of tradition as the basis of religion is so important. After all, tradition is absolutely cardinal in both science and civil law. Everything is built or based on something, and that foundation will determine the ultimate character of the superstructure. Therefore we need to check the genealogy of everything.
This does not mean that we must be slaves to the past in a mechanical, unreasoning manner, to think that the way something has been done is the only way to do it in the future, or that something that has not been done before is thereby untrustworthy. But where it comes from is crucial, because that will reveal its nature. The character of the source will be the essential character of the product. All that glitters is not gold, but not all gold glitters, either. We must do our best to understand the nature of all things relevant to us. Intelligence is not just a gift from God, it is a requisite without which we cannot live fully or rightly. So we must use it at all times and in all situations.
A good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil things. Patterson and Maeyer: “Good persons produce good from what they’ve stored up; bad persons produce evil from the wickedness they’ve stored up in their hearts, and say evil things. For from the overflow of the heart they produce evil.”
The mind and heart are storehouses of a tremendous number and amount of things. We see from Jesus’ words that we can only bring forth from our storehouse what has been put in there by us, however much we would like to blame others for many of the negative things hidden there. Much of what is stored up is either karma or conditioned by karma. So the bottom line is that we bring forth what is our own character, our acquired nature. If we don’t like what is stored inside we must not deny or suppress it, but get in there and clear out the bad and bring in the good. In other words, we must meditate, for that is the only way to real interior renovation.
All the foregoing is speaking about the acquired nature, but our eternal nature is something completely different. We need to bring that forth, too, for that alone can endure. When we become on all levels what we have always been, then the goal is reached and freedom (moksha–liberation) is attained. As Buddha defined it: “The holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done.” Only the state of Nirvana remains for us. And yoga is the way.
Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Great in the Kingdom