“From the very beginning there were two Christianities.” So begins this remarkable work.
While the rest of the Apostles dispersed to various areas of the Mediterranean world, the apostle Thomas travelled to India, where growing evidence shows that Jesus spent his “Lost Years,” and which had been the source of the wisdom which he had brought to the “West.”
In The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening, Abbot George shines the “Light of the East” on the sometimes enigmatic sayings of Jesus recorded by his apostle Saint Thomas, revealing their unique and rich practical nature for modern day seekers for spiritual life.
While many books related to the Gospel of Thomas deal with historical or theological issues, Abbot George’s approach is remarkably practical, dealing with how Jesus’ words can be applied to make your life better and more spiritually rich. This is a must have book for spiritual aspirants, whatever their background.
–The Reverend Gerry Nangle
Excerpts from The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening
“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.’” (Gospel of Thomas 5.)
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 overlain 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.
“Show us the place where you are, since it is necessary for us to seek it.”
There is a mystical sect in Bengal known as Bauls whose habit is to ask someone: “In what ‘station’ do you live?” What they are asking is what state of consciousness is the person’s constant abode. When we are with highly advanced yogis we often realize that although they are physically present and interacting with us, yet they really are somewhere else altogether and living in a manner invisible to us. This was very much true of Swami Venkateshananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda.
So the disciples want to know where Jesus really “is”–and we, too, need to know that, for we also must seek that place, that level of consciousness. This is bold aspiration, but a most necessary one. Jesus came into this terrible sea of samsara to deliver us from it by calling us to higher life. Our response must be a wholehearted seeking of our own Christhood.
“Jesus said, ‘You see the mote in your brother’s eye, but you do not see the beam in your own eye. When you cast the beam out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to cast the mote from your brother’s eye.’” (Gospel of Thomas 26)
Here Jesus is pointing out the inconsistent nature of a mind that is itself defective: the tiniest things are clearly seen and immense things are invisible. It is like the serial killer in Vienna who after his arrest was asked how it was he had killed a serving-maid in a great mansion whose owners were away traveling, yet had put a large supply of water and seed in a bird’s cage in the house. Immediately the murderer became very indignant and shouted: “What kind of a person do you think I am that I would let a little bird starve?”
It is often see that the same people who have scruples about the smallest things will be indifferent to glaring evils in their lives. Oftentimes an exaggerated “morality” will be a cover or compensation for utter moral depravity, but in this case it is a matter of seeing things through the wrong end of the telescope altogether.
Usually the mote-beam exhortation of Jesus is taken to be nothing more than a rebuke of hypocrisy, but it is much more. For Jesus assures us that “then you will see clearly to cast the mote from your brother’s eye,” thus implying that we will gain the ability to see others’ defects clearly and assist them in correcting them.
This is often the work of saints: they reveal the real nature of our problems and not only tell us what to do about it, they spiritually empower us to correct ourselves. This is especially seen in the Eastern Orthodox Church which values the practice of spiritual “eldership” as an essential for successful spiritual life. In Russia, Greece and Romania there have been, and are, many great elders through whose words and blessing people have attained spiritual heights.
So this aphorism is a call to self-honesty and the helping of others as well.