Thomas sayings 8 and 9
Friday, May 17, 2019
3:50 a.m. Saying # 8:
And he said: The man is like a thoughtful fisherman who threw his net into the sea and pulled it out full of little fish. Among all the little fish, the thoughtful fisherman found one fine large fish that would be beneficial to him and, throwing all the little fish back into the sea, he easily chose to keep the large one. Whoever has ears to hear let him hear.
Looking at the immediate context, we see yesterday’s, which you said is about our intent, what you called our internal conduct. And “thoughtful” here seems to me to be the same as mindful. The fisherman knew what he was about. He used his judgment. The rest reminds us of the pearl of great price. Is it that simple? I doubt it, or it would not be included among esoterica.
But remember, this was all esoterica, and it was all common knowledge among the earlier members of what became the Christian community, because remember it was part of an oral tradition. As we pointed out earlier, the gospels were written down more as chapter heads than as texts, more as reminders and prompts than as in themselves sufficient for understanding. In that sense, the difference between the gospel of Thomas and that of the synoptic gospels and of John, and of Acts, is that they were narrative in form and Thomas is not. It is the difference between narrative and non-narrative.
I have thought that Thomas was excluded from the canon of texts not because it was too secret but because it was inexplicable: Those who had lost the inner sense of it couldn’t make out what it was about, and so thought, Why confuse the dumb masses? Self-styled leaders are always doing that, it seems to me. But does this mean that there is nothing particularly new to us in this saying?
State what comes to you as you ask this, and we will comment.
Well, “thoughtful fisherman.” Maybe it isn’t quite mindful so much as prudent, careful, observant. If we were looking at the fish as thoughts, or insights, or even values, we might say he had cast his net for them – and how often have you advised me, “cast your net widely” – and in valuing what he has caught in his net, he chooses to keep the one great fish and let the others go. At first I thought, Well, no need to throw back all the others, why does keeping the one fish preclude keeping the others? But then I thought, maybe it’s a matter of focus, of holding to the one so that one doesn’t fritter away one’s attention on a million little things..
Yes. If one cannot keep everything, keep the one that in itself is greatest, so that one may stand in for many.
You may pass on to saying #9.
Jesus said: Look, there was a man who came out to sow seed. He filled his hand with seed and threw it about. Some fell onto the road, and birds ate it. some fell onto rocks, and could not root and produced no grain. Some fell into patches of thorny weeds that kept it from growing, and grubs ate it. Some seed fell upon good soil and grew and produced good grain. It was 60 units per measure and 120 units per measure.
I haven’t looked at the commentary this time, but I pretty well remember Davies saying this was about incompetent farming technique! However, I may be doing him an injustice. I’ll look when we have finished here. This one, like the previous one, seems familiar from the synoptic gospels.
Only, look carefully. Yes, on one level the meaning has been explained to one and all over the centuries, as it was not explained to one and all while Jesus was alive. But is today’s common understanding all there is to see?
Our understanding of it is that different souls react differently to the word.
And that is not untrue, only look at it now, not from result but from the sower’s point of view, and, indeed, from what you might call the point of view of the process.
Interesting thought. Agricultural analogies aside, it seems to say that one must throw out the seed almost regardless of personal receptivity.
Well, Jesus was not advocating casting pearls before swine – insisting on trying to convince those who are determined not to be convinced, or are unable to grasp the argument – but is saying, in effect, you never know.
That’s a very interesting take on it, and although it’s obviously the way life is, I hadn’t ever thought of it that way. You cast your seeds into the surroundings not knowing who will be able to profit, because you can’t necessarily know their inmost heart, nor how they may change in the future.
Nor, indeed, who may stumble upon your words centuries later. Certainly this was the experience not only of Jesus, as of Buddha and other great teachers, but of their disciples. And if it was true of them, why shouldn’t it be true of their successors?
So, other than not trying to insist (which isn’t said here but is said elsewhere), we should –
Oh. It occurs to me, this is the complement to the previous saying, isn’t it? One is about receiving; the other is about giving.
Yes, very good. And, remembering the theme of the proper relationship of one’s 3D life to the greater life?
Under 3D conditions, we mostly don’t know. We are constrained by time, by space, by limits to our ability to hold in mind more than a certain amount at a time. So, we’re shooting in the dark. Under these conditions, we should choose carefully our input, and recognize that there are severe limits to our foreknowledge of the results of our activity.
Correct. And, in light of 3D limitations, the connection to your deeper selves becomes more important, becomes a means of liberation, of blossoming.
“I have come that you may have life more abundantly,” something like that.
Exactly. It isn’t that the messages are inherently different, but that they make sense only from the proper standpoint, the proper viewpoint. If you happen to be ready for them, you in effect produce a 60-fold or 120-fold increase. That is, [someone] opening your eyes is productive. If you are choked with the concerns of the world, you may be entirely closed to the truth even if you have inherent ability to respond to it. if you are barren of possibilities for whatever reason, hardness of heart of inability to open access, nothing can come of sowing the seed. But you, as sower, never know.
And being unable to know, is no excuse for saying, “It’s hopeless.”
Exactly, just as you can never know what you’re going to fish out of the sea, but must cast your net to find out. And this is enough for the moment.
All right, thanks as always. And, looking at the commentary, it is much as I remember it. Moral of the story being, I guess, you can’t see everything.
Say rather, that what you see will be limited by the mindset you bring to the seeing.
Till next time, then.