Thomas, Saying 61

Monday, July 1, 2019

3 a.m. As to Saying 61 a, b, and c in the Gospel of Thomas — I get the basic idea of healing our divided consciousness – I published Peter Novak’s book The Division of Consciousness how many years ago, and the follow-up books [Original Christianity and the Lost Secret of Death] – but as I look at this closely, I can see that most of it is impenetrable to me. Can we begin with 61 a?

61 a. Jesus said: Two will lie down on one bed; one will die and the other will live.

Clearly this is not about how chancy life is, that “you never know,” etc. [Although the commentary, which I consulted after this session, said that’s exactly what it meant!]

No.

And while I am tempted to think it means our two natures, I think that would be stretching it.

Remember to consider the previous Saying, if only for general orientation.

If you don’t find a place for rest, you may become a corpse and may be eaten.

Well, a bed is a place for rest, and if a person dies there, he becomes a corpse. But that doesn’t mean that another, in the same bed, will suffer the same fate. It isn’t place that determines. There isn’t any way to tell from appearances or even from conduct necessarily what goes on within someone.

Then how does this relate to 61 b, which truly is a puzzle.

61 b. Salome asked him: Who are you, man? As though coming from someone, you have come onto my couch and eaten from my table. Jesus replied: I am he who comes into being from him who is the same. Some of the things of my Father have been given to me. Salome said: I am your disciple.

61 c. Therefore I say that if one is unified one will be filled with light, but if one is divided one will be filled with darkness.

Who is Salome, for one thing? What does it mean, “as though coming from someone”? Why does she say, “I am your disciple”? Saying 61 c I think I understand, but what does b mean?

Surely there can be no analogy more intimate than sharing one’s couch and meal.

No, I see that. Is the name Salome a symbol? The only Salome I know of is the one who asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter, and I shouldn’t think that could be the one meant. Was there a disciple named Salome? Few of the disciples are mentioned in this Gospel – was she one?

Take the name as symbol: What does she symbolize to you in the Biblical context?

I think of her as a sort of exotic dancer, perhaps an example of sensual excess under conscious control (that is, arousing desire by intent), bending someone (Herod, specifically) to do something against his will because he made a promise to her while under that influence. I don’t know if this is what is meant, but that is what the Bible story is.

Does “as though coming from someone” not imply “as though coming with delegated authority”?

Yes. And then the reply of Jesus would describe who that authority is.

Then read carefully: “I am he who comes into being from him who is the same.” Not came into being; comes into being.” Not an event but a process. Not autobiography but concept. Can you see it?

Not yet.

Jesus tells Salome that he arises from an unchanging being. Not “the same person” but “the person who remains the same.”

That makes sense. I hadn’t thought of it that way. So Jesus is representing himself as a – well, I can’t quite get it. A sort of symbol of the human condition? A 3D individual emanating from the non-3D?

That is true as well, but perhaps not the primary meaning here. “Some of the things of my Father have been given to me.” That is, “I share and am aware that I share certain more-than-human characteristics” – which is enough to make her say she is following him. Note that he does not say he alone has been given those things. He does not say no one else will be given those things. He says he has been given some of those things, and that’s enough to explain to her who he is – that is, why he is different from all others she knows – and to obtain her free allegiance.

All right, that ties it together. We may be unified in recognizing our 3D and non-3D nature as one thing, and we are filled with light. Or we may see only our 3D nature, having no idea that we are also non-3D, and we are filled with darkness.

Yes, that’s the sense of it. In such case, you experience yourself as physical and spiritual, as two different and often contending natures, rather than as one unified nature existing in one unified 3D/non-3D world..

I can see that I will have to do the work you have been asking me to do, and that I promised to do if I received the needed help from you, and that is: go back through 20 years of conversations and recast them into digestible bits, within a comprehensible whole.

If you can and will do it, you will focus the work and people can go to the source material – our dialogues – for further instruction, leading them through what otherwise may be a thicken of inferences.

I still don’t see how to go about it so as to hold it all in my head, but perhaps this isn’t the place for this discussion.

No harm in giving people their own ideas on how to pursue it. The way to reduce a mass of material to manageable size is to progressively turn each aspect into symbols, so as to free mental RAM and allow more things to coexist in active memory. But that is all we want to say about it here. Well, we could add: That’s what hieroglyphs are, be they Egyptian or Mayan.

Enough for now. Although it has been only 45 minutes, this was hard slogging, and you could not come fresh enough to consider another Saying.

Okay. Our thanks as always.

Afterword: I think it is worth noting how they work.

When I read “Salome,” I didn’t know if the Saying meant a disciple or – far less likely – meant the woman who had caused the death of The Baptist. [The commentary says she was a disciple mentioned in Mark.] Not knowing, I hoped they would tell me, and of course worried lest they would tell me something and it would prove wrong, or – worse! – they would say they didn’t know.

Asked a direct question, they let me think of the dancer as symbol – but didn’t let my misunderstanding get in the way of what they wanted to lead me to. I think it’s remarkable skillful. I notice their tap-dancing from time to time. I wonder if they get paid a bonus for this work.

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