Thomas, Sayings 78 through 80

Sunday, July 7, 2019

3:25 a.m. Thomas, Saying 78.

  1. Jesus said: Why did you go into the desert? Did you expect to see reeds shaken by the wind? To see people clothed in elegant garments like your kings and courtiers? They wear elegant garments and cannot know the truth.

“They wear elegant garments and cannot know the truth.”

And the previous saying said Jesus was in every part of the world, regardless of distance or scale.

Yes. So the obvious meaning – that social status is no indicator of wisdom – is superficial. True, but superficial. As you have reminded us, the Sayings are not about social reform but are about offering a way forward for the person wanting to work on himself. So it applies to us individually – I mean, within ourselves. How? And what significance does it have, “a reed shaken by the wind”?

Well, sink into the images, here. That’s how you go deeper than logical association.

“Why did you go into the desert.” I suppose I have sometimes assumed that Jesus was saying this either in the desert at that moment, or was talking to people about their having gone into the desert to see John the Baptist. But if that too is symbolic –.

Yes. Examine it that way, all of it.

Well, what is a desert but a stripped-clean place? Barren, or anyway stark. Minimal vegetation, little water. Terrain at its minimum, you might say. or, not minimum, but – skeletal, you might say.  I don’t know about reeds, but wind is usually symbolic of spirit.

Or perhaps the vast impersonal forces flowing through 3D lives?


So the rhetorical question of Jesus: “What did you go into the desert expecting to see?”

Hmm. I didn’t look at it that way. You could read it as his saying, “Why did you go into the desert looking for a holy man? Do appearances indicate anything of someone’s inner state? Do people who are well clothed – meaning, in this context, people of fine appearance, people who look like what you expect holy people to look like – necessarily know anything? Is there any reason to expect that you will be able to recognize what you are looking for, even if you find it?”

As I say, I hadn’t ever looked at it that way.

And this is well, as far as it goes. Now apply it to yourself internally, not merely in relation to others.

You mean, I take it, we should recognize that we are not necessarily able to divine our own characteristics.

Not “characteristics,” exactly. More like potentials, obstacles, opportunities. Can you tell who and what you are, if you judge only by appearance?

This one certainly would have to be interpreted in discussion among the community. I couldn’t have gotten to this by myself.

Can you hear us laughing, in effect?

Now that perceived irony is all about appearances. I appear to be alone as I write this, but in fact are we not having a discussion?

We are laughing at how you define yourself as being alone even while you communicate, then define yourself as being in connection – without transition – and don’t quite notice the change.

I suppose. Glad you’re enjoying yourselves.

And the underlying point – lest anyone miss it – is of course that you are none of you alone except in your self-defined isolation, and therefore your isolation may be realized to be merely perceived, not inherent. Viktor Frankl in his cell, Alexander Solzhenitsyn in Siberia, were not alone in their loneliest moments. Arthur Koestler, in his cell awaiting execution, ceased to be alone when his mind flew off in mathematical speculation, returning to his own personal plight only to shrug and say, “Oh, that,” as it recognized the unimportance of the personal.

So, to proceed. Saying 79 a and b.

79 a. A woman in the crowd said to him: Blessed are the womb that bore you and the breasts that nourished you. He replied: Blessed are those who have listened to the word of the Father and really done it.

79 b. For the days are coming when you will say “Blessed are the womb that has never conceived and the breasts that have never given milk.

And what do you make of this paired saying, in light of 78 that preceded it?

Well – without putting it into the context of 78, I should have said it was Jesus saying, “It isn’t what people have done externally that counts, but what they do internally.” Or, that’s not quite the way to put it.

Say, rather, that it isn’t what you concentrate on in 3D but on how you are in 3D. But is that really what this says?

Not in context – not exactly. It’s more like Jesus saying, external circumstances may change your idea about the world you live in, so that now you feel blessed and now you feel cursed, but that following the will of your non-3D component, as best you can discern it, is the better course. Or is that too strained?

Not strained at all. What is Jesus always aiming at, but to give people the word that will help them live more surely, more abundantly?

Well, it does seem to me that this makes sense of the Sayings. But I am wary of forcing a meaning, forcing them to “make sense” when I am really only forcing an interpretation that will cohere with where I am already.

That is always a potential pitfall. Well to be wary of it. We have time to look at Saying 80, and well to look at it in context of 78 and 79.

  1. Jesus said: Whoever has come to know the world has found the body. Whoever has found that body, the world is not worthy of him.

“The body.” So what body is it that we find when we know the world?

Taking “the world” to be –?

I would assume the 3D world.

Assume again.

The entirety of creation, manifest and otherwise? The 3D as it shades into the non-3D?

Is that all?

All right, all of that, specifically and consciously including our part in it.

You are of the world and in the world. The world is part of you and you are part of it. This is not a matter of relative size, nor of appearances. You cannot know the world if you do not take into account your place in it. You cannot know yourself in the absence of the world in context.

And if we come to know the world?

Then you are complete, and, as is said, the world is not worthy of you.

But what sense does that make? How can the entirety of things be unworthy of anyone?

Only if that one has transcended the level at which he understood the world. Or, not “understood,” but “came to know,” which is not the same thing.

Again, “the body,” though. What does it mean to find “the body”?

Now that is a question that will repay thought and, mostly, indwelling. Enough for the moment.

Really? You’re going to leave us there?

Yes. Ponder the question, it will be good for you.

Okay. Thanks as always.


3 thoughts on “Thomas, Sayings 78 through 80

  1. While making heads and tails of these particular sayings was challenging—even after reading the entire post—I still found value, so thank you for posting.

    I appreciated this reminder:
    “But I am wary of forcing a meaning, forcing them to “make sense” when I am really only forcing an interpretation that will cohere with where I am already.”

    “Can you tell who and what you are, if you judge only by appearance?”
    My answer: No.

    I appreciated TGU making a distinction between “understood” and “come to know:” “Only if that one has transcended the level at which he understood the world. Or, not ‘understood,’ but ‘came to know,’ which is not the same thing.”

    Here’s what I’ve come to know:

    The “self” I thought myself to be, i.e., “Irene,” is entirely conceptual, yet I continue to exist as “I,” although “I” is not a thing that can be known. What is cognizing cannot cognize itself. The disappearance of an illusory notion leaves things as they are, i.e., seeing, hearing, touching, feeling, tasting, smelling, and thinking continue to occur, they’re just not occurring to a separate “someone.” In the absence of an illusory self, there is also the absence of conceptual mind. What remains is what has always been: the “is-ness” of Life, which is what we are.

    Thank you for posting.

  2. “You are of the world and in the world. The world is part of you and you are part of it. You cannot know the world if you do not take into account your place in it. You cannot know yourself in the absence of the world in context.”

    According to my current creation myth, in the beginning, the One sharded itself into the Many so that it might know itself by its many parts. My greater self, a shard of the One, also comes to know itself by its many adventures in 3D.

    I see myself and the results of my choices reflected back to me by the world around me. I come to know myself from that world context. And I can choose again if I don’t care for what I see.

  3. Saying 80 is like Saying 56 – “Whoever has known the world has found a corpse; whoever has found that corpse, the world is not worthy of him.”

    To paraphrase and quote that discussion, Jesus was teaching people how to live life abundantly. That means living in a state of awakeness, rather than going through the motions. And that means, seeing clearly rather than through a veil of expectations, screens, filters, automatic reactions. If we awaken, we see that the world is not what we thought it to be, but is in effect a shell, a husk, and we will see that what is called external life is nothing in itself in absolute.

    “Jesus came to transform the world. But he did not come to transform the world for the external world’s sake. He was here that you might have life more abundantly, because that is all that is real. Such life will produce external effects, by the nature of things, but the external effects are not the point but are the side-effects. Thus, Jesus taught – and his disciples understood, and taught others in their turn – that the world, the 3D world, as it was popularly perceived and understood, was only an illusion . . .none of it meant what it seemed to mean while it was experienced through blunted awareness.”

    Hope this helps with the current discussion.

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