TGU and Thomas, Sayings 76, 77, and 78

Saying 76

76 a. Jesus said: The Kingdom of the Father is like a merchant with goods to sell who found a pearl. The merchant was thoughtful. He sold the merchandise and bought himself the pearl.

76 b. You too should seek for long-lasting treasures that do not decay, where moths do not come to eat them or grubs to destroy them.

But then 76 b is a little ambiguous.

It may seem to apply to either the rigorous effort to attain what very few will be able to attain, or to the state of being that is attainable to those who set their intent on non-perishable goods – that is, internal achievement – rather than external goods.

And ambiguity is a common feature of esoteric teachings: It allows you, it forces you, to do some work to puzzle out meanings.

Work such as we’re doing here.

Yes. Work without definite closure.

Speaking of which, the following two sayings, 77 a and b, are far from self-evident.

 

Saying 77

77 a. Jesus said: I am the light above everything. I am everything. Everything came forth from me, and everything reached me.

77 b. Split wood, I am there. Lift up a rock, you will find me there.

Well, what do you make of them?

Jesus seems to be identifying with all that is. If it weren’t Jesus, we’d be tempted to say he is suffering from psychic inflation.

But assuming that he is not?

You tell us. All I get is that he is saying that he is coterminous – or should we say co-non-terminous – with all creation and, in fact, with the underpinnings of creation. If this were one of the gospels that was subject to political manipulation over the centuries, rather than one that was preserved by its being hidden until our times, I would have suspected interpolation to put words into his mouth to support the church’s claim that he was the unique son of God. Since it cannot be interpolation, what are we to make of it?

Say the words mean what they appear to mean. What then?

Well then, Jesus is saying his consciousness is no longer merely human, no longer 3D-bound.

Is that all it says? “Everything reached me”?

It’s a puzzle. Hoping for your assistance here.

Who is the “I” Jesus refers to? The 3D man? The greater 3D/non-3D consciousness behind the merely 3D consciousness? Something greater than that?

I don’t see how it can be the 3D human. I don’t see how it can be even the 3D human in full stretch. It seems to be the creator of everything, and you can see why people would say Jesus was claiming to be the creator. But we have been proceeding from the assumption that this is an inadequate explanation.

Every so often, you see, the exploration of scripture with serious intent presents you with a forced choice: Continue from your previous assumptions, or lay them down as inadequate to your new understanding.

And is that where we are here?

You tell us. Does your understanding of Jesus as a man of superlative understanding and self-awareness, with a mission to awaken whoever can be awakened – does it stand up to his saying, assuming the saying is authentic?

I’m not sure that it does. But I’m not ready to abandon it either.

A state of suspense will do. What is an obstacle for you is likely to be an obstacle for others no less.

I think I understand 77 b, if it means that – well, no, perhaps I don’t.

And perhaps this is a good place to pause, and perhaps we can resume with 77 rather than proceeding to 78. Bear in mind, the meanings grow less obvious to the unprepared, and you have had only us, and your own prior reading and thought, where the early community had oral teachings and discussions to help them over the difficult bits.

So, don’t be discouraged.

It is better to know you don’t know than to think you do when you do not, or to know what is not so.

 

Saying 78

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 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?

Maybe.

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.

 

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