I am quietly undertaking a project of educating myself more broadly concerning early Christianity because of an experience I had during the early stages of my awakening. Already this effort is forming into a book. I think I have something to show that is important about Christianity that appears to have been lost. It is to my mind the greatest story never told. 

This story has roots in my early childhood when I had what I thought was a rather odd feeling about the church. I grew up in the church, and I had a deep inward conviction that something had been hidden at some point by it. This of course was a very strange thing to feel growing up. As a child I had no reason why I felt this way. It was almost as though I had known something, had seen something,  and woke up one day with amnesia and could not remember why I thought what I did…except that I did

I kept this feeling secret for years because it seemed so utterly random and a bit strange. It would make much more sense once I began to experience awakening though.

Growing up, I searched along the margins of Christian thought wondering if I might find something that would support why I felt the way I did about something having been hidden. I reasoned that if the church had hidden something, clues might likely exist along these margins, those areas which everyone says are forbidden, but can’t give you a good reasoned answer for beyond that this is what everyone else thinks. So not being a person who thinks that everything we believe is the gospel, I trudged along in life, drawn along by this thinnest of threads that refused to break under the strain of credulity that I put to it. 
I read the Apocrypha and bought the “lost books” of the Bible. Nothing ever rang any bells for me, however. Not until 2006 when I published a piece of writing to an online community that detailed an aspect of my earliest brushes with awakening, did I begin to make a series of discoveries that upended my understandings about God and Christianity. 

Someone I knew from that online community suggested I read the Coptic Gospel of Thomas because what I had written sounded very similar to passages in Thomas.  In my early seeking I had never come across Thomas. How had I missed it? The answer may have been due in part because the first published translations of Thomas were not available until the early ’70s, and it was slow in spreading into the mainstream. It would take years for scholars to study them, to begin making sense of how it fit into the Christian narrative. Somehow, I had completely missed Thomas and the other books that comprised what is known today as the Nag Hammadi Library (NHL).

When I read Thomas, my jaw hit the floor. Passages in my writing were nearly identical to those in Thomas. When I laid the two beside each other I saw that the content was eerily similar. How could this be? I was describing the essence of ecstatic union with a force that lives in all things, that expresses itself creatively, that renews itself using the creativity of the physical-sexuality-to realize a higher dimensional understanding of the divine which is also ecstatic and which mirrors the sexual experience but in a spiritual way without the flesh. The two were transformed in such an experience (spiritual and physical unions) when the true essence of the spirit was known. Thomas spoke of a left hand becoming the right, the left eye becoming the right eye, joined, as well as the outer joined to the inner as a way to know the kingdom. “No way!” I thought. I had written essentially the same passage without ever having read or known of Thomas before. Could I had stumbled onto something incredibly important, but hidden, that was terribly inconvenient to church dogma but that laid down a secret door into the holiest of experiences?

No one knew this because the keys to it had been hidden and locked tight behind the watchful eye of the religion that shunned all talk of union with God as having anything that could be coincident, or similar to, sex. So naturally no one ever went there. Isn’t sex dirty and not of God, after all? No, sure, at least they would point out that God had, after all, created sex. But the real story lay in every heart: it would damn you to hell if you ever thought of God in this way. And of course, this would mean the boys would all have to be gay, which is unthinkable! No, this was all because someone had left out the stuff native to us AND to God.
As my awakening continued to unfold, I went back to the NHL and continued to find books that spoke directly to my experience in awakening. The Gospel of Phillip was discovered and I saw in his words the very thing that I knew all those years but could not put it to word. Its implications were explosive, and I knew that given where the world was as a whole, there was no way it would hear the truth. It had been busy hiding it for close to two thousand years.

Before I found the NHL I didn’t know what was happening to me. I didn’t know that it was called awakening, I only knew something big was happening, “a horse of another color” was how I thought of it at the time. I was a blank slate. I was free to observe the unfolding of this energy in me without any presuppositions to color my observations. 

Sitting in meditation, I felt a dual force that was in the energy rising up through my body. This dual force felt like a positive and negative energy, but alive and aware if itself. As this energy merged in my body, bliss grew to incredible heights. It felt like the union of a man and a woman, and that was just what I called them. As I progressed through the experience, I could feel the creation of a third and distinct energy that seemed to arise from the energetic union of these two seeming opposites in my awareness. This third energy was transcendent and it filled my body and mind in such a way that I felt myself being changed, transformed. I called this energy “the child” because it came about through a merging of the two in blissful union (spiritually). I began to know things that I had no way to know when I learned how to let this third energy propagate itself in my very being.  If I put my mind to any area of interest my mind felt as though it was accessing some database or library of knowledge that existed everywhere. The state of my consciousness, through this third energy, was making this possible. To top it off, I was aware that I was learning about how the universe was composed at the atomic level, a great secret I thought, I was privy to, until I found that what I had seen was described quite well in a branch of physics called quantum mechanics. While I learned about quantum mechanics in college, the sum of my familiarity with it was encapsulated in the phrase having to do with how the act of observation changed the outcome of an event. That was all I really knew about it, that is, until my inner fireworks began to take form in me. My experiences were much more vivid and detailed than anything in a book because I didnt think it, I became it. I felt the forces that were serving to form the universe that we know, and it was all really quite wonderful. What I had seen took in large swaths of realization, and it would take reading up on Plank, Bohr, and Heisenberg in order to realize that I was on to the same things that had occupied them for years. This is not to boast, but to show the potential that exists for humans to make extraordinary leaps in realization. I wasn’t a physicist. Imagine if a physicist could see as I saw, what could we discover? 
I was experiencing the “secret” knowledge that is a part of the awakening experience. The so-called Gnostics or early Christians were describing it, and as I continued to research, the Hindus had also described this as a facet of awakening.

When I read the Gospel of Phillip I realized that the triadic nature of my experience was being described in the pages of his gospel. The language was clear and unambiguous: two were joined in the Bridal Chamber, and out of it came the Christ. So simple, but elegant. They were describing my experience! Further, they were revealing the masculine and feminine aspects of the divine. The father and the mother were joined together (mirroring how the experience of ecstatic spiritual union which has its closest counterpart as  physical sexual union). But unlike plain physical sex, this union took your whole being in an embrace with a power or energy that was at once sentient but vast, a kind of ladder that allowed one to “ascend” into higher and higher levels if realization of what this union is for us. Clearly this “God” had no qualms, guilt, or shame in expressing itself in this way with us. You could say I swallowed hard at that point as I realized the truth. I knew that most believers in Christianity would not take any of this kindly. It asked us each to dive right into all that we are, including our sexual nature’s, in order to know this experience. Christianity, though, was built on shame with original sin and a pretense about our souls and bodies needing to be chaste for God. How had we gotten it wrong, I wondered? Had someone mentioned chastity at some point and it’s context had been mistaken somehow? God as I knew it was taking me whole and was connecting into me at my most basic and intimate of levels.

The questions that arise from the disconnect between what I was experiencing and what Christianity had been teaching for two thousand years. These questions formed the basis of a search that has led me to examine early Christianity to perhaps understand how the greatest story never got told. 

As it stands, the NHL is described as Gnostic, which is a way to differentiate it from the canonical Gospels in terms of content. It is also a way to dispense with the teachings as somehow heretical or unacceptable. Certainly anyone owning and teaching Thomas in 500 AD would have been branded a heretic by the church. But what do scholars know about these books? What do we know about the history of the early church and how the Gospels were written? 

My search is revealing that there is a lot to support the idea that the sayings of Jesus were used by many different groups, all with very different agendas and grasps of the teachings. For some, the most central teachings for realizing union with the divine was left out, altered, either intentionally or simply due to ignorance. Over time many people contributed to the loss of the central message and this is where my book will show people how it most likely happened. I will be using the work of other imminent scholars as well as my own discovery to write a book that turns the responsibility for cleaving to authority to the individual. If anyone is going to know this great secret, the reader will have to put down the books with all of the authorities and begin by inquiring within. Just like the kingdom is in you, so too is the ultimate authority residing in you. Certainly this was not something the church was keen on having its followers realize.

But it’s time. And this is why I am writing this book. It is also why I am writing so much about it on the blog because earliest Christianity was about awakening to the divine that is in us. It has much to teach us if we will but listen.

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