Archives for posts with tag: gospel of Thomas

One outcome of my awakening experience was my personal discovery of books from early Christianity that had been largely unknown until a large cache were discovered in the desert of Egypt in 1945. One book purported to be the secret teachings of Jesus to his innermost circle. What I realized, or thought I did, was that these books were describing awakening with a pretty high degree of specificity. It wasn’t only that, but how they appeared to veil the teachings in many cases by using descriptions that made it difficult for anyone not having the experience to even know what the writers were refering to. It was to my mind like a way of coding the teachings just enough that it made it hard to understand. This may have been intentional, but it could also have been the result of not having a specific enough vocabulary with which to do the describing.

This might sound strange, but let me give you an example for what I mean. Not long into awakening, me and a person who awoke along with me (a country apart, didn’t know each other, this all happened from a distance) we both referred to what was happening to us as “it.” That was how sophisticated our vocabulary was. We had no reference point, no context, nor a teaching to guide us. Overnight, innexplicably, we had a tellepathic connection (which was proven numerous times each week). “It” fit though, because how on earth would you describe “this” (we used that term also)? It also kept what was happening to us from prying eyes and ears since who would understand or believe it? There was no real context in which to put it in. When that’s the case, you create a language or vocabulary for it much like people who are dealing with it do today (witness the use of words like “downloads” and “portals” to refer to aspects of the experience). You create your own vocabulary to help describe what is happening to you.

How could it be, I wondered, that these books were described as heresy by certain people within the church when they so clearly revealed a sophisticated understanding of a very rare state of being?

When I first found these books and realized they were pretty clearly describing my state, I considered that it was a conspiracy that they were not just shoved aside, but that in many cases, the books that were part of an unnacceptable take on Christian thought were destroyed. Now however, I am realizing it was little more than a conspiracy of ignorance…and an easy trap to fall for by anyone who was not in the know, who hadn’t had the experience, or wasn’t initiated into the system.

Was it as many scholars have asserted, that these books were jibberish, mere speculation, and could not be tied to Jesus at all? Was it true that as some Orthodox apologists have said, that these people, called “Gnostics” were late-comers? Were they forging documents, slapping Jesus’s name on them in order to give their own “wild speculations and fantasies” more caché?

I have learned that the opposition will say just about anything in order to put a good man or woman down. Maybe this speculation was right, and my initial gut sense was all wrong. There were times when this certainly appeared to be the case.

This question put me on a 15 year journey where I made myself familiar with early Christianity. I didn’t spend years in seminary getting my doctorate in divinity, nor did I learn Greek or Hebrew. I knew next to nothing about the field and I just couldn’t square my sense that these early Christians were on to something of immense importance versus what those in what would become known as the Orthodox church had to say about these teachings. Something didn’t add up.

I have realized that while I lack the background in the history of early Christianity that many scholars in the field have, I have something most (perhaps nearly all) do not: I have the experience of awakening with all of its dizzying effects, signs, and symptoms. I have read at length even scholars who specialize in the Gnostic texts speculating about the meanings of the gospel of Thomas or Philip. My sense from the beginning was that these Gnostics were the real deal, and that these works constitutes a “lost Christianity” as Bart Ehrman has described it. Having said this, I will also say that they go far afield from the words of Jesus as we have come to know them. The difference between an esoteric system and an exoteric one (the Gnostics as we refer to them ate esoteric) is that esoteric systems have much greater production of documents because the followers keep having experiences and writing about them. In the case of these early Christians, they believed that the Christ was revealed to be within a person (some Gnostics considered Paul to be a bit of a hero because he writes in his letters that God revealed to him the Christ which was within him when he was struck by a blinding light on his way to Damascus). For the Gnostics, then, the crucifixion lost much of its importance because they found salvation from the awakening to the indwelling Christ.

I ask you: what teaching by Jesus ever made anything appear to be outside of ones self? The kingdom was all within one, and seeking was done inwardly. Those who “seek him” were seeking a quality that was already there. It is worth noting that this is precisely what most Eastern traditions that describe awakening say. It is also a completely different story that Orthodox Christians have put forward since about 100-130 A.D.

I will say, however, that there were times in my work on this subject where it looked like the Gnostics were a later “invention” or movement and could not be definitively pinned to Jesus. I was, for a time, considering that for as insightful as they were, there just wasn’t a connection to Jesus’s life. I got used to the idea that these were amazing people who spun their own insights into what the Christ was all about. Maybe they were a seperate development that still managed to “get there” even though they came later.

That was before I found out about the work of Walter Bauer who did a study or survey of documents from earliest Christianity, who, in the 1930’s (and before the discovery in 1945 of this cache of early books in Egypt) determined that heresy came first and Orthodoxy came later. Orthodoxy, based on Bauer’s work, placed Orthodoxy a hundred years after the heretics (give or take a decade or two). Source: Orthodoxy & Heresy In Earliest Christianity

Heresy has always been described by the church as that branch off of the “main vine” that represents a divergence from the central truths of the dogma (see church father Origen since he originated this concept). This begged the question: how could this be so in light of what Bauer found? This may have been the result of the church, a group within it, seeking to hide the truth about how things were in the early days of the movement. It could have been as simple as ignorance by another group who didn’t have the deeper teachings (and thus could easily not understand them even when they saw them).

Then there is the troubling reality that Bart Ehrman points out in his book Jesus Interupted which is that most of the discoveries we have made in the last 100 years of Christian documents are nearly all Gnostic (which is used to describe this group of Christians today—gnosticism meaning ‘one who knows’ or who has inner knowledge not attained through books or instruction alone). Ehrman asks pointedly, did the Orthodoxy not have anything to say that there have been so few new discoveries of Orthodox books or letters during the same time period? It is plausible, then, that Gnosticism was far more robust, engaged, and involved in the matters of Christian thought than the early heresy hunters would have us believe. The historical record is certainly showing us this in spades in this regard. In Bauer’s work he points out letters that show that the church gave up trying to convert Asia Minor because the heretics were so numerous and resistant to their message. It would be easy to just say they were deluded and utterly lost, but it hides the fact that this was a situation that had always been described as no big deal by those in the Orthodox wing of the church, something more like a few flies that needed to be swatted away as the Orthodoxy has tried to represent it as. No, “heresy” was much more developed than Orthodoxy was, and at a very early period. It begs the question as to which tradition was the original or earliest one.

When I think about what happens to our leaders today it is easy to see how each side in a political campaign seeks to demonize and dethrone the leader who is in the opposition. Those with the loudest voices wind up being heard and believed. We are well aware of the sentiment that the winners of a war get to tell the history as they want it told.

Orthodoxy won the war of ideas not because their thinking was superior but because they were more worldly and systematic in their willingness to take down what they considered an opponent. You can easily see just how harsh the rhetoric was by reading the writings of these noted antiheretics like Tertulian, St. Justin, and others like them. In fact, we know a lot about early Christian “heretics” because the diatribes about them were so long-winded (and detailed) by those who were opposing them. Christians don’t like the idea that there may have been a larger story here because they have lived with a version of a story they have come to know and love. But to say that a belief system is right simply because we have lived with it for 1600 years or more is not evidence that it is necessarily right or the final word. It only means that one group stamped out another group such that their knowledge base was silenced.

Yes it seems strange and foreign, and yet this is just what archeology has revealed and the voice that was silenced was showing us the very keys to the kingdom. These keys as I call them are a suit of methods that appear in the so-called Gnostic writings mostly found in the Nag Hammadi Libray but that are also found in documents discovered earlier like the Pistis Sophia. These documents describe the same phenomenon as those in Eastern schools of though which describe the process of enlightenment.

I am not suggesting that these people went to India, but managed it on their own and that the “ressurrection” of the soul was achieved by attaining a quality that one culture called Christ while another called it Buddha. As such, this knowledge wasn’t predicated on belief alone, but pointed to a universal quality that every person has regardless of race or creed.

Rumi, the great poet and mystic once wrote about how we all squabble over the names of things and that we try to differentiate the light falling in one place as fundamentally different from the light falling in another when it is all the same source, the same thing. I think Orthodoxy tried to do this in an effort to carve out its own seemingly unique niche when in fact it had discarded important elements along the way that would have enriched it tremendously.

The Mar Saba Discovery

Then along comes Morton Smith in the 20th century. Morton Smith claimed to have made a discovery of a book in Mar Saba near Israel in the early 1960’s that contained writing by Clement, a figure from early Christianity. Clement quotes lines from a book that he calls “Secret Mark” which was, as he described it, part of a private teaching Jesus gave to his closest followers. Clement emphasizes that these teachings were never spoken before the uninitiated, a situation Jesus cautions about even in the synoptic gospels when he refers to swine and pearls, those who were “without.” In this case, Jesus was pointedly obfuscating his teaching so the Gentiles could not understand lest they be saved. The book was intended for the “perfecting” of those who were followers of this Jesus.

Morton Smith took photographs of the document and when he returned later to examine the book again, it had vanished. It has not been seen since. Here’s the thing: forensic examination of the photographs themselves have established that the book is an authentic document of the era. Christian apologists go so far as to criticize the writing as being “too Clementine” which to me may well be enough to prove the point. The writing style is consistent with what historians know about Clement, who has many writings attributed to him. Those within scholarly circles who are Christian apologists set upon Smith in attack after attack, however.

The letter was about one thousand words and had been copied onto the endpages of a seventeenth century book which no one had ever mentioned before. The find shook the scholarly world, although it’s existance made hardly a ripple in popular Christian circles because the letter denounced the group involved as heretical. That seems to be enough for any reasonable believer of the faith, but it raised important questions for many who find the discoveries of this kind to be suggestive of what Bauer had found to be the case and which continuing discoveries like the Nag Hammadi Library texts had done two decades prior, which was whether we have been told the whole story. Here is an excerpt from an article in The Nation about the discovery:

These heretics, as Clement and Theodore saw them, claimed that they possessed a secret version of the Gospel of Mark. Jesus, they believed, had taught his followers that they were freed from the law and could do whatever they wanted without sinning. According to one of their Christian critics, Irenaeus, they actually thought they earned salvation by “doing all those things which we dare not either speak or hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts.”

The Nation, Gospel Secrets: The Biblical Controversies of Morton Smith, January 8, 2009, Anthony Grafton.

It is worth noting that as a result of scholarly research we now know that it was Mark’s gospel that was the earliest of all the gospels. While Clement denounced the teachings in Secret Mark, he did not say that this Mark didn’t exist. Here we have a proof that books like Secret Mark were later destroyed by the Orthodox church, with copies that have yet to surface. Consider what would happen if the prevailing attitudes and beliefs of today were against you, what would you do? Would you perhaps hide away the books that you do have in order to preserve them? If your books were unapproved of, they would be destroyed with fire.

While some scholars like Ehrman have suggested that the Nag Hammadi find may well have been an effort on the part of local Christians to free up space in their libraries by burying the collection several kilometers away, I am reminded of an email from Elaine Pagels recently that the burial of the NHL documents is well within the same time frame as the letter by Bishop Athanasius, written in 365 A.D. which spelled out what books were to be acceptable for use in the church. Every book Athanasius mentioned in his list is contained in the New Testament today. It was Athanasius’s letter that would set the die for all that would follow. Anything else would come under scrutiny and risk being remanded to the flames. Remember, before the printing press, books were copied by hand in what could take many months to complete. Burning one book or two could end an important thread within the early movement. Back then, in the first century, stories abounded about the life of Jesus, an oral tradition, that was only later written down after Jesus’s death.

This article is helpful to gain the full scope of the issue about how the New Testament was formed.

My thesis has been and continues to be that Jesus was a man who attained awakening. The books attributed to his private teaching happen to also describe what is known in India as kundalini. While there isn’t compelling evidence that Jesus had gone to India, there is no good reason to suggest that in order to awaken he would need to study under an enlightened guru either. It’s possible he got instruction locally from John the Baptist, or the Essenes. We just don’t know because for as a man as famous as Jesus is, there is a huge gaping hole that is unaccounted for in his life in terms of time. I never studied under a guru and managed to trigger the first initiatory steps into awakening on my own. Likewise, it is quite possible that Jesus did the same. All he would need would be a quality of intense curiosity and a drive to seek. I suspect that this is just what Jesus meant when he said seek and ye shall find. He sought, and he found. But what did he find? He described it as a world that was within each person. At no point does Jesus ever say that his kingdom was outside of himself. All of this was an inside job. So meditation would have been part of it, something Jews of the time were well familiar with. The right kind of meditation would do it, nothing fancy, but something that would serve to achieve a first release of inner emotional material followed by inner inquiry.

It turns out that I did precisely what the heretical Jesus prescribed, which was to remove what keeps one divided within the self. This is actually a prescription Jesus mentions in the gospel of Thomas and mentions in the gospel of Phillip. The way I achieved this was through a conversation with a holy man when I felt a long-standing frustration guilt, and frustration with the universe, afterwhich everything began to change. I unburdened myself of a giant knot that had me tied up for decades, it was almost like an insurmountable impasse for me at the time.

I suspect that the story of Jesus’s baptism was like this or served a similar purpose for him because in the Gnostic texts he is teaching about how to attain the kingdom by resolving what divides you within, and a teacher always relays to his or her students how they achieved it themselves. The elephant in the room is if Jesus was God why was he going to John to have his sin removed? Why did Jesus need baptism? He obviously felt like he needed it, and instead of seeking the God, according to Orthodox scripture, which had always been within him. It’s a huge leap around the question that Christians never seem to ask. I think that it is a perfectly reasonable question to ask and actually makes loads of sense once the private teachings are known and taken into consideration.

With John, who claimed he could relieve the burden of sin through ritual washing, or baptism, Jesus was relieved enough of his own burden for the first flashes of “the light” to begin showing through. Jesus also spent forty days fasting and praying in the wilderness near where John was located. I will point out that this is the same approximate time that the Taoists prescribe for awakening the secret of the golden flower, their take on the awakening process. Similarly, in Hindu practice the number of 40 to 45 days comes up a lot for a time frame. It takes some effort to break through the veil of the earthly self to attain to the “heavenly” one (regardless of what tradition you ascribe to). Orthodoxy glosses over this precisely because it knows nothing about these practices. Then, when presented with the very means to do so, they cried foul heresy. The kingdom thus was found and then lost within a few short generations. The apostolic era came to an end not because of some God-ordained event with dubious reasoning but precisely because people no longer had access to the teachings that would have kept the era chugging along nicely. All of the signs of the holy ghost, and of awakening, were gone because the knowledge had exited the building.

If Jesus had awakened, the libertine attitude shown in the works of some of the Christian mystics like the Carpocrations that Clementine was speaking out against in his letter mentioned earlier has a very good chance of being true. Awakening pushes you beyond the normally accepted mores of the time by virtue of the fact that the energy of awakening vivifies and stimulates the body in new and novel ways. The Hindu describe it as a libidinous force, a creative current that leads one to new levels of bliss that are experienced and described as orgasmic. It’s not that it is literally so, but that this is the only way to aptly describe it so it can be halfway understood. Awakening absolutely impacts the master glands of the body resulting in high outputs of all sorts of hormones. Kundalini a sexual energy? I have always felt that the energy of awakening stimulates all sorts of things, including libido. Kundalini does much more than just stimulating libido.

Many people who are awakened know about the futility of skirting issues. No, the energy seems to push us to leap headlong into the cleansing fire that is the holy ghost, the feminine aspect, what in India would be called Shakti or the Ida current. All of this is consistent with awakening, and there is no reason to think it wasn’t the case with Jesus.

The problem with the Orthodoxy was that none of the secret teachings made any sense to them. How was it possible that by finding the savior within, the Christ, one washed away ones shame of human sexuality? Or guilt, or any other issue that represents stored emotional material that awakening can help the person to clear? Awakening can do this, though. It cleanses and returns you to a renewed mind and state of being. It is a salvific force.

It is now more likely that Jesus did have a private teaching and that the synoptic gospels represent only a thin slice of a larger picture. While Clement railed against this “Secret Mark” as heretical, I ask the question: says who? On whose authority? Why should I pay any attention to someone who was never included in the private teachings of a realized master? Even when Jesus says “No one comes to the father except by me” Christians don’t consider how that statement could mean something significantly different than what they assume it does. In Jesus’s day he was the only person around who had attained to the level that he had, so yes, Jesus was the only game in town. Like any great teacher, if you wanted to get there quickly, you studied under him like any teacher anywhere who had a grip on the esoteric or hidden things.

Many Christians today are accustomed to thinking in certain ways about their faith which is based on a narrative that the Orthodox church put forward over centuries. It has been a way of thinking that I have come to call “orthocentric” thinking. It has resulted in conclusions that range from defining the divinity of Jesus, his nature, and the composition of the trinity.

Today, most Christians take these beliefs for granted as if they were always known. In the early days of the Christian movement, there was a broad range of ideas and interpretations about what a number of central themes meant. What hasn’t been clear to today’s Christians were the broad range of beliefs or ideas that existed back then. This often comes as a surprise to many of the Christian faithful. Wasn’t it all perfectly clear from the beginning what the life of Christ was all about?

What the Christian Orthodox movement did was to make it seem as though there was only ever one right way to understand or interpret the life of Jesus. In large part due to discoveries of documents that were suppressed by the orthocentric view, most people didn’t know that there were as many differing ideas about Jesus Christ as there were. What happened was with 1600 years of Orthodoxy able to define and frame the belief system so completely, that would seem like a very strong indication that Orthodoxy was right….right? The story isn’t that simple.

Orthoxy fought and won a war of ideas and the winner was the one who then got to write the history. The history that was written was what agreed with their view. Why this matters is that for Christians who might want to know the deeper story, a lot of it isn’t available anymore. That isn’t just Dan Brown sensationalism about a hidden truth at the core of the church, it is part of what happened if you are willing to discover what we know now about the lost Christianities that existed early on. There was more there, and it showed a broad and deep understanding about the mechanisms within consciousness that made union with the divine possible.

Most believers know little to nothing about these movements because even understanding it required a new or more advanced level of awareness, and here we are with a 1600 year entrenched belief that has been handed down through the generations. The refrain has often been “If there was more to all of this we would know about it.” The problem here is that no, the point apears to have kept these ideas from mainstream Christianity, and of course the church did this very well. Pastors don’t tell their parishioners about it either, even though most are schooled in the ideas that constituted “wings” within the church.

It was easy to push this more advanced understanding off the stage because those in the know about these different ideas were a minority once the tide of Orthodoxy came along. It surprises many people to discover that Orthodoxy was a late-comer to the belief in the beginning. This would be in the time period of the first two centuries after the death of Christ.

Enlightenment has always been a rare bud that blooms ocassionally and few see it for what it is. Why do you think so many visionaries have met their end with such violence? The conspiracy to keep people in the dark about a deeper more esoteric tradition, was one of ignorance. Orthodoxy does not know what it does not know and is not aware of the riches that it took from humanity. It may also be true that the people forming Orthodoxy knew and just didn’t care.

The other strands within Christianity at the time were quickly driven from the stage by the tide of Orthodox thinking, and these movements or groups in the faith that differed from the Orthodox one were both reviled and criticized by early church fathers within the that wing of the church. The orthocentric view won out so that there existed for centuries no other accepted way of understanding what the Christ drama was about. If you wanted to know about Jesus and Christ, your go-to books were the ones that were sanctioned by the Orthodox wing of the church.

The orthocentric view has created the impression that there was only ever one acceptable way of approaching Christianity, and that group went to great lengths to make sure that their view was the one that would be accepted. Part of this orthocentric view includes the idea that heresy was a kind of later outgrowth, a distortion of the original “truth” of Christianity. Origen, an early church father and Christian historian, characterized heresy as that action which took place after the “truth” was known, a “veering” away as he put it, from what we all know is the one accepted group of central truths that animate Christianity and give it it’s life. While Origen in his day struck out against what he believed was heresy, he was later was deemed a heretic himself, an act that was performed after he had died. Still, the idea stuck and his characterization would be taken up by new generations of heresy hunters.

This, though, isn’t true. In 1935 Walter Bauer wrote a book entitled Orthodoxy & Heresy In Earliest Christianity. In it, he poured over numerous letters and other writings from earliest Christianity and found that instead of heresy being a late-comer to the faith, it was instead present even before Orthodox thinking got a foothold in the early Christ movement. The upshot of his work was that Orthodoxy was the late-comer, not heresy. The suggestion here was that maybe heresy wasn’t quite what we thought it was or that we were told it was. But how could that be?

Over and over, as Bauer conducted his detailed survey, he found the language of heresy was preexistant over Orthodox language and thinking. He found many examples that heresy, as the later church would describe it, was more robust and established from the very beginning, which is contrary to the writings of Orthodox writers and historians from the first three to four centuries. Now a believer in the Orthodox view might well ask, “Doesn’t this just prove only that there were heretics from the very beginning?” Not if what these “heretics” knew and believed in was something more substantive than the Orthodox strand understood. Orthodoxy, based on what Bauer dug up, was the late-comer.

It should be noted that “heresy” was itself not a unified or monolithic body of thought but was composed of many different groups with different thoughts on a range of ideas such as the divinity of Jesus, and whether Jesus was a man who became God, or that was a man who was later adopted by God when he was baptised by John, for example. There were the earliest converts to Christianity, for example, who were Jews that Jesus had inspired called the Ebionites. These earliest of followers were branded as heretics by the church. We are told that if we want to get to heaven you better believe in the right things instead of what the heretics believed, or else hell waits for you. It was a compelling strategy because with the fires of hell hanging over your head, people wouldn’t want to chance it. There were groups who claimed knowledge about the makeup of the trinity that differs from the one that Christians know today, which involved a feminine aspect involved in Christhood. This was a more egalitarian movement that saw how important women were in the cosmology of the Christian faith. In the earliest churches women were in top leadership roles as bishops, for example. There are letters of Orthodox leaders complaining about women’s prominent roles in the early church, and wall paintings in Italy clearly show a woman installed as a bishop to her congregation.

Bauer’s work sent shock-waves through the Christian community when it was first published. His work was criticized as going too far and making too many assumptions about what the many documents that he examined meant. However, in 1945, a giant discovery was made in Egypt with the unearthing of a treasure trove of early Christian writings, some of which historians had written about in early Christianity and others no one even knew had existed. While some scholars suggested that these books were not part of a significant tradition, a possible “one-off ” a later discovery of a second fragment of one of the books found in 1945 (Thomas) helped to support the contention that the books had been circulated and used by early Christians and lent support to the idea that the books were more widely circulated than thought.

This find came to be known as the Nag Hammadi Library (NHL), and while they were found in Egypt, the chief reason for their discovery was due to how dry the environment has been there for many thousands of years, which helps to preserve documents just like it does with mummies.

Bauer received considerable vindication once the NHL was unearthed because it showed that there were different understandings in circulation about central tenets in Christianity. In the Gospel of Philip, which was included in the find, it clearly points out that many early Christians considered the Holy Ghost to be female. How this could change dogma was significant. In the concept of the “Bridal Chamber” mentioned both in the Gospel of Philip as well as the synoptic gospels, the bridal chamber becomes a sacred act of union that generates the Christ. Philip also points out thatt Jesus wasn’t just the Christ, but thst he was showing people the way to be Christs themselves. The implications for this idea alone are huge.

This line of thinking also links Christian thought to concepts tied to enlightenment that had existed for centuries in the East…not because Christianity borrowed from them, but because the spiritual acumen of the group that produced the books which described or put forward these concepts was so formidable. What’s more, many of the books in the collection claimed ties to Jesus and his teaching in private.

The books which were part of the find were bound in fine kid leather with tooling on them with both Christian and Egyptian symbols. These books showed every sign of having been important to the monks who hid them. While Bart Ehrman suggests that the books were likely buried where they were to free up space in one of several nearby monestaries, there is perhaps a more accurate theory which suggests that by the time of their burial (around 400 A.D.), the writing was on the wall where books like these were concerned: anyone found holding books that were not accepted by the church were to be consigned “to the flames.” It is much more likely, then, that the NHL exists today because a monk could not bear seeing them destroyed and hid them away for later discovery.

One compelling piece of possible proof that may have prompted monks to hide the documents where they were found in 1945 is found in a letter written by Anathanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, who was the first to spell out what books were acceptible and which ones were not: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the letters of Paul. Those books would later form the early corpus of Orthodox belief, with others added later. Anyone found to have books other than these would come up on the wrong end of church doctrine and its burgeoning authority as the “right” way to believe.

In the centuries that followed, Christians were anathematized or excommunicated from the church for heresy. In still later years, some heretics would even be executed in horrific ways. See: 39th festal letter of Athanasius written in 367 A.D. and found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org)

Instead of being a movement on the very fringes of Christianity, the books in the NHL show how developed and incredibly sophisticated the esoteric wing’s teachings were. The problem is how their meaning escapes most Orthodox Christians and its descendant Protestantism. I will quote one comment made by a reader online who was referring to the gospel of Thomas recently as “gobbledygook.” It is hard to crack the code of these books and theur meaning when you yourself have not entered into the “light” of the knowledge that a state like enlightenment confers.

Today, though, Christians aren’t used to referring to the Gospel of Thomas to glean from it teachings which, the author who wrote the gospel contends, are the private or secret teachings of Jesus. No Christian is used to reading the Gospel of Philip and pointing out how its descriptions of the Christ are incredibly similar to ideas in Hindu, Tibetan, and Chinese writings. That’s not to suggest that the Christians writing these books had been to India, but that they had uncovered the Christ as a potential that exists within every person on the planet, and as such was not subject to belief in the same ways many beliefs put forward by the Orthodoxy depend on those beliefs. Additionally, the Christ was only ever found within, not without, something that Jesus was known to teach even in the Orthodox sanctioned Gospels.

Paul says he was shown the Christ within himself. This is a critically important point. If you are exhorted to seek him, then the seeking must be done within. How many can say that they seek inwardly to find the Christ hidden within themselves? What methods were laid out on how to do this in the mainstream view? It amounts to accepting Jesus as your savior. You must look to and believe in the cross. Did Paul believe? Not at all, not in the beginning. He was busy persecuting Christians. Belief was not what brought Paul into the tent, nor did it bring me either. He was converted when he found the Christ within himself. He said so.

Being able to see how the Nag Hammadi Library offered a substantive and sophisticated understanding of the mechanisms at work in regards to enlightenment was made possible for me because of an awakening process that began in 2006 and “completed” with a full initiatory process that culminated in early 2007 with a full kundalini awakening. With little more than the symptoms and phenomenon in hand in my direct experience, with no teacher or guide to help me, I discovered the NHL and saw that they were describing my condition. You should understand, though, that when I use a word like “kundalini” to describe or to place my experience, I didn’t know about it at the time. Further, kundalini is NOT a spirit or even a religious belief held by the Hindus. Instead, it is an observed phenomenon which experiencers sought to describe and explain. At the time my symptoms were so startling that I considered that it was possible that I could have a brain tumor! I soon realized that whatever had happened to me as the result of a very simple meditation practice, was not only benign, it was transformative. What I did was to inquire within to find the Christ within. I didn’t know that this was what I was doing since much of the effects found in awakening lay buried under layers of beluef and programming.

I did not find a person, I found a level of consciousness that upended my life, began setting it aright, and instituted a regime of inner transformation. I can see, though, how some might attach this to the man Jesus. Jesus himself makes it seem like he is the Way by stating that no one comes to the father but by him. In the esoteric wing of early Christianity this was true because Jesus was the only one who attained to this new level of consciousness, so yes, he was the only game in town. I will also point out that while he was thought to say he was God in the synoptic gospels, what he said in one important case was “Does your scripture not say ‘ye are gods’?” The implication here is that the state Jesus was referring to was one that anyone could attain to. It is also something supported in Philip as well. We can do even greater things than Jesus because each of us can learn how to reach this place within.

The problem, though, is this type if teaching doesn’t appear to be well fleshed out in the synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. There are many hints of something deeper but what they are we barely know. Jesus did say that to know you had to inquire within (by “knocking”). While some might want to interpret this differently than I have, I would ask you to consider where else would a Christian inquire? Jesus explained over and over that the kingdom was found within. You don’t knock on a real door, you knock on what seems to be a door within where this new world exists.

It may be that we don’t have the details because Jesus didn’t teach to just anyone. He hid his teachings inside parables so that those who were “without” would not be able to understand. Here we find in Mark and Luke a startling example of a private teaching at work where, teaching by the lake, he explains to his followers how he hides his teachings from all but those who has been “given” to know the secrets (of the kingdom). It’s really quite remarkable.

When I awakened I found myself encountering an intelligence which I knew was the Source of all life and existence. It was only possible with this new level of consciousness, that I could sense directly and vividly an intelligence which was a part of everything and that tied all things together in a way that felt like family. What I found was that what I had experienced was in harmony with what the gospel of Thomas and Philip (as well as others in the NHL) had to say, which was that Jesus was making his followers into Christs. I decided to read further into the NHL and this in turn led to a 15 year research project where I scrutinized the books that were found along with the books that are a part of mainstream Christian thought, mist notably the New Testament. This has led me to letters and accounts going back to the earliest days of the movement.

I came across the NHL for the first time a few months after my awakening and saw for the first time someone describing what had happened to me. These weren’t Sanscrit texts but the Gospel of Thomas, Philip, and many others. Hard to understand without the inner knowing or “gnosis” that awakening brings, I am convinced that the authors deliberately sought to keep hidden the direct meanings contained in the documents in order to protect the uninitiated. Still, their meaning was consistent with awakening in both Thomas and Philip as well as in the other documents which modern Christian scholars have dubbed as Gnostic in character.

The more I looked, the more evidence I tended to uncover that supported my thesis. Yes, this work is hampered by a kind of information black-out in some ways but in other ways there are important clues that I have found that makes a case for not just an alternate or deeper understanding of Christ, but also that it was possible that Jesus did have a private teaching, something that the Gospel of Thomas proclaims at its beginning.

One of the suspected authors of Thomas and Philip according to scholars is Valentinus who lived in the second century. Valentinus wrote how he had a vision of the risen Christ. At that time, he knew about Paul’s own vision of the risen Christ.

Valentinus explains how he had gone to a direct disciple of Paul, a man who had learned directly from Paul who was named Theodas. When Valentinus spoke with this disciple he learned from him that Paul had a private teaching which he reserved for his closest followers. Valentinus goes on to say that he was taught in this private way by the disciple.

The elephant in the room, for me at least, is if Valentinus was the author of Thomas or Philip, was it the result of having received a more esoteric teaching which he himself was ready for? Did Valentinus go on in his own way to produce writings perhaps based partly on the teachings of the disciples and with his own inner knowledge about the “body of Christ”? Did Valentinus have access to other Christians that were sharing privately these teachings? Did he just make them up as some Orthodox apologists contend?

While some might point out that this would amount to forgery, let me put this activity in perspective. At this time in history it was not uncommon at all for books or letters to be forged. Back then, a student or disciple would sometimes write after the teacher had died as though the teacher had written the document. Christianity has many of these forged documents as examples. Many are not included in the New Testament, but there are documents that are known forgeries that are still in the NT today. How do we know this? Because the content in some cases deals with issues that belong to a later date, after the death of the teacher. Take for example some of the letters of Paul. In Timothy and Titus there is content in them that simply did not exist during Paul’s life, so we know that someone else other than Paul wrote them. Someone forged the documents and in the process achieved a way to drive how the church might later be organized, for example. Additionally, in the case of Timothy, the writer makes Paul into a mysogynist, something that does not appear in any other of his other letters (not even once). If keeping women out of the church leadership was so important to Paul, it would have been repeated a number of times to the churches in other areas that he was known to write to. Today scholars tend to agree that five, possibly six, of Paul’s letters were written by someone other than Paul.

To loop back around to heresy once more, an important fact has remained throughout the last two hundred years since new documents from early Christianity have emerged (thanks in part to archeological digs and efforts searching libraries and monestaries). If heresy was the unimportant movement that the orthocentrics would have us believe, why are ALL the newly discovered documents always heretical documents and not Orthodox ones? I contend that the narrative or picture we have been given to believe is in fact not the true one, not completely, not by a long shot.

Additionally, Orthodoxy represents a more literalist and authoritarian take on Christianity. The heretics proposed that you didn’t need a priest to get you there, you need only to discover the Christ which is in you, something that would have eroded the power that the Orthodoxy went on to seek to increase over time. What did the church do in its earliest days? It grew and gained the attention of Emperor Constantine who made it the state religion. The heretics, as they were called, were driven from the stage despite how closely aligned many of their teachings were to the documents the Orthodoxy championed: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) It has ever been thus!

The word “occult” means to hide. When I place my hand in my pocket, it is occulted in the same way that when the moon crosses the path of the sun, it occults the sun in eclipse. Today the term “occult” has been made to refer to witchcraft or black magic. Occult means only to hide.

It is fair to say that Jesus was himself an occultist. I am not saying this in order to stir controversy, but to point out that he did do this in his teaching practice. Absolutely, no doubt about it. If you doubt this is the case you can find the evidence in the synoptic gospels themselves.

And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked him of the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables. That seeing that they may see but not perceive, and hearing they may hear but not understand lest at any time they be converted, and their sins be forgiven them.

Mark 4:10-12

It may be a bit much to take, realizing that Jesus was only speaking openly to a Jewish audience and with those who had already been prepared to understand his teaching and not others (Gentiles). This situation is communicated in Luke 12:41 with Peter asking about whether Jesus will teach to all (openly and not in parable so as to hide the meaning of his teaching). Jesus only explains or decodes his parables when he is with an elect or prepared group of people (and as we see in Mark, this means not Gentiles).

A lot is said about this by Christian apologists who try to explain why this might have been done. An early writer and bishop of Alexandria writing under the name of Dionysius (see: Salmond, S. D. F, et al. The Works of Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius of Alexandria and Archelaus. T. & T. Clark, 1882.), explains that the church regularly seeks to keep its teachings secret, even from those within the church who are members when they do not themselves fully understand the mysteries. This is done so as not to “blind” those who are “lost” or without the full knowledge or understanding (referred to as gnosis). Jesus uses the word “maturity” to signify this level of comprehension as does Paul in some of his letters, too. This maturity involves a capacity to understand what is being said in a deeper more full way. It is not uncommon for the deeper teachings, the more mystical ones, the mysteries as they are called, to be hidden from view.

Every single tradition, Christian or not, does this in order to protect people from gaining something for which they are not yet prepared. Traditions with an esoteric wing (in essence nearly every tradition that I can think of) have this as a feature because of the power associated with these “innermost” teachings (they are more than simple rule-following and may include how to cultivate new states of awareness). For example, for a very long time certain methods for reaching enlightenment were shrouded in mystery and kept from public view in India because it was known that prematurely exposing a person to these powerful methods could bring a person prematurely to enlightenment before the person was ready for it. I have personally observed a case of an individual who “forced” awakening and it did not go well for her…at all. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Jesus recognized this and operated in the same way. You mean Jesus resisted saving people? Absolutely. But wait, doesn’t that go against most of what we were taught since the beginning of time (or at least the way we now count time)?

There is a disconnect between what many are told about their faith (Christianity in particular) and what actually happened. Most Christians I have spoken to have ben of the opinion that Jesus taught and spoke openly to the multitudes, but the evidence shows differently. While Jesus spoke openly, yes, he did not speak openly in such a way that those “without” the additional teaching and inner initiation could understand. Technically he taught to all, but his purpose was not for everyone to understand or to become saved. This is to my mind an important factor when we reassess Christianity at its very roots because of the existence of documents that date back to earliest Christianity that speak of a private teaching and how important it was to teach privately. This would be documents which the church itself disputes as being tied to Jesus’s real teachings, the Nag Hammadi Library.

One possibility, which I explore in the manuscript I am currently researching on Jesus and the Gnostic texts, is the theory that Jesus taught this way as a recruitment tool. You teach by parables because there are “dogs” (see Dionysius) or swine amongst you. However, you might also get people who come up to you to say how they enjoyed the teaching but what did you mean by the parable of the candle? What was that all about? What I contend is that the quality necessary for maturity and being prepared to know the truth is a deep sense of curiosity. For most who hear the parable, they might get some comfort from it, but not everyone would want to know more. Clearly people were not pressing Jesus to just go ahead and explain himself plainly, nowhere do people do this except in a more private way.

When you are dealing in mysteries the reality is there is a very small number of people who are going to actually pursue understanding the teachings at a deeper level. it seems a little silly for the church to say Jesus didn’t teach in private when he certainly did so, and it also isn’t that much of a stretch that he might have had more teachings which were hidden from view even from those who would form the basis of the orthodox strand within Christianity who did not themselves understand them (as in the gospel of Thomas or Philip for example). They seem to be so far removed from the kinds of things that the orthodoxy is used to hearing Jesus say that they tend to reject the teachings out of hand even as there is evidence that such teachings may have in fact existed. A number of the gospel writers said that there was a lot that Jesus did and spoke about that weren’t being included in the gospel accounts, and the gospels themselves really aren’t that large in size for a person who was considered to be so important. Its curious, isn’t it? You would think there would be many more writings about him than they are. In 1945 with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library documents, we may well have gotten some of them, even if the Church was unable to accept them at such a late date. That said, these documents are from very early Christianity, so it wasn’t like they were created centuries after Jesus was off the scene.

I am surprised to learn just how many people who consider themselves Christians actually think that Jesus taught openly to all people. He didn’t do that in fact. He hid his teachings from Gentiles. Only later was the Word taken to the Gentiles through the efforts that Paul made to export Christianity beyond Judea.

The idea then of Jesus having a private teaching is not so hard to understand, and yet the church railed mightily against gospels which purported to have been collections of Jesus’s private teachings (the Nag Hammadi Library is a trove of this “secret” or private teaching). Additionally, one of the foremost purveyors of these secret teachings, according to scholars, was a man named Valentinus who lived at a time when he was able to speak directly to a disciple of Paul, and he was a disciple who had learned directly from Paul while he was still alive. What Valentinus wrote in a letter was that he went to this disciple because, I presume, he had a vision of the risen Christ (much as had Paul). When he spoke to this disciple of Paul we was told that Paul had a private or secret teaching only given to his innermost circle of disciples and he says further that he was then schooled in this teaching. Now bear in mind, Valentinus was not a fly-by-night person. He was highly respected and was a devout Christian. He even was in the running for being chosen for the position of bishop of Rome back in a time when Christianity was still an underground movement and either frowned upon by Rome or outright prosecuted for being an illegal religion (depending on which emperor was in power at the time).

While many want to say that there was no secret teaching, there remains some evidence that this was in fact the case both with Jesus as well as Paul. No controversy, only understanding why this was done the way that it was. It makes for a lot of conjecture alla Dan Brown style writing, but it seems that this was done for very good reasons.

It is worth considering in order to get a better understanding of the history of Christianity and how some of the leaders of the Church conducted themselves.

The Gospel of Thomas, along with the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip,  were key books that I discovered early in my awakening that related to me the body of esoteric knowledge that Jesus taught to his disciples.

These books are so new to modern Christianity that their effects on our thinking are only recently being felt. The discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices happened in 1945 by a local man living near the town that the codices were named after. The same year the Dead Sea Scrolls were also discovered. The codices, though, were not fully translated and published until the early ’70’s. The differences between these two finds, though could not be greater: the Dead Sea Scrolls were written very much in the Judaic tradition as mystical treatises from a group of people who were the Essenes, while the Nag Hammadi was mystical thought based on what would become a break from the Judaic tradition into new realms of experience.

Reading them for the first time in 2006 was an epiphany for me. Growing up, I always felt that there was more, and that something more was missing from Christianity. I didn’t know what this something more even was, nor did I know why growing up that I had this deeply held sense about how Christianity had been hiding something. Sounds a little crazy, right? As I have read this collection of books that began with Thomas, I felt immediately as though I had found it. Just like any book I could feel where it was “off” or when a distortion was creeping in. When the writing was hitting the bullseye, it felt as though I was reading a buried truth inside of me. I saw how, for as useful as science has been, it had done the exact same thing religion had done; it taught us to pay no heed to our own experience (in this case, an inner reality was reduced to mere chemical signals and with religion, our broken state could not hope to allow us a clear view to divine reality).

The Gospel of Thomas was the first book that began to illuminate as well as unravel both what I was taught and what I suspected deep down was a different story about Christianity. Maybe you, too, have had similar misgivings-like something just doesn’t seem quite right about it? I guess I grew up questioning and found it odd that there was invariably that moment in conversation where the other person would say, “You just have to believe!” I never outgrew that need to question, and consequentially never became a follower of anything…..not a religion or philosophy or “ism.” But as time would tell, it stood me in good stead.

Being introduced to these books was like putting a puzzle piece into place that had long been missing. It came to me by way of a friend who read something I wrote while I was in the “thrall” of the energy I had been feeling in bursts early on before the full-on “rise” of awakening.

I published the writing on a forum in 2006 just months before kundalini rose. The writing was an innocent appraisal of what I was going through and how it was affecting my inner perception and experience at the time. It was written as prose, but it was poetry at its heart. The discovery that I made was when my friend suggested I read the gospel of Thomas in the Nag Hammad. I had no familiarity with these books, but found certain passages in Thomas to be identical in content to what I had just written. My friend had said as much, which piqued my curiosity.

The piece I wrote was about how all of nature was suffused with the energy of life force and that this force existed for plants just as it existed for humans; that sexual energy is the interconnecting principle behind all energy, which is creative and connective. Most people never feel this in their baseline experience because the energy is narrowed down so much that they only get a trickle. By sexual energy, I am not talking about sex or active arousal, but rather a steady continuou experience of sexual/sensual energy as a kind of energetic baseline —or bliss, if you prefer.  What I had unknowingly stumbled onto was this baseline experience instead of mere arousal. How can anyone know the creative power inherent in the emanations of spirit and the universe who does not experience it first hand? 

The energy that I felt was sexual, yes, but it was also different in that I noticed that it was opening my mind in a way that I was familiar with as an artist and seeker, but in a different way. It was like a rarefied form of inspiration, maybe like inspiration on steroids. It brought the awareness that I was opening up to a reality that existed in all things and that this was more than mere imagination. I was at work as this experience first poured through me so powerfully, and was like a narrative that hung in the air, waiting for me as I turned my mind back to it through the course of the day. It was almost exactly like putting a book down and picking it back up at the same place later. The sense that “I” alone was creating this had vanished.

Rather than feeling like I was creating this experience, it had an objective quality to it that was co-creative; as if it waited for me to find my own unique way to give it voice. This was a very different kind of experience, and I have written about it before. On that day it was as though I stepped past mere imagination to find that imagination, if you go deep enough into it, becomes a sensory portal where we form images to describe the reality we are experiencing when we are not using our physical senses. It allows you to see beyond yourself (as long as you aren’t wearing  blinders). 

The sense I had was extremely vivid and a little more than “trippy.” It has now become a fixture of my experience, but back then this was a horse of a different color. It was akin to how you awaken from a dream and are able to go back to sleep to finish the dream….except I was awake.

 It was like a truth living in the light. I came upon the first realization that sexuality was an integral part of spiritual energy in an undivided way. I knew, had known, that our sexuality had the capability to allow us deep communion with ourselves and one another, but I simply had not experienced it in the way I was doing so on that crisp October day in 2006. I was moved by sexual energy to see and to feel into a world that seemed like it was a product of imagination only to find that it was a channel, along with imagination, for apprehending the world and reality in a nonphysical, nonsensory way. I was not experiencing this with a person, it was with a matrix or field of energy that interpenetrated everything. It was through the energy that I first began to relate and see in this new way.

I realized that our shame about sexuality was, at least in part, blocking all of us from knowing the light of this knowing. I knew on that day that what made sexual energy dirty was the shame we brought to it. Sexual energy had been poorly understood as a result. 

When I finally sat down to write out the material that had played through my mind that day, I felt a need to note the time. I put it down on the page and began to type. The material poured through me. It was so fast, a part of me was surprised. I noted the time that I ended and put it at the end of the page. Years later, I went back and tried to type the piece again and found that I couldn’t match the speed that it came through. It was entitled The Yearning. 

After having written the piece, I had the first synchronicity occur that was uncanny right after leaving work. I went into town and wound up buying a science magazine that had a story in it that carried the same message in it as my writing. Out of all the magazine’s I could have bought, this one was the most different of all of them, and I had to work to find it because it was hidden behind a card rack in the store. When I looked at its cover, there was no mention of the story that was in it. These personally relevant coincidences would begin to form the basis of so many events in my life once awakening came in full force. Synchronicity happens when we step into the flow of this energy in consciousness, you see. It is part of this new landscape.



The writings of Thomas, which are a collection of quotes that Jesus said, carries no story-line like the mainstream Gospels do, but instead is a collection of sayings with no apparent personal commentary by Thomas. The book is laden with an understanding of awakening and relays this in the same way Jesus taught the masses, which was through a nonliteral language of parable and analogy. The reason for this is because Jesus was seeking to relay a nonphysical reality to minds who knew nothing but physical reality.  You can’t do this in a literal way and expect anyone to understand you.

Photograph of a page from The Gospel Of Thomas


The key here in ALL of his teachings is his use of the word “like” which is in nearly every parable: he does not say the kingdom is a mustard seed, he says it is like a mustard seed. This type of discourse assumes that you will look inward for the details, for the truth. It is a means of getting us to look inward to find our own inner mustard seed, to understand how something so small and so hidden can grow and unfold into something so large.

(17) “I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind.”

This quote lies at the heart of the deeper esoteric teachings of Jesus, which was that this information could not be properly known through physical means or the senses. It was a reality that Jesus knew and sought to convey. More than just a structure for doing good, it was the essence of spiritual knowledge, of inner discovery. 

“Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside, and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in the place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in the place of a likeness; then you will enter the kingdom.”

What Jesus is saying is that when the opposites within our nature are brought into unity, awakening comes. For Jesus, the kingdom was the word he used to describe this state of being. 
If this sounds the least bit familiar to those who know and experience kundalini, it is because it is. Some suggest that these teaching borrow from other esoteric traditions. Anyone who has experienced kundalini can likely tell you that when it happens to you, you don’t need a tradition to explain it. You know. So it is natural for anyone who caught on and achieved awakening to describe it in roughly similar ways as another culture or tradition did is because it’s the same experience being described. You will never get awakening through a description, you will get it because you found it inside of you. 

The awakening of kundalini is a merging of the seeming opposite forces in awareness, symbolized in the Hindu tradition as the two serpents that rise up through the body and awareness to merge into one another in an experience of blissful union that awakens, redeems, and saves us from being, as the Gnostic texts convey, “dead.” And life before awakening is like this-we thought we lived until we awoke and then REALLY knew what being alive was all about!

The idea of this fusion of opposites shows up throughout the teachings of Jesus in the Nag Hammadi. It is told in different ways, but it’s the nonliteral language Jesus is using that urges us to look within ourselves for the answer.

(48) “Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, “Move away,” and it will move away.”

The clue is in both context and the use of “two” in his teaching. The two are not two physical people. If you take it literally, you lose what he is trying to teach, which is much deeper. He is saying that when you make peace with the two forces in your awareness, the male and female, or in the Hindu tradition, the Shakti and Shiva, in your body (or house), you will attain the powers that come because of it. 
Jesus is not being literal; the two are living in the house that is the body. When they make peace, or move into union with one another, you can think of something and it happens. The mountain does not literally move, he is just saying that the seemingly impossible now becomes possible. For anyone who has experienced awakening, you know just what I mean. Again, synchronicity lies at the heart of this. 

Another key to this is also how Jesus uses the concept of being divided. When you are divided enough within, awakening is not possible. But when you are no longer divided, a process takes hold that is the very essence of what we talk about and experience in awakening. One of these keywords experiences is that of feeling as though we are being taken apart by this force, that it leaves us irretrievably changed. The accounts of this are too numerous to mention in the Nag Hammadi Library (where Thomas is found). So we have Jesus speaking directly to this experience again in Thomas where he states that, “Therefore I say, if he is destroyed he will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be filled with darkness.” 

Most every awakening is accompanied by a brilliant flash of light. The encounter of this light is the same light experienced upon bodily death, but those who were on to the esoteric teachings of Jesus could experience this light while still alive, an encounter that always leaves the person forever changed.
If you see what happens to people who have had near death experiences, they are all similarly changed by it; accounts almost always involve the person feeling as though they have to live their lives in a more purposeful and compassionate way than before. Additionally, people who have had a NDE will often have kundalini awakening and if not a rise of the energy, return with similar abilities as those who have awakened without an NDE. This is due to what the encounter with the light does, or initiates in us as real soulful change. It was so important that Jesus taught almost exclusively about it. What these teachings share with other traditions is the concept of a unified self as the means to know God, Cosmic Consciousness. I will remind my readers that the whole purpose of yoga is to bring body and mind into unity in order to prepare for awakening. The word yoga means union.

The question at the forefront of your mind might be, “If this is true, why doesn’t it come through more clearly in the canonical Gospels?” It is a fair question, and it’s due in part, I observe, as a result of the early versions of the  Gospels that were making their first rounds during the third century AD. These books have many of the same words in them, but a  different understanding was now in place. For example, when Jesus mentions adultery, people think he is talking against cheating on your spouse. But clearly in the Gospel of Mary our adultery is sinning against out own nature; we turn away from that part in ourselves that could save us. This is but one example of the differences in understanding that took place at the time. The documents, as written, reflect that level of understanding as a result.

These were books selected by a group of people who all thought the same way. That is, they were literalists, and the nuances of Jesus’s spoken word was lost on them. They thus favored books that conveyed a certain literalist depth to them. Everything else sounded like nonsensical gobbledygook to them. So naturally, anything that bid them to dig deep within was quickly rejected, and Thomas, along with a lot of the Nag Hammadi Library, is deep. They labelled it heresy because it did not agree with the collection of books that conveyed what I call Christianity Lite. 

I know this sounds dismissive, but it isn’t. It’s what my journey has shown me is true. If you like this form of Christianity, I think it’s fine, but don’t expect it to be a means to bring you to a full-on transcendent encounter with the cosmic  It simply lacks the important central teachings for sparking the requisite awareness and willingness to approach it differently for that to happen. Too much is missing from the road map! Besides, there are passages in the Bible that exhort followers not to fall prey to conjurer’s and magicians. They effectively sealed the library shut, denying anyone the hope of finding the keys to awaken. If this sounds bad, bear in mind that this was the exact same observation Jesus was making about the Pharisees when he was alive. The key unlocks all of us regardless of religion, but the key has been surrounded by fear of losing ones eternal soul. What a fine state! But the story has stuck along with a particilar understanding of the teachings, and the victor was Rome, so the church in Rome set the pace and the kind of story that would be told.

The history is not ambiguous on this. Rome became the center for Christianity based on the superior resources found there. But Rome was not the defacto center in the beginning. In fact, there was a very real vying for this designation in the beginning. Constantinople was one such early center, and there were also ministries that sprang up in the wake of the work that the disciples did early on in those areas. The gift of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi was a result, most likely, of a church that was nearby.   It is likely that there was ongoing activity long before the structure was even built. 

Rome became the center because of power, influence, money, scribal resources, and the will to become that center. The church also had the support of the Roman empire behind it. The church could decree any teachings it believed stood outside what they believed was the core messages as anathema, which they did, landing any heretic in jail or losing his or her life. The church could simply remand a person to the Roman authorities for punishment in much the same way certain Jews were said to have demanded punishment of Jesus before Pilate.

This is not the only force that served to so change the story of Jesus’s teachings. 
There are scribal errors. Some, most in fact, are so mild that they don’t change the meaning of what is being conveyed. There are tens of thousands of these types of errors that are found in the books, and they are easy to find by simply comparing all of the oldest copies of the same books with others of its kind. But there are more substantive errors that take place, and they are less numerous but they tend to be far more significant. These often take the form of translational errors. 

The Gospels were written mostly in Greek and later translated to Latin. This is how a passage in Luke has Jesus asking Peter three times if he loves him, totally missing the mark meaning-wise from what was said in the Greek version.

Jesus has Peter over to his house for breakfast and he turns to Peter asking him three times if Peter loves him. Peter says that he does love Jesus each time he is asked. 
On the face of it, it doesn’t make sense why Jesus would do this. He just keeps repeating himself. This encounter happened we think after the crucifixion, so Christians have explained this by saying that Jesus was doing this to remind Peter that he had denied knowing Jesus three times when Jesus was arrested and later crucified. And it all makes a kind of sense, except that isn’t what Jesus was asking Peter at all.

Instead, in the Greek, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him agape, which is the form of love one has for, and with, God. Then Jesus uses the word philos, which is the familial form of love one has. Think of it as brotherly love. Jesus then asks him if he feels eros, which is erotic, sexual love. Peter answers in the affirmative each time. 

Do you see how different this story is now? Instead of “going there” and shaming Peter for denouncing him, he is instead asking him if he loves him without reservation, without any boundaries as pertains to social propriety. Jesus wanted to know how full and complete Peter’s love was. Now imagine “eros” being translated into the King James’s Version! That was because the image which those in the early church chose was not the real Jesus. The accounts of Jesus thus followed the narrative the early church fathers wanted, which was a nonsexually, non-erotic Jesus. In this particular case, I think it was quite possible that the error in translation may have been intentional. It is why I view this passage as being intentionally mistranslated; having Jesus speaking of sexual love didn’t fit their narrative, but it fit another story when not translated completely, thus giving the passage a very different spin.

The other problematic side to this which I haven’t gotten into is the fact that Jesus spoke middle Aramaic, which is a highly contextual language. This means you need to know the context a word is given in order to discern it’s meaning. Since all of the Gospels, we assume, were first written in Greek (“koin” Greek), we are all one step removed from the nuances wording Jesus was giving in his teachings. The elephant in the room though is that if someone did not understand what was being said, a different story might be told. This is a small but important point.

Imagine the scene: Jesus walks into the kitchens of Levi and says, “That is a very cool oven, Levi! How do you cook with it?” Levi later says to his friends, “Jesus cannot understand how I cook with an oven which has no fire…” In truth, Jesus was saying that he thought Levi’s oven was really great and could he show Jesus how he cooks with it? I know that sounds silly, but it’s very likely this has happened about central concepts about Jesus’s divinity, our relationship to that divinity, and the path to salvation. Actually, these small errors make for big missunderstandings!

Most people assume that the Gospels were written by the disciples, but many of the disciples were illiterate and the canonical Gospels have very sophisticated writing structure. They were first told, then copied. There were different versions of the same document in existence (such as two copies of Matthew, one purported to be for the masses while another for the more initiated). Scholars can also see how a Gospel will abruptly have a different writing style, which suggests a different writer. Most readers never even catch the difference though.

 Through translational errors as well as picking the versions of books that spoke more to the people’s own sensibilities who came three hundred years after Jesus, this likely became the force that defined our understanding of Jesus as the man we think we know. 

Then, it was quite easy to fold our arms and say, “For the Bible tells me so!” Except that this isn’t so because there is a problem with that Bible.

We now have books that were hidden away for over 1600 years that had been thought to be extinct. The fabled Gospel of Thomas was decried a myth by the church (even though it was mentioned in the writings of some well known people at the time) until a copy of it emerged having been discovered in the desert of Egypt in 1945. Along with it came a trove of over 40 books all bound in leather folio’s, the contents of which have caused scholars to rethink Christianity in a radicaly new way. 

It would be a different story if the books made no sense at all, but instead the teachings are extremely deep, so deep that gnostic scholars admit that they have trouble understanding them.
They don’t understand them because these books are a treasure of esoteric teachings, the marrow of how to find God, how to know the self, to know about the twin forces within awareness that Jesus says many times in different books as his being “One with the father and mother.” This only sounds strange to someone who has no experience with awakening. Thus, the books in the Nag Hammadi have this as a consistent theme. Yes, there is mention of God the father, some writing in the NHL uses this term exclusively to describe the masculine aspect. But it also focuses on the feminine aspect exclusively too, (Pistis Sophia) so there you go. These “new” themes are difficult for scholars to understand because they themselves do not know or already taste the nature of the experience. 
It’s hard to pull back the veil when you don’t know a veil is even there.
 
To better understand the rift that occurred in the early church and how heresy was the origin of Christianity (as defined by the church in Rome), you have to read the history on all of this. You won’t find the whole history within the church because the church had its mind made up 1600 years ago and it hasn’t changed much since Instead, you have to pick up scholarly analysis to begin to see the additional materials that help to clarify the issue more.

Works by Bart Ehrman, while criticized by the church, are some of the best examples for understanding the Bible as it was instead of how it has been made to look. He does this by examining the facts. He draws on scholarly research instead of faith.
Even in his own work, there seems to be something missing, which is the gap between the esoteric works and the exoteric (canonical Gospels). Somewhere between the death of Jesus and the birth of the church under emperor Constantine, there was a dividing of the way in understanding. Somewhere, books were radically changed. Perhaps this was done piece-meal, changes that took place as the result of people hearing the stories and having only a limited understanding,and then writing them down.  What we know is that the Gospels, most of them, were not written by their authors. We know this because of how they are written. They often use the name of the writer as having said what the book contains instead of the writer using the correct  form of person if they were writing it; “These were the words that Jesus told Luke” instead of, “These were the words that Jesus told to me, Luke.” Even in Thomas the same form is suggested in the first sentence:. “These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.” In the case of Thomas, the sayings were without narrative, so it was easier to simply copy them as they were. Scribal errors were reduced with the document  because it had been written and then buried for 1600 years. But this book was copied many times even as the other Gospels were.We do not have another copy of Thomas with which to compare. We do know that some of the sayings found in Thomas were found carved in a building in India, a country, not coincidentally, that Thomas was said to have been encouraged to go to spread the teachings.

(5)Jesus said, “Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will become manifest.”

The process of awakening is one where you increasingly learn to see things as they are. When you are able to pierce the fog of your belief and inner bias, events will look vastly different to you. You will also attain secret knowledge, which is referred to as “gnosis” and that those who did know were the “gnosticoi.” While writing this piece I had a comment made on another earlier post where a reader, herself awakened, described how she could discern answers to problems, any problem by sitting down, getting quiet, and ‘listening’ inwardly for the answer…. which, she added, always comes. So that is an example of what I mean by “secret” knowledge.

The act of merging the opposites within is what keeps us from being “one-sided” or stuck in one mode (masculine/rational) of thinking. It is when we merge them and find union within that the energy rises and we are saved from death.

The “rising” is mentioned in Philip, and it’s quite remarkable. He explains we must attain this while alive now if we are to live a fuller life. He suggests in his explanation of it that simply waiting to find it when we die wont do it; doing it here is important. He uses the term rising in the flesh. He also explains that the concept of resurrection was wrong. We do not die and come to life, but we are as though dead and come into a larger spiritual life, becoming more alive. I highly suspect that even in his lifetime Philip was seeing a corruption of the teachings by people thinking Jesus would come back to resurrect them, which is a distortion that shows up in the canonical Gospels such as in Revelation where Jesus comes in glory to raise up the dead and judge them too. This is how the fairy tale that is the rapture came to be I think. But Philip explains, no, this is a rebirth, a resurrection of the self in flesh as though it had been dead. This is not a literal physical death. This is a death of soul, of awareness of ones true potential.

This concept of those who are “dead” are found through both Thomas as well as Philip. It is clear that Jesus is playing with words to make an important point. It is also word usage that befuddles scholars. “The dead are not living and the living do not die.”

Those who are not awakened are like someone who is dead; they do not live the fuller life that awakening, or the kingdom affords them. The living do not taste death because the gnosis which they attain upon awakening shows them that they are more than flesh and bone and that the universe is a living breathing subtle presence that supports this new life by way of the Creator who is both masculine and feninine. It is by joining the two in yourself that you live in the same way as the deity does. This is why it brings gnosis of the deity; the twin forces that are in you are present in the deity. This becomes the way to know this larger life.

The difference between canon and the Nag Hammadi is the role Christ plays. In canon, you seek the Christ as Jesus to be saved by him. In the Nag Hammadi, the Christ is found within. You already have the capacity to BE a Christ. The idea that anyone could be a Christ right along with Jesus was an anametha to the church and could land you in jail, and you could lose your life.

The clues to all of this is in knowing that the sayings were meant to stir your own knowing. It’s there for you to know. When you do know, you will begin to see what is being said. While the vocabulary might be different from Vedic teachings about the rising of kundalini, and while they may vary based on aporoach and their details, they both are speaking about the same exact thing. This teaching is the same as found in other non-abrahamic religions or philosophies.

The sad part is that this was weeded out in the beginning as “heresy” when in fact it contains the esoteric teachings that Jesus conveyed to his disciples because, as Jesus explains, the masses are not able to understand his deeper teachings even though they are present in every single parable. He also points out to Peter in the same sentence that even though Jesus speaks plainly to Peter that even he does not understand.

This is a tall order for us, then, to understand these teachings. Perhaps the difference in content may have been due to the differences amongst the disciples themselves, with small differences equalling substantive differences in what they each understood the teachings to mean. Even in the letter of Peter to Philip, Peter describes Philip as standing or keeping himself “separate” from the rest of the disciples. Could it have been that Philip found himself at odds with the rest of the group in his understanding of the teachings? 

I won’t pretend that the Nag Hammadi is without fault, though. While it has those parts that seem to lift off the page, it also contains a lot of what I would expect from a culture of the time as being highly resistant to the feminine principle having equality amongst the masculine. This is no more evident than in the creation story that was written by this group of people. In it, the error in the world came about by the feminine principle seeking to create a world on her own, which results on a demiurge that then sows all kinds of havoc in the world. It seems women just can’t get an even break! But you can see how the bias is there and results in a prejudice against this force, which we all have in ourselves. But luckily, the truth is there inside you, you need only knock and the door will be opened.

When I awoke, I became aware by meditating and focusing on the energy that this thing felt like the embrace of a man and woman. I called it that. I also found that the i focused on their embrace that I could begin to feel a third presence emerge from them. I called this “the child.” I didn’t know that this was kundalini, I simply knew what I felt. What I did not know was that this was the same result as the early Christians had and were describing. In fact, they used the image of the bridal chamber to explain the sexual bliss that existed in the experience of this union. The Christ was the one who emerged from this bridal chamber called the “nymphion.” Boom.

It was in reading these words that it all came  together for me; the union of the inner man and woman producing the child, which for me was a transcendent awareness that unleashed my mind and brought “secret knowledge” was the same thing Jesus and his followers had described. It was also an idea the later Christians who devolved away from and could not stand the idea of their god-man as being sexual in any way. This also meant that the teachings of Christianity did not offer the teachings which, despite their prudishness, would have actually saved them and redirected them into a new life.

It was a big “WOW” moment for me to say the least. This was the origin of the Trinity, and the takeaway here was that the Holy Ghost was the missing link, the feminine aspect that if understood, could have jump-started a revolution in being here on earth. 

In recent posts on how to release trauma, you can perhaps understand why I stress why it’s so important to release trauma or emotional material from the past. It is because it serves to divide you and keeps your insides turning away from the trigger that brings awakening.

This is not just achieved by dealing with emotional material in a more or less direct fashion, it can also be achieved by way of somatic release exercises which recognizes that emotion is stored in the body and can be released through body movement without having to reexperience trauma, but simply to face and acknowledge the emotion. This is at the core of pranayama yoga as well as chi gong, just to name a few. This has, though, the result of releasing what divides you and as such, will lead to awakening when enough of the right material is healed or released. It isn’t for the elect, it is who each of us are regardless of class or religion. It goes way deeper than that.

The teachings found in Thomas might speak to you as they spoke to me and others. For me, it was through Thomas that I knew someone besides me had experienced this before. Philip explained that Jesus was trying to get his disciples to be Christ’s. This happens when the two merge deeply into each other and remain so from then on. This is the consumation of Augustine, the divine marriage of the alchemists, and the Bridal Chamber. It is cosmic consciousness of the Hindu, exemplified in the merging of the yoni and lingam, the Tor of the Druids in England, and cosmic mind of the Zen Buddhists.
Critics of these writings seem to say that the writings in the NHL are of eastern lineage and are not aligned to Christian thinking. I rather think that the truths espoused in all of these traditions or strands of thought arise from direct experience of a spiritual reality that is common to us all. I was able to describe my own experience without the aid of a tradition. Further, I was led to writings that had passages nearly identical to what I had written. 
What I did was no different than what anyone else has done who could witness their own awakening. It isn’t that the early Christians were  a “Gnostic” group, it was that they had insight that led them to describe what all other esoteric traditions have done for ages, with the descriptions illuminating a condition, or state, or structure to consciousness that is common to all of us. What the critics do not get is that this experience is often so clear and vivid that those describing it as the union of opposites are describing it as it is. No tradition needs to tell you what’s happening because you feel the energy rise, you feel the physiological and neurological reaction to the energy as serpentine, and you experience the rush as it pierces the chakras and opens you even further for the universal awareness to move through you.  I described it on my own in exactly the same way that the early Christians had-which was the truth of the Trinity.

All of this amazing stuff is in you, and is the source of all that I write about. I hope that you might find this so that you can walk in this new life which is the real “resurrection and the life.”

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