If you do not fast from the cosmos,
you will never grasp Reality.
If you cannot find rest
on the day of rest
you will never feast
your eyes on God.
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
Traffic lights, rain reflections,
wind breaks a tree branch off,
shopping list, spilled cereal,
past conversation, present sunlight on the teaching whiteboard
squeaking tennis shoes, coffee scents,
Hannibal on television,
son yells upstairs, another point scored
in a world of dragons and swords.
The buffet of life can fill pages—I know,
I write the best bits down, sweat them out in prose and
short, quick lines
watch them fade as I sink a little below them,
my knees folded, my hands in my lap
breath catching a little as
dive down to entice me,
like cookies and chocolate.
One lonely bird at the feeder today,
black head, gray body--
nothing to do just now
but watch the feathered face of God
What was I doing that was so important?
Already, I am rested, filled and
it is the day
Journey through Logos:
Feasts and fasts, poverty and wealth, cosmos and reality, the face of God and unseen ground of being, rest and the day set aside for it, there is much going on here in these simple lines. The dualistic language almost rocks us, and for once seems perfectly simple. In all likelihood, we would just turn the page, thinking we know what is being communicated, that the message is literally given to us in this logion--set aside time to rest and know God—Next!
But we are in the throes of the finding in this section of the Gospel of Thomas—we are hunger, we are poverty, we are all about rules and observances (a day of rest, a fast and the goal of seeing the face of God). Notice that Yeshua isn’t telling us how to do any of the explicit activities above. As our teacher, he is sending us a subtle challenge—how can you work rest into your daily life? How can fast from the entire cosmos? What is the face of God to you?
In a sense, he is gently poking us to move beyond these dualities (about which many self-help books are written) into a life that is non-dual. The best way to fast from the cosmos is to find your life filled with spaciousness and openess, the best day for rest is not different from a day of mindful activity, and the face of God is everywhere always available. We stop lying to ourselves about our prayer life, our “contemplative life”, our “rest” and “fasting” being anything other than each moment of our lives, nothing special, yet everything amazing.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
“The power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind, senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work using you as a mere instrument.”
- The Bhagavad Gita
“Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity.”
- The Bhagavad Gita
“You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself - without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat.”
-The Bhagavad Gita
Chogyam Trungpa, a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, once wrote an important book about spiritual materialism—the tendency to make of our living in spirit something “special” or “acquired” or objectified. As you think of your life, do you create artificial divides between life and “spirit”? How might you soften these lines?
To Find means to begin to suspect the division between the sacred and the profane, between the acts and concepts of religion and the life of the spirit.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: