Then tell us, Master,
what are your students like?
How would you describe them?
“They are like small children
living in a field not their own.
When the landlords return and demand,
‘Give us back our field!’
the children return it by
simply stripping themselves
and standing naked before them.
“So then, I must also tell you this:
If a householder knows for sure that
thieves are coming to steal his goods,
he will keep careful watch before they
get there to prevent them from tunneling
in and taking his possessions.
You, too, from your beginnings,
must keep a watchful eye on the cosmos,
binding great power to yourselves
so that thieves cannot find a way
to get to you.
Pay attention then.
Any outside help you look for
they will try to seize first.
May there be someone among you
who truly understands this.
So listen carefully,
if you have an ear for this!
When the fruit was ripe,
ready to burst
the harvester came quickly
sickle in hand,
and took it.”
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
I might have bowed when I was young,
naked before the owner of the field—willing to take
anyone older and more powerful at face value,
human, or God
for that matter.
As I aged, I certainly learned to shore up my walls,
defend my sense of house, home,
willing to be the warrior, the owner,
the one who was perpetually ready to repulse
human thieves, or God
for the matter.
I am somewhere in between.
Perhaps as I ripen, I will neither bow to others nor think
I can plan for every contingency.
Maybe in ripening,
I am finding my way
Thy Will Be Done,
playing with humans and God
where there are no walls,
finding only sweet flesh
Journey through Logos:
This has always been one of the trickier logion in this particular cycle of searching. Today, I see it one way, and tomorrow, I may see it in a wholly different way. Actually, I like that discontinuity within myself; it probably means this logion really has to be “lived into” in each season of our lives. Often, when three short metaphors are stacked like this, a reader can a) look for the similarities between them, the way they are saying the same thing in different ways or; b) see the progression within them, the way each state leads historically from a simple to a more “ripened” way of understanding or; c) something that is a little of both.
I tend to look at this logion as “c”...the metaphors all talk about how to be in relationship with God and all are critical to our relationship with our world as well. In one sense, when we begin the spiritual path, we have to stand naked like the children at play in the field, but there is no discernment in that movement. It is purely open, trusting and we have no ground to defend. But it is also like the fool’s card in the tarot...we don’t own the field, we have no opinions, no experiences. This is the springtime flower on the fruit tree, bobbing around in the wind. We aren’t in relationship particularly; we are ordered, and we acquiesce, in total ease because we haven’t done the work yet of discernment.
Next, we must understand what we stand for, and we think we find the treasure that is God. It is an idea worth defending within the four solid walls of our hearts. This is the stage of dualism, me defining what I do and do not believe. We are ripening, seeing the world in black and white, in and out, no longer a child but also separate, lonely, defensive in our minds and hearts. We bind great power to ourselves—creeds, dogmas, beliefs, the shadow of the tribe that creates walls and where thieves may tunnel in. We are like a hard fruit, no sugar within yet, stiff and unyielding and thinking we have found home.
Finally, we ripen and in that ripening, must wholly yield to God, no longer innocent and naked, no longer defensive and dualistic. We are the fruit full of sugar and hanging heavy in space, playing in the field, no walls, ready to nurture others and giving up our very lives if necessary when God comes for the harvest. We come again to the theme of Yes, dying to ourselves, both the child and the householder and even finally, to our precious sense of self.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection.”
“A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.”
“The peace of God is with them whose mind and soul are in harmony, who are free from desire and wrath, who know their own soul.”
Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Breathe into that lower hand, feeling it moving as your upper hands stays still. Let the peace of that paradox enter into you...movement and stillness touched beneath the palms of your hands, unified in the ripe totality of yourself.
To Find means to be willing to see the ripening happening within ourselves that cannot be hurried or pressed into a human sense of completion.
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