Among those born on earth
beginning from Adam to
John the Baptist,
no one has reached a higher state
than John—and you should
bow in honor before him.
Yet I tell you this,
whoever of you becomes “a little child”
will not only know the kingdom,
but will be raised to a state
higher than John’s.
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
Have you touched the river’s surface
with your fingertips,
lifted them dripping and stared
as ripples elongated and swirled
liquid settings for smooth black stones?
What shadow of forgetfulness
that you dragged through blackberry patches
and over slippery moss,
in that moment,
dancing with sunlight on the rapids?
With each breath,
we baptize ourselves,
continuously renewed in
Journey through Logos:
John could not give people the awakened sense of the spirit around and within them, only dip them into the cold, rushing waters and shock them for that one moment, reminding them of their first breath as a baby. Each breath we take can be like that—purely aware of that simplest sip of oxygen. John is honored the way a Rinzai Zen master is honored for pushing his student into the pond. He pushed at the perfect moment, yes, but the student him or herself has to actually awaken.
The student who maintains that awareness, though, is not simply in a “state” at all, which is static. The baptismal awareness flows, is organic, skillful and timeless. As such, it transcends the “one way” of awakening and sees each moment as a dip in the river. In this way, the student even transcends the “way” of John and has found his or her own way, the ultimate goal of any spiritual master.
It’s troubling, though, to believe that our spiritual teachers themselves must be seen as the temporary way stations they are. And troubling, too, to realize just how easy and just how world-changing living into what we have found and who we really are can be.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
Self-realization is the knowing – in body, mind, and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God's omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing."
Faith is realization itself. It harbors no destructive element, as does belief. Belief can be swayed or destroyed by contrary evidence and doubt; but faith is ever secure, because it is direct perception of truth. Once the world was believed to be flat, but with the progress of science it was found to be round; so that was only a belief, which had to be given up. But faith cannot be contradicted, for it is the developed expression of the unerring intuition within us, which brings us face to face with theretofore unseen realities. One may thus rightly refer to blind belief, but not blind faith.
Write down three people you respect and admire. Then, list the traits in them that cause you to admire them. Now, on a separate piece of paper, write down the traits you most admire in yourself. Compare the two lists—see anything interesting?
Trouble arises when we begin to understand that we are called to live beyond our spiritual teachers by simply being ourselves and fully conscious.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: