Whoever does not
refuse father and mother
cannot be my student.
Whoever does not reject
brother and sister,
accepting the cross as I do,
is not ready for me.
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
it’s a survival instinct—
to wrap ourselves ‘round with blankets
of family, tribe, church, nation.
Maybe one day, it’ll even be
this world over another--
like we try to do with heaven
Journey through Logos:
In the very beginning of the Bhagavad Gita, a general and warrior asks his charioteer to drive him between two great armies. In this liminal space, he finally sees the faces of grandfathers and teachers and half-brothers, and in despair he throws his bow to the ground, unwilling to fight. The man holding the reins is none other than an avatar or incarnation of God and his teaching about the relative nature of that moment of despair and inaction makes up the whole of the Gita. It is the same message we find in this logion here—there are times when we must stand up for Reality or Truth, and transcend the ties of family, tribe, church or nation. These are the markers of relative reality and the ties that bind us sometimes from the raw presence and experience we are poised to encounter.
If we look carefully at the voices in our heads that damage us the most, where did they first arise? Often from the mouths of teachers, parents, brothers and sisters, our society, our church, or peers. We are called to be like Mary, Yeshua’s mother, when she lifted her eyes up and out of the norms of her social conditioning and said yes to bearing a spiritual child within, unmarried and alone except for her deep trust in something that transcended the voices of judgment and condemnation within her.
This is deeply troubling for most of us because, like relinquishing our training wheels or choosing a career so very different from what is expected of us, we find ourselves truly alone without the interior or exterior props that we have allowed to guide our lives. We are in a state of pure poverty when we turn away from the dictates of family, tribe, nation and church when they do not align with our own truest voice within. That’s a terrifying step to take, and the very nature of faith that can never be taken from us.
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.”
-The Bhagavad Gita
Knowledge of the Divine dissolves all bonds, and gives freedom from every kind of misery including birth and death.
Today, simply breathe with one hand on your belly and one on your heart again. If the breath is likened to spirit, what is it teaching you directly today? Write down at least ten words that capture its nature for you, without any expectation of the “rightness” of the words.
Trouble arises within us when we realize that our allegiance to family, tribe, church or nation must be secondary to our inner experience of Truth.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: