Miserable is the body
that depends upon a body,
and the soul
that depends upon both.
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
birdsong sprinkled on gravel road
road bending into the valley,
valley filled with skunk cabbage
cabbage floating in ginger sauce
sauce and mango swallowed into body
body flopping on the bed in sunshine
sunshine colliding with dust motes
motes in my sister’s or brother’s eye
eye to see it all
all, in its wholeness
Journey through Logos:
This has been my lesson in this difficult year of hospital stays and surgeries and illnesses. The body cannot be depended upon to be unchanging; yet, like the wisdom of India chortles, “it is a wonder that each day we watch the funeral procession go by us and think we shall never die” (Mahabharata). And indeed, it is worse for a soul who mistakes its clarity and timelessness with the body, and evaluates itself on that ever-sliding scale. Are you lessened as a human being when you cannot “produce” or “look good”? What is the soul’s answer?
It is important to understand that the body is not denigrated here, a common mistake of our own Christian heritage. Rather, Yeshua is asking us to again hold the relative and the ultimate faces of reality and not confuse the two ways of being in the world. Pick up any book of art from the ages and what is considered “beautiful” will vary enormously from century to century. So, too, what thoughts are considered “holy”, “scientific” and “factual” will shift in time. The soul must become the still point that holds ultimate reality and gives the deeper meaning to being embodied, thought-filled creatures. The soul sees our birth before we had a body and that puts everything into perspective, even as the body and mind begin, as they will, to fail us.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one's true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.”
“Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”
How has your body either elevated or let you down over the years? What has been the effect of that elevation or let down on your soul? Is the perception of this pitching ship of being embodied changing as you age?
We reign when we place our seat of wisdom in the soul of ultimate reality, without denigrating the vehicle of our bodies so firmly situated in relative reality.
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