The Father’s realm
is like a man wanting
to kill someone powerful.
So he draws a sword
in his own house
and puts it through the wall
to test whether or not
his hand is actually strong enough.
Then he goes out and slays the giant.
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
How tired they seem,
a wavering mania,
their social action signs waving
their breath like so much mist
dissipating on the air,
their fingers gripping their convictions
like plants in loose soil.
The firs lean close,
and the water laps not far away,
its rhythm set by the lamp-light moon.
All things must act,
what heavenly bodies
nudge those demonstrators,
and Who do they see
when the soldiers
to the fence line?
The owl hoots one last greeting
from the deep
and closes his golden eyes.
Journey through Logos:
“All things must act,” it says in the Bhagavad Gita, “even God.” Rest is not about the couch and potato chip bag, it’s about a way of being in the world of action. Small as grocery shopping, large as facing down the powerful, faceless powers in our world that would do harm, the energy is the same. The whole relative world is in motion, always, and how we conduct ourselves with that current is how we find rest.
Notice in the logion that within the house, which stands for this center that we call our “selves”, the man tests his strength, which is the energy of wisdom. He pierces his own walls—and we all have them. The walls between ourselves and others, ourselves and our environment, ourselves and what shadows we might hide within us. Like the flaming sword of the Tibetan Buddhist Bodhisattva Manjushri, the sword must first carve away our own ignorance before it can be used in any way “beyond us”.
But the whole Gospel of Thomas has called that concept into question as well. Who are the “giants”? Nothing other than ourselves, in a different form, making different choices. Until we understand that the sword that pierces them pierces us as well, we will not be able to act with compassion, the other handle if you will, of a whole jug of spiritual maturity. If you look at most swords, the handle and hand-guards form a cross...we place our hand on this. The long blade shoves not just into flesh but the very ground of our being. Even God must act. But how do you act as God does, filled with wisdom and compassion, and find the effortlessness rest in every action? Do not leave your house, my friend, until you know the answer.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
One who thinks he kills or thinks he can be killed is dwelling in ignorance.
-- The Bhagavad Gita
All things must act, even God.
--The Bhagavad Gita
What walls would you pierce within yourself with the sword of wisdom? What role does compassion play in seeing these parts of yourself? How does piercing those walls help you act in the world?
We enter into rest when we first confront the walls within ourselves before we try to move decisively with wisdom and compassion in the world.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: