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Recovering From Religions
June 30, 2007
9:21 pm
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You might be sory you asked when I'm finished.

You wrote:

"If I had to guess, it would be "beginnings." ?"

If you mean biblical creation mythology - no.

This is a humungous task but taken in small chunks it might be manageable. Starting from the "beginning":

"THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS

These are the secret sayings which the living Yeshúa has spoken and Didymos Judas Thomas inscribed.

1. And he says: Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings shall not
taste death."

Now on the surface this appears to be saying "Understand this and you will live forever otherwise it's curtains for you."

But I don't think that it means this at all. What I think it is saying is this:

"If you plumb the depths of these teachings you will not even feel any anxiety at all as you pass through what is after all just a small part of the continuum of experiences that manifests in our conscious awareness."

"2. Yeshúa says: Let him who seeks not cease seeking until he finds, and when
he finds he shall be troubled, and when he has been troubled he shall
marvel and he shall reign over the totality and find repose."

Yeshúa challenges the seeker not to give in seeking the truth despite the mental anguish that is incurred.

I find this interesting because in my personal experiences paradigm shifts in thinking and how we see the world don't come easy. A huge amount of mental anguish can precede such shifts. But once a breakthrough in how we see reality occurs then there is amazement and wonderment. This I have experienced for brief periods only.

I think that Yeshúa here is talking about what the Buddha experienced under the bodhi tree. This is difficult to put into words and those, like the Buddha who do, cause great consternation to those committed seekers who genuinely try to grasp and comprehend those words.

I am not referring to seeing hallucinations here. I am talking about seeing into the very nature of all of reality in a very real sense in the here and now, not some flights of fantasy. I'm talking about seeing past all subject-object objectification and discrimination - all duality!

No wonder the early Christians abandoned The Gospel of St. Thomas. Those that could understand it were obviously shunned as heretics and ostracized.

"3. Yeshúa says: If those who would lead you, say to you: Behold, the
Sovereignty is in the sky!, then the birds of the sky would precede you. If
they say to you: It is in the sea!, then the fish of the sea would precede you.
But the Sovereignty of God is within you and it is without you. Those who
come to recognize themselves shall find it, and when you come to
recognize yourselves then you shall know that you are the Sons of the
Living Father. Yet if you do not recognize yourselves then you are
impoverished and you are poverty."

This is implying that the All is the boundariless One and the One is the boundariless All. I think Yeshúa is saying: "There is no God, no Big Daddy in the sky. If you believe those who bullshit to you that there is, then your intellect is more primitive than the birds and the fishes. If you do not see that how you perceive yourself as a separate identity is delusional then you have become the delusion."

"4. Yeshúa says: The person old in days will not hesitate to ask a little child of
seven days concerning the place of life--and he shall live. For many who
are first shall become last, and the last first. And they shall become a single
unity."

Wow! This is staggering. This for me is talking about casting off the shackles of dualistic thinking and perceptions completely. It is not about any God.

Can you imagine trying to describe having a mighty orgasm to someone who has never experienced it? This is what it is like trying to put in words what I think JC, the Buddha,great Ch'an and Zen masters and many other mystics have experienced.

A little, tiny, as yet undifferentiated baby already has come from and still retains much of this cosmic unity of which this verse speaks. Those of us who have grown old differentiating ourselves into states of almost complete delusionment, once realizing this will not "hesitate to
ask a little child of
seven days concerning the place of life".

Dr. Helen Wamback, now deceased, did this using hypnotic regression of subjects right back into the womb and further back before conception to find that 'conscious state of mind' that was free of many of the delusions caused by having a body - still no need for the existence of any God.

"For many who
are first shall become last, and the last first."

This part is for me talking about attaining enough humility to realize that the world that we have created in our heads is delusional. It is the humility to realise that we cannot use the intellect as the ultimate tool of seeing reality. We have to ultimately let go of 'winning the race' and become last in the 'intellectual stakes' and then we will 'see' reality and become 'first'. 'Seeing reality' for me, means the boundaries of the deluded mind collapsing, all sense of self, in reference to 'other', vanishing and all illusions of differentiation and demarcation evaporating. I think that this is what the next verse, verse 5 is about.

"5. Yeshúa says: Recognize Him in front of thy face, and what is hidden from
thee shall be revealed to thee. For there is nothing concealed which shall
not be manifest, and nothing buried that shall not be raised."

I see Yeshúa as saying: "Let go of your ego constructed mental boundaries and recognize Pure Mind from which is derived your mind's artificially constructed imprisoning barracades that foist upon you the delusion of selfhood. If you succeed, you will be omniscient without a reference to any self or 'you' that is doing the 'all knowing'."

I do not see any concept of a God in all this, even though poetic licence may have motivated the interpreter to use the word "Him" in place of 'Pure Unconditioned Mind'.

So far I am still in the realm of the science of the mind call psychology. Classical and Instrumental Conditioning Theories certainly recognize the effects of Operant conditioning of the human and animal minds. In our lives, our minds are undoubtedly conditioned, conditioned and conditioned instant by instant. In response to some stimulus our minds proact and/or react in ways that are largely if not entirely dependent upon this past conditioning. How free we are to override this past conditioning(Boundaries of Mind included) depends largely on our ability to 'let go' of this conditioning completely and to 'see anew' - i.e. to undergo a huge paradigm shift.

There are 114 verses in this Gospel and I have arbitrarily started at number 1 and gone through to only verse 5 and already the depths is starting to become evident.

I think Christ was a great mystic whose message has been completely bastardized. There is no better way that I can think of to put it.

June 30, 2007
9:28 pm
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There are still 109 verses to go!

Have you had enough of Thomas yet?

June 30, 2007
10:00 pm
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R you kidding Tez? I thrive on this stuff.

I've company- will ponder and respond to your post later this evening.

beginnings as far as biblical? You jest. I was talking about time being an illusion, like the mobius strip.

But we will get there.

The "beginning" i.e. first verse is surely the best place to start.

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July 1, 2007
2:14 am
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Hi Tez

I think this gospel speaks of many illusions that we experience as reality do to physical constraints. I'd like to take this one at a time. I'd like to know your response to each of MY responses.

Verse 1: I agree with what you said but that there is more. Jesus is saying that if we can internalize, fully grasp, what he is showing, then the illusion of the separation of body and spirit will be shattered. We can find the nature of our spiritual essence and become aware of how it passes through physical death. Physical death is highly anxiety provoking for us, but need not be. There is no promise of, or reference to, immortality.

your thoughts?

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July 1, 2007
2:51 am
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Verse 2

hmmmmm. I dunno about your take.

The writer is telling us about jesus' concept of eternity. We should seek an answer to our question, and when we find that answer to be the shattering of an illusion, we will indeed be troubled (as this is troubling if not frightening), but marvel at what lies behind that illusion. As we seek and find one answer, 2 more questions emerge, 2 more answers are sought and discovered, 2 more questions for each of those newfound answers emerge, ad infinitum. So that the answer that we seek is not an end in and of itself.

Eventually, we "get it", there is no end to questions and life as we know and as we don't know it. This is truly a thing to marvel over. A true wonder. Eventually we become masters in the shattering of illusion and find rest, peace, repose.

I like your earlier description of continuum and think it applies here.

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July 1, 2007
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"hmmmmm. I dunno about your take.

The writer is telling us about The writer is telling us about jesus' concept of eternity. We should seek an answer to our question, and when we find that answer to be the shattering of an illusion, we will indeed be troubled (as this is troubling if not frightening), but marvel at what lies behind that illusion."

I don't think that anything I wrote contradicts your statement above except the words "jesus' concept of eternity".

I don't think Yeshua mentioned eternity in the 5 verses above at all other than what I believe to be one possible interpretation and extrapolation of the meaning of the words: "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings shall not taste death."

Of course there is always the possibility of consciousness surviving death with the ego intact only to have ego death occur subsequently, resulting in all conscious awareness of a self of any kind evaporating.

You said:

"There is no promise of, or reference to, immortality"

I agree, nor any reference to eternity.

The question regarding immortality is what is it that is immortal or what is permanent and can never terminate?

"We can find the nature of our spiritual essence and become aware of how it passes through physical death."

I don't see any reference to any "spiritual essence" in these verses. Generally speaking, I think this concept of a "spiritual essence" is another manifestation of the ego self trying to protect the notion of selfhood from extinction now and in the nows after death.

However the question of: 'to what "illusions" Yeshua might be hinting at', remains in question at this stage of the reading.

July 1, 2007
10:03 pm
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Perhaps, we should form a Gospel of St Thomas Discussion thread. We are certainly going to kill this thread by this major diversion from the original topic.

July 1, 2007
10:24 pm
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Tez

Just my opinion, but I don't mind the diversion, and I think Red Blonde left it the thread while ago. I can start another one for her if she wants.

July 1, 2007
11:40 pm
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A new thread is fine for me. Or not. If you build it I will come.

🙂

That was a funny.

What did you think about my response to verse 1?

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July 2, 2007
6:45 pm
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After my post of 06-30-07, I started thinking about roses and the rosary and "hail Mary" and searched a while and found this when googling symbols. When a Catholic rosary is spread flat, it reveals a symbol of the planet Venus- a circle surmounting a cross. If a line is drawn, connecting the five beads of the "mysteries" (that is, the five large beads in the circle), a pentagram is formed- the "Rose of Venus." A pentagram is a symbol of the Planet Venus, because of the shape it forms on its travels through the heavens. The name "rosary" means "garland of roses," and early Rose Cross imagery mimicked the shape of the rosary.

So- The rose has significance to the Roman Catholic church, Anglo Catholic Church, the past and current esoteric, Hermetic mystery religions and Wicca, so-called secret societies. I include Wicca, because it seems to be considered a secret religion, although I believe the reasons for secrecy was fear of persecution and death - not exclusive membership. And because the pentagram symbol pops up in Wicca, and the other hermetic societies. The Rose Cross Lamen incorporates and displays the cross, the rose and the pentagram.

Other than the rose symbolism, I haven't delved enough to find other similarities.

But does the symbolism of the rose pre-date the Christian Church? Wicca might, with it's similarities to Druidism- "paganism", but the others are simply an off shoot or an offshoot- of- an- offshoot of the catholic church. The early Church borrowed many "pagan" customs and symbols to gain popularity with the mainstream.

http://www.geocities.com/Athen.....paper3.htm

"The rose (Latin, rosa, in Greek, rhodon) also is a symbol that has a rich and ancient history. And like the cross, it can have paradoxical meanings. It is at once a symbol of purity and a symbol of passion, heavenly perfection and earthly passion; virginity and fertility; death and life. The rose is the flower of the goddess Venus but also the blood of Adonis and of Christ. It is a symbol of transmutation - that of taking food from the earth and transmuting it into the beautiful fragrant rose. The rose garden is a symbol of Paradise. It is the place of the mystic marriage. In ancient Rome, roses were grown in the funerary gardens to symbolize resurrection. The thorns have represented suffering and sacrifice as well as the sins of the Fall from Paradise.

The rose has also been used as a sign of silence and secrecy. The word sub rosa "under the rose" referring to the demand for discretion whenever a rose was hung from the ceiling at a meeting. In the Mysteries roses were sacred to Isis. It is also the flower of her son Harpocrates or younger Horus, the god of silence."

In the Catholic church, the mysteries are counted off on the rosary. I don't understand these mysteries. If anyone that has any knowledge of them would share it with me, I would love to hear it.

I don't understand why the red rose, a symbol of femininity and sexuality is used as a symbol for these religions and organizations that either demand subjugation of and/or deny membership to women. When did sororities become fraternities?? To me, that is a paradox.

July 2, 2007
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Oh shoot. Sorry, I posted on the wrong thread.

July 2, 2007
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Verse 3: Yes. "the Kingdom" is not a place. "God" is not a person. there is nothing physical about any of it. It's within us and around us, in the present. the Kingdom of God is a spiritual phenomenon.

Verse 4: yep

Infants know life, but they don't know place, person, thing. Our chronological age is not concurrent with our soul's age, nor can it be representative of our knowledge about the truth of life.

You wrote: "It is the humility to realise that we cannot use the intellect as the ultimate tool of seeing reality."

Can you rephrase this?

I'm anxious to hear your take on 114:

Here's Verse 114:
(114) Simon Peter said to them, "Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life." Jesus said, "See, I am going to attract her to make her male so that she too might become a living spirit that resembles you males. For every female (element) that makes itself male will enter the kingdom of heaven."

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July 3, 2007
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"You wrote: "It is the humility to realise that we cannot use the intellect as the ultimate tool of seeing reality."

Can you rephrase this?"

If not more, there exists at least one way of knowing that is beyond the intellect. In deep meditation that way of knowing is often experienced. In NDE's experiences are sometimes had that are beyond the intellect's ability to either describe in words or comprehend. It takes a certain amount of humility for the intellect not to summarily dismiss these ways of knowing as being meaningless hallucinations or abberations.

Regarding Verse 114 there has been some controversy about this verse. Some postulate that it is a mischevious addition at a later date when many gospels were being disgarded as gnostic heresy. It's obvious misogyny isn't congruent with the rest of the gospel, in my opinion.

"114.Shimon Kefa says to them: Let Mariam depart from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Yeshúa says: Behold, I shall lure her so that I make her male, in order that she herself shall become a living spirit like you males. For every female who becomes male shall enter the Sovereignty
of the Heavens."

Another possible explanation is that Jesus may have been misrepresented. He may have been talking about powerfully seeing with non-dualistic, inner eye of wisdom for which no devisions or differentiations are real. In the days of Christ males were very dominant and powerful by comparison to women who were often reduced to chattel. Perhaps Christ was trying to use a power metaphor rather than speaking literally as it could appear. Otherwise the last verse is ireconcilible with the rest.

I keep an open mind regarding verse 114 because of the powerful insights contained in much of the rest

July 3, 2007
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NO don't start another thread...I was just feeling that this thread(like you said this would happen, Bevdee) has caught alot of FLACK (Is that how you put it?

I was have been reading and pondering what has been said and is being said. Quite interesting and informative.

And I kind of feel like I opened another "can of worms".

July 3, 2007
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BEVDEE ~

What other post were you talking about....when you were talking about the Rosary ....WICCA and such?

July 3, 2007
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Hi Red!,

Good to see you back on this thread, girl.

Since you said you weren't familiar with Libs, I suspected you might have felt like you opened a can or worms and were being polite about posting, but rest assured, that can has been open for a long time, way before I got here. Maybe 8 years.

The thread I posted the roses and mystery stuff is in Is the Bible a collection of superstitious beliefs?. That's here on the Libs side, too.

July 3, 2007
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Bevdee ~

I posted to Rising on my thread on the Support side and was thinking about posting a thread to the Libs said as well. In the REAL world, not cyber world, I have been given 'nicknames' one of which is

PARADOX

I think I really need to talk about the 'other' side of me, of my life. Am reluctant and afraid to do so to any great length at this time...

So I will keep reading.....for now.

July 3, 2007
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RedBlonde

Paradox- are you a Gemini? 🙂 Sometimes it's hard to get started. Some stuff just pours out, and other stuff is more stubborn, isn't it? Good to see you.

July 3, 2007
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Bevdee ~

I am at very END of Pisces...March 20th...and twelve or thirteen minutes (degrees wise) from Aries. That is if you take my BIRTH TIME.

Sorry I didn't post sooner...went (or was 'sent') on a 'word search'....ever been on one? Where one word's definition leads to another then another?

July 3, 2007
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Somewhere I acquired a second edition Webster's dictionary printed in 1934...and at least 6 or 7 inches thick filled with alot of rare and archaic descriptions and definitions...obsolete uses and meanings.

July 3, 2007
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Bevdee ~

You a Gemini? 'First Love' - who found me after 37 years - is a Gemini!

July 3, 2007
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Has anyone ever read the Egyptian 'Book of the Dead'?

July 3, 2007
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I posted that question to 'Is the Bible....' as well.

July 3, 2007
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Red

Yes- we're Gemini- both of us!! :O I would love to see your dictionary. I love old books.

July 4, 2007
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I was just theorizing on the other thread. Truth be told, I do believe as that UNIVERSAL CREATIVE FORCE/ENERGY as "GOD". I just have not put any 'form' to GOD. I hope I didn't upset anyone. When I had been growing up with my Methodist masked but OhSO ROMAN CATHOLIC parents - I spent alot of time ALONE with the exception of school and my SM.

I AM GLAD YOU ARE A GEMINI! You and SM are now the only two that I 'know'.

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