Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Getting all proto-Gnostic.
"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
The Gospel of Thomas is apparently a collections of sayings attributed to Jesus, rather than a narrative of Jesus's life, which were written prior to the other Gnostic works. Gnosis is self-knowledge or insight. Well, what shrink doesn't like that? The idea, as I understand it, is that rather than accepting the Church as the authority about spirituality, you look within yourself. Which fits for me, given my own nontheistic Buddhist-Quaker approach to spirituality. (And yes, you can be all that at once - the practice of mindfulness can be employed in any framework and there is a substantial minority of liberal Quakers who do not believe in a god.) Anyway, the individualized insight-driven revelation of the Gnostics, the true self encountered in mindfulness meditation, the light within experienced when the Quaker engages in centering prayer, the self-awareness sought in the relationship that is psychotherapy - all place a primary emphasis on the importance of knowing one's own self.