As I continue to pull from religious texts the world over, I decided to pick this week from one of the really lesser known ones: The Gospel of Thomas. For those who don’t know, the Gospel of Thomas is one of those Gospels that didn’t make the cut from Constantine’s Council of Nicea, who, four-hundred years after the death of Christ, were able to tell which Gospels, epistles, and revelations were the word of God and thus made it into the New Testament, and which were not and got cut. (They also made some edits to the ones that got in, because while the New Testament books were inspired by God, God clearly didn’t get it right on the first draft—silly God, what
would you do if the Council of Nicea wasn’t there to correct your mistakes?)
The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus. Some look similar to those found in the canonical Gospels…others do not. I’m going to pull one of those that have no counterparts. Verse 70.
Jesus said: ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.’
As with most lines in a spiritual text you can probably read a lot of levels in any line, but I want to focus on the idea that your salvation, is inside you, that the light of God is in your soul. Know thyself. Happiness is a choice. A dozen other variations throughout history and philosophy.
Your soul, that spark of God within you, is really all that matters. If you are trying to find Happiness, contentment, salvation, or escape anywhere besides your soul, you’re kind of missing the point. And the lack of your soul in your life will, spiritually, kill you.
So this week, I want to drive this dagger home, and so I want to try something a little radical…
As you sit down for your daily meditation, I want you to imagine your life. Now imagine that you lose the job you have and are stuck at something dull and monotonous (if you don’t already have that) with only bare subsistence pay. Now tell yourself, “Even with that I still have my soul. I still have God’s love. I will still find Happiness.” The next day imagine not only losing your job, but add losing your acquaintances that you hang out with (I would say friends, but you can’t ever lose friends, even if they die, that’s what makes them friends—you can, however, lose acquaintances.) Again, “Even with that I still have my soul. I still have God’s love. I will still find Happiness.” Each day strip more and more away, and remind yourself that all of these things are transitory and impermanent, which is what makes them something other than the source of Happiness and salvation. They may be a reflection of our thoughts, of our Happiness and of our soul…but they are not what matters, they are not what bring us Happiness.
No matter how much or little you have, you have your soul, which is all you need. “‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.”
Now, I will say that since I do believe in the laws of attraction, the idea that your thoughts shape reality, focusing on losing everything might have some negative consequences. But luckily positive thoughts are thousands of times more powerful than negative ones. So if you spend 10 minutes stripping your life of all it’s worldly items and reminding yourself that these are not what bring you Happiness, you might want to follow that with 5-10 minutes of focusing on your ideal life. 5-10 minutes of the ideal job, ideal house, ideal relationship. Yes these aren’t what bring you Happiness…but they don’t hurt either…and taken with the right attitude they can serve as reminders of your connection to God.