...unlearning what you thought you knew.
"When you are able to make two become one,
the inside like the outside,
and the outside like the inside,
the higher like the lower,
so that a man is no longer male,
and a woman, female,
but male and female become a single whole;
When you are able to fashion an eye to replace an eye,
and form a hand in place of a hand, or a foot for a foot,
making one image supersede another --
then you will enter in."
Jesus, Logion 22, The Gospel of Thomas**
Yeah - we're just going there today. Full on gospel-ing.
I love the Gospel of Thomas for so many reasons but one of them is because it hasn't been tainted by colonialized Christianity. The Gospel of Thomas (along with The Gospels of Mary Magdalene and Philip) were discovered in 1945 and still haven't been widely shared because ... well ... of teachings like these.
This logion has been on my heart and I felt called today to share with you how I experience it. You may have a completely different experience of it ... which is awesome. Please share it with me if you do!
For today, I want to hone in on the second to last line when Jesus says, "making one image supercede another," which I feel is really the essence of this wisdom teaching. Here, he is referring to the practice of kenosis, or self-emptying. The humble practice of being willing to unlearn what you thought you knew. The willingness to be fluid in nature - to let yourself, others, and everything you touch come and go without grasping too tightly onto them. The practice of both showing up connected to who you are, what you value, and what matters to you and being willing to be challenged on that and to drop that which you thought was a value but actually is a veil.
This entire logion is a call to wholeness - to integrate the binary nature that we often find ourselves trapped in. To release binary gender expression (i.e. male and female) and to embrace a spectrum of gender expression and identity (yes, Jesus was talking about this 16+ centuries ago!). To integrate our temporary humanity and our infinite wisdom by fully expressing both; by fully self-emptying both into the world that we inhabit. We don't often give ourselves permission to be both humanity and divinity. We are often told or feel as though we have to choose one or the other. That we have to be either human or wise; that we have to be either intellectual or intuitive; that we have to be either practical or dreamy.
Jesus, I feel, if offering us a sacred and practical call-to-wholeness. He is saying, "Be whole! Be the spectrum that you are! Be human! Be divine! Be imperfect! Be wise! Be messy! Be beautiful!"
And this has nothing to do really with reaching some state of consciousness or having a rigorous daily meditation practice. Rather, Jesus asks us to lean into our innately paradoxical nature. To stop resisting our humanity. To stop resisting our divinity. To stop over-identifying with strict dogma. To stop over-identifying with how "spiritual" we think we are. To release either/or consciousness and practice embracing both/and consciousness.
To embody this, we don't need to do or be anything fancy. We only need an open, willing, and determined heart and mind - to call upon the Holy Spirit within to cleanse our lens of perception so that we may integrate our temporary humanity and infinite soul.
**This translation is from The Luminous Gospels by Cynthia Bourgeault, Lynn Bauman, and Ward Bauman