Moving Beyond POV to Way, Truth, Life

The older I get the more I realize that I need less thinking and more awareness.  Thought is a poor substitute for awareness: a sideways glance that needs to be a gaping stare. Saying 48 of the Chinese Taoist classic the Tao teh Ching (The Book of the Virtuous Way) puts it succinctly: 

Learning seeks to add

From day to day;

Wisdom seeks to diminish

From day to day—

 

Diminishing and diminishing

Until there is no coercion,

Though all gets done.

 

I suspect this is what Jesus was getting at when he talked about realizing the kingdom of Heaven. The Gospel of Thomas shows Jesus working in this vein. For example, in Saying #67 Jesus says,

 Those who know it all but do not know themselves don’t know anything.

 

Yes, that’s putting it bluntly. In Saying #69 Jesus says,

Blessed are those who have persecuted themselves, for they truly know the Father. 

 

That’s a Beatitude of another sort. In Saying #70 Jesus says,

 

When you conceive for yourself, you save yourself.  That which you do not have in yourself will kill you.

 

Well, yes, but the Gospel of Thomas is all just Gnostic, heretical stuff, right? Perhaps not. The Gospel of Thomas shows Jesus working in a very old wisdom tradition that the canonical gospels tend to obscure. Compare the sayings of Jesus to this chapter, 50, of the Tao teh Ching:

We come forth and live;

We enter again and die.

 

Out of every ten, three are

Out for their own lives,

And three are out to kill.

 

Then there are another three

Who wish to serve life but

Spread death instead. Why?

Because they try too hard. 

 

But one in ten—that one goes

Without danger, without

Protection or weapon

 

Because no sharp edges

May enter. Why? Because

That one does not serve death.

 

Sounds a bit like Jesus, doesn’t it? It expands the meaning a bit on John 14:6, in which Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

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