A few thoughts I’ve gleaned from the Gospel of Thomas that may be worth elaborating on:

– Poverty is not measured by external wealth, but by how well one knows one’s self.

Know what is before your face, and what is hidden from thee shall be revealed to you. We are responsible for figuring out what we can sense, feel, comprehend. Realites exist that we do not, perhaps can never grasp; this fact should keep us humble and diligent as intelligent beings, but should never discourage us from wrestling with life.

– A wise fisherman is one who chooses the largest fish with ease, quickly, from a harvest of small fish which he then promptly returns to the sea. The allegorical implications speak to a principled life aimed at the best, at the cost of what may be good or great. It reminds me of another parable Christ shares in one of the four New Testatment gospels, that one of who sells all he has to gain the pearl.

What you bring forth in yourselves, that will you save you. If you do not have it in yourselves, that which you do not have will kill you. I personaly don’t see that as the “salvation of the soul” or the spirit, but rather of the human psyche in light of artistic expression, in that those with a creative outlet for the decomposition, alchemization, and regeneration of one’s emotions and experiences enter the valleys of life and emerge “saved”–intact, breathing, carrying on. Those who know not how to do so, or have not toiled to develop pathways through which artistic creation (broadly defined as creation which communicates that which cannot be put into words) suffer through destructive implosion or explosion of their psyche, resulting in death of one’s self in some hidden, perverse way.

Wretched is the body which depends on a body, and wretched is the soul which depends upon these two. This is why I love dance and parkour, and why I view life as multiple levels of existence existing simultaneously. The state of my soul is not dependant on what my body feels like or looks like, tho there are connections between the two; nor does my body have to depend entirely on how it is, or what it feels like in the moment, to accomplish what it is capable of.

He who has found the world and become rich, let him deny the world. A fascinating variation on the many exhortations in the New Testament to deny self and the world. It gets more interesting when we put this verse alongside Christ’s question of “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) Is it when you have gained the world (or enough of it) that you truly and fully see it for what it is–entirely, absolutely profitless? Is denying the world the first step toward recovering our own souls, whether in the artistic/human sense, or even in the spiritual sense? Really, what is the world?

He who shall find himself, of him the world is not worthy. This line reminds me of the bridge in Vincent by Don McLean:

For they could not love you
But still your love was true

And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you

Isn’t Christ the ultimate human being Who has discovered, lived out, and died as one who knew exactly who He was? The world was never, is not, and could never be worthy of one such as He.

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