3 Insights Gnostic Christianity Can Teach You About Modern Day Spirituality
In 1945, a young Shepard boy stumbled upon ancient scrolls in a small town of Upper Egypt. Stuffed in a red earthenware jar were thirteen papyrus books, bound in leather, some were titled, The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip and The Gospel of Truth. It would later be discovered the scrolls were the hidden writings of the living Jesus, sacred to the Gnostics. Gnosticism emerged around two – thousand years ago, when the early church was in its infancy. The writings were buried 1600 years ago, probably from the increasing powerful church authorities.
If you were a gnostic you followed a self-discovery path, leading you to God. The word Gnosis is of Greek origin and means knowledge. Self-knowledge was a holy ritual to the Gnostics. One would say Gnosticism is the esoteric hidden wisdom of Christianity, because it’s not understood by the masses. According to the Gnostics, one had to be spiritually mature to learn the secret teachings of Jesus Christ. One had to think as opposed to believing in an outside God.
One gnostic teacher said,
“Abandon the search for God and the creation and other matters of a similar sort. Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point. Learn who it is within you, who makes everything his own and says, my god, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body. Learn the sources of sorrow, joy, love, hate…If you carefully investigate these matters, you will find him in yourself.”
Mainstream Christianity talks of sin and redemption. If one is an adherent of this doctrine, all one has to do is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will save them from their sins. With this notion, Jesus Christ is used as a highly regarded scapegoat.
Fifteen-hundred years earlier in the desert of the Sinai on Yom Kippur, the original scapegoat emerged. At the base of Mt. Sinai, Moses asked his brother Aaron to draw two lots, one for the sacrificial goat and one for the scapegoat. Each goat had a different but same task to rid the community of its sins.
What exoteric Judaism and Christianity have in common is that their members are not taking responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, or actions. They will just observe Yom Kippur and throw a piece of bread out into the world, or believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and they are forgiven. Gnostic Christianity talks of ignorance and knowledge. Gnosticism doesn’t adhere to a mediator but instead wants their members to become Christ. The Gospel of Thomas says, Jesus said, “he who drinks from my mouth will become like me, and I will become like him [her], and the hidden things will be revealed.”
Instead of being a passive recipient, we can be an initiator of our own life, they said. Another saying in the Gospel of Thomas says,
“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 will not bring forth will destroy you.”
The Dialogue of the Savior, another Gnostic book said,
“Bring in your guide and your teacher. The mind is the guide but reason is the teacher…Live according to your mind…Acquire strength, for the mind is strong…Enlighten your mind…Light the lamp within you.”
Some two- thousand years after these sacred words were written, Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist and founder of Psychoanalysis brought to light the unconscious mind. He understood what was conscious to us was only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath our conscious mind are all the forgotten memories, inhibitions, and beliefs we have stored, but still dictate our lives, making us passive passengers to our fate and not an initiate. The Gnostics considered a member who became a spiritual initiate was equal to Jesus Christ.
Here are 3 insights to help you achieve gnosis:
Free Yourself from a God totally outside of you
To become a member of a gnostic sect, one had to be released from what they called the demiurge; the god who is worshipped as the creator. A gnostic cannot be under the demiurge’s authority and judgment. Without this release, one cannot know the depth of all being. The Gnostic’s goal was to understand profound wisdom within and without:
“I am a son, [daughter] from the father-the father who is preexistent…I derive being from him who is preexistent, and I come again to my own place, whence [from the source] I came forth.”
Can you let go of a personal God?
The Gnostics valued solitude as a form of study. They also studied with a teacher and read, the gnostic scriptures, and the Old and New Testaments to understand their own mind. The Testimony of Truth says,
“The gnostic becomes a disciple of his mind, discovering that his own mind is “the father of the truth.”
Do you have the courage to be a disciple of your own mind?
Receiving a charismatic gift
Eventually, each member after knowing their mind would come to know the depth of their being. They would receive a charismatic gift, a present reinforcing their knowledge of the god within.
The Gnostic’s said, “every initiate was assumed to have received, through the intiation ritual, the charismatic gift of direct inspiration through the Holy Spirit.”
Are you ready to receive a Charismatic gift from the God within you?
Meme-A Concept That Spreads From Person to Person
In this culture of New Age spiritual concepts and beliefs floating around, we have incorporated certain keywords like soul mates, twin flames, reincarnation, mindfulness, and even yoga into our daily lives. We accept and use these words without ever doing the work of gnosis- acquiring the self-knowledge that would lead us to understand these terms.
Are you ready to achieve gnosis?
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