Andrew Harvey, author of the definitive work on Jesus' true life and message; Son of Man, dissects in another of his literary offerings, A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides: Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Ramakrishna, the Gospel of Thomas, the most important of the works found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Gospel of Thomas was written by one of Jesus' close followers, and most likely in Thomas' own lifetime. Thus it is unlike the gospels contained in the Bible, which were written by committees decades after Jesus' passing and were not by one author, as many of us have believed. So there is no Chinese whispering or convenient editing here!
Thomas was one of Jesus' most devout followers and the record of his interactions with the man we have come to know as Christ gives us the clearest portrayal of who Jesus was and the essence of his teaching. Jesus was not a guru looking for disciples. He abhorred power structures, particularly those that carried the pretence of leading people to the Divine.
Jesus was all about individual empowerment, not in some crass material way, but in the ultimate way - divinisation of the self. To quote from A Walk With Four Spiritual Guides: "It has always seemed to me far more than a vivid coincidence that in 1945 should occur both the first lethal explosions of the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the discovery in a small desert cave near Nag Hammadi, in upper Egypt, of a lost gospel, now known as the gospel of Thomas. It is as if, at the very moment when humanity was brought face to face with its most extreme capacities for horror, evil, and destruction, so also in Jesus' astonishing, incandescent vision of the Kingdom in the Gospel of Thomas, humanity was shown what it could still achieve if only it woke up and realised the splendour of its divine secret identity."
In this paragraph, Andrew Harvey shows the continued madness that has overrun human society. Not content with torturing and killing the being who brings us the ultimate path, the power structures in command of human society turned their madness on the planet and all of humanity, murdering people by the millions and decimating nature. Yet it is in the darkest hour as the darkness polarises into psychotic structures (no matter how well the PR machines try to blind us) that also the light is birthed, the answer, the panacea for our personal and global woes.
But the anti-venom, the "God pill" is not an easy path; it is not another form of mental and emotional escape. Rather it is the way of the spiritual warrior taking the ills of the world head on and seeing into the darkest pits of self aggrandisement and self loathing. For to follow the path set out by Jesus is to become staggeringly sober both to one's own and society's shortcomings and do something about both, most importantly one's own! It requires the dismantling and, where necessary, the destruction of the power structures of domination inside and outside set up by personal and international ego.
In one of the first sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, a quote by Jesus leaves us in no doubt as to the level of commitment to bring this divination about…this is no weekend workshop: "Jesus said: The seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find, he will be disturbed. After having been disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everything."
Harvey's explanation of what Jesus is trying to instill in the listener, is this: "The life to which Jesus is inviting everyone is not one of endless seeking, but one of finding - finding the truth and power of human divinity by risking everything to uncover them. From his own harrowing experience, Jesus knows that finding cannot be without suffering; to find out the truth of your own inner divinity is to be "disturbed"; disturbed by the gap between your human shadow and its dark games and the abyss of light within…"
The words contained on the pages of this ancient parchment represent high treason, for the church hierarchy that had been created during the almost 2000 years since Jesus, in whose name they were raised, had died. Far from considering himself as God's regent on earth, the Gospel of Thomas depicts Jesus as vigorously rejecting this notion and explaining that he is here to set man free by showing him his own path to divinity. Jesus strongly dismisses any worship or divinity projected on him, instead having his disciples search inside for the divinity within.
In Harvey's words: "Unlike many of the gurus and so-called teachers of our time, whose vague transcendental waffling further drugs an already comatose culture and leaves every aspect of the status quo intact, Jesus' vision of the new way was rooted not only in visionary ecstasy but in an utterly illusion-less and ruthless analysis of power in all of its aspects. This is what made him - and makes him - dangerous, perpetually scandalous, and what makes the gospel of Thomas a fiery challenge, not only to less incendiary versions of his own message, but to all philosophies that do not propose a complex mystical revolution on every level."
I believe that it is vital in these times of great change and turmoil around the world, where national borders seem to change daily with great bloodshed and suffering, where ancient forests are decimated and water supplies contaminated to keep the economy temporarily afloat, where Japan, a country that lost almost 250,000 people when the atomic bombs where dropped in 1945 and has suffered the recent self inflicted nuclear disaster (if you put up nuclear power plants you are playing with fire, if you put them on continental fault lines you are beyond stupid) continues in the same vein. Where we are horrified at the planetary destruction but continue to source power from fossil fuels and live off the spoils of this destruction.
In this time of obvious planetary psychosis more than ever the vision and plan of Jesus is more important. As the churches and the blocks to mysticism that they have created crumble, it is essential we do not throw the divine baby out with the bathwater but reclaim the true vision and teachings of Jesus to transform ourselves and our society. You can read The Secret and manifest yourself some new Gucci underpants if you want or you can do something real for yourself and real for the world and take the inner journey that leads to outer transformation. It is my assertion that Jesus above all the great mystics in our awareness embodies the solution to our travails and that Andrew Harvey has found the combination to unlock the, until now, misunderstood interpretation.
At 26, following a “shamanic intervention”, Jeremy closed his business and left London to visit sacred sites and elders, later creating Transformational Tours and SacredFire.
When not roaming mother earth, you will find Jeremy at home in Byron Bay's hinterland, playing with his children and planning the next adventure. firstname.lastname@example.org