Most spiritual traditions encourage followers to recognize the spirit in others. Most of us find this hard to do especially if we have to deal with bored shop assistants, hooligans, or even dictators. Where is God in these people?
Logion 15 in the Gospel of Thomas seems to give us a clue:
When you see
Him who was not begotten of woman
prostrate yourselves upon your face
and worship him;
that one is your Father
It may seem obvious that "Him who was not begotten of woman" refers to God. But God is mentioned only once in Thomas. One of Jesus' key themes is removing duality - and God is seen as something other than our Real Self, the Kingdom, the Father, the All, etc. If "Him who was not begotten of woman" is not God, then what could it mean?
At the deeper level, the phrase represents a quality of the Real Self, the Father, the All. We are not expected to see God herself, but to see Her facets or qualities in the other person. For example, the bored shop assistant who cares for an elderly relative, the hooligan who adores his bull terrier, and the dictator who cherishes his children.
In attempting to communicate with others our problem lies in detecting that God-like quality. How can we know of this caring, love, and kindness when we only see the outward faces of boredom, violence, or evil?
To solve this problem the answer lies in the source of such qualities in ourselves. It is here that the Teachings of Jesus given in the Gospel of Thomas offer us an entirely different way to find this answer, it is a real contrast with the more traditional ideas we are accustomed to.
By giving many examples, Jesus helps us discern the negative side of our beings, and he shows that by lessening its influence our positive qualities come to the fore. These qualities of caring, love, and kindness, are manifestations of our Real Self. When we recognize this then communication can take place at a completely different level from the normal 'world'. Communication and conversation between Real Selves!
Others may not be aware or have any concept of a Real Self, a Soul, or the many names it is called, but that quality flows within them and will reveal its existence.
We are challenged to develop our own Real Self with which to communicate and to use it to discern it in others no matter how little it may appear to be.