Every day we are bombarded by all kinds of media trying to influence our thoughts and behaviour. TV celebrities recommend products, newspapers mix fact with opinion to the extent that we are no longer able to discern the truth, and statements by politicians are often ‘economical with the truth’ in order to influence our opinions. This of course is nothing new. Since the first gathering of humans into groups, someone has been trying to influence another.
In the art world, the Old Masters set up schools where students learned all the techniques through copying and completing their master’s work. This influence was so effective that many art works are attributed as “in the style of …”. It's not actual copying, more a varitaion-on-a-theme; there is little inspiration.
Even in product design it’s common to see in a ‘new’ product the all influences of its ancestors. They have to provide new features and functions yet be distance themselves from their competitors. Again it's not actual copying, more a varitaion-on-a-theme; there is little inspiration.
Our churches use the descriptions of Jesus’ life in the New Testament to influence their congregations. Jesus’ teachings are usually followed by explanations and are entwined with stories of ‘miracles’. These descriptions and explanations are themselves heavily influenced by the NT author’s own social context and history. One result of this combination of influences is that people tend to copy what they believe to be the teachings when in reality they are copying the authors’ or churches interpretation, such as charitable acts, simpler lifestyles. They have become personal variations-on-a-theme.
As you are aware, the Gospel of Thomas gives us access to the words of Jesus without this surrounding ‘dross’. There are no stories nor explanations except perhaps clarifications of the text by the translators. Jesus does not provide us with anything to copy. He is not trying to influence us, he does not want us to be a copy nor a variation-on-a-them; he wants to inspire us.
His words are directed at you; to you personally; when Jesus says “He who …” it means YOU! I suggest you re-read the 'Thomas' substituting “he who...” with “You are …”
At the core of this Gospel teaching is the individual. It’s not urging us towards ‘good works’, eco-friendly living, and so on. Jesus is urging us towards the Kingdom within. For us to make the choice. For us to become inspired.
This inspiration comes when we take a moment out of our time-worn lives; take a creative pause. It can include times of contemplation or reflection, but it may also happen at the most unlikely times; for example when we bathe or shower in the morning. Such a repetitive act requires so little thinking that it can give that moment, that wonderful moment for inspiration to come.
Our Real Self wants to communicate with us, but are we listening?
“Become Yourself...” [#42].