What is Gnosticism? Transcendence a
“I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment
It is for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment”
Once again, exploring what I consider to be a “universal” aspect of Gnosticism. The following is my opinion and my opinion alone. I am not an expert and please do not think I am.
As we begin our spiritual life we often describe it, or find it is a journey. When we participate in a journey we “walk” upon a path. Hence one reason why various spiritual practices are called paths. Sufism, Wicca, Zen, Hinduism, Gnosticism…these are paths.
Religion is a club hence the beatings
Spirituality is a journey hence the path
When beginning our journey we find that we are reaching new things. Indeed many “paths” (for example of paths: Zen, Hinduism, Wicca, Islam etc.) When we first begin experiencing heightened awareness or new forms of consciousness we gain certain perspectives. Often these new events are seen as something new. I communicated with a host of Angels, I was in the presence of an inner master, I have moved out of my body and astrally projected etc.
To many this IS transcendence. To a Gnostic however there is more. Let us examine the classic Thomas 22 logion:
Jesus saw infants being suckled.
He said to his disciples,
“These infants being suckled
are like those who enter the kingdom.”
They said to him,
“Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?”
Jesus said to them,
“When you make the two one,
and when you make the inside like the outside
and the outside like the inside,
and the above like the below, and when you
make the male and the female one and the same,
so that the male not be male
nor the female female;
and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand,
and a foot in place of a foot,
and a likeness in place of a likeness;
then will you enter the kingdom.”
Jesus saw some infants being suckled by their mother. We are hit initially with the image of childhood. Perhaps this signifies being in a childlike state, being fed by Sophia herself. For we are told it is these that will enter heaven. Jesus goes on to tell us further instructions for entering heaven. We are told we must make the above like the below, the left like the right, the male like the female etc. What does this mean? Well quite obviously it is a combination of opposites. We see this restated of course quite clearly in Philip:
“Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.”
Again we see the dichotomy of opposites and how they are false. Life and death, right and left. Good is not Good and evil is not evil. Mary tells us:
“Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?
26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
28) Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you.”
There is no SIN but it is you who MAKE sin. Of course this does not mean we should stick pencils in our nose and proclaim we are the queen of Sweden, as we have discernment. But what Yeshu is telling us in Mary, Philip and Thomas is that opposites and sin only exist if we allow them to. To gain Gnosis, to enter heaven we must transcend. We must leave our mundain conciousness and move elsewhere. To see in a new way. This is transcendence.
“When my Beloved appears,With what eye do I see Him?
With His eye, not with mine,
For none sees Him except Himself.”
The trap that most fall into at this stage is thinking something is new. From a Gnostic perspective, escape or leaving the illusion or incorrect reality of opposites and sin (the realm of the demi urge and the archons)is seen as literal escape. A classic example found in many paths is climbing up a mountain. Our “journey” is seen as walking up a mountain and when we have reached the summit we will be in a different place.
”There was a big pond, and in it there were three fishes. The fist fish was One-Thought, the second fish was Hundred-Thoughts, and the third fish was Thousand-Thoughts. At some time a fisherman came and cast his net. He caught those two fishes of many thoughts; but he did not catch the fish One-Thought.”
–Manichaean Parable (Turtan fragment M127)
Mani tells us here that only the fish with One thought was saved. The fishes with many thoughts were not saved. Similarly we are told in the Seven Sermons to the dead that everything is the Pleroma. Everything IS the Pleroma… EVERYTHINGS IS THE PLEROMA….
So by climbing the mountain we are not reaching the top, we are reaching the bottom. Wherever we go, there we are. So from a Gnostic perspective, we are already IN heaven. We are ALREADY God….we are already the way (Tao)…
“There is no path that leads to Zen.
How can you follow a path to where you are right now?”
There is no path to Gnosis, to knowing. As you already KNOW. Philip tells us to know something we must BECOME it. We already ARE “it”, we but simply have to learn this.
Thus to truly transcend
We must not transcend.
To be we must not be
To see we must be blind
To speak we must be silent
This “aspect” of Gnosticism is of course found in a great many other “paths” (as I have hinted). Thus we should not pretend that Gnosticism or whatever our path is the “only way”, as this is just plain silly.
“The essence of divinity is found in every single thing – nothing but it exists. Since it causes every thing to be, no thing can live by anything else. It enlivens them, its existence exists in each existent.
Do not attribute duality to God. Let God be solely God. If you suppose that Ain Sof emanates until a certain point, and that from that point on is outside of it, you have dualized. God forbid! Do not say, ‘This is a stone and not God.’ God forbid! Rather, all existence is God, and the stone is a thing pervaded by divinity.”
– Moses Cordovero (Shiur Komah)