The Gospel of Truth

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The Gospel of Truth 28 Oct 2007 09:04 #8545

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THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY

The Nag Hammadi Library
The Gospel of Truth

Translated by Robert M. Grant

The gospel of truth is joy to those who have received from the Father of truth the gift of knowing him by the power of the Logos, who has come from the Pleroma and who is in the thought and the mind of the Father; he it is who is called \"the Savior,\" since that is the name of the work which he must do for the redemption of those who have not known the Father. For the name of the gospel is the manifestation of hope, since that is the discovery of those who seek him, because the All sought him from whom it had come forth. You see, the All had been inside of him, that illimitable, inconceivable one, who is better than every thought.

This ignorance of the Father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But it worked on its hylic substance vainly, because it did not know the truth. It was in a fashioned form while it was preparing, in power and in beauty, the equivalent of truth. This then, was not a humiliation for him, that illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas this established truth is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.

For this reason, do not take error too seriously. Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. The forgetfulness of error was not revealed. It did not become light beside the Father. Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist.

That is the gospel of him whom they seek, which he has revealed to the perfect through the mercies of the Father as the hidden mystery, Jesus the Christ. Through him he enlightened those who were in darkness because of forgetfulness. He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. He became a fruit of the knowledge of the Father. He did not, however, destroy them because they ate of it. He rather caused those who ate of it to be joyful because of this discovery.

And as for him, them he found in himself, and him they found in themselves, that illimitable, inconceivable one, that perfect Father who made the all, in whom the All is, and whom the All lacks, since he retained in himself their perfection, which he had not given to the all. The Father was not jealous. What jealousy, indeed, is there between him and his members? For, even if the Aeon had received their perfection, they would not have been able to approach the perfection of the Father, because he retained their perfection in himself, giving it to them as a way to return to him and as a knowledge unique in perfection. He is the one who set the All in order and in whom the All existed and whom the All lacked. As one of whom some have no knowledge, he desires that they know him and that they love him. For what is it that the All lacked, if not the knowledge of the Father?

He became a guide, quiet and in leisure. In the middle of a school he came and spoke the Word, as a teacher. Those who were wise in their own estimation came to put him to the test. But he discredited them as empty-headed people. They hated him because they really were not wise men. After all these came also the little children, those who possess the knowledge of the Father. When they became strong they were taught the aspects of the Father's face. They came to know and they were known. They were glorified and they gave glory. In their heart, the living book of the Living was manifest, the book which was written in the thought and in the mind of the Father and, from before the foundation of the All, is in that incomprehensible part of him.

This is the book which no one found possible to take, since it was reserved for him who will take it and be slain. No one was able to be manifest from those who believed in salvation as long as that book had not appeared. For this reason, the compassionate, faithful Jesus was patient in his sufferings until he took that book, since he knew that his death meant life for many. Just as in the case of a will which has not yet been opened, for the fortune of the deceased master of the house is hidden, so also in the case of the All which had been hidden as long as the Father of the All was invisible and unique in himself, in whom every space has its source. For this reason Jesus appeared. He took that book as his own. He was nailed to a cross. He affixed the edict of the Father to the cross.

Oh, such great teaching! He abases himself even unto death, though he is clothed in eternal life. Having divested himself of these perishable rags, he clothed himself in incorruptibility, which no one could possibly take from him. Having entered into the empty territory of fears, he passed before those who were stripped by forgetfulness, being both knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart of the Father, so that he became the wisdom of those who have received instruction. But those who are to be taught, the living who are inscribed in the book of the living, learn for themselves, receiving instructions from the Father, turning to him again.

Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him. Therefore, if one has knowledge, he gets what belongs to him and draws it to himself. For he who is ignorant, is deficient, and it is a great deficiency, since he lacks that which will make him perfect. Since the perfection of the All is in the Father, it is necessary for the All to ascend to him and for each one to get the things which are his. He registered them first, having prepared them to be given to those who came from him.

Those whose name he knew first were called last, so that the one who has knowledge is he whose name the Father has pronounced. For he whose name has not been spoken is ignorant. Indeed, how shall one hear if his name has not been uttered? For he who remains ignorant until the end is a creature of forgetfulness and will perish with it. If this is not so, why have these wretches no name, why do they have no sound? Hence, if one has knowledge, he is from above. If he is called, he hears, he replies, and he turns toward him who called him and he ascends to him and he knows what he is called. Since he has knowledge, he does the will of him who called him. He desires to please him and he finds rest. He receives a certain name. He who thus is going to have knowledge knows whence he came and whither he is going. He knows it as a person who, having become intoxicated, has turned from his drunkenness and having come to himself, has restored what is his own.

He has turned many from error. He went before them to their own places, from which they departed when they erred because of the depth of him who surrounds every place, whereas there is nothing which surrounds him. It was a great wonder that they were in the Father without knowing him and that they were able to leave on their own, since they were not able to contain him and know him in whom they were, for indeed his will had not come forth from him. For he revealed it as a knowledge with which all its emanations agree, namely, the knowledge of the living book which he revealed to the Aeons at last as his letters, displaying to them that these are not merely vowels nor consonants, so that one may read them and think of something void of meaning; on the contrary, they are letters which convey the truth. They are pronounced only when they are known. Each letter is a perfect truth like a perfect book, for they are letters written by the hand of the unity, since the Father wrote them for the Aeons, so that they by means of his letters might come to know the Father.

While his wisdom mediates on the logos, and since his teaching expresses it, his knowledge has been revealed. His honor is a crown upon it. Since his joy agrees with it, his glory exalted it. It has revealed his image. It has obtained his rest. His love took bodily form around it. His trust embraced it. Thus the logos of the Father goes forth into the All, being the fruit of his heart and expression of his will. It supports the All. It chooses and also takes the form of the All, purifying it, and causing it to return to the Father and to the Mother, Jesus of the utmost sweetness. The Father opens his bosom, but his bosom is the Holy Spirit. He reveals his hidden self which is his son, so that through the compassion of the Father the Aeons may know him, end their wearying search for the Father and rest themselves in him, knowing that this is rest. After he had filled what was incomplete, he did away with form. The form of it is the world, that which it served. For where there is envy and strife, there is an incompleteness; but where there is unity, there is completeness. Since this incompleteness came about because they did not know the Father, so when they know the Father, incompleteness, from that moment on, will cease to exist. As one's ignorance disappears when he gains knowledge, and as darkness disappears when light appears, so also incompleteness is eliminated by completeness. Certainly, from that moment on, form is no longer manifest, but will be dissolved in fusion with unity. For now their works lie scattered. In time unity will make the spaces complete. By means of unity each one will understand itself. By means of knowledge it will purify itself of diversity with a view towards unity, devouring matter within itself like fire and darkness by light, death by life.

Certainly, if these things have happened to each one of us, it is fitting for us, surely, to think about the All so that the house may be holy and silent for unity. Like people who have moved from a neighborhood, if they have some dishes around which are not good, they usually break them. Nevertheless the householder does not suffer a loss, but rejoices, for in the place of these defective dishes there are those which are completely perfect. For this is the judgement which has come from above and which has judged every person, a drawn two-edged sword cutting on this side and that. When it appeared, I mean, the Logos, who is in the heart of those who pronounce it - it was not merely a sound but it has become a body - a great disturbance occurred among the dishes, for some were emptied, others filled: some were provided for, others were removed; some were purified, still others were broken. All the spaces were shaken and disturbed for they had no composure nor stability. Error was disturbed not knowing what it should do. It was troubled; it lamented, it was beside itself because it did not know anything. When knowledge, which is its abolishment, approached it with all its emanations, error is empty, since there is nothing in it. Truth appeared; all its emanations recognized it. They actually greeted the Father with a power which is complete and which joins them with the Father. For each one loves truth because truth is the mouth of the Father. His tongue is the Holy Spirit, who joins him to truth attaching him to the mouth of the Father by his tongue at the time he shall receive the Holy Spirit.

This is the manifestation of the Father and his revelation to his Aeons. He revealed his hidden self and explained it. For who is it who exists if it is not the Father himself? All the spaces are his emanations. They knew that they stem from him as children from a perfect man. They knew that they had not yet received form nor had they yet received a name, every one of which the Father produces. If they at that time receive form of his knowledge, though they are truly in him, they do not know him. But the Father is perfect. He knows every space which is within him. If he pleases, he reveals anyone whom he desires by giving him a form and by giving him a name; and he does give him a name and cause him to come into being. Those who do not yet exist are ignorant of him who created them. I do not say, then, that those who do not yet exist are nothing. But they are in him who will desire that they exist when he pleases, like the event which is going to happen. On the one hand, he knows, before anything is revealed, what he will produce. On the other hand, the fruit which has not yet been revealed does not know anything, nor is it anything either. Thus each space which, on its part, is in the Father comes from the existent one, who, on his part, has established it from the nonexistent. [...] he who does not exist at all, will never exist.

What, then, is that which he wants him to think? \"I am like the shadows and phantoms of the night.\" When morning comes, this one knows that the fear which he had experienced was nothing. Thus they were ignorant of the Father; he is the one whom they did not see. Since there had been fear and confusion and a lack of confidence and doublemindness and division, there were many illusions which were conceived by him, the foregoing, as well as empty ignorance - as if they were fast asleep and found themselves a prey to troubled dreams. Either there is a place to which they flee, or they lack strength as they come, having pursued unspecified things. Either they are involved in inflicting blows, or they themselves receive bruises. Either they are falling from high places, or they fly off through the air, though they have no wings at all. Other times, it is as if certain people were trying to kill them, even though there is no one pursuing them; or, they themselves are killing those beside them, for they are stained by their blood. Until the moment when they who are passing through all these things - I mean they who have experienced all these confusions - awake, they see nothing because the dreams were nothing. It is thus that they who cast ignorance from them as sheep do not consider it to be anything, nor regard its properties to be something real, but they renounce them like a dream in the night and they consider the knowledge of the Father to be the dawn. It is thus that each one has acted, as if he were asleep, during the time when he was ignorant and thus he comes to understand, as if he were awakening. And happy is the man who comes to himself and awakens. Indeed, blessed is he who has opened the eyes of the blind.

And the Spirit came to him in haste when it raised him. Having given its hand to the one lying prone on the ground, it placed him firmly on his feet, for he had not yet stood up. He gave them the means of knowing the knowledge of the Father and the revelation of his son. For when they saw it and listened to it, he permitted them to take a taste of and to smell and to grasp the beloved son.

He appeared, informing them of the Father, the illimitable one. He inspired them with that which is in the mind, while doing his will. Many received the light and turned towards him. But material men were alien to him and did not discern his appearance nor recognize him. For he came in the likeness of flesh and nothing blocked his way because it was incorruptible and unrestrainable. Moreover, while saying new things, speaking about what is in the heart of the Father, he proclaimed the faultless word. Light spoke through his mouth, and his voice brought forth life. He gave them thought and understanding and mercy and salvation and the Spirit of strength derived from the limitlessness of the Father and sweetness. He caused punishments and scourgings to cease, for it was they which caused many in need of mercy to astray from him in error and in chains - and he mightily destroyed them and derided them with knowledge. He became a path for those who went astray and knowledge to those who were ignorant, a discovery for those who sought, and a support for those who tremble, a purity for those who were defiled.

He is the shepherd who left behind the ninety-nine sheep which had not strayed and went in search of that one which was lost. He rejoiced when he had found it. For ninety-nine is a number of the left hand, which holds it. The moment he finds the one, however, the whole number is transferred to the right hand. Thus it is with him who lacks the one, that is, the entire right hand which attracts that in which it is deficient, seizes it from the left side and transfers it to the right. In this way, then, the number becomes one hundred. This number signifies the Father.

He labored even on the Sabbath for the sheep which he found fallen into the pit. He saved the life of that sheep, bringing it up from the pit in order that you may understand fully what that Sabbath is, you who possess full understanding. It is a day in which it is not fitting that salvation be idle, so that you may speak of that heavenly day which has no night and of the sun which does not set because it is perfect. Say then in your heart that you are this perfect day and that in you the light which does not fail dwells.

Speak concerning the truth to those who seek it and of knowledge to those who, in their error, have committed sin. Make sure-footed those who stumble and stretch forth your hands to the sick. Nourish the hungry and set at ease those who are troubled. Foster men who love. Raise up and awaken those who sleep. For you are this understanding which encourages. If the strong follow this course, they are even stronger. Turn your attention to yourselves. Do not be concerned with other things, namely, that which you have cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed. Do not return to them to eat them. Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten, for you have already shaken it off. Do not be a place of the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen your last obstacles, because that is reprehensible. For the lawless one is nothing. He harms himself more than the law. For that one does his works because he is a lawless person. But this one, because he is a righteous person, does his works among others. Do the will of the Father, then, for you are from him.

For the Father is sweet and his will is good. He knows the things that are yours, so that you may rest yourselves in them. For by the fruits one knows the things that are yours, that they are the children of the Father, and one knows his aroma, that you originate from the grace of his countenance. For this reason, the Father loved his aroma; and it manifests itself in every place; and when it is mixed with matter, he gives his aroma to the light; and into his rest he causes it to ascend in every form and in every sound. For there are no nostrils which smell the aroma, but it is the Spirit which possesses the sense of smell and it draws it for itself to itself and sinks into the aroma of the Father. He is, indeed, the place for it, and he takes it to the place from which it has come, in the first aroma which is cold. It is something in a psychic form, resembling cold water which is [...] since it is in soil which is not hard, of which those who see it think, \"It is earth.\" Afterwards, it becomes soft again. If a breath is taken, it is usually hot. The cold aromas, then, are from the division. For this reason, God came and destroyed the division and he brought the hot Pleroma of love, so that the cold may not return, but the unity of the Perfect Thought prevail.

This is the word of the Gospel of the finding of the Pleroma for those who wait for the salvation which comes from above. When their hope, for which they are waiting, is waiting - they whose likeness is the light in which there is no shadow, then at that time the Pleroma is about to come. The deficiency of matter, however, is not because of the limitlessness of the Father who comes at the time of the deficiency. And yet no one is able to say that the incorruptible One will come in this manner. But the depth of the Father is increasing, and the thought of error is not with him. It is a matter of falling down and a matter of being readily set upright at the finding of that one who has come to him who will turn back.

For this turning back is called \"repentance\". For this reason, incorruption has breathed. It followed him who has sinned in order that he may find rest. For forgiveness is that which remains for the light in the deficiency, the word of the pleroma. For the physician hurries to the place in which there is sickness, because that is the desire which he has. The sick man is in a deficient condition, but he does not hide himself because the physician possesses that which he lacks. In this manner the deficiency is filled by the Pleroma, which has no deficiency, which has given itself out in order to fill the one who is deficient, so that grace may take him, then, from the area which is deficient and has no grace. Because of this a diminishing occurred in the place which there is no grace, the area where the one who is small, who is deficient, is taken hold of.

He revealed himself as a Pleroma, i.e., the finding of the light of truth which has shined towards him, because he is unchangeable. For this reason, they who have been troubled speak about Christ in their midst so that they may receive a return and he may anoint them with the ointment. The ointment is the pity of the Father, who will have mercy on them. But those whom he has anointed are those who are perfect. For the filled vessels are those which are customarily used for anointing. But when an anointing is finished, the vessel is usually empty, and the cause of its deficiency is the consumption of its ointment. For then a breath is drawn only through the power which he has. But the one who is without deficiency - one does not trust anyone beside him nor does one pour anything out. But that which is the deficient is filled again by the perfect Father. He is good. He knows his plantings because he is the one who has planted them in his Paradise. And his Paradise is his place of rest.

This is the perfection in the thought of the Father and these are the words of his reflection. Each one of his words is the work of his will alone, in the revelation of his Logos. Since they were in the depth of his mind, the Logos, who was the first to come forth, caused them to appear, along with an intellect which speaks the unique word by means of a silent grace. It was called \"thought,\" since they were in it before becoming manifest. It happened, then, that it was the first to come forth - at the moment pleasing to the will of him who desired it; and it is in the will that the Father is at rest and with which he is pleased. Nothing happens without him, nor does anything occur without the will of the Father. But his will is incomprehensible. His will is his mark, but no one can know it, nor is it possible for them to concentrate on it in order to possess it. But that which he wishes takes place at the moment he wishes it - even if the view does not please anyone: it is God`s will. For the Father knows the beginning of them all as well as their end. For when their end arrives, he will question them to their faces. The end, you see, is the recognition of him who is hidden, that is, the Father, from whom the beginning came forth and to whom will return all who have come from him. For they were made manifest for the glory and the joy of his name.

And the name of the Father is the Son. It is he who, in the beginning, gave a name to him who came forth from him - he is the same one - and he begat him for a son. He gave him his name which belonged to him - he, the Father, who possesses everything which exists around him. He possess the name; he has the son. It is possible for them to see him. The name, however, is invisible, for it alone is the mystery of the invisible about to come to ears completely filled with it through the Father`s agency. Moreover, as for the Father, his name is not pronounced, but it is revealed through a son. Thus, then, the name is great.

Who, then, has been able to pronounce a name for him, this great name, except him alone to whom the name belongs and the sons of the name in whom the name of the Father is at rest, and who themselves in turn are at rest in his name, since the Father has no beginning? It is he alone who engendered it for himself as a name in the beginning before he had created the Aeons, that the name of the Father should be over their heads as a lord - that is, the real name, which is secure by his authority and by his perfect power. For the name is not drawn from lexicons nor is his name derived from common name-giving, But it is invisible. He gave a name to himself alone, because he alone saw it and because he alone was capable of giving himself a name. For he who does not exist has no name. For what name would one give him who did not exist? Nevertheless, he who exists also with his name and he alone knows it, and to him alone the Father gave a name. The Son is his name. He did not, therefore, keep it secretly hidden, but the son came into existence. He himself gave a name to him. The name, then, is that of the Father, just as the name of the Father is the Son. For otherwise, where would compassion find a name - outside of the Father? But someone will probably say to his companion, \"Who would give a name to someone who existed before himself, as if, indeed, children did not receive their name from one of those who gave them birth?\"

Above all, then, it is fitting for us to think this point over: What is the name? It is the real name. It is, indeed, the name which came from the Father, for it is he who owns the name. He did not, you see, get the name on loan, as in the case of others because of the form in which each one of them is going to be created. This, then, is the authoritative name. There is no one else to whom he has given it. But it remained unnamed, unuttered, `till the moment when he, who is perfect, pronounced it himself; and it was he alone who was able to pronounce his name and to see it. When it pleased him, then, that his son should be his pronounced name and when he gave this name to him, he who has come from the depth spoke of his secrets, because he knew that the Father was absolute goodness. For this reason, indeed, he sent this particular one in order that he might speak concerning the place and his place of rest from which he had come forth, and that he might glorify the Pleroma, the greatness of his name and the sweetness of his Father.

Each one will speak concerning the place from which he has come forth, and to the region from which he received his essential being, he will hasten to return once again. And he want from that place - the place where he was - because he tasted of that place, as he was nourished and grew. And his own place of rest is his Pleroma. All the emanations from the Father, therefore, are Pleromas, and all his emanations have their roots in the one who caused them all to grow from himself. He appointed a limit. They, then, became manifest individually in order that they might be in their own thought, for that place to which they extend their thoughts is their root, which lifts them upward through all heights to the Father. They reach his head, which is rest for them, and they remain there near to it so that they say that they have participated in his face by means of embraces. But these of this kind were not manifest, because they have not risen above themselves. Neither have they been deprived of the glory of the Father nor have they thought of him as small, nor bitter, nor angry, but as absolutely good, unperturbed, sweet, knowing all the spaces before they came into existence and having no need of instruction. Such are they who possess from above something of this immeasurable greatness, as they strain towards that unique and perfect one who exists there for them. And they do not go down to Hades. They have neither envy nor moaning, nor is death in them. But they rest in him who rests, without wearying themselves or becoming involved in the search for truth. But, they, indeed, are the truth, and the Father is in them, and they are in the Father, since they are perfect, inseparable from him who is truly good. They lack nothing in any way, but they are given rest and are refreshed by the Spirit. And they listen to their root; they have leisure for themselves, they in whom he will find his root, and he will suffer no loss to his soul.

Such is the place of the blessed; this is their place. As for the rest, then, may they know, in their place, that it does not suit me, after having been in the place of rest to say anything more. But he is the one in whom I shall be in order to devote myself, at all times, to the Father of the All and the true brothers, those upon whom the love of the Father is lavished, and in whose midst nothing of him is lacking. It is they who manifest themselves truly since they are in that true and eternal life and speak of the perfect light filled with the seed of the Father, and which is in his heart and in the Pleroma, while his Spirit rejoices in it and glorifies him in whom it was, because the Father is good. And his children are perfect and worthy of his name, because he is the Father. Children of this kind are those whom he loves.


From Robert M. Grant, Gnosticism (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1961),
as quoted in Willis Barnstone, The Other Bible (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984).


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    • Discussion 5 - The Belly of the Whale (Last post by AlexanderJ.W)
    • 1. Think of times of despair or darkness in your own life. Were they preceded by new decisions or choices? What was the lasting impact of these hardships? Try and think of both negative and positive things. I’ll start with a positive one, moving from my home County to study to be a social worker, at first it was terrifying but I knew that it was necessary for me to move from my family and current friends to become happy and healthy. And now after only two months moved here in late of august. I feel at peace with my choice and I feel happy. The lasting impact on this is that I should not try to fit in for someone else or adept myself so that they can “use” me as they like. But to be the one I want to be and I will get friends and a family that loves me for who I am, and not for what they want me to be. My last relationship which I mentioned in the previous post was long and we got together at a very young age we were only fifteen and the relationship ended around this time last year when I was twenty tree. That is more than a third of my lifetime so far, as I also mentioned in my last post. I don’t mean that the whole relationship was a dark time in my life but the last year was really bad. And when we ended it I didn’t know who I was or how to be my own person I had no real identity, I was a part of us who didn’t know anything else except being with her. So I had to find myself again, and that lead me to pursue my sleeping dream of being a social worker. 2. Think about the way you made your way out of those periods of despair or darkness. Was it easy? When you finally made it out, how did you feel about the hardships you endured? Were they necessary? How does it make you feel to remember them? Since I still am in the belly of the beast of the first one, I can only say that it feels awesome, it gives me an energy I didn't have before. We struggled for almost one and a half year before I finally decided that I had to leave her. We have talked about it afterwards and we both agree that we should have ended it sooner if we could. I felt trapped in someone I wasn't any more but couldn't leave the safety of the relationship. The separation was not painful because I somewhere knew in myself that it wasn't right anymore but of course I felt horrible. And yes the hardship was necessary it taught me many things of myself and how the current friends saw me. I remember the relationship with happiness we shared many great things which I will never forget, but I do miss her in some kind of strange way, and without her I wouldn’t have made it out of the other things that were going on in my life so I am grateful to her and our time together. 3. Listen to this song:(link to lyrics) Why do you think Bruce Springsteen wrote the song "Swallowed Up (In The Belly of a Whale)"? Does the song make you feel like you are still near the start of an adventure? What about the character in the song. Does he seem heroic? Has he been able to achieve great things? Consider what this means for heroes. How do you think their adventure looks when they are in the belly of the whale? For me when I listen to music I convince myself that the artist is trying to share something personal with me so I think that Bruce Springsteen felt like he was in the belly of the beast. Like he was in a place with no hope. This song makes me feel like the hero has given up in someone and doesn't trust in his own skills. I feel that this is the point when it is decided if he is a hero or not it is not until after this stage of the monomyth I can call him hero or not. A man is not a hero until his skills are tested so that he can overcome the darkness to prove himself as a hero. So I can’t say if he has done great things in his past life. It is not the past that is relevant it is the present is he a hero or not? Since I can’t see the future I don’t know, but if I have to answer with a yes or no I would say yes. All men are heroes in their own way at all times. I respond the last question with the same answer as the previous one. This is the point to prove oneself. That is the meaning of the belly of the beast. 4. At TOTJO we don't have a symbolic "dark space" unlike many other religious temples. Why do you think that is? Do we lack something by not having it? Do you feel there is value in this kind of "darkness ritual" during initiation? No we don’t lack anything, because as I see it the force which we believe in is nether god or bad it just is. The force is everything so there can be no dark place. There exists no “dark” or “light” it is just a theory so that humanity have something to grasp of what is right or wrong from there point of view. No because it is not about accomplish something for the Temple it is about growing as a human. I don’t see a value in a dark ritual because what others believe or think of me is not what matters it is what I feel and who I am to myself that matters.
    • Harmonizing with the Force (Last post by taidavrikaurvan)
    • This is a recent write up of a lesson I did with my Master Phoenix the other day in relation to my training in energy work. The article is based on the concept of manipulation of the Force and I would love to see what you think of it. Harmonizing with the Force A Jedi strives to live in harmony with the Force, become part of the flow of the Force. Manipulation of the Force is a conversation often discussed within the communities. Manipulation of energy to achieve some goal such as moving a rock or cup is something at one point I think we all have desired to do. Force powers or ability has crossed the minds of many Jedi especially in the early stages of training. The manipulation part is important as it contradicts that of the Jedi ultimate goal. Manipulating is that of controlling something and I would not say that controlling the Force is something that does not line up with the main goal which is harmony. The Force is the foundation on which a Jedi is built and to be in harmony with the Force is a key element in training. Manipulation of the Force or at least the way in which we see it does not line up. To have a need to manipulate something suggests that the manipulator is separate from the object. When we are working with the self there is an element of control over how we can shape ourselves. We do not manipulate ourselves because it is us and so we have that level of control. When you expand your awareness your personal Force comes into contact with other personal Forces of other beings, and as that movement goes inward you feel the connection of it all through the unifying Force. That the all is actually within the self, the connection to the all is within. That unifying feeling in the moment is you connecting to all things, becoming one with all things. This is my understanding of oneness. When you connect with the all you do not need to actively move it around you simply flow with it. The Force is everything and to be in harmony with the Force is to be in harmony with the all. The Force is like a flowing stream, it does not try to move the rocks or try to change the direction of the flow. The water just flows through and around without any resistance to the path. The Force is no different to this. To be in harmony with the Force is to be the water, not to force the water to flow or to change the flow but rather become part of it. When you become a part of it or one with it you don’t need to manipulate it because it is a part of you. It becomes an extension of yourself and so that unification brings forth harmony. You are no longer separate things or perceiving it as separate things. When you try to manipulate the rock you separate yourself from it and so you cannot move it. To move the rock it must become a part of you. It is like that scene in the matrix with the spoon. It is not the spoon that bends it is only yourself. It is not the rock that moves it is only yourself. When you come into harmony with the all and you become the flow, you can move yourself and thus the rock could move. When doing energy work the goal is not to control the object but rather to become one with it. To feel the Force within it and connect, harmonize with it. This is the nature of what I feel it means to be a Jedi. To harmonize with the Force, connect with it and become one with it. The goal of many Jedi is harmony and that is portrayed not just in the teachings of Jedi but in the Jedi code its self. There is no chaos there is harmony. By trying to manipulate something you break the connection with it and in doing so you also break the harmonization. To work with the Force you must become that which you wish to move so to speak. You must become the flow of the Force and let the nature of the flow be the guide.
    • Further Religious Structure (Last post by Akkarin)
    • Quote: Quote: Most people here tend to enjoy the looseness of the doctrine, and if it were more specific then it would, as has already been mentioned, cut some people out. That said, one of the joys of the way this faith is currently structured is that if you (as an individual) want it more strict or more cohesive or more whatever for you, it can be. You just can't expect everyone else to follow along with it, because it won't suit everyone. Yes I agree exactly :)
    • Discussion 4 - Crossing The Threshold (Last post by AlexanderJ.W)
    • 1. Consider the phrase "Point of no return". Say it aloud. How does it make you feel? Have you ever had to make a decision in your life which caused you to feel you were crossing a "point of no return"? Point of no return feels like a challenge. Something that I believe is to make the hero uneasy, but I feel curious and become even more determined to prove myself and to push myself over my own expectations. When I broke up with my girlfriend after eight years together, I felt like I was crossing a point of no return. I knew that even if I love her we can never be together again, and it was terrifying being alone since we had been together for a bit over a third of my life time, so I didn't know who I was or how to behave. 2. A key aspect of this stage is the hero stepping outside of their ordinary culture, and into a different world, with different rules. Describe the biggest "culture shock" you've ever experienced. What was so strange about it? How did it make you feel? My parents are separated since I was about five years old and the two of them have very different types of life styles and cultures. My mother is a social worker and is what I would call a middle class woman, when my father on the other hand is a professional golf trainer and his own business and is doing quite well. In the company of my father’s friends and visiting is work I feel like I don’t belong, like an outsider. So since my childhood has been pending between these to “cultures” I feel like I am pretty tolerant in the face of different cultures. And try to add there point of view to mine instead of replace it with my old one or to adapt to it. Because I think that it is in seeing things from different views that can make one understand. 3. Read this article on homeostasis in the human body. (web.archive.org/web/20141006124710/http:.../what-is-homeostasis) This is a picture of a certain system. It describes 6 elements which must be controlled. Pick any one of these elements. What do you think would happen if this element was halved? What about if the same element was doubled? How would that affect the system? If possible, please relate your answers to the idea of homeostasis in the Hero's Journey, described in this topic. My choice of element is easy I am a diabetic so I could ramble on forever about what happens to the body and how it feels and such if the sugar is doubled or halved, but I won’t because that would be boring for you to read, but if you have any questions about diabetics or you just want to talk about it, feel free to contact me. I love discussing it with others. To give a simple and quick answer you would die. And that goes for all the elements there has to be a balance to sustain life. And I think that goes for the point of no return as well if the hero are too attached to the stage of the monomyth that hero is in right now he might make excuses no to leave. And if he is to eager to leave he might miss the value of the point of no return and the stage of monomyth that he is currently in. 4. There are a number of thresholds at TOTJO. An obvious one is joining the Temple and making your first post. Describe your experience of starting out here. How did you feel? What were you major concerns? Can you think of further thresholds here at TOTJO? It felt like I found people who had the same idea of thinking, beliefs of the force and the same tolerance towards other people and curiosity. It felt like I found something that was missing in my life and it doesn't go a day without me thinking of our order and the meaning of it and what it has done to me as a human being. When I did my application to join as a guest I was lyrical. I had so high hopes of what I had found and my expectations were very high and the Temple lived up to theme times ten, and has taught me things I didn't thought was possible. As for further thresholds I believe that completing the initiation program is also an obvious one, and so is all the different rankings in the Temple are thresholds. But I also believe that it is in all the things we learn in every sermons that make me think of things in a different way that is testing my beliefs and reasoning how things work. And in all the lessons and all the other members of the temple. They become a threshold because they define who I am by questioning what I think and makes me think of myself and how I think over and over again.
    • Workout Check-In Thread (Last post by Exarchias)
    • 15 x 3 x (2 hands) 3 kg Biceps 15 x 3 Push ups 15 x 3 Sit ups 15 x 3 crunches 15 x 3 air squats 15 x 3 Push ups 15 x 3 x (2 hands) 3 kg Biceps

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