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" If we can come to understand what the Great Light really is, we will find ourselves living in a very different universe indeed, a Gnostic universe where it's possible for anyone who reaches a certain level of purity of heart to actually see God. This's also a universe where it's possible for living people, to some extent, experience the heavens right now. In the Gnostic teachings it's considered to be very important for awakened souls to get connected to the Light while in the body in order to be assured, to get confirmation ("seeing is believing," as the saying goes; being a Gnostic is the opposite of agnostic) that one will go to "the Place of the Light" in the hereafter, after one leaves the body for good. In the Gospel of Philip it says if we don't receive the Lightwhile we are here in this world, we won't be able to "receive it in theother place," in the next life. "
UNDERSTAND WHAT THE GREAT LIGHT IS
by Ghazaleh, CA
"Understand what the Great Light is." Those following one paradigm canhardly comprehend or realize a mystical teaching based on a completelydifferent paradigm. The "Light" alluded to here is just about the ultimateexample of this! In the Judeo-Christian culture if someone says, "Isee the light," we understand the use of "light" to be a metaphor forunderstanding as in, "now I see;" or, "now I get it," and we never thinkthere's any literal Light which can ever actually be seen. Western religiousbelief-systems seem to erect a very thick barrier between heaven andearth, body and spirit, this life and the next. In the western religiousworld, generally we're taught that heaven is for dead people only, thatwe can not see God now and seemingly SHOULD NOT see God now
or experience the heavens because "the time has not yet come." Or, as
Jesus complained in the Gospel of Thomas, "What you are looking
forward to has come, but you don't know it," and, "the Kingdom of
the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."
Some have the view that there'sa great cosmic clock ticking and that only after certain events takeplace in the outer world: 'mark of the beast,' 'second coming,' 'newworld order' or political 'kingdoms' of God being set up, then we canhave a 'resurrection of the dead' and get to the good part: a goldenage of peace and enlightenment, knowing all mysteries, being in the Presenceof God, hanging out with angels, etc. This view filters verses of scripturelike, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," into saying,"'Blessed are the pure in heart, for in the next life or after the secondcoming takes place (end-times prophecies, seven-year tribulation, andso on, and so on), then they will get to see God.'" However, this mayNOT be the original view of those who wrote down that saying of Jesusin the New Testament, or of other sayings recorded in scriptures millenniaago in the middle east. The long-forgotten apostles and mystics indeedmay have had a very different view of reality, one that we may be almostcompletely oblivious to in the modern age, putting us in a bind whetherwe know it or not when it comes to truly understanding what these Aramaic,Coptic and Greek speaking peoples were really up to. (See, "Seek to SeeHim -- Ascent & Vision Mysticism in the Gospel of Thomas," April D. DeConick, E.J. Brill, and, "Light Consciousness -- Voices and Visions....inthe Dead Sea Scrolls & Nag Hammadi Library," Dwight Kalita.)It's my view that some have seen God as a being of Light, seen themselvesas "Children of the Light," and furthermore, that mystics in Essene,Therapeutae, Hermetic, Gnostic, Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean and fromother faith-communities sometimes have thought they could SEE the Lightof God while in the human body. One of the GOALS of mysticism has alwaysbeen to spiritually SEE, what mystics have called 'the activation ofthe spiritual senses' (Origen), the eyes and ears of the soul.If we can come to understand what the Great Light really is, we willfind ourselves living in a very different universe indeed, a Gnosticuniverse where it's possible for anyone who reaches a certain level ofpurity of heart to actually see God. This's also a universe where it'spossible for living people, to some extent, experience the heavens rightnow. In the Gnostic teachings it's considered to be very important forawakened souls to get connected to the Light while in the body in orderto be assured, to get confirmation ("seeing is believing," as the sayinggoes; being a Gnostic is the opposite of agnostic) that one will go to"the Place of the Light" in the hereafter, after one leaves the bodyfor good. In the Gospel of Philip it says if we don't receive the Lightwhile we are here in this world, we won't be able to "receive it in theother place," in the next life. It's interesting to note that SaintSymeon of the Eastern Orthodox tradition said the very same thing.If man does not see the Light in this life, he will not see it inthe other life, either.The Orthodox tradition is much closer to the world of the Gnostics andboth Gnosticism and Orthodoxy do share some ideas in common. There'sa great book on Orthodox mysticism called, "A Night in the Desert ofthe Holy Mountain," Vlachos, Element UK, and it's filled with many statementsabout the need to contemplate the divine Light:The nous* is seized in rapture, and contemplates the UncreatedLight.The Divine Light possesses, then, all his being. The cell shinesfrom the Presence of Christ and he enjoys this 'sober drunkenness.'He beholds the invisible God. "God is Light and His vision isLight," says St. Symeon the New Theologian.(*Nous: "...the nous is mainly the eye of the soul; the purest part ofthe soul; the highest attention. It is also called noetic energy....,"according to Vlachos)"Understand what the Great Light is," say the great saints and mystics.The Light is understood to be an expression of God. By contemplatingthe Divine Light we are transformed by it and begin our journey backto God again. The mystics are seeking, while alive in this human body,to be connected with this Light in order to be in the Light for eternity:Look to the Living One while your are alive, lest you dieand seek to see Him and be unable to see.Walk while you have the Light, so darkness won't overpower you.In the Gnostic approach to salvation, salvation is not just somethingthat begins AFTER death. Rather, salvation begins while in the humanform, BEFORE death. Very much in agreement with the "look to the LivingOne" saying of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, the great poet-mysticKabir once said, "the idea that salvation begins in the next life justbecause the body is rotten, that's all fantasy. If you don't break yourropes while your alive do you think ghosts will do it in the hereafter?What is true then is true now." Tulsi Sahib, Saint of Hathras, Indiamade a similar statement:In this life the concept of salvation alldescribe;To meet the Lord by dying while living,none discloses.They all speak of the goal of salvation afterdeath;How to attain it while living, no one says.Were they to reveal the Method of attainingrelease while living,Then alone would Tulsi be convinced oftheir words..............All their accounts are mere hollow conjectures;They dole out falsehood, not by seeing....One who has seen, his evidence I accept astrue;He who speaks without seeing, speaks butuntruth............Whoever speaks, after seeing with their own eyes,And teach the Method of salvation duringlife,Are of the stage and stature of Saints,For they reveal the quintessence of the soul.The Winter Solstice holidays are all about miracles of Light, the birthor rebirth of the Light of God in the world. They can also be seen assymbolizing our own spiritual search to find a literal Light in the darknessto rescue and liberate us so we too can pray this prayer of thanks:And all the rulers (archons) of the height have tried to deceiveme into believing that I am a body of matter without Light in it.And after this the merciless powers surrounded me, and tried totake away all the Light that was in me. But Thou appearest to meout of the darkness and I trusted Thee, O Light, and said: 'Thouart my Savior. I thank Thee oh Light for having compassion on me.And Thou hast saved me, O Light, with thy Gnosis.' ("PistisSophia").
May we let go of the darkness within and without and open our hearts and mindsto the Great Light !
(slightly edited for this site)
courtesy: Ghazleh, CA ( email@example.com )
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