I WE THEY YOU
I read recently that Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf includes an ‘I’, a ‘we’ and a ‘they’, but no ‘you’. The same writer (1) also reflects on the bible story of Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, and how it can be seen to place the origin of human violence in the elimination of the ‘you’.
I am interested in how this insight can be applied to non-dual spirituality, and find help in the Gospel of Thomas (2). Here, Thomas is described as Jesus’ twin. How are we to understand this? There is a point at which Jesus says:
“’I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended’.
“And he took him and withdrew and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends, they asked him, ‘what did Jesus say you?’”
Thomas feels unable to tells his friends, because the three sayings seem so shocking, and they are not recorded. However, a persuasive commentary (3) on this text suggests that the three sayings are: ‘I am God; You are me. We are the kingdom of God’. The already existing human connection between Jesus and Thomas is raised to another level because they are able to recognise the divine both in themselves and in each other. This is the view also recognised in the Sanskrit greeting Namaste.
Cynthia Bourgeault makes a similar same point in the context of the connection between Jesus and Mary Magdalene (4). Singleness is not all. “There is still one greater mystery to be revealed. … Deeper than at-one-ment lies communion …. the nondualism of the Western metaphysical stream is a flowing unity – a ‘not one, not two, but both one and two’ in which the continuous exchange of twoness and oneness in the dance of self-giving love captures the very dynamism of the divine life itself”.
(1) Karl Ove Knausgaard The End (My Struggle: 6) Vintage Digital, 2018 (translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett & Martin Aitkin)
(2) The Gospel of Thomas in The Nag Hammadi Scriptures San Francisco: HarperOne, 2007 (ed. Marvin Meyer)
(3) Nicola Denzey Lewis Introduction to ‘Gnosticism’: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013
(4) Cynthia Bourgeault The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity Boston & London: Shambhala, 2010