Finding Inner Meanings
Experience shows that everyone at first finds the Gospel of Thomas difficult. No exceptions to this rule have been found. The primary reason is that Jesus is striving to take his listenersor for us his readersto a higher level of spiritual awareness than prevails in the materialistic world in which we ordinarily live. This becomes a step of discovery.
A secondary reason is that Jesus uses words with symbolic meanings, which point to concepts beyond those that can be tied down by rigid words. Symbolic language works not just on the mind but essentially on the heart and the imagination. It has a power to reach levels within us that ordinary language fails to touchit can convey an awareness in a way that plain words cannot do.
The great achievement of the scholars of l'Association Metanoia was to begin to discover the inner meanings hidden in the parables of the Gospel of Thomas. Their insights give remarkableand uniqueclues to the meanings. They took the sayings one by one, and expressed their awareness in the form of a commentary on each individual saying.
A further valuable clue was to recognize that the inner meanings of each individual saying had to be harmonious with all the othersa consequence of their all coming from one source. This has greatly helped dismiss mistaken meanings.
In both the Association Metanoia work and in the work described here much benefit has been derived from insights of other great spiritual traditions. Very often, when a saying has seemed impenetrable, such an insight has broken through like a shaft of light to illuminate Jesus' intended meanings.
On the other hand, much less often has help been obtained from making comparisons with the Bible or attempting to draw insights from the doctrines of the established Christian Churches. Study of the literature shows that route to be frequently misleading.
This second level of discovery relates to the inner meanings of each individual saying in the Gospel. It was a work extendi ng over a period of about eighteen years, and was immensely satisfying.