How did historic Gnosticism affect me?
[ discussion of beliefs and practices of historical Gnosticism and how that relates to us in our modern world. ]
How did reading historic Gnosticism affect me? We can only speak for ourselves can we not, for the rest is hearsay. When I first read something which comes under the heading of historical gnostic texts I was utterly gobsmacked, amazed, shocked, and happy to read it. They were these words….
[ Since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself so that you may understand who you are. I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me, although you do not understand it, you already have come to know, and you will be called ‘the one who knows himself’. For whoever has not known himself has known nothing, but whoever has known himself has simultaneously achieved knowledge about the depth of all things. If you bring forth that which is within you, then that which you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. ]
Now, I have no idea as to who originally said these words, and without a time ship there is no way of knowing for sure. It was hardly likely to be the scribes who wrote them down, for most people could not even write in times of antiquity. But it does not really matter one jot who said them, because they are known by experience (even today) to be dead true of the experience which some nations and cultures call gnosis. I wrote identical words to that forty years before ever finding those texts. And no doubt others have too and calling that knowledge of experience by a different names in different cultures and languages.
As for the historical origins of Gnosticism, the religion or belief system, then it probably manifest as such about two thousand years ago, or maybe a little more. However, that experience upon which it is based has been known ever since man existed here, and by many other names. A rose is a rose by any other name.
However, on finding those words, I actually laughed out loud and thought to myself ‘Hell, here is somebody saying, and quite openly, exactly what is learned and understood in that particular transcendent mystical experience in which this knowledge of the essential SELF is reached'. And so it is experienced to be, today, in the past, and presumably for ever in the future of conscious minds. It is a great pity that the experience is so rare. But, who knows, one day it may not be so rare, for it certainly seems that the primordial implicate order of BEING will out.
Oh yes, and a further experience reveal that it does, on earth, as it is in Eternity (or Elysium, or the proverbial garden of Eden, or whatever you want to call it). The physical world is just as much a divine reality as that transcendent paradise condition is. It is NOT a prison for the spirit and soul. That silly mistake has and always will be the big downfall of beliefs about gnosis as is found in Gnosticism – but not in the gnosis itself.
Thank you kindly for your ear.