Thursday, August 02, 2007

Questions: Approaching Gnosticism

I prefer an inquirer who is interested and a bit cautious as opposed to (overly) enthusiastic ones. As there is a process of discernment and orientation that really needs to take place and needs to be grounded in the real situation both within and without.

The basic concerns expressed, understandings of, and assumptions about religion in the world today have little to do with individual spiritual life—individuals following their own spiritual path, and taking it seriously by taking responsibility for it.

The path of Gnosis is an individual path, your path. Making use of the Gnostic tradition in following your path doesn't change the nature of this: that it is your path, your responsibility, your life in the deepest sense. This can be very difficult for people to even understand in this culture of collective religious identity. There is also a tendency to imagine that having a connection with others who are on a similar path, making use of the same tradition, will mean some fundamental change in the nature of our own spiritual path with the result that the path itself will be easier. Yet, what is really possible from such interactions is aid, sometimes profound aid, in walking your own path.

From the perspective of the Gnostic tradition, personal growth and transformation is what it is all about, expressed as Gnosis—knowing through growing, growing through knowing. But a very deep and sure knowing, a knowing that you are, rather than a knowing that you posses. It is a true knowing that is liberating. Gnosis is this way of knowing, and with it comes a deep understanding of who we are, and where we are, and what sets us free.

Just as their is no collective substitute for the individual spiritual path, there is no collective substitute for Gnosis. No amount or type of information will satisfy. And, the Gnostic tradition itself can only be a guide and aid. One can take ancient Gnostic texts and create systems of thought interwoven with beliefs, this has happened in the past and takes place more frequently now that we have such a rich treasure of ancient texts, but that will not substitute for Gnosis—and Gnosis is your individual responsibility and path.

I hope this has provided a basic orientation or confirmation of our general approach.

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