Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving to you. ' Exodus 20:12)
To those who come from a positive upbringing and family environment, this commandment poses little problem and is an obvious truth in the heart. Yet, to those who may come from an extremely dysfunc tional family or who may have suffered severe abuse, the idea of honoring mother and father could be deeply troubling and prove a difficult thing. However, in ancient t.imes when the Torah was originally written, adult children who did not care for their aging parents ba cally sentenced them to great suffering and death, something more severe than any dysfunction or abuse would deserve. Thus, on the most basic and practical level, honoring mother and father was an issue of compassion.
Within and behind this commandment arc more subtle and sublime truths, according to Sophian teachings associated with it. First ai d foremost is the idea of the karmic continuum that moves with the soui, which strongly influences and is reflected in the circumstances, situations, and events that unfold in our lives. Thus, the family and environment into which we arc born, the place and time, how we are raised and the education we receive, all reflect the karmic continuum of the soul. This is not to suggest that we are responsible for the behavior of others, but rather that in some way, on some level, we are connected to the circumstances, situations, and events that arise. Karma is fundamentally a lav of cause and effect,- yet it can also represent things within ourselves we need to work through or need to heal. What transpires in our lives tends to reveal these things. On a certain level, this commandment encourages us to look and see what is to be worked through and healed so that we might free ourselves and others from karmic conditioning.
in our modern times, it has become very common for us to use an abusive past as justification and an excuse for our behavior in the present. While, indeed, echos of the past may influence us in the present, in allowing the past to justify and excuse our present behavior, we lock ourselves into a pattern of sorrow and suffering from which there can be no escape. T.ms is simply unhealthy. At some point, we truly need to let go, to allow the possibility of healing to occur, and to assume responsibility for our own lives and our own actions. This is especially true if we seek an actual progress towards sell-realization in the spiritual life. After all, in most cases, it is unlikely that abuses enacted on us
:.s chiidren can be enacted on us as adults, and somewnere. for our own and others sakes, forgiveness needs to come into play.
More to the point is this: parents and family are symbolic of ourselves. If we do not come to terms with our parents, family, and upbringing, we may fail to accept ourselves completely Yet, accepting 1 urselves, the light and the darkness in us, and what we might deem "j/ood' and bad" is all part of self-knowledge and the foundation of the spiritual journey. In truth, we are the path and we are the vehicle of the Spirit and light-presence.
In the Gospel of St. Thomas, Lord Yeshua says something most interesting, which is echoed in other Gospels as well. He says, "Whoever does not hate his father and his mother as i do cannot become a disciple to me. And whoever does nc. love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a disciple to me. For my mother gave birth to me, but my True Mother gave me life."5 Essentially, father, mother, and family are the extension of the egoistic self and personal history and are concepts in our ininds. When Yeshua speaks of "hating' father and mother, he indicates seeing through the ego-illusion and all that serves to support ;t, which includes the recognition of the illusory quality of the concents we hold of others. When he speaks of "loving' father and mother, he indicates seeing the soul and Christ presence behind people in our lives and of seeking to draw out and honor that light-presence in ourselves and others. If we are able to do this with tht>se with whom we share tie most involved personal history and relationships, then we are more likely to be able to do this with everyone in our lives. This, of course, empowers the recognition and realization of the light-presence within ourselves.
The idea of our True Mother, the Divine Mother and Holy Spirit, also proves a key to healing for those who may have experienced a troubled family situation, and it gives a spiritual interpretation to this commandment: honoring our divine parent or the One life-power within
5 Gospel of St Thomas, Verse 10!
and beyond the figures of our actual parents. For the One life-power a".«: the universe are our Holy Father and Mother in a very real way. In Sophian teachings, this same idea is extended to our respect for our spir-iuial teachers and guides, who serve as midwives to the soul of light that is in us.
This commandment also alludes to a common method used to generate the sacred heart of compassion by Sophian initiates, which is especially powerful when we have had a positive experience of father, mother, and family. The transmigration of the soul through countless lives is a common leaching in Christian Gnosticism. Thus, all beings have been fathers and mothers and family to us. Contemplating and meditating upon this can help to develop love and compassion for beings—an extension of honoring father and mother to all creatures This reflects an awareness of the sacred unity in which we know ourselves to be intimately connected and related to all that lives.
The first four Commandments deal directly witii our awareness of the sacred unity and our connectedness to divine being. This commandment and those that follow deal with our relationships with one another and with life based upon this self-realization.
If we were to phrase this commandment in a simple way, it would be this: Honor the spiritual ground underlying your existence.
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