The Wise Fisher
“A true human is like a wise fisher who casts nets into the sea and draws them up full of fish. If among the small fish the fisher finds a large one, then all the small ones are thrown back into the sea, and the large one is kept without regret.”
Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (Logion #8)
I had the pleasure some years ago of attending a couple of seminars with Jungian Analyst, Wynette Barton, on the Gospel of Thomas. As Gnostic Gospels go, it is one of the few that is almost complete, and more accessible than most. This Logion #8, is rather like Jesus' parables of the pearl of great price, and the lost sheep that are recorded in the New Testament. We can understand its meaning on several levels. One meaning might be that a wise person casts a net into the unconscious and pulls it up full of stored information. We then sort through and get rid of all the small stuff—old grudges, minor slights, betrayals, disappointments—and now and then, we find a major insight into understanding what makes us tick. That big find is worth all the work of sorting through the small stuff.
Another understanding might be, we can't do it all, so do what matters most. Our precious time on earth can get eaten up by all sorts of minor commitments and demands. We arrive at middle age and realize we've lost the trail we set out upon because we tried to travel them all, or we got distracted by other people's trails. It then becomes essential to get back on track, to find what matters most to us, and do that. It will mean that we have to let the others go, but we should have no regrets. We can bless the paths we've taken, thank the ones we've followed, and move on.
The part of the Logion that intrigues me most is the meaning of “a true human.” According to Thomas, a true human is one who probes the deep; who casts his nets to find the big fish, and to let go of all that is insignificant. A true human focuses on the big picture, and is not distracted by the swarms of small annoyances. Sorting out what is important, especially for the soul, from what is not important is a clue to becoming a wise fisher.
In the Spirit,