The Third Pillar

It is not enough to believe the right things. Even the scriptures say that the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19), and yet this is not enough. Many religious wars have been instigated by those who were devout believers. This is the mistake of many, many religions. For them belief is enough. Salvation for the gnostic is found only in gnosis. This is an inner knowing that is living and experiential. It is earth-shattering and life changing. (Gospel of Thomas 2) As Thomasine Gnostics we observe four stages that lead to gnosis. While one may progress to all four stages, the previous stages are not abandoned.

These four stages are:

Foundation – This stage is the stage of laying a religious foundation. Here rules of right and wrong, proper and improper conduct are learned. This is a foundation stage for a person new to the religious path. A person needs to know how to practice and live a path before being able to move on further in that path.

The Walk– Tariqah is the stage of practice of the spiritual path. They have the basics of how to behave and practice and begin to do this. Now they are working to make the practices their own and to make them meaningful to them. At this stage they are moving beyond the externals to a more internal practice. Here a spiritual guide is beneficial to move on from this stage.

Insight– At this stage the devotee begins to see and experience the inner meaning of the practices and guidance that they gained at the stages of shariah and tariqah. They are now beginning to experience epiphanies and the beginnings of the mystical states of gnosis. They have flashes of the awareness of God within. At this stage the previous two stages are confirmed internally. This is the stage that moves beyond rote memorization and rote practice.

Revelation– This is the experience of Gnosis. This is the place of true wisdom or that interior knowing of spiritual truth. This is more than the momentary spiritual experience of the Haqiqah stage. This is the stage of union with God and truth. This is the stage of sages, prophets and saints.

The goal for every Gnostic is to be reunited with the Beloved. Their love arrow reaches its target, and they realize who they are, where they are from and where they are going. They know, not believe, that they are from God, are one with the Beloved, and will return to where they are from. Saints and sages in every religion have spoken of this gnosis, often to the consternation of some of their faith traditions.


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