Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas

Elaine Pagels


Beyond Belief is Elaine Pagels book about The Secret Gospel of Thomas, a book that many believe should be part of the New Testament Canon, an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture.

In thinking about Autosomatic Training (AST), The Secret Gospel of Thomas supplies some of the gaps between the clear statements we are able to make about AST in self healing, and the practices hinted at, more than stated directly, in the Sermon on the Mount and the Book of James. For example, the link between identifying emotions and the imaged memory in the brain, are made fairly clear by the statement: "when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear" (Verse 84, The Secret Gospel of Thomas). Yes, the language is like a riddle, to encourage introspection and understanding.

Reading  and studying The Secret Gospel of Thomas, alongside the Sermon on the Mount and the Book of James in the New Testament, and the 51st Psalm in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, provides valuable insights into Autosomatic Training.

My wife and I were working in a northern Ontario Canadian Native Reserve that was suffering a suicide epidemic among teenage girls. We were primarily using Autosomatic Training™, a form of healing psychological trauma that uses imaged memory, such as when people have either overt flashbacks as in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or ‘subliminal flashbacks’ (painful memories called up to awareness by focussing on painful emotional feelings). We were having good success.

I have been working with peoples’ internal imagery to relieve pain, fear and misery for over 30 years. However, I came across and was reading Elaine Pagels’ book for the second time.

When I got to verse 84 I read:  Jesus said, “When you see your likeness in a mirror, you are pleased. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!” That sounds like a serious riddle.

But I literally jumped out of my chair and ran to Dolores saying, “They knew! They knew! Look what it says here”. I realised that what I had stumbled across 30 years before and was continually exploring, was known 2000 years ago. It was clearly spoken of in The Secret Gospel of Thomas. They were talking about what I was calling ‘subliminal flashbacks’. Autosomatic™ Training is a process for making those images visible, allowing the healing to take place for subliminal images (memories) as well as the more overt flashbacks.

I was prompted to a more meticulous re-reading of Elaine Pagels’ books as well as other Gnostic literature. Of course this led me back to the New Testament which revealed the same themes, especially in The Sermon on the Mount, and the Book of James. The Book of James is a sermon based on the Sermon on the Mount. In verses 12 and 13 of The Secret Gospel of Thomas, the disciples asked, “Who is going to be the leader then?” Jesus replied, “Wherever you are, you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.” And the Book of James fits very nicely with a reading of The Sermon on the Mount.

I highly recommend this Beyond Belief, The Secret Gospel of Thomas, for anyone interested in the history of emotional healing, the healing of the heart, a primary theme throughout the Tanakh and the New Testament. The same theme, using a different language, is prominent in modern Psychology and Psychiatry, especially in trauma therapy when working with the emotions, and in the recent trend towards Mindfulness training coming out of Buddhist philosophy. For those wanting a deeper understanding of Autosomatic™ Training, this book is an excellent choice.