"The Way of Thomas disparages none at the expense of any other. It eschews the system — and the lies of duality upon which it rests, but embraces the world, body and spirit. If we are to discover oneness, we must do the same.


"1. The distinction between 'the world' and 'the system' is crucial. As an exercise in irony, pursue oneness by making distinctions: create two lists, one of which lists those aspects of the world that are part of the created order, even if they are not necessarily things you like (for instance, everyone likes sunsets, but only a few of us like spiders or snakes, yet each are part of creation). Then make another list of those things that are part of the 'system,' even those things which you do like (everyone hates systematized oppression, for instance, but some of us quite like TV commercials when they are funny or poignant). These lists can become unwieldy rather quickly, so it is not as important to be comprehensive as it is to be representative. Once the lists are complete (or you are satisfied that you have a good representation and enough to work with), cross off those items which you feel you can truly embrace, or that you would like to truly embrace. Look at what is left over on both lists. What items on the list of the 'world' do you need to do work on in order to truly internalize them? What items on the list of the 'system' are aspects of human nature that you simply don't like yet need to embrace anyway? (For instance, the ancient scribe who was scared of his own femininity would have done well to do some work in this area.) What items are truly obstacles to oneness? Which are merely uncomfortable or hard, and which items are truly harmful and dualistic?

"2. The Hindu tradition has developed many powerful tools to help people see through the illusion of duality. One of them is the ancient admonition, 'Tat tvam asi,' which means, 'you are that.' The Hindu knows that whatever he or she beholds is in reality him- or herself, and repeating 'Tat tvam asi' is an effective discipline to help one internalize this truth. Practice going about your day, saying to yourself, 'I am that,' in reference to everything you encounter. This is a difficult practice to maintain, but can be very effective when practiced with careful intention even for brief periods. Try it on your commute to work, or while out shopping. For every person you encounter, every grisly accident scene, every pile of dog feces, every rusted fender, every homeless person, every Machiavellian power luncher the mantra is the same: 'You are that.' Because you are."