November 1, 2005

Become Naked

Gospel of Thomas; Logion 37

His disciples asked: “When will be the day that you appear to us?” “When will be the day of our vision?” Jesus replied: On the day that you are naked as newborn infants who trample their clothing, then you will see the Son of the Living One and you will have no more fear.


This scripture is echoed in this poem by Lacarriere:


Unlearning. De-conditioning your birth.
Forgetting your name. Going naked.

Sloughing away your last remains. Disrobing your memory.
Melting down your masks.

Ripping up your duties. Dismantling your certainties.
Disconnecting your doubts. Losing control of your being.

Un-baptizing your springs. Un-mapping your roads.
Shearing your desires. Gutting your passions.

Desacralizing the prophets. Discrediting the future.
Overturning the past. Discouraging Time.

Unknotting unreason. Deflowering delirium.
Defrocking the sacred. Sobering up from vertigo.

Defacing Narcissus. Delivering Gilead.
Deposing Moloch. Dethroning Leviathan.

Demystifying blood. Dissecting the monkey.
Disinheriting the ancestor.

Unburdening your soul. Unfailing your failures.
Disenchanting your despair. Unchaining your hope.

Delivering your madness. Defusing your fears.
Disencumbering your heart. Disappointing your Death.

Debasing your basis. Shredding your acquisitions.

Unlearn. Become naked.

~ Jacques Lacarriere
from Surat of Emptiness


Rob said...

It is good to be reminded of this.

ContemplativeThoughts said...

I think that a lot of us tend to put on more clothes instead of shedding them off. Maybe it's a fear of being exposed or a feeling of vulnerability where someone might take advantage of your "nakedness." But that all points back to the Garden, when we developed a hiding reflex after eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. We've been hiding ever since...hiding scars, hiding pain, hiding secret sins...wearing clothing to cover up and protect ourselves. Sad to think how many of us miss out on God's love because we keep ourselves from Him.

Chodpa said...

"... Disappointing your Death."


Rick said...

I once wrote a piece on becoming naked. I am going to try to find that article.

I had a class in seminary called Abusive Religion. One of the topics was the way folks have learned to hide in shame of the bodies. Which is a metphor for what you are discussing. The prof showed numerous b&w images of obese people who posed naked. It was extremely powerful to see folks bare the bodies and in doing so their souls. One of the most powerful lectures I had in semanry.

Thanks for the reminder.

Much love.

Steven Crisp said...

This rings true to me, and has nothing to do with nudity. We are so conditioned in this world: by our parents, our teachers, our religion, our culture, our society, and especially our media. Each of these sources, along with our genetics, unwittingly conspire to build for us the Grand Illusion that we all take part in (you remember the song, by Styx).

I've been dabbling in Buddhism lately, and trying to understand how to cut through all of this ego-persona we have developed throughout our lives. And I've concluded the best approach (similar to the undressing metaphor), is to pick a counter-media metaphor: we need to "Just Un-Do It" .

Un-do the layers of desire, one-by-one until we are truly grateful for what we have, and seek nothing more than to share it with others. Un-do the competitiveness beaten into our heads in sports and business until we want nothing more than for our fellow-man to get ahead, and for our enemy to find peace. And so on.

I believe this metaphor to "Just Un-do It" is so apt, I've created a blog for it. But to show how naked I really am, right now there is no content, just a link to my sister site. You still might find that one of some interest.

Please visit: and
and start to become naked.

Meredith said...

Thank you Friendly commenters. It warms my heart to feel your presence here.

Rob, Chodpa, I smile to you.

Contemplative thoughts - I agree that we tend to put on more clothes instead of shedding. What does this look like? Perhaps that thing commonly referred to as spiritual materialism, and, it seems to me, rhetoric. We hide behind our very words sometimes. I realize that I do. And why? Perhaps because being vulnerable is just so scary.

Being vulnerable is uncomfortable. And is it fear of others taking advantage of us when we are vulnerable that causes us to hide? Or is it a fear of our own darkness?

For me, it is my own darkness. Sometimes, just sometimes, I am able to follow that thread of faith into my own darkness. And what is there, waiting for me? The one love, the one light, the One. And I realize this tenderness has been there all the time, holding me, breathing me.

That is a powerful image you evoke of the naked bodies, the naked ones that sort of shock us. But then we see it, and we realize, they are just like us. What I see on the outside is a house for one's soul. And what do we do to each other when we focus so much on the house, that no-one wants to come out of it? We build elaborate hiding places right within our very own walls.

Right, the grand illusion. We get caught in it every day, yes? Your metaphor, just un-do it is so apt. "Un-do the competitiveness beaten into our heads in sports and business until we want nothing more than for our fellow-man to get ahead, and for our enemy to find peace."

Another a counter-media metaphor is "Be real." Remember that? Right, be real. What are those moments when you feel most "real." Where are you and who are you with? What are you doing? What feels different when you are "real?"

I look forward to your new blog, my Friend.

gratefulbear said...

Wow -- this poem is a great "exegesis" of the verse in Thomas.