Reflections on the Seven I AM sayings in the Gospel of St John

I AM the Good Shepherd 5 – 24 June 2003

17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:11ff

These words speak about the ultimate sacrifice. To sacrifice our life … and to be able to sacrifice requires that you actually have something to sacrifice. This sacrifice is not that of a soldier fighting for his country, or a quasi-martyr suicide bomber. This is the shepherd giving his life for his sheep. This is about the gentle and good shepherd and the pure and innocent sheep.

At this point in evolution our consciousness is at a crucial point. It must become clear-seeing, insightful. We must attain to a consciousness that has the power to lay down life, and the power to take it up again. This is about self-control isn’t it?

What is this life? It is the life force in us, it is our soul-filled etheric – psuche in the Greek. When we have this life force we are alive, when it leaves us we are dead. This life force, the etheric, is the domain of thinking and memory. Our etheric body is also the home of temperament, character, inclinations all of which are moulded by our experiences in past lives.

So in our etheric are our memories of the past, in this life and previous lives.
How often are we willing to lay down our thoughts, our memories, our temperament? Can we lay down our memories from past lives? A thorough examination in this area will reveal that we love our thoughts, we love our memories, we persist in our temperament no matter the pain.

In our third reflection of the previous I Am saying “I Am the Door of Sheep” – which is closely linked to this I Am saying – we spoke about karma. Our good deeds are accepted as a deposit in the cosmic bank account for everyone to use. When we do the wrong thing the cosmos rejects these errors and leaves them there for us to put right one day.

This speaks of self-redemption, that we must work out our karma alone. It seems to contradict the Christian message that Christ died for our sins. The truth about karma is not that we should just try to live peacefully because Christ has taken care of our sins, or that we should slog it out till the end of time redeeming all our dastardly deeds. The truth lies in the middle.

The one who is stronger can always lend a hand to the one who struggles under the weight of karma. The Christ deed exemplifies this. The strongest of all came to lift the weight of karma. The more we take the Christ force into ourselves the lighter our weight, and more able we are to lighten the load for the other person (but only at their invitation of course).

We do not have to act out of our unconscious life-force which is the ledger of all rights and wrongs. We can lay down this life … Jesus says: “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again;

It is the I Am that gives us the power to do this. The more we engage with our I AM and the more we place Christ in the midst of us the easier it will be to lay down the memories, the thoughts, the temperament that incites us to retaliate at times. We are not going to succeed every time; some karma just bites you on the bottom.

But as we grow in consciousness we will remember to turn to the Shepherd. By becoming more and more aware that within us is this Shepherd, this guide, the knower of our Real Self, always watchful, always encouraging us to do the good and to neutralise the bad deeds of the past. The shepherd is always there; we just have to hear his voice. His voice is sometimes drowned out by fear; fear that it will urge us to do something we would rather not do. It is the Christ impulse that gives us a love that knows no fear; a love that makes us whole and free.