They have often been confused with a community of people known as the Essenes, due to the name ‘Essene’ being applied to a melting pot of various groups of people who lived in the area near Palestine around the time of Jesus, but who had differing spiritual principles and beliefs. It is thought that the Sampsæans were possibly Essenes who converted to Jesus’ teachings, and that the ancient manuscript The Essene Gospel of Peace may have actually been attributed to the Sampsæans.2
In Book 4 of The Essene Gospel of Peace there is a description of a meditative practice done around noon, where a person is silent, listening to the sounds around them, in order to contemplate the “voice of God,” which the text explains can be perceived within the silence.
The text explains how the voice of God is found in nature and the cosmos, describing it as the “roaring sound of the waters” after a desert storm, or as the sound found in the “vast chorus of the sky” and the “holy chant of the stars,” for example.
It describes how the world was created with this sacred sound, and how a person has this voice of God within them from the beginning of their lives (“we enter the world with the sound of God in our ears”) and can learn to perceive this underlying “music of God” by listening for it in the “silence of noontide.”
The passage describes how in concentrating on this sound and immersing oneself in it while breathing deeply, one can have a spiritual experience and “become the sound itself.”
And when the sun is high in the heavens, then shall you seek the Holy Stream of Sound. In the heat of noontide, all creatures are still and seek the shade; the angels of the Earthly Mother are silent for a space. Then it is that you shall let into your ears the Holy Stream of Sound; for it can only be heard in the silence. Think on the streams that are born in the desert after a sudden storm, and the roaring sound of the waters as they rush past. Truly, this is the voice of God, if you did but know it. For as it is written, in the beginning was the Sound, and the Sound was with God, and the Sound was God. I tell you truly, when we are born, we enter the world with the sound of God in our ears, even the singing of the vast chorus of the sky, and the holy chant of the stars in their fixed rounds; it is the Holy Stream of Sound that traverses the vault of stars and crosses the endless kingdom of the Heavenly Father. It is ever in our ears, so do we hear it not. Listen for it, then, in the silence of noontide; bathe in it, and let the rhythm of the music of God beat in your ears until you are one with the Holy Stream of Sound. It was this Sound which formed the earth and the world, and brought forth the mountains, and set the stars in their thrones of glory in the highest heavens.
And you shall bathe in the Stream of Sound, and the music of its waters shall flow over you; for in the beginning of the times so did we all share in the Holy Stream of Sound that gave birth to all creation. And the mighty roaring of the Stream of Sound will fill your whole body, and you will tremble before its might. Then breathe deeply of the angel of air, and become the sound itself, that the Holy Stream of Sound may carry you to the endless kingdom of the Heavenly Father, there where the rhythm of the world rises and falls.”
~ The Essene Gospel of Peace, Book 4, The Holy Streams4
Please note, more practice excerpts will be added as and when we find them. While we recommend the practice in this excerpt, featuring a passage from a text does not mean we can vouch for the entire contents of a text.
Jenny Resnick, Jordan Resnick, and Justin Norris contributed writing or research to this article.
Note: The Sampsæans were described in the contemporary accounts of the ancient historians Philo and Epiphanius. See a summary in “On Some Points Connected With the Essenes” written by J.B Lightfoot in 1875. Lightfoot, a Church Bishop and theologian, labels the form of Christianity they practiced “spurious”, likely because it contained Jesus’ more esoteric teachings that had been rejected by the Church.
The Holy Streams. Accessed February 15, 2018. http://www.essene.com/GospelOfPeace/TheHolyStreams.htm.