Laughter, happiness, peace and joy… most of us want all of it. Fewer; however, are willing to let go of the fixations that block us from lighter ways of living? Fully releasing attachment to resentment, blame, selfishness, a need to control, etc., requires living from the belly, after discovering the Sacred within there.
Jonah’s truer Self asked him to do one thing, his false self, another. When we are at odds with ourselves, it is easier to run from a big, bad God or something else out there, rather than tending to the struggle going on inside. One part of us wants to transform, and the other feels justified in our defenses.
In the story, Jonah admitted that his decision to run away caused the raging storm, so his shipmates tossed him overboard where a big fish swallowed him. This period of seclusion offered Jonah time to consider his life choices.
When honest, we admit our fear of who we might be without the traits we’ve allowed to define us. What attributes could possibly fill the hole left by ridding ourselves of the destructive ones?
Jesuit priest and psychologist, Anthony de Mello, makes a statement in his book, Awareness. “Even the best psychologist will tell you that people don’t really want to be cured. What they want is relief; a cure is painful.”
And so, we reach for anything that relieves our dis-ease and sigh. “If only this circumstance or person would change, then, I could be happy.” Dropping pride and choosing the cure is the way to wholehearted living.
Being rejected and then cloistered was Jonah’s wake-up call. Perhaps when we perceive painful experiences as necessary steps to choosing Life, we too will let go of our obsessions.
Once we have experienced oneness with the Holy in the dark void, and get comfortable with Great Mystery, we are free to live from the belly, remembering who we are. From that time on, joy and sorrow flow together creating a richer life.
Making Spirit Flesh*
How much is an unencumbered life worth to you? Is it worth spending extended time in the belly of a whale?