Embrace All Your Feelings To Be Transformed – A Lesson From The Gospel of Thomas

Since ancient times, people intuitively knew that if you reject your feelings, you will be consumed by them, and if you embrace all your feelings, you will be transformed.

Blessed is the lion which becomes a man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, for the lion becomes a man.

The Gospel of Thomas

One thing my alcoholic father passed on to me is a feeling of emptiness and a desire to fill myself from outside in.

He chose to medicate the feeling with alcohol. I have tried to do the same with food, people, and workaholism.

If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. Richard Rohr

The more I numb out my feelings on food, people, or work, the emptier I feel. The feeling is strong, and often comes without warning – regardless of what I do on the outside to alleviate it.

In fact, using external means to get rid of it doesn’t work.

What happens when you put on the “Ring of Power”?

Putting on the Ring of Power is J.R.R. Tolkien’s metaphor for becoming invisible to escape some imminent danger.

It’s some external means we use to run away from our darkest thoughts and emotions.

But the more we run away from our emotions, the more they consume us.

The Gospel of Thomas offers a prophetic insight into this paradox:

Blessed is the lion which becomes a man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, for the lion becomes a man.

There is a lion inside each one of us, wanting to devour us. I know my lion by name – a consuming emptiness.

It jumps on me every time I become still, put down my phone, finish my work, or when there’s nobody around to distract me from my thoughts. 

Immediately, it pounces on me from the shadow side of my soul and tries to get me to run. Escape into some addiction. Hide.

Put on the Ring of Power like Gollum and become invisible. Split my soul into several pieces and hide my vulnerable parts into Horcruxes like Voldemort.

If you follow my metaphor, when we use the Ring of Power – any external means or methods to get me what I want – we pay a high price. 

I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. Bilbo Baggins

The more we use the Ring, the thinner our life becomes. Slowly, the Ring consumes its bearer. “Cursed is the man whom the lion consumes – the lion becomes a man.”

In other words, the more my inner beast consumes me, the more I turn into a beast myself. The human in me thins out, and I become a no-man. A beast. A ghost. Just like Ringwraiths in The Lord of the Rings:

It is said that their lords were men of Númenor who had fallen into dark wickedness; to them the Enemy had given rings of power, and he had devoured them: living ghosts they were become.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

What does emotional acceptance mean?

There’s only one thing you can do with your inner beast – the same thing Jesus did with his beasts when led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

You need to embrace all your feelings, including the ones you want to reject.

And he was with the wild beasts, and the angels were serving him.

Gospel of Mark

He didn’t fight them or run away. He was with them. He allowed them to be. By allowing the beasts to be he was slowly “consuming” them. Allowing them into himself. Integrating them. Digesting them.

Recent research shows that people who habitually judge their emotions and thoughts as unacceptable or “bad”, struggle with those experiences while striving to alter them.

And people who accept their emotions and thoughts and acknowledge them as a natural occurrence, achieve greater psychological health.

In other words, when you accept a negative emotion, it tends to lose its destructive power.  

Emotional acceptance is a powerful thing.

When we reject our inner lion – the dark emotion that lacerates our soul – it grows stronger.

The more we push it away the more it consumes us. What we resist persists. When a person is consumed by an emotion he or she slowly turns into a beast.

What we push away gets energized.

If you embrace all your emotions, including the darkest ones, they weaken. And eventually, they transform into something else.

How do I fight the feeling of emptiness?

I don’t.

The piece of me that I am rejecting feels like a lion tearing my soul apart. But if I cease resisting this feeling of emptiness and make peace with it as it is, it will become an integral part of the transformed me. It will purify me of the false self and become a source of my superpower.

Meister Eckhart, a 13th-century German mystic, said:

If you’re frightened of dying and holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth.

When I make peace with my lion, it changes from a demon into an angel.

When I stop resisting my emptiness, a miracle happens – what I thought was a gaping hole in my heart becomes a portal into beauty, love, light, and creativity.

My dad’s emptiness gave me a gift – a hunger for beauty and creativity. When I pursue beauty, it fills me from inside out.

My dad’s problem became my superpower.

Every dark emotion has a flip side. We think it will consume us if we allow it to be, but in reality, the opposite is true – when we consume it, it becomes a source of strength.

Our brokenness becomes our greatest asset when we “consume our lion.”  

Dean Graziosi, the legendary business coach and millionaire, says he became a brilliant salesman because when he was a boy, he had to “guess his violent father’s erratic moods.” As a result, he developed a superpower – the ability to see into people’s souls.

The place where we have been wounded the most is the place where our greatest asset is found.

What is the one emotion you always run away from?

Chances are, this is your doorway into a superpower.

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