I was drinking coffee at in the the other day. The man sitting at the table next to me was speaking loudly on his cell phone to the point where I could here every word he said. By the tone of his conversation with the person on the other end I could tell he was a sponsor for AA, and he was talking to someone who was in distress with his recovery.
Listening to the AA sponsor counsel someone in the midst of distress, made me recall the story from the Bible, when Jonah is swallowed into the belly of the whale.
The Story of Jonah is particularly important to hear as bay area people. It is timely because we live in Marin County that has many individuals and families living with high amounts of stress and uncertainty. Paying for college, parents sandwiched between caring for young kids and taking care of old parents, or seeking a better job to improve a quality of life, these and many more are real pressures of Marin life.
What the Jonah story reveals is a deeper transformation of consciousness. Jonah is about how one person has the ability to risk loosing ones ego and sense of self, in order to be made anew in God’s grace. This is big stuff!
Like many who walk the road from addiction to sobriety, Jonah reveals a deeper transformation of consciousness- or what in our Christian tradition we call “A lived faith.”
The path to spiritual life and a deeper purpose of a lived faith is a hunger that is in our DNA. We have a lot to learn from Jonah when it comes to living deeper into our humanity.
Psychologically water is the unconscious. The Whale or fish is a personification of the unconscious.
Are you with me on this?
The whale is the dynamism of the unconscious. It is dangerous and powerful. And the dark unconscious must be controlled by the light of consciousness or in our tradition-“A lived faith in harmony with God’s purpose.”
We hold a tension between a world of light and consciousness and a world of unconsciousness and darkness. Do you agree with this?
The story of Jonah is not lore. It is not simple fiction. It is challenging to talk about such themes today because they are treated as mythic in the sense of "not being real." The themes of life purpose and meaning in Jonah are mythic but not in the "not real" sense of the word "myth," but rather in the "more real than real" sense.
Jonah leaves the realm of light-the world he knows and meets the great power and darkness from below. The two worlds of consciousness and unconsciousness touch. The light of the known world of Jonah is swallowed by the dark unconscious by the dangerous and powerful creature.
That is what was happening during the phone conversation with the AA sponsor. The dangerous and powerful darkness of addiction had a hold on him and he was struggling for the light.
Ultimately when our life is transformed, the healed person becomes the healing person. The loved person becomes the loving person. The forgiven person become the forgiving person.
Have a good week,
Rev. Dan’s sermons are available at www.stlukepres.org