Repress Your Feelings And You Will Be Consumed; Embrace Your Feelings And You Will Be Transformed

The evil in this world cannot be stopped by force, but it will be woven into the patterns of the Celestial Music.
A book with ancient text

“Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man.” - Jesus in The Gospel of Thomas

One thing my alcoholic father passed on to me is the feeling of emptiness and a desire to fill myself up from outside. Even though I have never taken a drink, I will often self-medicate on food, people, and busyness — not to feel empty and abandoned.

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

The more I numb out on food, people, and work the emptier I feel. The feeling is deep-seated and arises from inside regardless of what I do on the outside. In fact, using the outside “methods” to get rid of it makes it worse. They don’t work.

There is a lion inside each one of us wanting to devour us. I know my lion by name — a consuming emptiness. It attacks 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 jumps on me from the depths of my being 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.

What happens when you put on the Ring of Power?

Golden ring with an inscription

Using the Ring of Power — any external means or technology to get me to where I want to be — comes at a price. Bilbo felt it most acutely when he said:

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

The more you use the Ring the thinner your life becomes. Slowly, it consumes you. Just like Jesus said in the Gospel of Thomas: “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 becomes 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.

What does it mean that Jesus was with wild beasts in the wilderness?

Lion and Lamb made of clouds

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

“And he was with the wild beasts, and the angels were serving him.” Mark 1:12,13

Jesus has his beasts, but he didn’t fight them or run away from them. He was with them. He allowed them to be. And the angels were serving him. By allowing the beasts to be he was slowly “consuming” them. Allowing them into himself. Integrating them. Digesting them.

“Blessed is the lion which becomes a man when consumed by man.” Jesus consumed his lion, and that which was lacerating his soul became an integral part of him. The lion was absorbed and became a man. In the end, he became in him the Lion of Judah.

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. “Cursed is the man whom the lion consumes — the lion becomes a man.”

How can I stop resisting?

“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.” Meister Eckhart

Whatever I am resisting in myself feels like a lion tearing my soul apart. But if I cease resisting and make peace with this dark emotion, it will become an integral part of the transformed me. It will purify me of the false self. When I make peace with my lion, it will change from a demon into an angel. It will free me from the Earth.

What is the thing that binds me to the Earth right now? It’s exactly the thing that keeps me from inheriting the Earth.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Jesus

What does it mean that the meek shall inherit the Earth?

Beautiful lake in the fall

The meek are those who let go of the Earth only to receive it back as a gift. My inner lion is an angel in disguise that frees me from the Earth so I would inherit it. If I push the lion away it will turn into a demon and swallow me up. If I allow it into myself it will turn into an angel and will free me from my shackles.

What is it that I need to let go of? My lion is here to tear it from me anyway. But if I give it up on my own accord, suddenly the lion is tamed. Lo and behold, it is an angel ministering to me. I become light, weightless. I have dropped the burden of the Earth and can fly. The lion has been integrated, consumed, and transmuted into a man. A whole man.

By giving up the Earth willingly we tame the inner lion that came to tear the Earth away from us. And the lion turns into an angel to deliver us from bondage. When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, he fully accepted his lot — that he would soon be swallowed up.

Through non-resistance, he consumed his inner lion, and the physical lions didn’t touch him either. Just like Jesus in the wilderness, he allowed his wild beasts in by offering no resistance to King Darius’ verdict.

“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.”

Why is mortality the gift of Men?

drops of rain

This motif of letting go of the Earth runs deep in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Here is one of the most profound passages in the Ainulindalë that must have been inspired by the author’s Catholic faith.

The Third Theme in the Music of Ilúvatar introduces the coming of Men and counters the “discord of Melkor” (the Devil character) by soft, slow, and immeasurably sorrowful sounds.

"There were two musics progressing at one time before the seat of Ilúvatar, and they were utterly at variance. The one was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came. The other…was loud, and vain, and endlessly repeated; and it had little harmony, but rather a clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes."

While Melkor’s music was creating strife and discord, the Third Theme introduced the coming of Men, the Secondborn, to whom Ilúvatar gave “strange gifts.”

“…to Men he gave strange gifts.”

What are these strange gifts? These are the gifts of mortality, the gifts of imperfection. The Music foreshadows a very strange and unexpected resolution to the “problem of evil.” Somehow, salvation will come through Men. In the Third Theme, the discord of Melkor is overcome not by power or force but by the “Christological sorrow,” leading to the most beautiful triumph imaginable.

Here’s how Tolkien describes the strange effect of the Third Theme on the discord of Melkor. While the music of Melkor

…essayed to drown the other music by the violence of its voice, but it seemed that its most triumphant notes were taken by the other and woven into its own solemn pattern.

The most triumphant, violent, and loud notes of Melkor were taken and woven into the sorrowful pattern of the Third Theme.

The forceful violence of Melkor’s pride was not destroyed or rejected by Ilúvatar but rather softly woven into the beauty of human imperfection.

The strange gifts of Men are the gifts of imperfection — the ability to let go and remain little, powerless, and empty. Yet, by letting go of this Earth, Men go beyond the circles of the world. 

The most triumphant notes of evil were “taken and woven” into the soft and solemn beauty of the Third Theme. This corresponds to Jesus’ saying in the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas:

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

What is the solution to the problem of evil?


The evil in me cannot be overcome by power, force, or resistance. It can only be “taken and woven” into the journey of shedding this Earth that all men must take.

Just like leaves turn yellow and red in the fall and adorn the world with their parting beauty so we embrace our imperfections and become totally renewed at the return of Spring. The beauty of letting go is a mighty Christological overtone captured in the following passage of The Silmarillion:

And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.

Whether internal or external, the evil in this world will not be stopped by force but rather woven into the patterns of the Celestial Music. Its darkest notes will add to the glorious beauty of the whole and magnify the Divine Harmony.

When Ulmo, the Lord of the Waters in J.R.R. Tolkien's world, was distressed over Melkor's attempts to mar the works of his hands, Ilúvatar comforted him by pointing out how wonderous this transmutation would be:

And Iluvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: “Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of the fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the everchanging mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwe, thy friend, whom thou lovest.”

The Ulmo answered: “Truly, Water is become now fairer than my heart imagined, neither had my secret thought conceived the snowflake, nor in all my music was contained the falling of the rain.”

I am a translator and blogger who believes that all change comes from inside out, not from outside in.

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