When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found
- ancient Sufi wisdom
In many a great Christmas movie you get that sometimes nauseating, sometimes profound the TRUE meaning of Christmas moral punchline. The mundane habit of celebrating Christmas is dramatically brought into question, demanding some inner change in the characters. The Grinch is one of my favourites, particularly the Jim Carrey version which deepens the Dr. Seuss classic. The comically angry outcast Grinch tries to 'steal' Christmas by stealing all the presents, but it simply makes the citizens of Whoville dig deeper to find an unconditional joy, peace and community, which in turn makes the Grinch's heart swell, and he is able to participate in the community again.
Christmas 2020 and all its jolts to the mundane status quo, I am revealing to you, may have been written by Dr. Seuss. Whoville is the human family, and the Grinch...well, that's up to you. How will we respond? How will we grow? As in films, so in life, a great challenge presents us a phenomenal opportunity for growth.
The Grinch also represents the destructive, depressive, oppressive force, which we can recognise internally as the dysfunctional sense of self; the 'ego' which separates us from others. I know it's tempting this year but try not to feel like this, or at least catch yourself when you do:
Whether the Grinch represents the External Challenging Situation, your Inner Depressive Voice, or a different analogy of your choice, it's important that you do not hate him! You must recognise him, but despise him not.
"Don't hate him? But he's a bastard! A green, hairy bastard. He stole my happiness!!"
No, I'm going to break it to you that the Grinch is good for you, good for your development and good for the planet's development. How attached you would be to your old, destructive, materialistic ways if you weren't jolted around a bit! How superficial an existence you would lead without the taste of suffering! How unempathetic you would be! How you would stuff your face and stuff your face and never learn!
So a little shake teaches us to be not so attached to that which is ephemeral and changing. What is the source of joy? What is the source of love? It is simply not possible for your fundamental essence to be stolen!
So sing in spite of and because of so-called hardship, for it teaches us who we are! Thank the Grinch, invite him for lunch, work on growing your own heart, and his own will grow three sizes too!! You'll discover that the Grinch is totally harmless, capable of untold joy and generosity, just like you.
Besides being funny, one of the reasons I like the Jim Carrey version is that we are encouraged to feel great empathy towards the character, for example through flashbacks to his bullied childhood in which he was made to feel like an alien for his green-ness. Connect with someone you find green this Christmas and give them a big hug, because together as one, (truly together in all senses of the word, not that fake political or corporate slogan version of 'together'...see phenomenon of psychopath emotion-simulation) this human family is very strong!