If you are a lazy unemployed samurai, a question you might ask yourself is: ‘Why bother doing anything at all’? The answer is, everything feels wrong until we have a serious, all-consuming, and sometimes terrible mission.The heavier the weight, the more we are in our element. We’re not happy for too long sitting on beaches and drinking cocktails — our real nature is to be looking for trouble and we will go right down into hell to find it. If we are a Samurai and not a slug, that is.
It’s like the story of Job, for whom life was just too idyllic, so the old testament God — sadistic psychopath that He was — allowed the the devil have his way with with him. And only after Job’s precious identity was completely swallowed up and there was nothing of his ego left, could he feel unfettered joy without cause and perceive a real paradise. Only after being totally crushed could Job see a rainbow or a whale in its totality and without filters.
One could question God’s cruel therapeutic methods, but the point is: Job had to face the fact of suffering in human life somehow, to become a wiser human being. It’s the story of Buddha, the story of Adam and Eve, the story of the Hobbit, and Batman — in fact, it is the story of everybody and the potential hero within each soul. The hero is just the person who makes it to the end of the story in tact and transformed, without losing his soul in the depths.
So, what do we do when we are attacked by the Job archetype: if, for instance we discover our wife in bed with our best friend or if our child dies. When terrible things happen, as they inevitably will, there may be nothing we can do but hang on by our very teeth — the turbulence, the pain, the suffering is inevitable. And then, when the burning waves start to subside, we can begin to reconstruct the edifice, and rise from the ashes as a newly awaked spiritual being, empowered and articulate.
It doesn’t have to be so dramatic. These Little Job attacks happen all the time: they have a beginning, a middle, and an end, thank goodness — like all archetypal patterns. It’s helpful to see what stage we are in, so that we can navigate though. It’s good learn from such storms and even to be grateful for them, rather than become bitter and angry at God or the devil or whoever gets in the way.
This week for instance, I had a conflict with somebody, and right afterwards I put my back out. I had to sit in a chair at work in total back pain for four days. The difficulty had begun as spiritual shock, which then manifested in the body as physical injury, and in the worst moments, I was in intense agony. Now, there is just a slight pain in the back, and I am feeling much better. And in the process, I have reconciled with somebody and had a few shocking revelations about myself. I’d say the whole drama lasted about a couple of week. Some Job attacks, however, can go on years, but I got off easy this time.
We tend to think that we are to blame when bad things happen and this may or may not be the case. But it’s good to know that there is a larger process at work, and a corrective movement in play. If we can be consciously engaged in this process, we can become more powerful and real, and less a victim of circumstances. We can become a real Samurai, unemployed or not.