Take a look at that picture. Can you recall a time when you, like Joseph, have been betrayed? Thrown under the bus, dis-owned by the very ones who were supposed to have your back? By the very ones you expected to offer you love and support and nurture? Perhaps it was a parent, or sibling. Maybe it was a colleague, or a whole community whose betrayal was the silence at the injustice enacted by a few. Maybe it was a spouse or a child. Maybe it was even yourself.

Betrayals can be public and dramatic (like a spouse having an affair or a teacher or parent shaming you in front of others...like being sold, like a crucifixion). They can also be subtle and shrouded (like silence in the face of injustice, like absence in a time of distress, like an agreement not kept). What betrayal which you've experienced comes to mind?

I know, this may not be your idea of a great way to start the day. I get it. When Spring is long in coming, who needs another challenge to a positive mindset? But, friend, just stay with me, because whatever discomfort has been summoned (icky feelings, body constriction and all) has shown up for your healing. I'm certain of it.

Years after the betrayal, Joseph's reunion with his brothers is marked by a lot of discomfort. I'd suggest it was a Holy Discomfort. The brothers' arrival no doubt awakened the trauma which had seeped and sunk into Joseph's body years before like the dank air at the bottom of the pit into which they had thrown him. This cold energy likely fueled his game-playing, emotional manipulation when they arrived in Egypt. Joseph isn't remembered as a great leader because he never allowed such betrayals to negatively affect his behavior; he's remembered as a great leader because he remained awake to his own inner dynamics and to a knowing beyond the rational (consider his early trust of dreams). Several times in this narrative we are told he had to leave the room because he couldn't contain his tears. 

Joseph's willingness to experience his own discomfort eventually draws from him an  incredibly Open Minded, Open Hearted and Open Willed response which sets a whole cascade of healing into motion.  In a poignant moment of pain and love and clarity, Joseph declares, "It wasn't you who sent me here, but God." (Genesis 45:8)

Just like that, Joseph drops the blame. Just like that, his mind is opened to faith: trusting that Reality is more than what can be seen in the moment and life is unfolding with a perfection beyond our recognition. Just like that his heart is opened to love and compassion. "Don't be upset, and don't be angry with yourselves," (Genesis 45: 5) he begs his brothers, knowing that hanging on to self-blame and shame is equally as damaging as blaming and shaming another. And finally, just like that, his will is opened to surrender and commitment. "Come close to me, " (Genesis 45: 4) he says. Let's begin again.

Richard Rohr teaches that when the head, heart and will are all opened simultaneously, we have a transformative experience of God, or a healing. In such a moment, we are, by grace, released from the most powerful illusions which hold us captive: the mind's illusion that I know; the heart's illusion that I am separate; and the gut's/will's illusion that I am in control.

What illusion are you clinging to these days? What is seeking release? Not sure? Begin to notice where in your body you are clenching. Got a headache? Furrowing your brow? Consider what ways you may be buying into the illusion that you know. Noticing a constriction or tightness in the chest? In what ways may you be declaring the illusion that you (or a part of yourself, or others) are separate? Or don't belong? Feeling a clench in the gut? What is the control you are unwilling to surrender?

Friend, what if you, like Joseph, could open to the possibility that your life, even with all of its struggle and trauma, is unfolding with a perfection beyond your present sight? What would that feel like? In your mind? In your heart? In your gut?

Is Spirit inviting you today to release blame and step into the practice of forgiveness? For yourself? Or another? Or even, of Reality itself? If so, you may find this 12-minute Forgiveness meditation by Jack Kornfield to be helpful.

Has this meditation stirred something in you that would like to be named? I'd love to hear about it.

Lorilyn Wiering