A Journey Towards Healing and Connecting to Our Higher Self
I saw a film recently that moved me quite deeply. I’m speaking of Les Misérables. The story revolves around an ex-convict during the June Rebellion in Paris, France from 1815-1832. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have been moved by this journey of redemption, of forgiveness. To be redeemed, there must be a redeemer. In Les Misérables, who would the redeemer be?
To me, Les Misérables is a story of healing, carrying within it a message of self-forgiveness. I have spoken much about the power of self-forgiveness as the key to healing. In this story, all the main characters represent some part of the main character’s consciousness that he must overcome or integrate. Please know that if you aren’t familiar with the story, this will be a bit of a spoiler.
Valjean is Unconsciousness. He is a thief and represents the state of being that robs us of what we desire to do, be or have. Upon his release from prison for an unjust conviction (representing our harsh self-judgment), the constable, Javert (the Ego), basically tells Valjean, “A no good thief is all you will ever be. I will pursue you endlessly to remind you of that and return you to prison.”
“It’s often been said that in order for people to heal, recover or see significant change, they must have a reason to do so, a reason for living.”
After many failed attempts to reform himself, Valjean succumbs to the Ego’s judgment. A thief IS all he will ever be and he resigns himself to it. When taken in by a kind priest (the Higher Self) in an act of compassion, Valjean robs him of his silver. When he is caught and returned to the church, the priest forgives Valjean by offering him two additional candlesticks to take. Unlike his first release from prison, this exoneration comes from the Higher Self and is unconditional and without judgment. This act of represented self-forgiveness fuels Valjean’s complete transition into a brand new life as a wealthy factory owner.
Even so, Javert (Ego) remains fast at his heels, always searching for him, ready to convict and say, “This is who you really are,” bringing (self) judgment and doubt. Javert would love to see Valjean revert back to his old ways.
Valjean willingly commits to caring for Cosette, the child of one of his workers, Fantine, who pleads for him to do so as she dies. Cosette represents Valjean’s lost innocence; she embodies his own Inner Child, his life purpose and passion. When Valjean agrees to care for Cosette and all she represents, he is fully committed to life and survival taking on a life purpose that’s bigger than himself. This is Valjean’s moment of absolute resolve. He will never go back to his old life and in order to do that, Javert (Ego) must be defeated. It’s often been said that in order for people to heal, recover or see significant change, they must have a reason to do so, a reason for living. It’s the integration between Valjean and Cosette (his Inner Child) that causes this transformation, and that choice is a selfless one.
“All of us play out this same drama in our own lives. We are the convict, judge and jury, ready to lay down punishment on ourselves over even the smallest issues.”
The final stage of this self-forgiveness saga comes at the barricades when Valjean has the opportunity to privately kill Javert. Now Valjean has the power to consciously apply self-forgiveness to his lower nature. He releases Javert, who now sees that Valjean is transformed. Javert is powerless because Valjean is no longer the criminal who would have validated his lifetime of pursuing him. With Valjean firmly grounded in his new conscious identity, Javert sees that his own existence has been meaningless and commits suicide. Valjean realizes his dream of seeing Cosette raised and married, and dies a redeemed man in the eyes of others, not knowing his redemption came from within.
Les Misérables teaches us that everyone and everything can change. All of us play out this same drama in our own lives. We are the convict, judge and jury, ready to lay down punishment on ourselves over even the smallest issues. We’re too ready to say, “This is all I will ever be”; “This is as good as it gets”; “it’s all my fault.” Will we forgive or will we convict? Can we recognize that the map toward healing includes connecting to our Higher Self, embracing our Inner Child, having a purpose that’s bigger than just our physical healing and defeating the Ego through loving choices? Les Misérables lays out a very clear route to that destination.