In different spiritual paradigms there is an idea where one is emptied of “self” so that something greater can fill the space. By “self,” I’m referring to the limited sense of self – the ego, otherwise known as the “self identified with the body.”

In Buddhism there’s a Koan where a professor visits a Buddhist monk. The professor goes on and on about his ideas and his thoughts, not even listening to the monk. The monk gets up and pours tea into his cup. He keeps pouring until the tea is overflowing. “Stop! Stop,” shouts the professor, “the teacup is full it can’t take anymore!” The monk responds, “so too is your mind.” The lesson being, that until one has an empty mind, they are unable to accept knew ideas or different thoughts.

Early Christianity has a similar concept called Kenosis. Unlike the Buddhist story, the Christian concept has more of an appeal to being filled with a spiritual essence. What I find interesting is the word resembles the word Henosis, another Greek word, which refers to union.

Interesting that it sounds so similar to union, as it is union in a sort of way. Kenosis asks the aspirant to let go of their lower identity, so that a greater form may take its place. By letting go of human will and desire, a void is created, detaching the idea of self from the limited expression of human with the greater expression of Self.

For the Christian adept, this process is to empty the lower self so that the Holy Spirit can fill the void. For those who are not Christian, or more open to a general concept of spirit, this concept is still very valid.

Letting go of the mundane, human will is one of the most important things we can do. It’s why we’re taught to be humble. Humbling our nature is a fast way to overcome ego. Instead of glorifying the self as the body / mind construct, the body/mind is made small by uplifting others.

As the lower self diminishes, the greater self can manifest more clearly. It’s the same concept of Kenosis, minimizing the limited, so that the expansive can manifest more clearly.


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