Sacred living is a commitment to many things, but at the heart of it is the calling to be made empty of all that hinders our ability to know, become filled with, and live as Divine Love (capital “L” Love). In this process we are allowing ourselves to let go of and be emptied of all those things within us that are not reflective of Love and which hinder our ability to know Love fully and live Love freely.
Jesus accomplished this and provided a model for us to follow:
Christ, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
2 Phil 6-8
Thankfully, few of us will be asked to die on a cross, but Jesus provides an example of the ongoing and complete nature of the emptying. Emptying ourselves of that which is not of Love so we can embody increasingly more Love is the process of a lifetime, one that is not complete until we leave this body behind. As Jesus showed us, the final emptying happens at the moment of death when none of our human self remains, and all that we are now is Love.
Perhaps ad nauseum, I have expounded upon all the ways we are invited to be made empty. Emptied of our fears, false perceptions, ego attachments, compulsive behaviors, unhealed wounds, past traumas, and non-loving (guilt-driven) societal conditioning. When we begin this journey of emptying, we often begin on the surface – those behavior traits, compulsions, defense mechanisms, etc. that are obvious in our lives which hinder our ability to live freely and at peace. As we continue the emptying, however, the journey becomes more subtle and obtuse. Things we might not have thought of as obstacles to Love – such as guilt, shame, addictions to negative emotional patterns or thoughts, etc. We may, in fact, have thought these things as helpful in our path to Love – at least that’s what we’ve been told.
When we are actively and doing the work of emptying with purpose and through our own self-direction, there is a sense of empowerment that comes in “fighting our demons.” As we move deeper into this work, however, the going gets tougher and we find that we are no longer driving the “demon slaying bus.” Instead, it seems as if we are being dragged kicking and screaming. (I know you know of what I speak.) It is at this time that we must harness our courage, turning toward “the beast” while walking right into it.
Let me provide an example: Recently, I have been invited into another layer of deep emptying. I didn’t immediately recognize it, however, and instead found myself kicking and flailing my way through a party being thrown by all my deepest compulsions. When the party became a beating (metaphorically), and I felt my soul crumble, and after taking a few days to wallow in my broken pride, I woke up. “Oh, I’m being invited into another layer of being made empty and I had been trying to fill up/run away from that emptying. DUH!” Armed with a lifetime of experience in facing down demons, I turned toward the darkness and walked into it. As I write this post, I am sitting in that darkness, allowing the emptying to continue knowing that I will find another layer of freedom on the other side. I won’t lie and say I don’t have an enormous amount of anxiety sitting in this darkness – I do. What I also know is that there is always fear in the darkness and terror in the face of the unknown. I also know that it is only in sitting in and with that terror, that it will find its release.
Being made empty is no easy task, which is likely why few are willing and able to do it. Being made empty is also the only way we can be made free of what hinders our journey to Love. For the sake of Love, I believe the emptying is totally worth it.