Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Jedi without the Force

A Christian who isn't filled with the Holy Spirit is like a Jedi Knight who doesn't use the force.

- Nicodemus Chan.

Accepting Limitations

The thing about reading too many motivational and success books is this, I think. We forget our limitations.

We hear phrases like "unlimited success", "there's nothing I cannot do", "if you put your mind to it, you can do anything". And true enough, there are mental limits that we have put in place that can be overcome, a lot of time it is because we are doubting our abilities, or because we are afraid of what we can do or what the repercussions are.

However, the flipside to motivational and success stories is that our egos can feed on it and control us and not let our soul live.

To quote from "Denial of the Soul":

It is the nature of the ego to cling to power, to chase restlessly the illusion of security, to deny loss, to refuse to accept limitations. Then how does a human being ever empty herself of these things? And why? How and why we do sometimes voluntarily relinquish power, choose to give up treasured illusions, overcome denial, and reach acceptance?

This happens because the ego is sometimes smart. After a while we can grow tired of butting our heads up against a stone wall. We can be clever enough to recognize that our illusions are killing us and that relinquishing them is the path toward healing. We may realize that our ego is getting in our own way and finally come to Buddha's and Jesus' understanding that the ego is its own worst enemy.

At this point, if we ever reach it, we embark upon the journey of kenosis, "the process of emptying itself of self," of purification, of the ego bumping itself off. Some engage in this journey of kenosis only halfheartedly, in fits and starts. That is to be expected. It is something of a miracle that we come to be engaged in it at all. A few eventually take up the journey wholeheartedly and come to see in it the very meaning of their existence.