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Being Self-Emptied and God-filled

Beginning our journey in the foothills

A human being's most persistent requirement is for wholeness. A whole person is one who has gained control of the forces which are within them, both human and spiritual.
bioReverend Flower A. Newhouse, The Quest

The preparation for the journey of discipleship is now complete. The teachings set the objective, chart the terrain, and catalog the resources. The disciplines encompass the skills to be acquired before the summit can be attained. The psychology of individuation points out the hazards to be faced in making one's way up the Mountain and the means to surmount them, giving rise to our strength and self-mastery.

Now the journey begins. As with all great adventures, spirits will be high and expectations bright. However, we are novices still among the foothills. We lack experience and have yet to prove ourselves. As the path steepens and the nights grow colder, the sense of sheer pleasure surrounding an outing leaves us. Directly we are at a crossroad. Either we look back, longing for the familiar comforts and the ease of the good life left behind, or we look ahead to the unconquered peak and the distant calling of God from the heights of this incomparable Mountain.

What we lack, and what must be earned, is wholeness. As long as there is a division between higher and lower natures, we lack wholeness. To the extent we live between God's world and the netherworld, we lack wholeness. And until self-mastery is complete and God alone dwells within us, we lack wholeness. Therefore wholeness lies in the distance and is to be gained daily, patiently, in small amounts.

Hiking toward the peaks

Wholeness, it turns out, emerges as a function of growth. It is as if we begin our evolution as a vessel empty of God and full of self. Every conquest rids this vessel of a fragment of its instinctive debris or egocentric mass. Every illumined insight cleanses the vessel and adds a drop of distilled wholeness. Occasionally, a large chunk of self will be loosened all at once and an entire cupful of wholeness will be added as suddenly. But mostly it is bit by bit and drop by drop.
bioReverend Flower A. Newhouse, Disciplines of the Holy Quest

If we survive the many crossroads by developing the qualities of steadfastness and perseverance without which the journey falters, wholeness will take form in the coming together of the teachings, the disciplines, and individuation. For example, from the teachings we understand our purpose in life is to follow the way of discipleship to Christ. Discipleship means living the Life exemplified by the Lord Christ and His wayshowers, and this brings us to both a teacher and the disciplines. This commitment simultaneously precipitates the experience of individuation. Now we must stand up to the puzzling warfare unleashed by the personality self, learning that in this encounter our lack of wholeness—our own spiritual immaturity—is laid bare. If we will grasp the significance of this testing as an infallible indicator of where our next foothold of growth lies, and we take it, then we advance. An old part of us dies and a new portion is born. This is individuation. Paul, once again, preceded us in this truth when he said:

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