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Random Musings

An Explanation of the spiritual term Kenosis

For those of you who have asked for a further explanation of Kenosis, these reflections from the Director of the House of Prayer -- the Rev. Ward Bauman -- will elucidate. A reflection from the Kenosis retreat, 2013: "True knowledge of God is that which is known by unknowing." (Cloud of Unknowing) One of the primary practices of all spiritual work is detachment, the learned behavior of "letting go" and not clinging. This is primarily true of wisdom, that is, spiritual knowledge. The great paradox is that we cannot find it by grasping it. In other words, going to another conference, reading another book, or hearing another teaching will not ultimately be the knowledge that we seek and need. This is perhaps one of the hardest lessons of the spiritual life. We in the West do not get it. It is so antithetical to everything we’ve learned. But this is core to coming to spiritual truth. It also points to the heart of our spiritual malady, pride. True wisdom comes only through true humility. Here the crack in our armory creates an entrance for the divine light. Jesus said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This is the beginning and foundation to all spiritual work. The Chinese philosopher, Chuang-tzu said: Consider a window; it is just a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is filled with light. Thus, when the mind is open and free of its own thoughts, life unfolds effortlessly, and the whole world is filled with light. (The Second Book of the Tao, Stephen Mitchell) When our hearts are open and free of constructs, we become channels for spiritual light. When we are unburdened with cumbersome and restricting ideas, something new can emerge. When we are emptied of self-focus, we can begin to see the bigger picture. This, then, becomes the practice of prayer; in self-emptying we become free and receptive for "true knowledge."
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