Thursday, April 21, 2016

Catholic Hermit: On the Death of the Will

It has now been two weeks and a day since the death of my will.  I know not if this is the fullness of my will that has died, or if an immense chunk of it, with more yet to die.  If not the totality of what remained of my will, then the good Lord knows I could not bear knowing, at this juncture point, that there is more yet to die.

For what did die was as far as the rational mind can ascertain, the most horrific of transitions in loss and suffering.  And it has to be included that it is what the mind can ascertain, for perhaps if back in some of the other times of tremendous suffering and transition, perhaps those would register as just as painful?  I do not know other than the death of the will was the greatest in emptying out.

There was quite a lead up to the death of my will.  Naturally, I had no idea that it was occurring.  The understanding, knowledge, memory, and emotions suggested to my intellect that there was increased physical pain.  Then there was the usual, on-going efforts of hermitage renovation with this hermit being the main and mostly sole worker bee.  Plus, there was the reality of family moving away and seemingly quite excited to do so; the emotions promoted thoughts of surely that was causing the emptying out.

But after awhile, with the emptying continuing in unprecedented rate and thoroughness, the pain level was dealt with.  That helped, having more medication and more than enough rest.  The spontaneous sobbing ceased.  (A doctor from the past later remarked that I was on extremely low dose and how could I have managed for six years at that level?)  Yet, the emptying proceeded.

So then the intellect, freed some from the ravages of extreme physical pain, noted that the situation with family having moved had many positive points to it and really not many if any negatives.  The Lord had already started to bring persons to the hermit via email, messaging, chance encounter on the rare errand, and a phone call now and then.  Souls in need of the spiritual, of prayer, of counsel--He brought them!  Strangers, persons not heard from in years, as well as those on the other side brought to mind or through signal graces--He brought them!

But still the emptying continued, and the body despite not the tell-tale sobbing signs of way too much physical pain having ceased--the body was still without the will to get up much, nor to "do."  Then it came that Wednesday morning two weeks ago, that this consecrated Catholic hermit--me!--had no will to even die.  There was just nothing, totally nothing, complete nothingness.

Never has been anything like that experienced in my body, mind, heart, or spirit.

I remained like this for a few hours.  There was no will to reach out to even ask for prayers via email and definitely no will to make a phone call.

After awhile, perhaps toward noon, there was a thought in the intellect to call Dr. H. of the long-distant past.  It was an odd thought, for I'd not spoken with him for a couple years, on the phone, and have not physically seen him in 25 or more years.  But somehow there was the ability to make a phone call and leave a message, that something very unusual and painful was going on, and perhaps I somehow needed a pep talk.  

That was it.  And then there was a thought from somewhere to get up and go outside and begin to weed, even though I knew with knowledge that Dr. H. would unlikely not call back any time soon, as he is incredibly busy always, and he might not even be in the office or available, perhaps part-time or on vacation.  Somehow, oddly, that did not matter.

Within minutes of weeding, an insight came, a thought-flash. It was clear and definite:  Your will has died.

What?  Yes, a voice had said within, thought-flashed it, that my will had died.  And with that all things of the emptying began to make sense to the knowledge, understanding, memory, emotions, and even external senses.  

The intellect marveled at this news.  It remembered a little how it felt years ago when the body had died in recovery room following a major surgery.  The essence was a bit like dying physically and the incredible clarity of awareness that the body had died, that this was what death was like!  Quite freeing!

But with the death of my will, the infusion of humor came as well, and this question:  What did I think dying to my will would entail? Had I though it would be like fairy dust sprinkled on me during sleep and I'd wake up with my will gone and God's will in me?  Did I think it was not going to entail suffering?  Did I think it would just happen without any effect, or had I even thought much about it at all as a process or a lived reality?

No, I had not.  I had not really thought about it much other than in the Lord's Prayer, often repeating: Thy will be done.  Your will, not mine, Lord, be done.  Or in Scripture, reading about the seed falling to the ground, crushed.  Or reading about Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, crying tears of blood, accepting the Lord's will, not His of His earthly existence--of the human will given Jesus for his life as a human among us.

There came a growing giddiness with grasping the reality of the death of the will!  Of course it would be an "event"--a literal, tangible process with temporal affect and effect.

Yet what was causing me to function now?  For I continued weeding and communicating within, asking questions and getting some answers.  The puzzle pieces were being put into place rapidly, and the effect in my physical body was that of relief; in the emotions I felt joy, humor, and amazement.  In the knowledge and understanding was a profound degree of humility in my foolish ignorance.

Yes, I had read many books of mystics and spiritual masters who described the need for one's will to die and for God's will to fill in and take over the reins, so to speak.  These souls wrote of the necessity of it at some point, and they described that they had experienced something of it and how awful in the sense of full of awe and also very painful in the emptying out.  But somehow I had not read or at least not gleaned that the death of the will would be an event that would take all out of oneself, last whatever length of time, and be so very, very painful--worse than physical death in some aspects for one is not freed from the encumbrance of physical body.

In the death of the will, the body is still very much with us, and the senses, emotions, images, memory, knowledge, understanding and intellect remain even if sufferingly blurred.  But the will itself--that is removed, and it is not, at least in my case, immediately replaced or filled in.

Perhaps an image can be a bathtub being drained of all the water, yet the bathtub is there, the residue of soap and grime can be seen, remembered, considered; but there is not fresh water refilling the tub.  Not yet.  So it seems that there is nothing but the blurred yet temporal aspects of the tub and residue of the act of body and bathing.  But no water--no new coming from faucet, .no temporal hand turning on the faucet. Emptied, stark naked emptiness.

I'm not sure when my will started to be filled in with His will.  I think it occurred when I was surprisingly able to make the one phone call even though the memory and knowledge knew it would not be answered, if ever, not for an indefinite period of time.  That seems the first act that was not my will, for I had no will to make any outreach effort prior to that, and it seemed an odd call to make because there had been no phone contact with Dr. H. for two years, as mentioned above.

Then my will being refilled with God's will was even more apparent in my body getting up and going outside to weed.  My will had not been able to give any such impetus to my body prior to that, for working or energy for other than autonomic activity: breathing and experiencing albeit in a blurred, empty mode.  So it had to be God's will starting to fill in that directed my body to go out and weed.

Then, of course, came the near immediate thought-flash:  Your will has died.  

Even from that point of understanding, knowledge and altered effect on the soul's memory, images, emotions and bodily senses--the filling in was gradual.  I know that it may still be occurring, over two weeks in earth time, later.  

I think this is enough for now, as I will in separate post try to describe a bit more of the process following the death of the will--of the process that does take earth time and is a literal, tangible experience with temporal effect from the spiritual reality.

However, I do want to state these insights, and that is that for most of us, our wills die as our bodies die:  bit by bit.  Our organs and skin and muscles and cells and blood and all aspects of our physical bodies are dying in little bits, gradually, over the period of earth time we are given.  And our wills die in similar fashion, most often.  But there are also for some or maybe all of us, times in which a huge chunk of our will dies, or an experience in which the rest of our wills die, while still on earth.  

That is a marked, profound, and utterly painful, literal, seemingly insufferable and unlivable experience.  Yet, of course, we do live through it if such a massive death of our will occurs while yet in our physical bodies.  For others, the death of the will or what remains of it, dies at our physical death with the "shock" of the suffering leading to that death and our loss of so much physical and temporal occurring.  But even yet for others, such as those with sudden deaths and no lead-up of great suffering in which our wills die off more rapidly, or can, depending on if we do not fight against it--the will continues to die in what we call the purgation process on the other side:  Purgatory.

For, no matter what we may tell ourselves or others might wish--our wills must die and be replaced by God's will in order to experience union with Him, and to experience Heaven, to experience not our will be done but His in us, His making His abode fully in us, for all eternity.

Our souls are comprised of these "layers" or "rings" (whatever image is helpful to grasp what consists of our souls, from the outer to the inner, to the very center of the soul:


Thus, when our will (given to us by God when our soul is implanted in our bodies at conception) dies and is replaced, gradually or at whatever pace and degree that God wills, with His will, it is because the will is in primary position closest to the center of our souls.  It is the primary position within what is to be the abode of His Real Presence, that our will must die by degrees toward or with complete death of our will.  God's will fills in, but what about that which is in next position to the will in the center of the soul?

It is the intellect.  So then there is an effect on the intellect that occurs when our will dies and God's will begins the filling in.  One begins to experience that the intellect alters.  And the intellect then affects the rest of the levels or rings that comprise our souls, from within to without; and the effect in turn will also have movement from the outer back into the inner with reception of the temporal that God wills to affect within the center of our souls--thus, from within to without and without to within.

These are the movements of God's will upon the death of our wills and the filling in of His within.  So the next post I will write regarding the death of the will and the filling in of God's will in our souls, will be to share how the intellect alters, as it will be informed thus by God's will, not our will.  This causes quite a shift to that which we are accustomed, from within to without affecting our temporal lives and all that is in the temporal world.  And also then, what is brought back in from the outer to the inner core of the soul wherein God abides, His Real Presence, in varying degrees of death of our wills and filling in of His will.

It does, rather, put a new spin on:  God bless His Real Presence in us!  Does it not?

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