Become 'as nothing', passive to God


[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Soul, as empty, nothing, a vessel" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 2043 - 2044"
There were spirits who did not understand what it meant when it was said one "must be reduced to nothing" or "become nothing," thinking that when they lost those things which were their own, nothing would be left, so that the person or spirit would no longer be in control of himself, but like a machine, devoid of all sense or thought. So they very often told me that I was nothing, or would become nothing, making fun of me, because they did not understand what it is "to be nothing." But I was given to reply to them that this was my wish, that is, to be nothing—in fact, entirely nothing, for then only I would begin to be something.
 Afterwards they were instructed that "nothing" meant that one would lose all that is one's own, that is, one's own desires, and thus iniquities, and that then a different person would emerge. They were told that they could not be something before they had lost what was their own, and to the extent that they lose those things, or are reduced to nothing, they begin to be something, and then they would have whatever they longed for and thought about. For he is given by the Lord to long for the right things, which he surely obtains in abundance, together with enjoyment—and this constantly, so long as, and so far as, he is nothing unto himself. So he receives countless things, together with innermost joy and gladness, and with immeasurably fuller awareness than man feels in his enjoyments, and in unending variety. The sensation and awareness, which they had thought would be gone, then also increase unendingly when the sensation and awareness of enjoyments from their own loves cease.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Soul, as empty, nothing, a vessel" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 2470 - 2471"
By a spiritual mental image I realized quite clearly that nothing else is required of human beings than to be compliant vessels, that is, that all things in them to the very least be as it were yielding, and thus adapting themselves and thus conforming to the things being poured in by the Lord through angels and spirits, in such a way as not to resist or reject the things being poured in.
 In order that one may not be resistant, but yielding, it is necessary that one have faith, and truth of faith, and be nothing, and do nothing from self, but let oneself be acted on, thus acting as if on our own—with ineffable happiness. When it comes to matters of belief and, to be sure, to everything pertaining to faith, we must with every single thought be absorbed in love of the neighbor and compassion and innocence, in order to be such a vessel and be able to enjoy happiness and experience the effect of those things that are being poured in by the Lord through the heavens.
 I spoke of these matters with the angels also through the spirits closest by, who said that they wanted to be like this, because then they can enjoy happiness, and I was prompted to tell them that they cannot be this kind of vessel unless they have truth. (Truths are all things down to the very least pertaining to faith, thus very far removed from fallacies and from falsities coming from fallacy or any other source.) For truth cannot dwell in a vessel made of falsities, but must by all means be in its own vessel, that is, in truth. This was so translucently seen by a spiritual mental image that they could say absolutely nothing against it.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Influx (influences), God to man" (search under Beings/God)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 2960"
It appears as if human thoughts, from a person on earth or from a spirit, move the Lord, when yet all things to the very least flow in from the Lord, thus into the person, not from the person. For I am taught that the fact is, when the life of the Lord flows into a subject fit to receive, heaven is moved, because the order is complete, and the receiving vessel, so to speak, is fit to receive. It is different when it is not fit, for then the qualities flowing in cannot operate.