Theistic Psychology by Leon James (2004)

Volume 2. Personality and Development

Chapter 5

Research Methods in Theistic Psychology
(version 43a)

Anatomy of the Mind

5.1  Anatomy of the Mind

5.1.1  The Mind's Three Discrete Degrees

    The Mind's Two Organs--Will and Understanding 
    Three Degrees of Mind--Celestial, Spiritual, Natural
     Internal and External Within Each Degree of Mind
    Corresponding Degrees--Natural and Spiritual Minds
     Anatomy of the Mind at Birth
     Altruism or the Love of Uses
                   The Method of Self-witnessing
     The Genuine Human Shape and Form
     Life in the Embryo
     The Growth of the Mind
                   The Mind's Growth During Childhood
    The Role of the Unconscious Spiritual Mind
    Regeneration of the Adult Mind
    The Adult Unregenerate Hellish Mind

5.1.2  Structural and Functional Relations in the Mind or Spiritual Body
5.1.3  Relationship Between Mind and Culture
5.1.4  Rational Mind Mediates Natural and Spiritual Information
5.1.5  Rational and Sensuous Consciousness


5.1  Anatomy of the Mind

In 1887 Rev. N. C. Burnham, a devoted Swedenborg scholar, published a careful study of the anatomy of the mind, summarizing the information given in the Writings of Swedenborg. Included in his study were several schematic diagrams that help us visualize the mind's anatomy. Dr. Ian Thompson did a superb job scanning the diagrams and the text of the 19th century book, making it available on the Web at:

I will reproduce some of the diagrams to help you with the details of my discussion.

5.1.1  The Mind's Three Discrete Degrees

Diagram III portrays the major components of the human mind. These are arranged in successive and simultaneous degrees. If we take a successive order or developmental view, the highest is also the earliest in growth. First comes the "soul proper" (A--green) which is closest to the Divine Order in creation. Next comes the mind, which is also called the "spirit" (B--white). Below this is the "spiritual body" that encases the mind or spirit (C--pink). Finally, the natural or physical body (D--black). You should remember that what is highest is inmost or most interior, and what is lowest is most outward or external.

Now when we take a slice of the mature mind we can see it in simultaneous order of degrees. What is highest or inmost--the soul, is now in the center of the slice. The next ring is the mind or spirit, around that comes the spiritual body, and finally the outside is the physical body.

From this you can see that human beings are born as dual citizens in two different but interconnected worlds. We possess a physical body within which is encased the spiritual body containing the mind and the soul. You should know that the "within" discussed here is a discrete degree within. There are three discrete degrees in the created universe called celestial, spiritual, and natural. The degrees are distinct in the sense that there is no direct connection between them. The physical body is in the natural degree but the mind or spirit is in the spiritual degree. Within each degree there are many sub-layers but there are no layers touching each other between the degrees. There is no way of starting with the natural degree and, climbing its layers, until you touch the spiritual degree. In other words, nothing from the physical body can enter directly into the spiritual mind. And vice versa--nothing from the spiritual mind can enter into the physical body.

This is very different from sub-layers within a degree. For instance, the planet is made of layers arranged in concentric circles. We can start from the outermost layer of earth and rock, and start digging deeper and deeper until we reach the inmost layer of the planet which is believed to be molten rocks and chemicals from the sun that have not yet cooled down. This progression is an instance of continuous degrees. The layers touch each other so you can enter form one into the other in a physical manner.

Similarly for the layers within the mind or spirit. As we shall see below, the mind has three discrete layers, replicating the three discrete layers of the universe--celestial, spiritual, natural. We can progress continuously within each layer, but not across layers. The natural layer or degree of the mind is composes of three sub-layers that are in continuous degree--corporeal, sensuous, rational, so that it is possible for our thinking  to progress from the corporeal to the rational by acquiring literacy skills in education. But no matter how much you progress into the natural-rational, you will not be able to have a single spiritual thought or feeling. You will always remain in the natural degree. Similarly for the other degrees.

Swedenborg confirmed this separation of degrees by speaking with those who dwell in their celestial degree of the mind and those in the spiritual and those in the natural. These are called the three heavens in the spiritual world. Those who operate at the celestial level of mind are called "angels of the celestial heaven," and there wasn't a single idea or word that could be understood by those who dwelt in the next lower degree called "angelic spirits in the spiritual heaven." And their concepts and words could not be translated into the language and thinking of the "good spirits in the natural heaven."

This geography of the spiritual world matches and overlaps with the anatomy of the human mind (see Section xx).

So when it is said that we are "spirits within a physical body" remember that "within" is discontinuous or in a discrete degree within. It is not the same "within" as the organs are "within" the physical body. You can dissect the physical body endlessly and you will never get to the mind or spirit since they are in discrete degrees.

But then how does it all work together in coordination?

The answer is that the three discrete degrees are locked into each other by "the laws of correspondences." There is a one to one relation between an event in the natural world and an event in the spiritual and celestial worlds. No event can occur solely in just one degree. All events that exist must exist simultaneously in all three degrees. An event is really three events called source, cause, and effect. These three are in discrete degrees.

For instance, I scratch an itch on my face. This event is in the natural degree, hence it is called the effect. Simultaneously to this event there must take place a cause which is in the spiritual degree. This event is my plan to relieve the itch by scratching it. A plan is a spiritual cause, while scratching is a natural effect. The third component is in the celestial degree, which is the source--my intention or desire to relieve the itch. The simple act of scratching my face comes into existence in a successive order. First, there is an event in the celestial degree or source--I have a desire to relive the itch. Second, there is an event in the spiritual degree or cause--I know how to relieve that itch. Third, there is an event in the natural world or effect--I use my hand in a certain way to scratch my face.

Whatever God created was done using this order of successive and simultaneous degrees. First, God had a desire or love (celestial source) to share eternal happiness and immortality with created human beings. Divine Love is therefore the source event in the celestial degree. Second, God had the wisdom and intelligence (spiritual cause) to create human beings with whom He could share His qualities of immortality and happiness. Third, God created the natural world to provide events of uses (natural effect) that satisfied or fulfilled the originating desire.

These three degrees enter into all the analyses we do in theistic psychology.  The Mind's Two Organs--Will and Understanding

Diagram IV portrays the two "faculties" called the "will," which is an affective organ (or "the voluntary"), and the "understanding" which is a cognitive organ (or "the intellectual"). The soul (A--green) is still the inmost degree. The mind is now show split (B--red and C--white) to represent the affective and cognitive organs of the mind or spirit. The spiritual body (D) and the natural body (E) remain as before, but now they are shown in a double layer, an external and an internal portion. These two portions of each body reflect the two portions of the mind. The will, or affective organ, is reflected by the circulatory system, while the understanding, or cognitive organ, is reflected by the respiratory system. This twofold structure is reflected throughout all the sub-structures of the body's organs, namely right brain (affective) vs. left brain (cognitive), or right lung vs. left lung, or right hand vs. left hand, etc.

An important principle to keep in mind is that lower things always correspond and reflect higher things. This is the meaning of "successive degrees" like the following:

You need to see these triadic sequences as discrete degrees. At first the elements of each triad appear to belong to the same degree. People think of feelings and thoughts as related to each other on a continuous basis, rather than discrete. Similarly with "cause" and "effect." They just seem parallel, belonging to the same type of concept. But in reality they are in discrete degrees, not continuous. A cause can never become an effect and vice versa. The affective organ contains only feelings and no thoughts, while the cognitive organ contains no feelings but only thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are in discrete degrees relative to each other.

You can see from the arrows (---->) that the triadic components are in successive order. Each element is from a different discrete degree. The three elements are correspondences of each other.

Here are some triads that are not in discrete degrees. They are in continuous degrees with each other: They are not correspondences.

You need to see why these are in continuous degrees. For instance, table and chair and carpet all three physical objects. They are natural--which is only one degree. Hell and devil and bad belong to the same degree called spiritual. They are in only one degree. Similarly with feelings and intentions and desires--they are all affective, thus the same discrete degree.

Thinking from the concept of discrete degrees, you can see that knowing the code of correspondences between the three discrete degrees creates a new powerful methodology in theistic psychology for the study of the human mind. We can consult anatomical charts of the human body and predict the correspondential chart for the human mind. For instance, structural and functional details about the heart, gives us information about the structural and functional details of the affective organ. The process works the other way as well according to Christen Blom-Dahl intriguing study (see Reading List) of Swedenborg's observations of evil spirits in the world of spirits. The world of spirits overlaps or is equivalent to the mental world. Blom-Dahl took Swedenborg's descriptions of the mental world and showed that they match correspondentially certain diseases of the body that had not yet been identified in Swedenborg's century (1688-1772).

In other words, we can do research in both directions using correspondences--from the body to the mind, and from the mind to the body. I predict that in the future it will be possible to discover new medical cures based on what's known about the mind or the spiritual world.  

The next diagram presents a distinction that is fundamental in understanding human consciousness--the internal vs. the external mind.

Diagram VI shows the layers of simultaneous degrees arranged in successive order from highest to lowest, that is, from inmost to outmost relative to the Spiritual Sun (see Section xx). The soul again is the inmost and highest organ of our mind. It is completely inaccessible to human consciousness at any time from birth to eternity. It is called the abode of God with the human race. The soul is the inmost control mechanism God has created for human beings. It is not part of our human potential and remains inaccessible to knowledge or consciousness. From the soul God controls all the lower parts of the mind in a chain called "from firsts to lasts."

The diagram shows that below the soul is the "spiritual mind" (B--white, "mens" in Latin), and below that is the "natural mind" (C--hashed, "animus" in Latin). Again, the spiritual body is the outside of the mind, and the natural body is the outside of the mind. The two minds identified here are in discrete degrees to each other. The natural mind is called external while the spiritual mind is called internal. What is the difference?

The content of the spiritual mind is not conscious while we are on earth, but becomes conscious after resuscitation (see Section xx). The content of the natural mind is conscious. The content of the spiritual mind originates from incoming stimuli from heaven and the Spiritual Sun. The content of the natural mind originates from incoming stimuli from earth and the natural sun. In our spiritual race (see Section xx) the content of the natural mind is materialistic and based on self-intelligence. As a result it forms a plane of influx for the hells.

The external mind contains hellish traits while the interior mind contains heavenly traits. The problem for our race on this earth is to learn how we engineer a switch in content so that the external natural mind is voided of materialistic concepts and principles, and is "infilled" with concepts that correspond to heaven.

This next diagram (VII) shows a sketch of the internal and external mind divided into its affective and cognitive components:

 You can see from the above that the external and internal minds portrayed in the previous diagram, are now shown dissected with the will (affective organ) and the understanding (cognitive organ). The internal spiritual mind has a spiritual will (B--red) and a spiritual understanding (C--white). The external natural mind has a natural will (D--red) and a natural understanding (E--pink). Note that Burnham shows the will and the understanding for both the spiritual body and the physical body. He explains why: "The spiritual body Fand the natural body Hare only more ultimate forms and instruments of the will and understanding. (D.L.W. 362. See Chap. IV. page 21). In other words, following the principle of successive degrees discussed above, the natural body is correspondence of the spiritual body which is a correspondence of the external and internal minds, and soul. This means that the body is an image or representative form of the mind.

I was amazed when I first read this idea in the Writings of Swedenborg. I was educated to believe that the body has a shape but the mind does not. What is the shape of the soul? I read that scientists debated this issue over the centuries, some saying that the soul is in the brain or parts of the brain, others saying that the soul is like a ghost or an empty "spirit" or puff of ether. Swedenborg himself, prior to the beginning of his dual consciousness (see Section xx), had the best hypothesis of all, I thought, namely, that the soul is in every portion of the body. Later he confirmed that the human spirit seen in the rational ether of the spiritual world, is shaped like a perfect human being.

In other words, the shape of the body is caused by the shape of the mind or spirit, which is caused by the shape of the soul, which is caused by the shape of the Divine Human or God.

It is only here in the physical world that we have to wonder about the shape of the mind or spirit (these two words mean the same thing). When we think about this shape in terms of materialistic concepts, we are thrown into the mental picture of vagueness or shapelessness, like gas. People who call themselves "psychics" (see Section xx) say that they can see the shape of the spirit as an "astral aura" around the head. Others produce "phlogiston" threads and branches that come out of their nose or eyes--they claim, and then they say that this is the shape of the spirit. Some people present photographs claiming to be that of this super-physical material. But the reality is that a spirit is in the perfect shape of the body, and that the body is constructed by God through the soul and spirit to reflect the exact shape of the mind.

You can see from this that the spiritual body we have in our immortality is a human body in perfect shape, possessing the same members and organs--a brain, a liver, genitals, hands, feet, hair, teeth. Swedenborg has spent 27 years living in both worlds on a daily basis, and he confirms that spirits appear as ordinary human beings on earth. When the physical body dies and we are resuscitated in the world of spirits and we begin our life of immortality in our spiritual body. We are then called "spirits." At first we appear similar to how we were when the body died, but within hours and days the spiritual body begins to change its appearance in reaction to the contents of the external mind--the external will and the external understanding (see D and E in Diagram VII immediately above).

You can see why this would happen when you consider what the world of spirits is made of, namely, rational ether. This is not a term found in the Writings but it seems necessary to have such a concept in theistic psychology. Its existence is implied in the Writings and can be extracted from various passages where it is explained that the Spiritual Sun originates the universe by means of the spiritual heat and spiritual light that radiate outward from itself. A correspondence to this activity is familiar to us in terms of the natural sun and how it creates a gravitational field around itself and fills it with materials from itself--ether space, air, planets. We can understand that materials from the natural sun make up the foundation or fabric of every object on the planet, its molecules, and atomic space at its core, which is a gravitational field maintained in place by the sun. Remove the sun, or make it go cool, and the planet and its objects lose their inner fabric, disintegrate, and become space debris absorbed by other galaxies and suns.

Similarly, you can see how it works with the Spiritual Sun since what the natural sun does is only a correspondence and reflection of what the Spiritual Sun does. The human mind is created by substances from the Spiritual Sun and is activated by these substances pouring into our mind from the Spiritual Sun instant by instant from birth to eternity. When we are earthlings, we are spirits who are temporarily tied to a physical body. Our soul produces the spiritual mind in its own human shape, and the spiritual mind produces the natural mind in that same shape, which produces the spiritual body. Up to this point, the sequence of successive degrees are operations in the spiritual world involving organs made of spiritual substances. The chain of production is perfect, so that the spiritual body is in the perfect human shape and health or functioning.

But now the chain of production moves out into the physical world where the construction material is inert relative to the rational ether of the spiritual world. A sculptor working with hard rock cannot produce a human face as fine and perfect as a dummy made of plastic fiber that can be softly shaped and painted. This is why the physical body is imperfect while the spiritual body is perfect.

When we become spirits, our mind assumes full control over the appearance of the spiritual body which is made of rational ether substance, like the mind and soul. Hence it is that our appearance as spirits may be similar at first to our appearance on earth, but soon changes to reflect the content of our will and understanding. This content is determined by our character, and whether it was regenerated on earth or not. Some people come with feelings and thoughts in the external mind that are produced by the inherited inclinations and uncensored cultural content. Their character is then a collection of hellish traits--materialistic philosophy, self-centered intentions, dislike for altruism and innocence, denigration of religious worship and of God. This hellish mind now produces a new appearance on the spiritual body. Swedenborg describes the ugly, monstrous, repulsive appearance of those who dwell in the hells of their mind.

In contrast, if your spirit contains a reformed will and understanding, the mind induces upon a the spiritual body an appearance that is angelic, beautiful, and wise.

Hence, everything about our immortality depends on the thoughts and feelings in our mind.  Three Degrees of the Mind--Celestial, Spiritual, Natural


In this diagram (VIII) you can see the successive order of the parts of a human being, from the soul (inmost) to the natural body (outmost). The celestial degree contains the celestial mind. The spiritual degree contains the spiritual mind. The natural degree contains the natural mind. The three minds (B, C, D) are "constituted of spiritual substances" from the Spiritual Sun. The celestial and spiritual minds receive input from the heavens while the natural mind receives input from the hells through the world of spirits.

The spiritual world has three portions--the heavens, the world of spirits, and the hells. When human beings are born, they have a physical body in the natural world and a spiritual body in the world of spirits. Our mind is neither in heaven nor in hell while we are tied to earth through a physical body. But in order that our mind may survive and grow we need input or "influx" from both heaven and hell (see Section xx). The influx from hell is into the inherited natural mind, but the influx from heaven is into the celestial-spiritual minds. Thus, heaven and hell do not inflow into the same parts of the mind for this would destroy it.

For many years Swedenborg visited the spiritual world where the heavens are found. He describes the geography of that region of the spiritual world in the same terms as the mind is described in Sacred Scripture. The Third Heaven is the highest or inmost and the mind of its inhabitants, called celestial angels, functions at the celestial degree of the spiritual mind, as shown in the diagram above (VIII). Swedenborg found a heaven below this one which he called the Second Heaven or Intermediate Heaven, which was inhabited by people whose spiritual mind operated in the spiritual degree. This overlaps with the spiritual mind depicted above. And he also found yet another heaven below that which he called the First Heaven or the Natural Heaven. The minds of its inhabitants, called angelic spirits, function at the spiritual-natural degree. The three heavens in the spiritual world are also the three minds in the mental world. This is why Sacred Scripture says that heaven is within each person. Quoting from the Writings:

It was said above that the loves of self and of the world make hell with man; and now the quality of these loves is to be told, in order that a man may know whether he is in them, and consequently whether hell or heaven is in him; for in man himself is either hell or heaven. That the kingdom of God is within man, the Lord teaches in Luke 17:21; consequently hell also is within him. (AC 7366)

You can see from these anatomical descriptions of the mind that the spiritual world and the mental world overlap completely so that when you speak of the anatomy of the mind it is the same as the geography of the spiritual world (see Section xx). In other words:

geography of spiritual world = anatomy of the human mind

What is amazing is that we seem to ourselves to be alone in the mind--we do not see other people in our mind. Everybody is in their own mind. Yet when Swedenborg became conscious of his spiritual mind, he saw all the other people who are also in their spiritual mind. This is another way in which you can see the overlap between mind and spirit world. But in that case why aren't we seeing others in our mind now?

The reason is that our consciousness is locked into the natural world through the natural mind. We are completely unconscious of our spiritual or celestial mind. But when we become spirits at resuscitation, we awaken in the spiritual mind, and then we can see everybody else there. Swedenborg was given the unique opportunity to be conscious in the spiritual mind while he was still conscious on earth. The purpose of this Divine permission was so that he could write the books of the Writings as a first hand observer. In the eighteenth century time had come in the evolution of human understanding to be able to receive these scientific revelations without turning them into mysticism, magic, or superstition (see Section xx). The eighteenth century was the beginning of the modern age of reason and science. It was possible for God to complete the giving of the Threefold Sacred Scripture which contains all the revelations that human beings need in order to prepare for a life of immortality in the heavens (see Section xx).  Internal and External Within Each Degree of Mind

Diagram XI shows the internal spiritual mind distinguished into three degrees--celestial (red), spiritual (white), and spiritual-natural (green). As explained above, these degrees of the spiritual mind overlap with the three heavens (Third, Second, and First). Below the First Heaven is the world of spirits where our own mind is born and grows while we are earth bound. The spiritual mind that overlaps with the three heavens is not conscious to us while we are tied to the natural body. This is why no one can see or communicate with those who already dwell in any of the three heavens. Swedenborg was able to see and communicate with them because he was conscious in the spiritual mind while still on earth so that he could author the Writings.

The diagram shows the natural mind (C--white and D--brown) below the spiritual-natural heaven (green) because our conscious natural mind is located since birth in the world of spirits while it is tied to the natural body on earth. The external natural mind is distinguished into an internal-natural portion (C--white) and external-natural portion (D--brown). These two components of the natural mind support different affective and cognitive operations. The external-natural mind operates with sensuous correspondences of Sacred Scripture. This is the level at which most people understand the Old and New Testaments, namely, as historical documents of a Divine origin.

But as discussed elsewhere (see Section xx), one can apply the method of correspondences to extract higher order meanings from the historical. There are three degrees of correspondences for reconstructing Divine Speech from Sacred Scripture --spiritual-natural correspondences, spiritual-rational correspondences, and celestial-rational correspondences (see Section xx). These three orders of meanings for understanding Sacred Scripture can all be present within the internal-natural portion of the natural mind (C--white). They cannot operate in the external-natural mind.

In other words, if our conscious understanding is restricted to the external-natural mind, we can only think with material concepts, as in atheistic science or philosophy. But if our consciousness is elevated to the internal-natural mind, we are able to comprehend Divine Speech in all its degrees--spiritual-natural, spiritual, and celestial. This is most useful for our regeneration and allows us to understand truths from Sacred Scripture that matches in relative terms, the understanding of those who are already in the three heavens. The internal-natural mind is therefore spiritual in content and order while the external-natural mind is natural in content and order.

When we are resuscitated from our first death, we appear in the world of spirits where we undergo rapid changes. In the beginning, the content of our conscious memories is based solely on the external-natural mind. This is why the spiritual body appearance similar to the physical body prior to death, giving us the same looks or appearance. As we undergo these rapid changes, these memories begin to fade until they become unavailable. Instead, the content of the internal-natural mind now becomes the basis for our conscious awareness. This is called the second death and the process prepares us for entering our permanent state of life in immortality, either heaven or hell.

If we arrive with a new will, the old will having been regenerated, the content of the internal-natural mind is heavenly and we enter heaven. But if we arrive with the old will that has not been regenerated, with the character we inherited, we enter hell. People can be regenerated to three degrees of operation. Those who are regenerated to the first degree, enter the First or Natural Heaven. In other words, the lowest degree of the spiritual mind is "opened" or made operational, and they dwell at this level of life to eternity. Those who are regenerated to the second degree, enter the Second or Spiritual Heaven. In other words, the intermediate degree of the spiritual mind is "opened" or made operational, and they dwell at this level of life to eternity. Those who are regenerated to the third degree, enter the Third or Celestial Heaven. In other words, the highest degree of the spiritual mind is "opened" or made operational, and they dwell at this level of life to eternity

You can see that the internal-natural mind plays a key role in our immortality. Its content determines which of the three heavens will be rendered operational for our eternal life. The process operates by means of the level of correspondences with which we study Sacred Scripture. If we extract the truth of doctrine by means of spiritual-natural correspondences, and live accordingly, then we are regenerated for the first heaven in our mind. If we extract the truth of doctrine by means of spiritual-rational correspondences, and live accordingly, then we are regenerated for the second heaven in our mind. If we extract the truth of doctrine by means of celestial-rational correspondences, and live accordingly, then we are regenerated for the third heaven in our mind. (See Section xx).


Diagram XII shows two functions of the internal and external mind. For the internal spiritual mind there is a higher celestial function that operates with the affective organ (red), which is called "the CelestialKingdom." This operation is known as "perception" of Divine Speech. When we become conscious of this organ we are able to perceive directly the Divine Speech by means of celestial-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture, called the "celestial sense" of "the Word". In that state of mind we are called celestial angels, and this represents the highest human potential possible called the Third Heaven.

The lower potion of the internal spiritual mind is called "the SpiritualKingdom" and those who dwell in that state of mind are called spiritual angels in the Second Heaven. They have an understanding based on spiritual-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture. This understanding is sometimes called "conscience."

The difference between the celestial and spiritual angels is measured in terms of degrees, so there is no overlap in the understanding between them. The lowest state of the celestial angels is higher than the highest state of the spiritual angels and they are unable to communicate with each other except through correspondences. In terms of their understanding of Sacred Scripture, the celestial angels do not have to study and reflect on the truths they extract from it because they receive a direct perception of truths from the Divine Proprium of the Divine Human whom they can see amidst the Spiritual Sun. The spiritual angels on the other hand have to study and reflect upon the truths of Sacred Scripture in order for them to have a rational understanding of it.

The diagram also shows the external natural mind with its two portions. The higher portion (D--red) corresponds to the mind of the celestial angels (B--red) or Third Heaven, and the lower portion (E--white) corresponds to the mind of the spiritual angels (C--white) or Second Heaven. Our conscious awareness while we are tied to the natural body on earth resides with the operations in the natural mind. The higher conscious operations (D--red) are called spiritual-natural (corresponding to the First Heaven) while the lower conscious operations (E--white) are called natural (either natural-sensuous or natural-rational) (see Diagram XI).  Corresponding Degrees Between Natural and Spiritual Minds

Diagram XIII shows how the external natural mind (d, e, f), in which we are conscious while on earth,  can mirror or represent the three degrees of the internal spiritual mind (a, b, c). Since the geography of the spiritual world = the anatomy of the mind, the threefold layer of the natural mind overlaps with the threefold layer of the world of spirits, which is the area in between heaven and hell. Our natural mind functions in the world of spirits from birth until our second death when we permanently enter either the heaven or hell (see Section xx).

Looking at the external natural mind, you see the three operational layers arranged one on top of the other (f, e, d). The highest layer of the external natural mind is called "rational" (d). Because the internal spiritual mind is also natural, we need to keep track which level of the rational applies to each portion. In terms of the rational operations of the human mind, there are the following layers, arranged from highest to lowest, in relation to the rational understanding of  Divine Speech:

a. celestial-rational correspondences (Third Heaven)
b. spiritual-rational correspondences (Second Heaven)
c. spiritual-natural correspondences (also called "interior-natural" level)--First Heaven
d. natural-rational correspondences (natural mind)
e. natural-scientific correspondences (natural mind)
f. natural-sensual correspondences (natural mind)

There are slight variations in terminology that you can figure out later, once you gain familiarity with the system. The natural-sensual layer (f) is sometimes called "natural-corporeal," and the natural-scientific layer (e) is sometimes called "natural-sensuous." Also, the spiritual-rational layer (b) is sometimes called the "external rational" while the celestial-rational  layer (a) is sometimes called the "internal rational." The spiritual-natural layer (c) is sometimes called the "interior-natural" layer.

Note that the colors represent special relationships between the layers of the internal spiritual mind and the layers of the external natural mind. They are in inverse relationship so that the highest degree of the internal mind (a--red--celestial-rational layer) corresponds with the lowest degree of the external mind (f--dark red--natural-sensual layer). Similarly, b (white--spiritual-rational layer) corresponds with e (grey--natural-scientific layer), and c (green--spiritual-natural layer) corresponds with d (natural-rational layer). I explore the significance of these relationships in another article called the Genes of Consciousness, available at:

The very top of the diagram is the soul, which called the inmost, as in the previous diagrams. The very bottom of the diagram is the natural body in the natural world that falls off at death when we become conscious of ourselves as spirits in the world of spirits. Note that the spiritual body, which encases the external and internal minds, has two layers--spiritual-sensual (g--pink) and spiritual-corporeal (h--black).

This is how the Writings describe the anatomical relationships portrayed in this and the other diagrams:

The human mind from which and according to which man is man, is formed into three regions, according to three degrees; in the first degree it is celestial, in which also are the angels of the highest heaven; in the second degree it is spiritual, in which also are the angels of the middle heaven; and in the third degree it is natural, in which also are the angels of the lowest heaven.

The human mind, organized according to these three degrees, is a receptacle of Divine influx; but still the Divine flows in no farther than man prepares the way, or opens the door; if he does this even to the highest or celestial degree, then man becomes truly an image of God, and after death he becomes an angel of the highest heaven; but if he prepares the way, or opens the door, only to the middle or spiritual degree, then indeed, man becomes an image of God, but not in that perfection, and after death he becomes an angel of the middle heaven ; but if he prepares the way, or opens the door, only to the lowest or natural degree, then man, if he acknowledges God and worships Him with actual piety, becomes an image of God in the lowest degree, and after death he becomes an angel of the lowest heaven.

But if he does not acknowledge God and does not worship Him with actual piety, he puts off the image of God, and becomes like some animal, except that he enjoys the faculty of understanding and thence of speech. If he then closes up the highest natural degree, which corresponds to the highest celestial, he becomes as to love, like a beast of the earth; but if he closes the middle natural degree which corresponds to the middle spiritual, he becomes as to love like a fox, and as to sight of the understanding like a bird of the evening; but if he also closes the lowest natural degree as to its spiritual, he becomes as to love like a wild beast, and as to the understanding of truth like a fish." (TCR 34)

In other words, it is the process of character reformation or regeneration that determines our level of life in immortality. Depending on our effort and willingness, we can regenerate only the lower portions of the inherited mind, in which case we can live our immortality in the state called First Heaven. At this level we think in terms of spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture and it is this that forms the basis of our understanding Divine Speech. Thinking from spiritual-natural correspondences or concepts allow us to overcome lower level temptations called "natural temptations." By this means we can acquire the virtues of morality and live immortality in the First Heaven along with others who are also reformed to this degree. 

But if we are willing to go further with our character up-building or spiritual growth, we can be regenerated to the second degree and we can live our immortality in the Second Heaven. In this mental state, we think from spiritual-rational correspondences, whose concepts allow us to overcome spiritual temptations. This allows us to go beyond natural morality into genuine rational spirituality. Our understanding of Sacred Scripture is vastly greater or higher. Finally, we may be willing to be regenerated all the way to the celestial degree, living out our immortality in the Third Heaven. Our thinking is based in celestial-rational correspondences, which gives us concepts that can overcome celestial temptations. For further details on the levels of temptations and their consequences, see Section xx.  Anatomy of the Mind at Birth 

Diagram XVIII portrays the mind's anatomy at birth. The inmost portion is the soul (A--green) as in all the previous diagrams.    Below this is the internal spiritual mind in an undeveloped state, but capable of being developed (B--white). Note that this consists of three layers, as already discussed in Diagram XIII just above. Below this are the three corresponding layers of the external natural mind (C--brown). Below this is the spiritual body (D--black). Below the spiritual body is the natural body, which is portrayed with two major components. The internal layer is the "limbus" with its three sub-degrees (E--black), while the external layer is the physical body called "gross body" (F--black).

The limbus is portrayed in other diagrams by Burnham which I'm not showing, so you might like to check the original book at  along with his explanations. "Limbus" is a Latin word meaning "border" and Swedenborg uses it to refer to a skin or covering for the external natural mind. This border is made of "the finest of natural materials" which refers to matter that has not yet been recognized by contemporary scientists in physics and chemistry, given the kind of measurement tools available so far. The external portions of the limbus fall of the natural mind at death, but the internal portion remains and becomes an integral part of the spiritual body. This means that we take some very small quantity of physical matter with us, but not the elements that are now recognized in science, namely those that follow the principle of conservation of mass and energy in the physical universe. How the "finest" elements of physical matter can be part of both worlds, is not yet explained by science but will be in the future, I have no doubt. I believe that these finer natural materials correspond to the qualities of the rational which can form part of the natural mind and part of the spiritual mind (see discussion of Diagram XIII just above.

Burnham notes that the retention of the limbus in immortality allows us to be connected to the natural world and never lose this connection. I think this may be related to the fact that every human being in the spiritual world had to be born on some natural planet, and in consequence, we arrive into the afterlife with thoughts and feelings that are adapted to an earthly environment. Swedenborg visited many cities in the heavens and hells of the spiritual world. He always found there something he recognized as an appearance from earth. People seemed to be living in houses, tents, or caves. In heaven they lived in beautiful architectural buildings and palaces filled with wonderful gardens, lavish furniture, amazing art, light, and jewelry. In hell he saw caves, deserts, dangerous animals, monsters, dark places, dungeons, prison cells, lakes of sulphur, smoke, dead trees. Clearly these appearances in our life of immortality reflect the natural experiences we all have from life on earth,  and they projected communally by the people who find themselves together on account of their ruling loves. The afterlife is a life in rational ether called the spiritual world (see Section xx). Whatever thoughts and feelings we have automatically project themselves into the surrounding appearances.

Note also in the current Diagram (XVIII) that the internal spiritual mind, the external natural mind, and the spiritual body are organs inherited from the father, while the limbus and the physical body are inherited from the mother. Of course this is not yet known in science today since nothing at all is known about the anatomy, physiology, and inheritance of the human mind. This means that both boys and girls obtain all their spiritual or mental traits from their father. The inheritance of mental traits is cumulative, which means that the entire previous line of males carry and pass on the entire cumulative spiritual package to the offspring, both boys and girls.

Since the Fall of the race there have been many generations to the current spiritual split-brain race. Therefore the inherited spiritual package from each line of the male parent is so filled with numerous hellish traits that every individual grows up with a character that is hellish. Unless this character is rebuilt, reformed, and regenerated into a heavenly one, we condemn ourselves to a life of endless hell in immortality (see Section xx). This is because our life in immortality is such as our character is--hellish or heavenly. At the second death, which occurs a short time after we are resuscitated in the world of spirits, we are compelled physiologically to drop either the hellish or the heavenly traits (see Section xx). We cannot keep a mixture of both traits, as we had while still on earth. If you remember this you will be more motivated to cooperate with God in your regeneration while still on this earth!

Quoting from Swedenborg:

There is a difference between what man receives from his father and what he receives from his mother. Man receives from his father all that is internal, his very soul or life is from the father; but he receives from his mother, all that is external. In a word, the interior man or the spirit is from the father but the exterior man or the body is from the mother. (AC 1815)

That the inmost of life, which is from the father, is continually flowing in and operating upon the external which is from the mother and endeavoring to make this like itself, even in the womb, may be manifest from sons in that they are born with the inclinations of the father, and sometimes grandchildren and great grandchildren with the inclinations of the grandfather, and the great grandfather; this is because the soul which is from the father continually wills to make the external which is from the mother like itself and an image of itself."  (AC 6716)

Man is born into evils of every kind from his parents and these reside in his natural man which of itself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man." (TCR 574)

Hereditary evil inherited from the male parental line is lodged in the external natural mind. In contrast, the internal spiritual mind contains no evil from heredity. To indicate this, Burnham draws the spiritual mind in white strips for purity from contamination, while he portrays the natural mind in dark strips to indicate the presence of evil tendencies. As a result of this difference there is an innate opposition or resistance between the natural mind and the spiritual mind right from birth. The traits in the natural mind give rise to selfish and anti-social feelings and thoughts. These must be stopped and removed by character rebuilding efforts, as discussed in other places (see Section xx). Even if we build up what appear to be good traits, it is not going to make the final difference at our second death when we are compelled to keep our hellish traits or our heavenly traits. The Writings report that people at their second death are unwilling to give up their hellish traits while they are willing to give up their heavenly traits. Why?

Because the hellish traits are first, and what is first in development is inmost in comparison to what is later in development. This is a necessary consequence of the laws of successive and simultaneous order of discrete degrees, as discussed above. The inmost traits are organized into a collection by our inherited ruling love, which is always hellish since the Fall of the human race (see Section xx). The hellish ruling love is usually the love of self and the world, and simultaneously, the hatred of altruism and heaven. Love of self refers to the innate operation in the mind by which the self is always put ahead of others. You can see this in children. They always want to put themselves ahead of the others. And if they choose someone to share with, or to put ahead of oneself, it is always on the condition that they get what they want out of it. For example, a boy may stand up for a friend and act supportive and loyal. But suppose he later has a disagreement with his friend because his friend won't go along with something. Instantly he feels disdain for the former friend and desires to hurt him.

Consider another example with an adult business man who is always respectful of the rights of his employees. Until one day one of the employees decides to quit and start his own competing business. This gals him and he now begins a campaign of vilification of his former employee's reputation. Both examples show the general principle that we cannot acquire genuine heavenly traits while we are maintaining our hereditary ruling love. Instead, what happens is that the heavenly traits we acquire become manipulated agents in the hands of the ruling love of self. Everything we then do that appears altruistic, loyal, fair, compassionate--are only put-ons by the ruling love of self which is always intent on meeting its own satisfactions, and these are always selfish. They do not take into account the good of others.

In contrast, altruistic traits consist of the desire to benefit others as much as oneself, simultaneously with the desire to never benefit self at the expense of others.

Can you pass this test right now? Make a list of when you are motivated by love of self and when you are being motivated by love of others. Examine your desire. You can do this by letting your imagination go regarding a particular event, decision, or possibility. What outcome would be the best? What would give you the most satisfaction? Try to be critical about the answers that occur to you. Ask yourself if you're being bottom line honest, or just trying to cover up the actual truth with yourself. Put yourself mentally in various situations. Would you be mad at an employee who quits and uses his knowledge to compete with you on the market? In the privacy of your mind, would you be able to sincerely wish him success? Etc.

It takes dedicated self-witnessing on a daily basis to really find out how complete is the reign of the love self in one's mind. And as pointed out before (see Section xx), it cannot be done except through the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. Without this guide and measuring instrument we fall into the inexorable law revealed in the Writings--evil appears good, good appears evil, truth appears false, and falsified truth appears as genuine truth.  Altruism or the Love of Uses

Altruism is the ruling love in heaven. Only those loves and thoughts are possible in heaven that fit with altruism, such as, the desire to benefit others, the desire not to put self ahead of others, the feeling of greater satisfaction when benefiting others than when the self is benefited, the love of innocence, the love of obeying God, the desire to form a conjugial pair in which one loves the other more than self. Along with this collection of heavenly loves, the ruling love of altruism gathers around itself a collection of ideas and truths from Sacred Scripture, and a desire to eliminate from the cognitive mind any thoughts and reasonings that promote self.

No one can pass this test. Daily self-witnessing practice will allow us to develop a heavenly character that will eventually pass this test, as long as we use the methods of regeneration specified in Sacred Scripture. The Divine Psychologist works with every human being to bring about regeneration to the extent that the individual will cooperate. This means self-examination in the light of doctrine from Sacred Scripture, condemning each hellish trait that comes to our attention, refusing to perform the trait, and finally, holding it in aversion. Doing this to every trait we become aware of will put the old will to death so that at our second death we can rise in our heavenly proprium (see Section xx).

Few people know what is altruism. The dictionary defines it as "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others." Altruism comes from the Latin "alter" meaning other. In the Writings altruism is defined as the love of uses. It's become popular among sociobiologists and many psychologists to deny the possibility of genuine altruism. Indeed, the Writings reveal that the unregenerate human character is not capable of a single unselfish motive. Cynics doubt all acts of self-sacrifice and altruism saying that if you look underneath it you will find a selfish motive. The dictionary lists a second meaning for altruism: "2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species" which is sociobiological view.

In theistic psychology, it is known from Sacred Scripture that altruism is the ruling love of those who dwell eternally in the heavens of their mind. When we are in that state of mind our thoughts and desires moment by moment are instantiated in us by the influx of the Divine Human's Proprium (see Section xx). Swedenborg reports that the instant someone in heaven blocks the inflowing Divine Human Proprium, one's own proprium or self takes over. Our consciousness is then instantly plunged into a state of semi-darkness in comparison. We fall out of our heaven and into our ordinary state of mind. We lose our peace and start being agitated, pulled in many directions by inconsistent or conflicting desires and thoughts. Then, the instant they turn their focus and desire back to the Divine Human, they become willing once more to lay down their own self and to be influxed by the Divine Human Proprium. The then have their heavenly peace and happiness back, which is characterized by the amazing fact that every day is better and grander than the previous, and this endlessly to eternity!

From this you can see that altruism is indeed not possible on one's own. But it becomes possible by shutting down one's own and being willing to be influxed by the Divine Human Proprium which is the source of peace, happiness, conjugial union, community with others, and endless progress and growth in the life of immortality in heaven.

What does it take to be willing to be taken over by the Proprium of the Divine Human?

From a materialistic, non-spiritual, natural-rational point of view, being taken over by God's will, sounds terrible. We then think of how hard it is to follow the Commandments of Sacred Scripture, let alone being forced to do them by the Divine Proprium inside of us. It may sound dreadful, unfree, scary, more like a hell than a heaven. But this is a false point of view. It doesn't represent what actually happens when we are wiling to be activated and operated by the Divine Human directly. The angels told Swedenborg that they can actually perceive the Divine Human inflowing within the goods they feel or intend, and the truths they think.

Now try to imagine how you would feel right now if you the Divine Human's Proprium flowed into you, not from your spiritual mind, but directly into your conscious natural mind.

An analogy to what would happen is represented by the image of man encased in a block of ice in the middle of Antarctica in the ice age!

Swedenborg reports what happens when people in their hells are brought back up into the world of spirits and are brought near an angel from whom emanates light and heat from the Spiritual Sun. They are plunged into darkness because that's how the unregenerate proprium sees spiritual light, which is truth--as total darkness, while they see some glitter of sulfuric light through falsified truths and fantasies. As well, they are plunged into a state of absolute cold because that's how they feel spiritual heat, which is altruistic love, while they feel infernal fire and heat through selfish lusts and subjugation of others to their will.

From these observations you can understand why the Divine Psychologist doesn't suddenly break the appearances that we are alone in our mind, and suddenly starts talking to you, or making you do this or that, taking away your own freedom to do what you please and think what you want. The Divine Human Proprium flows into our conscious mind only when we are willing to assume our heavenly state, which is, being willing to feel and think altruistically for the sake of immersing ourselves in the stream of the Divine Proprium.

Think of the image of immersing ourselves in the stream of the Divine Proprium.

As we are regenerating we are slowly and steadily replacing our hellish feelings and thoughts with heavenly feelings and thoughts. We experience agony and suffering in this process because it appears to us at first, that we are losing all our enjoyments of life by not being able to enjoy what we please and think what we want.

But the Divine Psychologist gives us a foretaste of heavenly life each time he brings to us a spiritual temptation in which we are willing to resist on the basis of the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). This is called the "Sabbath rest" and refers to a period, sometime short sometimes longer, during which we feel the benefits of peace and calm, after the storm of battling our temptation. We feel the new will, the new proprium, the contentment of being right with God and neighbor. This feelings subsides and we are thrown back into the struggling consciousness of the natural mind. But it comes back after the next spiritual temptation until it becomes familiar and we begin to expect it, and then feel the relief when we are back in it.

It is at these times of heavenly peace ("Sabbath") that we realize with love and gratitude that  the Divine Psychologist is actually with us running the show from our spiritual mind. As we begin to remember this idea and love in our daily consciousness, we begin to feel a permanent and unbreakable connection to the Divine Human. We are than "saved" for heavenly life because once in such a mental state, we are unwilling to give it up for any hellish love that are still plaguing us--fear, anxiety, doubt, self-reliance in spiritual matters, insufficient reliance on the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, depression, unrealistic expectations, confusion about life and relationships, etc.

If we want heaven to be reproduced in our natural mind now, while we are still on earth, we can.

The process starts with compelling ourselves to (a) acquire spiritual-rational doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, and (b) apply it to your thoughts and feelings in daily self-witnessing practice.

If you catch yourself reacting to someone or some event with cursing, resentment, and the desire for revenge, say to yourself, "I'm in hell and these are the feelings of those who already dwell there in immortality. I don't have to be like them. I have still have a choice here on earth. My Divine Psychologist is present and ready to take over the second I give permission and am willing to reject the hellish reactions to this person or event."

Then you decide. Yes, you want to stop the hellish reaction because you want to avoid being stuck in hell forever and you want to move to your heaven. Now you take out your big guns and get ready for combat with the hells. They don't want to let you go because you are the source for their very life of enjoyment. They have nothing but misery without people on earth allowing them to inflow into your negative emotions and thoughts. This is their infernal love or lust.

But you have the bigger guns against which they have no power whatsoever. You have the Divine Truth in your understanding of the doctrine from Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. This is the power by which the whole universe was created and by which it is being maintained. The evil spirits are forced to withdraw out of dread and agony for the spiritual light and heat that you are now letting into your conscious natural mind.

Immediately after the victory, you have the peace of Sabbath, for awhile. Then the next battle and the next battle. As you advance in temptation battles and become a spiritual veteran, your character is being reformed, your new will comes into existence and your thoughts are enlightened in rational consciousness. Nothing can hurt you now. Nothing can distract your or persuade you. No movement or philosophy, no dogma or heresy, no fantasy or persuasion. Though you still have many temptation battles left, you do not lose your heavenly peace. You are already in your heavenly proprium, though still on earth.

Others see the change in you. You are a nicer, more reliable, more useful person. You still experience negative emotions and thoughts--anxiety, fear, resentment, doubt, and you are still experiencing harmful loves--enjoyment of illicit sex, desire for popularity and flattery, indifference to wastefulness of resources, not caring about others as much as self, etc. But you are committed in your mind to get rid of them. Before this phase of your regeneration you were not committed to get rid of them. You were still holding on to them because this was your life and your enjoyment of living. And you were under the persuasion that if you give them up, you will be a hapless angel floating in clouds praying all day with nothing else to do to eternity. But now you know from the doctrine of truth you extracted from Sacred Scripture that the opposite is the case of what you feared and imagined. You are truly free and truly happy only when your old will dies and you immerse your consciousness in your new will, through which you are receiving the Divine Human Proprium.

You now feel the Divine Human Proprium as if it is your own

Now you feel a freedom in the desire to benefit others, and an enjoyment in doing that, far surpasses the previous enjoyment of benefiting yourself. The Writings refer to altruism as the love of uses. In other words, being motivated to benefit others in everything we do.

People have various ideas about what it means to love the neighbor and to be charitable. The literal meaning of Sacred Scripture defines these as sharing one's wealth with the poor and the needy, visiting the sick and those in prison, and being upright in one's business, not defrauding anyone. All this is true and serves well for religion and regeneration. When we go to the next phase of spiritual growth, we inquire into the universal meaning of love and charity and how it applies to our willing and thinking in everything we do. This gives us the rational doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, which begins the main phase of our spiritual life and reformation.

How does love of neighbor and charity apply to everything we do during a day?

This is what the Writings call the "love of uses." It refers to why you do something. For instance, suppose you are conscientious in cleaning your teeth and mouth every day. Ask yourself why you are doing it, or why you are not skipping it, since it's easier. You answer that you want to have healthy and clean looking teeth, and pleasant breath. These are uses. they are heavenly loves from the Divine Human Proprium. Taking care of your teeth is a form of charity because your motive for doing it is heavenly.

Take another example. You love surfing. You do it whenever you can. You enjoy it. Is it charity? It can be depending on why you are doing it. You can do it for either hellish or heavenly motives. Hellish motives would include surfing to get away from responsibilities, or to be able to brag about to friends, or to show your supremacy over competitors, or to impress girls, etc. Surfing for heavenly motives include getting a healthy form of exercise, appreciating the outdoors, feeling integrated with nature, perfecting oneself more and more, earning a living, etc.

Your behavior as a surfer will vary drastically depending on whether you have hellish or heavenly motives for doing it. With hellish motives for surfing you might have negative thoughts about other surfers with whom you feel competitive. You might ridicule denigrate them in your mind. You might have the desire to discriminate against some people, preventing them from surfing in the same place and displaying "surfing rage." You might also surf in a way that is dangerous or too risky. But when you have heavenly motives for surfing, you will not discriminate against some people and you would feel happy to help them out or give them the same access to the waves that you have. You would feel concern for strangers, not just for your surfing buddies.

Consider another example. You're on your job doing well with the boss or supervisor. You try to impress and appear competent and loyal to the rules and policies of the company. Is this hellish selfishness or heavenly charity? It depends on why you are doing it. It is hellish if your motive is to promote yourself at any cost even if you don't really deserve it. It is heavenly if you are trying to be sincere and to actually do what you claim, even if you're not being observed. Your behavior will be drastically different under these two types of motives. With a hellish motive you're going to act differently or inconsistently depending on who is watching you. For instance, company policy may forbid employees to use office computers to send personal email or to surf the Web for things you're personally interested in. But  if you figure out a way of not getting monitored, you do it anyway, not caring that it is against company policy and that you are claiming that you're a good employee, supportive of its policies. But with a heavenly motive you are consistent in following rules whether or not you are being monitored. This is the love of uses and of charity. This is doing things for the sake of good and truth, that is, for the sake of the Divine Human and heaven.

We all start with hellish motives for most of the things we do in the course of a day. As we are committed to regeneration and cooperation with the Divine Psychologist, we slowly exchange our hellish motives for heavenly.  The Method of Self-witnessing

Self-witnessing our thoughts and emotions every day is the only way we can gather objective and accurate information about them. Without this information we cannot apply the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, and therefore the Divine Psychologist cannot bring the temptations of self-awareness needed to freely reject the hellish traits (see Section xx). To help you with your self-witnessing I'm presenting a few social areas that you might want to gather data on. Note that the questions address the threefold self--feelings, thoughts, and actions (see Section xx). You need to witness yourself in both outward and mental behaviors. The outward behavior is only an effect of the mental behavior in the will (affective) and understanding (cognitive). It can serve as an index of the feelings and motives you have (see Section xx).

Eating and Exercising


Keeping things clean and tidy

How you treat other people

Being wasteful or misusing public property

Doing things right

It takes systematic self-witnessing to be able to answer these questions accurately. Every item is important. There is a tendency to want to use equity theory in excusing some of our hellish traits. People sometimes say about someone that he or she is not a bad person even though they have some bad traits. But this is a natural way of thinking about being a good person. The spiritual reality is that being good or bad does not depend on someone's judgment or evaluation. It depends on spiritual physiology. Being bad refers to harmful operations going on in the mind, vs. being good which refers to healthy operations. Harmful operations cannot go on in heaven and healthy operations cannot go on in hell, as revealed in the Writings.

So you don't have the luxury of balancing your hellish traits as against the heavenly traits. You cannot excuse yourself about this or that "weakness" you keep around in your character. Remember that at your second death you must abandon every hellish trait if you are entering heaven, and vice versa (see Section xx). You cannot keep even one trait of the opposite kind so that in their immortality, everyone is either all good or all evil.

Using equity theory in spiritual standing is very common in our society today. Today I heard Joyce Meyer in a TV lecture tell her audience to go ahead and have fun and do the things they like, but at the same time they should remember that they need to work for God as well. They need to share with the needy in both love and money. And she told the story of a boy outside in the cold, barefoot and shivering, looking longingly at the window of a shoe store, and peering inside. A woman came along, saw what was going on, took the child inside the store, cleaned his feet, and put socks and shoes on him. After this the boy looked up to her and said "Are you God's wife?" The audience applauded at the story. This is when Joyce Meyers, a popular Christian evangelist, instructed them to remember to do God's things every day, not just their own.

This approach to charity and love your neighbor is only the first platform for spiritual growth. We need to go further if we are going to reach our heaven. Our understanding of what is charity must go beyond the idea of part time things to do for God, to the idea that everything should be done for God.

There are two models here--equity model and unity model. The equity model says that we can do our thing as long as we do God's thing. The unity model says that we must do all things simultaneously for us and for God. There should be no time when we do things for us or others, and not for God. Similarly, there should be no time when we do things for God, and not for us or others. This is what God wants, as revealed in Sacred Scripture. Since all things have a successive and simultaneous order, it makes sense to think of doing things for God or heaven at a higher more interior level, within the things we do for us and others.

For instance, if I do a good job flossing my teeth because it's a rational issue of commitment to good health, then I'm flossing simultaneously for myself and God, as well as others who are involved in the use of my teeth--wife, dentist, and the merchants from whom I buy the food I chew with my healthy teeth. The other day someone came to our door selling raffle tickets to raise money for sports scholarships. I have the rational freedom to refuse, which I do for a number of reasons, one being that I do not approve of this method of raising money for school activities. My principled refusal is doing something for myself, for society, and for God, all simultaneously. This is charity in its spiritual sense.

Sometimes people volunteer to help in kitchen soups or they spontaneously make a significant gift to a charity operation. This is very helpful to the people who benefit. But is it helpful spiritually to the volunteer? This depends on why they do it. It is not helpful to them for spiritual growth towards a heavenly character, if their motive is based in equity theory, thinking that they are now doing something good for God. It will benefit them if their motive is to practice being an angel. In other words, they want to learn to love others as much as themselves, and perhaps more than themselves. This is the person who they want to become so they are practicing, acting it out in their daily life as one among many activates.

It will not benefit them spiritually if they think they are counterbalancing the bad things they did that day with this good thing of volunteering or sharing. There is no balancing out. They cannot become an angel unless they have the angelic motive in all the other things they did that day. This motive is to train yourself to do all things properly, conscientiously, prudently, and competently, all day long. Some people spend their entire time doing something useful and expert all day long, working on their own at home, or in the woods, or at the beach, or in the sports arena. Their motive is to develop discipline and expertise in what they love to do. They do not go to Church, they do not socialize with neighbors and friends, they do not pay charity, they do not volunteer. Their focus is to become good at what they are into. Can they develop a heavenly character in this way?

The answer is, Yes, depending on why they do it.

They can do it for hellish motives like selfishness, hating people, denigrating society, maintaining a weakness of the will or lack of ambition, obsession with something, etc. Or, they can do it for heavenly motives like love of uses, love of becoming good at something, strong involvement and focus, personal preference and inclination, etc. What matters in this type of lifestyle is how they treat others who are affected by what they do. For instance, do they care about noise, smoke, or other consequences of what they do that may be disturbing to neighbors? When they go to the supermarket, are thy polite with the cashier or the pedestrians in the parking lot? When the phone rings with someone who has the wrong number, do they act insulting and in a bad mood? It is not helping the needy that saves us, nor being non-social that condemns us. It's how we treat others in our life, family, neighbor, stranger, and society as a whole.

Remember too that all traits form a tight collection in your character, whether evil or good. Some appear light or small evils, like inconveniencing others by being late for things, while other evils appear heavy or serious, like hating and abusing people. The hells are organized into many layers according to the type of evil loves people hold on to, and how serious or abhorrent it is. So you can end up in a light hell which is better than a deeper hell, but you would still be in hell! If you dwell in the lighter hell of annoying people by being late all the time, you are still tied to the deeper hells of hating everyone but self. Those who dwell in a lighter hell have the deeper hell within their unconscious. Thus you are their victim.

Hence when it comes to character reformation and spiritual growth we need an either--or type of thinking. Heavenly and hellish traits are absolute opposites and there is no spiritual in-between. Often it may appear that there is, and people talk about grey areas and mixed feelings and tolerance for diversity. But these are only appearances. Our hellish traits reside in the natural mind and there is not one of them that can enter the spiritual mind where reside our heavenly traits. It is an anatomical impossibility to have both heaven and hell in one organic structure. So we cannot balance the bad with the good in our character.

The equity model of spiritual growth is a wrong model. Following it will lead to insurmountable difficulties in acquiring a heavenly character for our immortality life. This is a matter of spiritual physiology and anatomy, as mentioned. Every hellish operation, no matter how "light weight," is tied by an unbreakable chain to all the hells. This is a spiritual law of creation. It is equally true of every heavenly trait, from the lowest to the highest. Swedenborg was given the experience of an eagle's view, or a satellite view, of the entire heavens and the entire hells in human minds. He confirms by eyesight what Sacred Scripture describes, namely, that to God the entire human race appears as one, and the entire past and future of the human race is present to God simultaneously.  The Genuine Human Shape and Form

The heavenly states exist in every human mind. There exist no heavens outside the human mind. Now try to imagine collecting the heavens together to take a look at them in one connected and integrated piece. Now you can see their shape. What shape do they make when collected all together from each individual's mind? Swedenborg saw it so that he may be a witness, a scientist who recorded his observations and wrote it down as Sacred Scripture under direct conscious supervision of the Divine Human whom he had before himself constantly, as do all people who dwell in the immortality of their heavens. The shape Swedenborg saw was that of a human being which he called the Grand Man or the Grand Human.

Swedenborg was also given to observe the shape of all the hells in every human being. What does that look like, do you think? You may have guessed: It looks like a devil! Swedenborg called it a "deformed man" and so in theistic psychology we can refer to it as the Grand Monster.

These are fascinating reports. What do they mean? Or, How do we think about it in a productive way?

To me it helps to remember that the heaven and hell in everybody's mind are nothing but thoughts and feelings in organic form made of spiritual fibers and substances from the Spiritual Sun. These substances fall into two categories--the spiritual heat consists of goods and the spiritual light consists of truths. Infinite quantities of goods and truths stream out of the Spiritual Sun creating human minds and bodies surrounded by a spiritual world and a natural world. The affective organ contains the goods and the cognitive organ contains the truths.

What shape does the affective and cognitive organs have? We know the shape of the heart and the brain. All organs have a shape. The fact is that every organ, of the body or of the mind, has the human shape because goods and truths are in a human shape. All this is a rational consequence of the fact that God is a Divine Human and has the Human shape. Everything that streams out from the Divine Human remains the Divine Human since God is omnipresent and the source of all created matter and substance. From all this you can see in some general and theoretical sense that the universe has the human shape and all things in the universe have the human shape. This is a heavenly secret that was known to the earliest generations who were born on this earth, and remnants of this idea survived in ancient written texts.

Of course to get a more particular point of view of what this all means we need to have a spiritual-rational idea of "shape" rather than merely a natural-rational idea. You can teach yourself to think in spiritual-rational correspondences rather than merely natural-rational, which follow a materialistic time-space bent structure. A spiritual idea of the shape of what is human, is to remember the scientific revelation that the human proper begins with the spiritual-rational (see Section xx). In other words, the natural mind in itself is not human. It is in the shape of a sub-human animal. You cannot see this physically. When we still are in the unregenerate materialistic phase of life, denying or doubting the existence of the spiritual, we still look human. We cry, we sing, we play, we plan, we love.

This is true. But it's the outward appearance only. If we were able to see the shape of the natural mind in which we are conscious, we would see the shape of animals--tigers, bears, wolves, scorpions, vampires, etc. But as soon as your mind is reformed and you have begun your regeneration process, the natural mind changes appearance. It begins to look more and more like a lamb, a horse, a bird of paradise, a pet. Throughout all these changes of our sub-human mind in the world of spirits, our physical body on earth remains the same in terms of human appearance (except for aging and weight gain).

When we are advanced in regeneration in adult life, our natural mind has turned into the human appearance proper, which is the image of the Divine Human.

What gives the natural mind its proper human image?

It is caused by acquiring spiritual-rational correspondences from Sacred Scripture and making them the basis of our new way of thinking and new way of willing and intending everything.

This results from the fact that everything spiritual is in the human shape or form. When we begin operating our natural mind with natural correspondences to spiritual-rational truths from Sacred Scripture, we then for the first time become truly and genuinely human. Until that phase of growth we are still only potentially human but not actually human. People who are stuck in the hells of their mind are stuck in their natural mind for that's the only entry point for hellish influx and traits. The spiritual mind contains only human things from the Spiritual Sun which is the aura around the Divine Human you can see when you enter the phase of your heaven. If you study theistic psychology you are acquiring rational concepts that can later serve as receptors of spiritual-rational correspondences from Sacred Scripture. "Later" means when you begin your regeneration (see Section xx).

So now everything in this discussion on the human shape comes down to the shape of good and truth from the Spiritual Sun. These substances are in the human shape. Good is alive and truth is alive. In other words, life is carried or made possible by good and truth streaming out of God in infinite quantity and variety, creating everything in their own shape or image.

The human shape viewed externally is familiar to us in each other and in a mirror or photograph and painting. But we know from the law of correspondences that all outward things exist in successive and simultaneous order of degrees, as discussed above. This means that the outward shape of something is produced by an inward cause which is produced by a more inward or inmost source. The shape of the inmost imparts itself by correspondence--not physical appearance. Hence it is that the shape of the Divine Human is the inmost of all shapes and is imparted to all created things by correspondences in a chain of correspondences from highest to lowest (see Section xx).

This means that the higher the correspondence level of some thing or quality, the more it has a true human shape. Swedenborg compared the appearance of the spiritual body of those who dwell in the highest and lowest heavens of their mind. He confirms that the celestial angels (Third Heaven) are amazingly handsome and beautiful with faces that reflect ineffable wisdom, understanding, and love. The faces of the spiritual angels (Second Heaven) was less striking in comparison, and the faces of the people in their First Heaven called angelic spirits, were like the faces of people on earth who are considered handsome and beautiful.

The human shape of good and truth imparts itself to all our mental organs and to every operation in them. Every love, feeling, affection, or intention has the human shape of good. Every thought, concept, understanding, or reasoning has the human shape of truth.

There are of course complications that should be understood to complete the picture. The human shape of good and truth can be distorted in our natural mind so that its shape is altered to that of a deformed human or monster. But the physical body does not reflect this because of God's intervention. It would be incredibly more difficult for us to acquire the motive to regenerate if we already looked like devils. Everybody would look like a devil and earth would be a hell, unprotected by truth and good because these human things are automatically turned into deformed versions of themselves in our inherited will and understanding.

God intervenes maximally and absolutely in everything. For instance, God snatches some of the good and truth flowing into the natural mind before it is distorted and corrupted, and turned into their opposites. The technical term for this that we use in theistic psychology is "remains" (see Section xx). These are goods and truths God saves and collects for us in an inaccessible part of our spiritual mind. For instance, when we are infants and children we are often filled with many good feelings for our parents and caretakers. We have many innocent enjoyments. We love other children and pets and moving around with our bodies. We discover basic new concepts and ideas that are genuine, from our own thoughts and from the environment. All these are in the proper human shape. God lays them away in the spiritual mind before they begin to be distorted and corrupted as we grow in our natural mind and begin to have less human thoughts and more monstrous feelings and emotions.

When we undergo the process of our second death (see Section xx), God unwraps these "remains" in our spiritual mind and makes them operational and conscious. Now we recognize these long forgotten celestial goods and truths from our childhood, and from later life, when we had rare moments of genuine human feelings and realizations. It all now comes back to us, and we have huge new resources for our life and happiness in immortality.

 Everything we've been discussing about heavenly traits represents a spiritual idea of the human shape. To love the neighbor, to love being useful to others, to love the truth for its own sake, to love to form an eternal conjugial union, to love God--these are exclusively human loves and they have the human shape. The definition of human is therefore to have a heavenly desire or love, to think of a rational plan for it, and to fulfill the desire by performing appropriate acts. This is how Sacred Scripture describes the Divine Human. From infinite Divine Love married to infinite Divine Truth, the Divine Human creates the Spiritual Sun, which creates the spiritual world of human minds, which creates the physical universe of earths where human beings are born and become truly human by choice of love and truth, living in eternal conjugial happiness. This is God's fulfillment in existence of the Divine Love or Good married to the Divine Wisdom or Truth. This is the essence and entirety of the human shape or quality.  Life in the Embryo

The external natural mind is composed of both natural and spiritual substances, the natural are in the external portion and the spiritual in the internal portion. The external natural portion is called "maternal" and the internal spiritual portion is called "paternal." Upon the second death the maternal portion is laid to rest forever, and the spiritual or paternal portion now lays bare and takes over the mind, which means, its ruling love now prevails and controls all desires, intentions, thoughts, and appearances. The natural mind in itself is unable to support thought because what is natural is inert. But it appears that we think in our natural mind because it is really the spiritual mind that thinks within the natural. This is just like when we hear a sound or taste something. It appears that we are sensing the sound or taste in our sense organs, and materialists explain that it is really in the brain that we feel the sensation. But the Writings have revealed that the brain is inert, composed merely of chemicals and electricity, and these are not sensations or thoughts. Instead, the reality is that it is the mind that senses through the brain and body. Sensations are spiritual substances in the sensorimotor organ of the mind, and thoughts are spiritual substances in the cognitive organ of the mind.

So it is the mind that senses the physical environment through the sensory organs and the brain, which are thus mere instruments for the mind by which it senses, thinks, and feels.

Note however that the mind has nothing to sense or think about if the natural world is taken away from it. Note further, that in order for the natural mind to sensate and think, it must organize the incoming physical stimuli from the senses into a rational order it can understand and work with. The natural mind must therefore be educated by experiences, socialization,  instruction in the sciences, art, and literacy. These constitute cultural content organized on a natural plane. The rational aspects of this content form the basis of correspondences in our understanding. We can then build up the rational mind from a mere natural beginning and make it more spiritually rational. The first step is to acquire ideas of morality and justice. The second step is to acquire ideas of religion and theistic psychology. This opens the spiritual aspect of the mind and makes it operational within the natural mind.

Now, the conscious natural mind is capable of thinking with spiritual-natural correspondences (First Heaven). This is the beginning of spiritual growth.

At first we grow a maternal rational which is external and natural, made of the order of physical things. This is the phase of materialistic thinking in every individual. After this we form the paternal rational which is internal and spiritual. This is the beginning of reformation and dualism in every person. The two rational minds and their developmental steps are described in detail in Sacred Scripture, especially in the scientific meaning of the Old Testament story of Abraham's two sons--Ishmael (first or maternal natural-rational) and Isaac (second or paternal spiritual-rational).

It is important to understand the extent to which God participates in human development from the moment of conception onward. The heavenly faculties that are capable of heavenly traits is formed by God during the growth process. Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

In the human being the most general and all-embracing whole, holding every single thing in place, is the soul. It is also Divine Truth going forth from the Lord, for Divine Truth flows constantly into the soul and makes it what it is.  (...)  Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is what is called the Word, through which all things were created. (AC 6115)

"The Word" or Divine Truth is also called Divine Speech which always comes to human beings consciously by means of Sacred Scripture through the external natural mind. Divine Speech as Divine Truth unconsciously enters the soul from the Spiritual Sun which marks God's presence in the heavens and where He can be seen by angels as the Divine Human. Swedenborg frequently saw this himself when he was in the heavens in company with the inhabitants there.

Quoting from the Writings regarding how God forms the person in the womb:

As in the formation of man in the womb spiritual things conjoin themselves with natural things there are many particulars that cannot be described, namely, such spiritual things as are abstracted from natural things, which consequently have no expressions in natural language except some most general expressions which one man may comprehend more intelligently than another. Nevertheless, by these and by comparisons that are also correspondences the following particulars shall be explained:

1. The Lord conjoins Himself to man in the womb of the mother from his first conception, and forms man.

2. He conjoins Himself to man in these two receptacles, in the one through love, in the other through wisdom.

3. Love and wisdom unitedly and harmoniously form each and all things, and yet in these things they may be distinguished.

4. The receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one within another; and the two higher are the dwelling-place's of the Lord, but not the lowest.

6. One receptacle is for the will of the future man and the other for his understanding; and yet nothing whatever of his will or of his understanding is present in the formation.

6. There is life in the embryo before birth, but the embryo is not conscious of it.

1. The Lord conjoins Himself to man in the womb of the mother from his first conception, and forms man.

By the Lord here and elsewhere is meant the Divine that proceeds from Him as the sun of heaven, where the angels are, and by and through which all things in the whole world have been created. That this is life itself has been shown already. That life itself is present from first conception and is what gives form, follows from this, that in order to be the form of life which man is, and in order to be an image and likeness of God, which man also is, and in order to be a recipient of love and wisdom, which are life from the Lord, thus a recipient of the Lord Himself, man must be formed by life itself. (...)

While man is in the womb he is in a state of innocence; therefore his first state after birth is a state of innocence; and the Lord dwells in man only in his innocence, consequently He especially dwells in him when he is as it were innocence. Likewise, man is then in a state of peace. Man is then in a state of innocence and in a state of peace, because the Divine love and the Divine wisdom are innocence itself and peace itself, as can be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 276-283, 284-290). I foresee that when you read this, some doubts may occur to your mind; but read to the end, and afterwards recollect, and the doubts will disappear. 

[2] 2. He conjoins Himself to man in these two receptacles, in the one through love, in the other through wisdom.

This follows from the preceding article, where it was shown that all things of the body, both internal and external, from the head even to the heel, are formed and produced from these two receptacles; and as the beginnings and initiaments of all things are from these, it follows that the forming Divine is in them, and through them is in their continuations; but when it is in them and in their continuations, it is in them spiritually, not materially, for it is in their uses; and uses regarded in themselves are immaterial, while the things necessary for uses to become effects are material.

These two receptacles, which are the beginnings of man, are from the father; his formation to the full time of birth is from the mother; for the seed is from the man; his are the spermatic vessels and testicles in which the seed is elaborated and secreted; it is received by the female; hers is the womb wherein is the heat by which it is fostered, and in which are the little mouths by which it is nourished. In nature nothing exists except from seed, and nothing grows except by means of heat. What kind of form these beginnings have, which belong to man only, will be shown in what follows.

As the rudiment of man is seed, and this is a double receptacle of life, it is clear that the human soul is not life from life, that is, life in itself, for there is but one life, and that is God. The source of man's perception of life has been explained elsewhere. And as there is a continuation of these receptacles from the brains through the fibers into all parts of the body, it is also clear that there is a continuation of the reception of life into these parts, and that thus the soul is not here or there, but is in every form derived from these, just as the cause is in the things caused, and the principle in its derivations.

[3] 3. Love and wisdom unitedly and harmoniously form each and all things, and yet in these things they may be distinguished.

Love and wisdom are two distinct things, precisely as heat and light are; heat is felt, and so is love; light is seen, and so is wisdom. Wisdom is seen when man thinks, and love is felt when man is affected. Nevertheless, in the formation of things they do not operate as two but as one. This is true also of the heat and light of the sun of the world; for in the time of spring and summer heat co-operates with light, and light with heat, and things vegetate and germinate.

Likewise love in a state of peace and tranquility co-operates with wisdom, and wisdom with love, and produces and forms, and this both in the embryo and in the man. That the co-operation of love and wisdom is like the co-operation of heat and light is very clear from appearances in the spiritual world. There love is heat, and wisdom is light; and there all things in the angels are living, and all things around them are blooming, in the exact measure of the union of love and wisdom with them. The union of love and wisdom is reciprocal, love unites itself to wisdom, and wisdom reunites itself to love; consequently love acts and wisdom reacts, and through this reciprocation every effect exists.

[[2]] There is such a reciprocal union and consequent reciprocation between the will and understanding and between good and truth, also between charity and faith, with the man in whom the Lord is; and in fact, such is the reciprocal union of the Lord Himself with the church, which is meant by the Lord's words to the disciples in John, that:

They should be in Him and He in them (14:20; and in other places).

The same union is meant by the union of man and wife, in Mark:

The twain shall be one flesh, so that they are no more twain, but one flesh (10:8).

For the man was born to be understanding and consequently wisdom, and the woman to be will and consequently the affection which is of love (see the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 366-386).

[[3]] As there are two things, love and wisdom, that form the embryo in the womb, so there are two receptacles, one for love and the other for wisdom; so again there are two things in the body throughout, and these likewise are distinct and are united. There are two hemispheres of the brain, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two chambers of the heart, two hands, two feet, two kidneys, two testicles, and the rest of the viscera are doubled; and in every case what is on their right side has relation to the good of love, and what is on their left to the truth of wisdom.

That these two are so joined together as to act as one mutually and reciprocally, a diligent investigator can see if he will take the trouble. The union itself stands forth to view in the fibers stretched to and fro and interlaced in the midst of their course; and this is the reason of the signification of "right" and "left" in the Word. From all this the truth is clear that love and wisdom, unitedly and harmoniously form each and all things in the embryo, and yet in these things they may be distinguished.

[4] 4. The receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one within the other; and the two higher are dwelling-places of the Lord, but not the lowest.

Some one might possibly form a fallacious idea of the beginnings of the human form, which pertain to the seed of the man, because they are called receptacles. From the term receptacle one may easily fall into the idea of a vessel or a little tube. I desire therefore to define and describe that initial form, as it was seen by me and made clear to me in the heavens, as adequately as the expressions of natural language will permit.

These receptacles are not tubular, or hollowed out like little vessels, but they are like the brain, of which they are an exceedingly minute and invisible type, with a delineation resembling a face in front, with no visible appendage. This primitive brain in the upper convex part was a structure of contiguous globules or little spheres, each little sphere being a conglomeration of like spheres still more minute, and each of these again of the very least. In front, in the flattened region of the nose, a kind of outline appeared for a face; but in the recess between the convex part and this flattened part there was no fiber; the convex part was covered round about with a very thin membrane, which was transparent. Thus was seen by me and shown to me the primitive of man, the first or lowest degree of which was the structure first described, the second or middle degree was the structure secondly described, and the third or highest degree was the structure thirdly described, thus one was within the other.

I was told that in each little sphere there were indescribable interlacings, more and more wonderful according to the degrees, also that in each particular the right part is the couch or receptacle of love, and the left part is the couch or receptacle of wisdom, and that by wonderful connections these are like partners and comrades, the same as the two hemispheres of the brain are.

[[2]] It was further shown in the light that fell brightly on it, that the structure of the two interior degrees was, in its position and flow, in the order and form of heaven, while the structure of the lowest degree in its position and flow, was in the form of hell. This is why it is said that the receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one within another, and the two higher are dwelling-places of the Lord, but not the lowest. The lowest degree is such because man, from a hereditary taint, is born opposed to the order and form of heaven, and thus into evils of every kind; and this taint is in the natural, which is the lowest of man's life, and it is not wiped away unless the interior degree that has been formed for the reception of love and wisdom from the Lord is opened in him.

But how this degree and the inmost degree are opened is taught by the Lord in the Word, and will be taught in what follows. But to gain light on this subject, see what has been said before about degrees, also about the brain. These degrees are called higher, although they are interior, and for the reason that there is successive order of degrees and simultaneous order; things higher and lower are in successive order, but things interior and exterior are in simultaneous order, and the same things that in simultaneous order are interior, in successive order are higher; and the same is true of things exterior and lower.

And as there are three degrees in man so there are three degrees of the heavens, for the heavens consist of men who have become angels. According to degrees in successive order, the heavens are seen one above another, and according to degrees in simultaneous order, one within another. From this it is that "high" signifies in the Word what is internal, and the Lord is called "Most High," because He is in inmost things. Since, then, man in the beginning of his development is such a dwelling place of the Lord as has been described, and these three degrees are then open, and since everything that proceeds from the Lord as a sun is Man in least things and in greatest (as has been shown before in its place), so extension into any other form than the human is not possible; nor is extension possible except through rays of light from wisdom with heat from love in the midst; thus through vivified fibers, which are rays brought out into form. That there is a like determination is apparent to the eye.

[[3]] So many are the degrees of life with man; but with beasts the two higher degrees are lacking and they have only the lowest; consequently the beginnings of their life are not receptacles of the Lord's love and wisdom, but are receptacles of natural affection and knowledge, into which they are born. With clean beasts these receptacles are not reflected or turned contrary to the order of the flux of the universe, but are conformable to it; therefore from birth, as soon as they are brought forth, they are led into their functions and know them. For beasts have had no ability to pervert their affections, since they have not the intellectual faculty to think and reason from spiritual light, and to violate the laws of Divine order.

[5] 5. One receptacle is for the will of the future man and the other for his understanding; and yet nothing whatever of his will or of his understanding is present in the formation.

Will and understanding with man do not begin until the lungs are opened, and this does not take place until after birth; then the will of man becomes the receptacle of love, and the understanding becomes the receptacle of wisdom. They do not become such receptacles until the lungs are opened, because the lungs correspond to the life of the understanding, and the heart corresponds to the life of the will, and without the cooperation of the understanding and will, man has no life of his own, as there is no life apart from the co-operation of love and wisdom by means of which the embryo is formed and vivified, as has been said before.

In the embryo the heart alone beats, and the liver leaps, the heart for the circulation of the blood, and the liver for the reception of nourishment; from these is the motion of the other viscera, and this motion is felt as pulsative after the middle period of gestation. But this motion is not from any life proper to the fetus; one's own life is the life of the will and the life of the understanding; while the life of the infant is the life of commencing will and commencing understanding; from these only do the sensitive and the motor life in the body exist; and this life is not possible from the beating of the heart alone, but is possible from the conjunction of this with the respiration of the lungs.

This is seen to be true in men, who have both will and understanding; when they fall into a swoon or are suffocating, and respiration stops, they become as if dead; they have no sensation, their limbs do not move, they do not think nor will, and yet the heart performs its contractions and the blood circulates. But as soon as the lungs return to their respirations the man comes back into his activities and to his senses, and into his will and understanding. From all this a conclusion may be formed about the quality of the life of the fetus in the womb, in which only the heart performs its motions, and not yet the lungs, namely, that nothing of the life of the will and nothing of the life of the understanding is present in it; but the formation is effected solely by the life from the Lord by which man afterwards is to live. But about this more may be seen in the following article.

[6] 6. There is life in the embryo before birth, but the embryo is not conscious of it.

This follows from what has been said above; also that the life from which the embryo in the womb lives is not its life, but the Lord's alone, who alone is life. (D. Wis. 3)

You can see from these details that the growth of the fetus in the womb is managed by God through influx into the soul, and from there into the organs of the mind called the will (affective) and the understanding (cognitive) in their primitive form. The fetus is not conscious and thus has no will or understanding, and yet these organs become the active organic agents by which the brain and body develop during the nine months of gestation.  The Growth of the Mind

The growth of the human mind is based on the managed interaction between the unconscious internal spiritual mind and the conscious external natural mind. The external mind is built up consciously by our experiences and socialization, thus "from without," meaning from incoming stimuli through the physical senses in the natural world. But the internal mind is built up unconsciously from incoming stimuli from the spiritual world. God is in charge of the order and pacing of these incoming spiritual stimuli. The external conscious mind is therefore filled with the organized information of the material world, while the unconscious internal mind is filled with the organized information of the spiritual world. The process of build up of the two minds would not work if they were independent. The acquisition of concepts for our conscious thinking depends on the influx or facilitation effect from the unconscious spiritual mind. Quoting from the Writings on this subject:

Cognitions with man never come in childhood from the interior, but from objects of the senses, especially from hearing. There are with the external man recipient vessels, and these are formed by cognitions, the internal man inflowing and assisting. Cognitions are learned and implanted in the [external] memory according to the influx of the internal man. (AC 1460)

"Cognitions with man" refers to the concepts we acquire by which we are able to think and consciously process information in a systematic and rational order. Concepts must be built up by the "objects of the senses," which includes especially "hearing" or verbal interaction with others. Language plays a key role in allowing the build up of the natural mind. Concepts would not be rational and would not allow thinking unless they were "infilled" from within with spiritual-rational organization, which is called the "internal man inflowing and assisting."  Concepts are called "cognitions" and they are described as "recipient vessels" that contain within them spiritual information and rational syntax.

In order to understand this process more clearly consider how we learn to talk. Infants hear adults speak to them and around them. They can learn what words are spoken when and they can associate words with objects and situations. Linguists have demonstrated that it would be impossible to learn a language merely by such associations. A computer could easily pick up and retain these associations, or you can simply have it access a dictionary file. The computer could not make up sentences with a dictionary file. What is lacking? It's grammar and its rules for forming sentences out of words. Grammar is a rational syntax or system that we use to create new sentences endlessly. The vocabulary we need may be quite small--a few hundred words, yet the number of new sentences we can form with a limited vocabulary is endless. Grammar allows us to combine and recombine words endlessly. If you give access to a computer program access to both a vocabulary file and a grammar file, it will be able to produce meaningful sentences, though there are many complications that need to be solved.

The point is this: children cannot invent or discover grammar from hearing sentences. To solve this puzzle, Noam Chomsky, the brilliant twentieth century linguist who founded modern linguistics, postulated that every child is born with a "LAD" -- language acquisition device at a high generality level. The generic grammar at this level is a rational-linguistic system that encompasses all natural languages humans have invented. With this "universal grammatical system" a child is able to acquire any language on earth. The child is able to figure out the grammar of the particular language spoken by using this generic grammar that is innate to all human beings.

It is clear that these innate higher order thought processes descend from the unconscious spiritual mind into the conscious natural mind. Without this spiritual influx from the spiritual world the child could not learn to talk, could not develop rational human thinking. Linguists are not able to explain where these innate cognitive operations come from. To say that they are "innate" is merely saying that it must be there from somewhere somehow. Now we know from theistic psychology where this innate process comes from and what the physiological mechanisms are that make it work.

Quoting from the Writings:

The rational is in the internal man and what transpires therein is unknown to the natural. (,,,) Man, who lives a merely natural life, can know nothing of what transpires in his internal man. The LORD disposes such things while man is entirely ignorant of it. Hence too it is that man knows not [perceptibly] how he is regenerated. (AC 3570)

It's important to obtain some scientific idea of how closely God is involved in the growth of the human mind, that is, in making the human grow. It is the same with a tree or plant. Materialistic concepts assign the process of cumulative cell growth to "nature" or "natural law" or "just built in process." But when we move on to a more rational explanation we want to have details about the process that controls cell growth. There are of course details we know from genetics,  biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy. But each of these contributions arrive at the bottom of their explanations with atomic structures, where they end. In other words, some unknown force gets the atoms to act in a certain way which gets the cells to grow in a particular way. Without scientific revelations from Sacred Scripture the entire system of explanation for cell growth rests at the bottom on some unknown unspecifiable undiscussable force or principle.

All cell growth is driven by correspondences, just like a music box is driven by mechanical notches and grooves shaped to activate notes in a desired sequence. It is the musical score of organized notes that supplies the music box with its capacity to play a recognizable melody. In a similar way, the human mind grows by spiritual cells that are controlled by a spiritual 'score' carried by or contained in the stream of incoming goods and truths from the Spiritual Sun.  Research in theistic science of the future will discover from Divine Speech (see Section xx), all the spiritual knowledge that we need to rationally understand how the cells of the mind are made to grow by God through the intermediaries of human love (goods) and wisdom (truths). Knowledge of successive and simultaneous degrees (see Section xx), and knowledge of correspondences (see Section xx), will provide the techniques for extracting this new knowledge. Swedenborg reports that when we are in the heavens of our mind this kind of knowledge floods our mind spontaneously when we are wondering about how something works.

We can understand some of it now in a general way. Consider how Burnham specifies the relations between the two minds to account for the pace of their growth.  The Mind's Growth During Childhood 

THIS diagram presents the growth and storage of the mind during childhood, infancy having preceded, youth yet to follow.

Compare this diagram with XVIII, XIX, and XXI.

The principal growth and implantation of remains during childhood have taken place in b the middle degree of the spiritual mind, in c the middle degree of the natural mind, and in e the middle of the limbus. The five senses of the body have increased in quickness and strength. The remaining three degrees not here lettered have somewhat advanced in preparation for future development.

The plane b is the middle degree of the spiritual mind and is the middle heaven. This degree ultimates in the natural mind; its first ultimate is c which is the middle degree of the natural mind; and its lowest ultimate is e the middle degree of the limbus.

This degree b and its ultimates are characterized by spiritual good and truth which are those of love to the neighbor; spiritual good is the good of that love, and spiritual truth is the truth that teaches, contains and defends it. These in their beginnings are stored imperceptibly in the middle degree of the spiritual mind during childhood, the child during this time being under the ministration of spiritual angels. While the LORD imperceptibly stores spiritual principles immediately from Himself and mediately through the angels of the spiritual heaven in the degree b, He by various perceptible and imperceptible means stores the corresponding degrees below with the affection of knowledge and with knowledge itself The perceptible means are external instruction and training.

In the Writings, two distinctions are drawn between the celestial and the spiritual. The view presented in this diagram coincides with only one of these distinctions. The other puts things celestial and things spiritual in each of the three degrees of the internal and of the external mind. These distinctions may be illustrated by the body. In one view the head is celestial, the trunk spiritual, the extremities natural; this is like the celestial, the spiritual and the natural in this diagram. In the other view the right part of the head is celestial, the left spiritual; so of the trunk and extremities.

To exemplify these distinctions take the whole mind consisting of will and understanding. The mind is organized with three distinct degrees from above down, celestial, spiritual and natural. Each degree has a voluntary which is the internal, essential, affectional, and an intellectual which is the external, formal, thinking. In the highest degree this voluntary and intellectual are celestial, in the middle spiritual, in the lowest natural. The voluntary in the highest receives love to the LORD, and the intellectual in the highest, the truth of that love. In the highest degree then exist celestial good and truth, in the middle spiritual good and truth, in the lowest natural good and truth. Thus there is the celestial and the spiritual or what is the same the voluntary and the intellectual in each degree as mentioned in Chapter XIX, page 81. This is one distinction. The other is the distinction between the highest degree which is celestial and the middle which is spiritual. The first distinction is between good and truth in one degree; the second is between good and truth in one degree in relation to good and truth in another.

These distinctions may be illustrated by the examples of a married pair in the celestial heaven, a pair in the spiritual, and a pair in the natural. In the highest, the husband and wife are related to each other as love and its wisdom or as the celestial and its spiritual; yet both are celestial in relation to the pair in the heaven below. The lower pair are related to each other as truth, and good from truth, or as the spiritual and its celestial; yet both are spiritual in relation to the pair above. So the pair in the lowest heaven are natural in relation to the pairs above; but in relation to each other one is celestial and the other spiritual.

To return to the diagram. We have said in substance that the germ of the degree b undergoes development during childhood and receives interior spirituals, while that in c also becomes developed and receives exterior spirituals. The exterior as well as interior spirituals are voluntary and intellectual - the affection of knowledge being voluntary, the knowledge itself intellectual. We call the plane c in the external mind spiritual because it answers to the middle or spiritual degree b in the internal mind. But c is properly the natural spiritual. Observe that the plane c which is paternal in its origin, acts in and by the plane e and the gross body which are from the mother. Hence the affections and acquisitions of the paternal are clothed with qualities which are maternal. Thus, as shown in Chapter XVIII page 71, maternal character and quality adhere for a time to the external of the higher faculties which as to their germinal forms and states were from the father; for which reason this external is called maternal.

During the period of childhood represented in this diagram there is a lingering continuance of the state of infancy that preceded-the celestial love of parents and the celestial-spiritual love of brothers and companions with somewhat of the innocence and peace inherent in those loves together with a continual addition of sensual and corporeal ideas and impressions.

So childhood with the affection of knowing continues into youth, though the predominant desire of the youth is to know causes and reasons. He asks not so much, What? as Why? This state we present in the next diagram. (Burnham, )

Lets review one of the paragraphs above.

This degree b and its ultimates are characterized by spiritual good and truth which are those of love to the neighbor; spiritual good is the good of that love, and spiritual truth is the truth that teaches, contains and defends it. These in their beginnings are stored imperceptibly in the middle degree of the spiritual mind during childhood, the child during this time being under the ministration of spiritual angels. While the LORD imperceptibly stores spiritual principles immediately from Himself and mediately through the angels of the spiritual heaven in the degree b, He by various perceptible and imperceptible means stores the corresponding degrees below with the affection of knowledge and with knowledge itself. The perceptible means are external instruction and training.

"Degree b" refers to the spiritual layer of the internal mind. Into this mind are first deposited spiritual goods and truths called "the love of the neighbor," that is, the desire to act altruistically. This layer is in the internal spiritual mind and therefore it is not accessible to the hells which can only inflow into the natural mind. Therefore altruism is part of the "remains" we will need at our second death in order to enter our heaven forever, as discussed before (see Section xx). This illustrates how the spiritual mind is made to grow by God directly as well as mediately, using the minds of people who already dwell in their eternal heavens. In this case it is the "spiritual angels" who dwell in the Second Heaven whose work it is to insinuate altruism into the spiritual mind of those still living on earth. The spiritual "good" of altruism is deposited into the affective organ, while spiritual "truth" is deposited into the cognitive organ of the spiritual mind (see prior diagrams). All of this is unconscious and independent of the culture or intelligence of the child.

Simultaneously God arranges the right kind of "external instruction and training" for each child so that there may be correspondences in the conscious natural mind of the child  that can react to the goods and truths that are implanted in the unconscious spiritual mind. These spiritual truths cannot later be used as remains unless they have "ultimates" or correspondences in the conscious natural mind. Spiritual goods and truths cannot be made operational or usable unless they are stabilized and tied to natural goods and truths in the conscious mind which have been acquired as-of self in daily experiences. This is the reason why God cannot create people directly into their heavens, but must go through the natural route on earth. To be an angel one must be a self-made angel, that is, as-if self-made while knowing it is by the Divine Human and not from self.

Let's discuss another paragraph from Burnham in the quote above:

To exemplify these distinctions take the whole mind consisting of will and understanding. The mind is organized with three distinct degrees from above down, celestial, spiritual and natural. Each degree has a voluntary which is the internal, essential, affectional, and an intellectual which is the external, formal, thinking. In the highest degree this voluntary and intellectual are celestial, in the middle spiritual, in the lowest natural. The voluntary in the highest receives love to the LORD, and the intellectual in the highest, the truth of that love. In the highest degree then exist celestial good and truth, in the middle spiritual good and truth, in the lowest natural good and truth. Thus there is the celestial and the spiritual or what is the same the voluntary and the intellectual in each degree as mentioned in Chapter XIX, page 81. This is one distinction. The other is the distinction between the highest degree which is celestial and the middle which is spiritual. The first distinction is between good and truth in one degree; the second is between good and truth in one degree in relation to good and truth in another.

One way of making this clearer is to picture each of the three degrees of the mind--celestial, spiritual, natural--distinguished in the affective and cognitive organs. Here is one way of picturing this.

The three degrees of height in the mind correspond to the three heavens in the spiritual world. The celestial mind is in the Third Heaven. The spiritual mind is in the Second Heaven. The spiritual-natural mind is in the First Heaven. there is also an external natural mind below the spiritual-natural mind, but this is not shown on my diagram (bet see previous diagrams by Burnham discussed above).

Each of the three minds is composed of three organs--the affective organ, the cognitive organ, and the sensorimotor organ. I'm only showing the affective and cognitive organs in this diagram.

The affective organ is called "internal," "voluntary," and the "will." The cognitive organ is called "external," "intellectual," and the "understanding." Reception of Divine Speech inflowing from the Spiritual Sun will be first into the celestial mind through the Third Heaven. The spiritual mind then reacts to the celestial by correspondential connection. After this, the spiritual-natural mind reacts, also by correspondence. The reception of influx from the Spiritual sun is twofold. Spiritual heat enters the affective organ while spiritual light enters the cognitive organ. We receive celestial good in the affective organ of the celestial mind, and celestial truth in its cognitive organ. We receive spiritual good in the affective organ of the spiritual mind, and spiritual truth in its cognitive organ. We receive natural good in the affective organ of the spiritual-natural mind, and natural truth in its cognitive organ. 

You can see from this anatomical description that Divine Speech proceeds from the Divine Human surrounded by the Spiritual Sun, and enters the minds of people in an orderly fashion in accordance with the anatomy of the mind and its receptor organs tied to each other by the laws of correspondence. The growth of the human mind is nothing but the reaction of our anatomy to spiritual heat and light streaming in from the Spiritual Sun. Spiritual heat is the substance of "good" and spiritual light is the substance of "truth."

This idea may present some difficulty in understanding unless you have a spiritual idea of the Spiritual Sun and the spiritual world, which is a world that overlaps with the human mind. The Spiritual Sun is a rational substance called Divine Truth within which is Divine Love. Spiritual heat and light streaming out of this Sun are therefore rational substances. Love (or good) is a rational substance called spiritual heat. Truth (or wisdom, intelligence, intellect, rationality) is a rational substance called spiritual light. The mind is constructed from birth onward by rational substances that correspond to our feelings and thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are nothing but the operation of the affective and cognitive organs, as they are bombarded by spiritual heat and light. When we think, our cognitive organ is reacting to the stimulation of incoming spiritual light. When we feel, sense, or intend something, our affective mind is reacting to the stimulation of incoming spiritual heat.

You can see from this that God is the source of our thinking and feeling through the inflowing spiritual heat and light form the Spiritual Sun. What flows from God cannot be separated from God, which means that the inflowing spiritual heat and light constitute God "in us." Sacred Scripture says that the Divine Human is in us and we are in the Divine Human. You can see now what this means. God is "in us" because spiritual heat and light are in our organs, and this originates from God and cannot be separated from God. Any person who experiences a good love and thinks a true thought, is in God and God is in that individual. This has nothing to do with religion or belief system. Atheists can love their family and country, and they can have the motive to be useful to society. These are good loves in which God dwells since all good loves originate from God and therefore remain God. It is the same with true ideas they may have--these are God in them even if they deny God's existence. But when they think about God and deny God's existence, God is not in that denial or irrational thinking. Instead, it is the hells that are in that kind of falsity and delusion.

The orderly development of the mind proceeds first in the sensual degree during infancy, then in the scientific degree during childhood, then in the natural-rational degree in early adulthood. After that begins reformation and regeneration, which takes the individual into more internal forms of the rational--first, spiritual-natural, then spiritual-rational, and at last, celestial-rational. These developmental steps are paced so that they tie to each other from the unconscious spiritual mind to the conscious natural mind.  The natural mind contains three discrete degrees, as seen in prior diagrams, and they each correspond to the three degrees in the spiritual mind. The celestial-rational of the Third Heaven in the spiritual mind corresponds to the celestial-natural of the natural mind. The spiritual-rational of the Second Heaven in the spiritual mind corresponds to the celestial-natural of the natural mind. The spiritual-natural of the Second Heaven in the spiritual mind corresponds to the spiritual-natural of the natural mind. Below this is the natural-rational, which has a correspondence to the hells before it is regenerated, and afterwards, all levels of the natural mind correspond to the heavens.  The Role of the Unconscious Spiritual Mind

Prior to regeneration there is a dissociation between the spiritual and natural minds. The spiritual mind cannot bring about any changes in the natural mind because the natural mind reacts in opposition to it. After regeneration there is a consociation between them so that the natural mind reacts by correspondence to the spiritual mind and the two are in agreement. We are then called angels, even though we still continue to develop more and more towards that final goal. Quoting from the Writings:

When a man's interior is purified from evils by desisting from them and shunning them because they are sins, then the internal is opened, which is above it, and which is called the spiritual internal. This communicates with heaven; hence it is that a man is then introduced into heaven, and conjoined to the Lord.

There are two internals with man, one beneath and the other above. The internal which is beneath is that in which a man is, and from which he thinks, while he lives in the world, for it is natural. This, by way of distinction, we shall call the interior. But the internal which is above is that into which a man comes after death when he comes into heaven. All the angels of heaven are in this internal, for it is spiritual. It is this internal which is opened to the man who shuns evils as sins, but it is kept closed to the man who does not shun, evils as sins.

[3] The reason why this internal is kept closed to the man who does not shun evils as sins is, that the interior, or natural internal, before man becomes purified from sins, is hell; and so long as hell is there, heaven cannot be opened; but as soon as hell is removed, then it is opened. It must be known, however, that the spiritual internal and heaven are opened to man, so far as the natural internal is purified from the hell which is there; and this is not effected at once, but by degrees successively. From these things it is evident that a man of himself is hell, and becomes heaven by the Lord. Consequently, that he is rescued from hell by the Lord, and raised up to Himself into heaven, not immediately, but mediately, the means being the precepts just mentioned, by which the Lord leads him who is willing to be led. (AE 940)

The first paragraph in the passage above says that the internal spiritual mind "is opened," that is, activated and made operational, when the natural mind is "purified from evils by desisting from them and shunning them because they are sins." This refers to character reformation during which we apply the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture to our willing and thinking in daily activities. The Divine Psychologist arranges for us to have a particular temptation experience which gives us the opportunity to (a) witness the evil enjoyment or false idea we have, and (b) shun it as sin, which means to separate yourself from the evil enjoyment or false idea, to turn away from it as from hell itself see Section xx). This act of dissociation and turning away allows the Divine Psychologist to cut the inherited ties to the hells. This liberation from some hell society is called "when a man's interior is purified from evils."

The second paragraph contrasts the external conscious natural mind with the internal unconscious spiritual mind. When we enter the afterlife at death we are resuscitated as a spirit with a spiritual body and without a physical body. Now our external mind is laid to rest and rendered non-operational and we begin our life in eternity in our spiritual mind. Obviously, this mind had to be formed all along while we were on earth, otherwise we would fall into a coma when the natural mind is rendered completely non-operational at the second death (see Section xx). If at that point we became conscious in a spiritual mind that was not actually ours all along, we would not be who we are and we would be a stranger within. This cannot possibly form the basis of a heavenly life because our heaven has always been the state of fulfillment of our desires, our desires and loves, which we cumulatively formed during our growth on earth.

Hence it is that the content of the spiritual mind, though unconscious here on earth, nevertheless is our very own, and is nothing but the internal form of the loves we had on earth in the natural mind. There is a precise correspondence between every detail of content in our natural mind, and every corresponding detail of content in the spiritual mind. For instance, suppose you love playing sports. You love how you feel, you like the aftereffects, you like to rehearse events in your mind, you like to read about, talk about it, do it regularly over and over. This is the conscious love of sports that you have in your natural mind here on earth. You could not enjoy this love or have it unless it was acquired by cooperation from your unconscious spiritual mind. The love of sports you are conscious of is just the external form of the love of people that is in your unconscious mind.

The love of people in your unconscious spiritual mind corresponds to the love of sports in your conscious natural mind. The spiritual love is inside the natural love, and gives it life, which you experience as enjoyment, fun, interest, focus,  involvement,  excitement, satisfaction, etc. These are the things you actually love--enjoyment, fun, interest, etc., and these are the external forms of the love of people, which you are not even conscious of. You think it's something else. You think your love of sports has to do with your love of winning, competing, mastering. Now at your second death, the love of sports itself is laid to rest with the natural mind, and your consciousness becomes alive in your spiritual mind which contains the inside of that love--love of interacting with people. The external form of this love is gone, and you don't miss it. Now you are focused on the internal of the love which you had all along.  So you lost nothing, and gained a lot, because the internal of every love is an entire degree more intense than its external form.

This is the case with all your loves. When you awaken in your spiritual mind you find everything there completely familiar and so intense that you become far more alive than before.

Swedenborg reports that when people then enter the heaven in their mind, everything looks familiar, like a homecoming--the people greet you like old family, you recognize the house on the street that belongs to you because it is the correspondential embodiment of your unconscious ideals of what a house should look like. We all begin our life of immortality in this state of complete familiarity but extraordinary intensity.

And if your dream house was a hellish mansion where evil enjoyments go on, that's what you enter, and you feel ecstatic that at last you have your most secret and unconscious dreams come true. But this mental state of excitement does not last as you discover that the evil enjoyments you have are not your own. They belong to evil societies that are much deeper in the hells, people who want to be devils, and satans, and genii, who then become your masters in hell. Your excitement and fun quickly turn into vile slavery to task masters that hate you and love to make you suffer.  In heaven on the other hand, you discover that your enjoyments come from altruistic societies made of people who have entered the highest heaven in their mind, which is near God. From that place of superlative humanity they beam their ecstatic bliss to those who dwell farther from the Spiritual Sun.

As you study theistic psychology you acquire the skill of anticipating, or knowing in advance, what you will be like in your immortality. You can know this in general terms, even if not in specific detail, if you reflect on the anatomy of your mind, and the content of the loves and truths to which you are holding on to. Examine the hierarchy of your loves. Use your knowledge of the mind's anatomy to follow some love from its external manifestation in your conscious natural mind, to its internal origin in your unconscious spiritual mind. Many loves are characterized in Sacred Scripture so you can map our your connections with the spiritual societies. Daily self-witnessing practice is critical in the task of identifying our loves (see Section xx).  Regeneration of the Adult Mind

 So far we have established the two principal mechanisms by which God grows the human mind: (a) the use of the vertical community by which people who dwell already in their heavens, become the source for the content of our affective and cognitive organs; and (b) the anatomical layering of the mind in correspondential degrees, with two main interdependent portions, one unconscious, the other conscious.

The "influx" of higher order feelings and concepts is received by the corresponding layers of the unconscious mind called the internal spiritual mind. This forms the unconscious content of the spiritual mind called "remains" and consists of spiritual feelings and thoughts that live in heaven. The chief love in the unconscious mind is the ruling love with which angels inflow--altruism or the love of being useful to others, coupled with the desire of avoiding doing anything that might hurt or inconvenience others. The chief concept in the unconscious mind is the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture arranged in rational order. This truth of doctrine is that the Divine Human is the source of all good and truth that are with us, and that everything we have that is our own, is nothing but evil and delusional. Other truths follow from this one, and they are all insinuated into the spiritual mind in an orderly fashion as the individual grows from infancy, to childhood, to young adulthood, to adulthood and old age. Then, at resuscitation, the person becomes an angel in the full bloom of youth, for life in eternity.

But things can go wrong in this process due to interference by the individual, that is, lack of cooperation with God, which restricts the growth of the mind into non-heavenly pathways.

The development of the unconscious spiritual is dependent to some extent on the individual's cooperation at the conscious level of the natural mind. The two minds are locked into each other for functioning, so that the spiritual mind cannot progress to its layering and development without the correspondential reaction of the conscious natural mind, thus of the individual's voluntary cooperation. Since we are born with a corrupted natural mind connected to the hells, our feelings and thoughts react in opposition and resistance to the heavenly content of the spiritual mind. The angels' altruistic loves and principles of living may inflow the spiritual layers of the mind, but this content cannot be fixed into the affective and cognitive organs without the correspondential reaction of the lower natural layers to which God gives us control. The "remains" that are placed in our unconscious mind are not ours to use in the afterlife unless we make them ours in this life. This is called "appropriating" the loves to self.

Altruistic loves and the truths of doctrine from Sacred Scripture, cannot be appropriated by the inherited "old will" which must first be reformed and regenerated. We must suffer ourselves to undergo temptations and to battle them with the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture. Then we acquire a "new will" which is suitable to react by correspondence to the remains in our unconscious spiritual mind. Then only do these remains become ours, part of the new proprium by which we can enter the heavens in our mind (see Section xx).

The spiritual influx progresses in three discrete layers from celestial-rational (Third Heaven), to spiritual-rational (Second Heaven), to spiritual-natural (First Heaven). These are the three layers of the unconscious spiritual mind that will serve us in the afterlife. These three layers of the mind overlap completely with the three layers of the spiritual world (see Section xx). Simultaneously, this downward progression or "descent" is matched by a corresponding upward progression of the conscious natural mind, called "ascent." The descending and ascending layers match each other perfectly. This interdependence may be seen once more in the accompanying Burnham diagram.

The celestial influx into the spiritual mind descends through the three layers shown in B (red, white, green) and this descent is matched by the ascent in the natural mind C (dark red, grey, dark green). Layer a (light green) is the spiritual correspondence to layer b (dark green). This is the state reached prior to regeneration, during growth of the mind form infancy to early adulthood. Layer b is the highest development of the natural mind and is called the natural-rational mind. Layer a is the lowest development of the spiritual mind and is called the spiritual-natural heaven.

When reformation and regeneration begin in adult life the process of growth now continues in an inverse order. Regeneration starts with reformation of the natural-rational mind (b--dark green) by means of the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. It is our conscious rational concepts that are first purified and realigned to the internal spiritual truths that have been deposited in layer a (First Heaven). This is now our opportunity to enter our First Heaven while we are still on earth. The content of the First Heaven is composed of spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture while the content of the natural-rational mind is composed of the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. When these two are locked into one another, portion a is actually within b. In other words, b is made alive by a. This is called enlightenment because we now read Sacred Scripture in such a way that we see its meaning by "heavenly light," which is the spiritual light streaming from the Spiritual Sun. Our thinking and willing becomes more and more heavenly as the conscious natural mind (b) is regenerated.

But this growth process in the natural-rational mind cannot become permanent unless our regeneration descends into the middle layer of C (grey), which is the "scientific" layer of knowledges in our mind. To the extent that this scientific layer is regenerated, to that extent the middle layer of the spiritual mind in B (white) is fixed within the natural layer, enlightening us as to our perception and understanding of the natural world around us. We now can consciously see the spiritual within the natural, whereas before we only saw the natural as if that's all there was. Finally, the lowest portion of the natural mind is regenerated in C (dark red). This is called the sensuous-natural mind, and to the extent it is regenerated, to that extent the celestial-rational mind in B (red) descends into the sensuous-natural mind and vivifies it and enlightens it.

Regeneration is therefore an orderly process of the growth of the human mind. Every descending step in the conscious mind is matched by an ascending step in the unconscious mind until the entire mind is regenerated and made heavenly through influx. The entire process is managed by God and requires the conscious voluntary cooperation of the individual. This cooperation requires two steps: (a) acquiring the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture; and (b) applying it to our thinking and willing in daily activities. This is how Burnham summarizes the process:

This first step in adult regeneration, may be elucidated. The lowest degree of the spiritual mind a having been previously stored with good and truth is prepared for the man's entrance into it; he then rises into it and plants therein the interior seat of his thought and affection. Thus he begins to be a distinctively spiritual man but has not yet become so, especially not permanently so. To ensure this result the highest degree of his natural mind b and the corresponding plane of the limbus c must be cleansed of evil and falsity and appropriate good and truth adopted in their stead. (A.C. 3539 and 6724.)

Evil and falsity can be removed only by combat in obedience to the Divine command to shun them as sins, for the LORD can work in man to remove his disorders only when man co-operates with Him. (A.E. 790 [b].) This combat is waged by good and truth on the LORD's side against evil and falsity assaulting on the other. The goods and truths immediately brought into use as the hosts of the LORD in this combat are those already stored in these degrees (b and c) during youth, But these goods and truths cannot combat and expel the evils and falsities from these degrees except as infilled and animated by the higher goods and truths in a of the spiritual mind.

Thus the combat is primarily between the spiritual mind and the evils and falsities of the natural mind. The spiritual mind however fights from its own goods and truths by the goods and truths of the natural mind. (A.C. 6724, A.E. 176, 790.) Then the spiritual rests securely on the natural and the man thereafter holds his interior seat in that lowest degree of the spiritual mind. This degree of the natural mind is now conjoined with the spiritual and makes one with it. The man dying in this state goes to the lowest or natural heaven because he is regenerate to the natural degree of his spiritual mind and to the corresponding degree of his natural mind. This first great step of regeneration requires years for its accomplishment, with most persons, many years. Neither does it always actually commence at twenty-one years of age.

You can follow the citations he gives to the Writings to see more details of the process.

We begin the growth of our mind in external consciousness in the natural mind, but as we are regenerated, we enter progressively more and more into interior consciousness in our spiritual mind. This is the basis of our immortality. Quoting from the Writings:

Unless the natural assists no birth of interior truth is possible, since it is the natural that receives interior truths into its bosom once these are born; indeed it is the natural that enables them to push their way out. The same applies to instances of spiritual birth, in that reception must take place wholly within the natural. This is the reason why, when a person is being regenerated, the natural is first of all made ready to receive, and to the extent it is then able to receive, interior truths and goods are able to emerge and multiply.

This also explains why, if the natural man has not been made ready during the life of the body to receive the truths and goods of faith, that person cannot receive them in the next life and so cannot be saved. This is the implication of the common saying 'As the tree falls, so it must lie', meaning, What a person is when he dies, so he comes to be.

For a person has with him in the next life his whole natural memory, that is, the memory belonging to his external man, though he is not allowed to use it in that life, 2469-2494. In the next life therefore that memory serves as the groundwork on which interior truths and goods rest; but if that groundwork is not able to support the goods and truths which flow into it from within, interior goods and truths are either annihilated, or perverted, or cast aside. (AC 4588)

The spiritual mind we need in our immortality cannot develop by itself, or else God could create human beings directly in heaven, by passing life and evil in earthly life. God doesn't do this because it is not rationally possible. In order to have a spiritual mind that we accept as our very own for our life in eternity, it must be established as our own. Prior to regeneration we all have celestial loves and concepts in the spiritual mind by influx from the angels, as explained above. But this is not our own. It is borrowed goods. We cannot keep it or use it after we enter the world of spirits--unless they have been made our own. This process of making them our own is achieved through regeneration (see Section xx). That's when we appropriate to ourselves the celestial loves and truths that have been unconsciously implanted in the spiritual mind during growth on earth.  The Adult Unregenerate Hellish Mind

Diagram XXV depicts "the wicked" which is the phrase used by Sacred Scripture to refer  to the adult mind that has not been regenerated and therefore comes into hell upon the second death. Hell is already in such a mind prior to the death of the body and so those who are resuscitated gravitate inexorably to the company of those who dwell in the hell and in whose company they have been in while on earth. The intentions and feelings we have when we are in this state are those that they have in the hells of their mind, and when we come into conscious contact with them, at our resuscitation, we acclaim them as our companions and long lost friends, so familiar do they seem to us then, having been with them in our feelings and intentions while still on earth.

The spiritual mind pictured in the diagram at B, is pure and white, and communicates with the three heavens. This is the hellish person's unconscious spiritual mind, and it is "closed, shrunken, paralyzed" and rendered non-operational. This is because they become operational only when the natural mind cooperates by not opposing. When we have developed thoughts and intentions that are wicked, that is, antisocial and selfish, the natural mind resists the spiritual mind, but is accepting of the hells, shown in Z in all black.

Note that there are three degrees in the mind where we have our hells, just as there are three degrees in the mind where we have our heavens. The three degrees of the hells communicate and flow into the corresponding three degrees of the unregenerate natural mind in C--sensual, scientific, rational. Those who dwell in the three degrees of hell are called evil spirits, devils, satans, dragons, serpents,  Lucifer, sirens, and genii, depending on which of the three degrees of evil they specialize in and in what combination. The first or less grievous hells have the rational mind especially corrupted (w). The second or intermediary hells have the scientific mind especially corrupted (x). And the third or most grievous hells have the sensual mind especially corrupted (y).

The Writings reveal that those who dwell in the hells of their mind are fond of the odor of excrement and corpses. Quoting:

It is to be known that falsities and evils of every kind correspond to unclean and loathsome things in the natural world, and the more direful falsities and evils to things pertaining to dead bodies and to fetid excrementitious things, and the milder falsities and evils to things pertaining to swamps; consequently the dwelling-places in the hells of those who are in such falsities and evils appear like pits and sepulchers; and if you will believe it, such evil genii and spirits also have their abode in the sepulchers, privies, and swamps that are in our world, although they do not know it; this is so because they correspond, and the things that correspond conjoin.

The same conclusion may be drawn from this, that to those who have been assassins and poisoners, and to those who have perceived delight in violating women, there is nothing more delightful than the odor of a corpse; and to those who have been eaten up with the love of ruling, and to those who have taken delight in adulteries, and no delight in marriages, there is nothing more delightful than the odor of excrement; and to those who have confirmed themselves in falsities, and have extinguished in themselves the affection of truth, there is nothing more delightful than the odor of a swamp and of urinous places. This is why the hells in which they dwell appear according to the corresponding delights, some like pits and some like sepulchers. (AE 659)

It has also been granted me to know the nature of the most crafty sensual men. Their hell is deep down, and behind, and they do not desire to be conspicuous. Therefore, they appear hovering about there like spectres, which are their fantasies; and they are called genii. Some of them were once sent out from that hell that I might know their character. They at once directed their influence to my neck beneath the occiput and from there they entered my affections, not wishing to enter my thoughts, which they dexterously avoided. They then kept changing my affections one after another with the design of bending them imperceptibly into their opposites, which are lusts of evil; and as they did not in the least touch my thoughts they would have bent and inverted my affections without my knowledge had not the Lord prevented this.

[5] Such do those become who in the world do not believe there is a Divine Providence, and who search out in others nothing but their cupidities and desires, and so lead them on till they acquire an ascendency over them. As they do this so secretly and craftily that others do not know it, and as these after death become like themselves, therefore immediately after their arrival in the spiritual world they are sent down into that hell. When seen in the light of heaven they appear without any nose; and what is wonderful, although they are so crafty yet they are more sensual than the rest. (DP 310)

It has been believed hitherto in the world that there is one devil who presides over the hells; that he was created an angel of light; but having become rebellious he was cast down with his crew into hell. This belief has prevailed because the Devil and Satan, and also Lucifer, are mentioned by name in the Word, and the Word in those places has been understood according to the sense of the letter. But by "the devil" and "Satan" there hell is meant, "devil" meaning the hell that is behind, where dwell the worst, who are called evil genii; and "Satan" the hell that is in front, where dwell the less wicked, who are called evil spirits; and "Lucifer" those who belong to Babel, or Babylon, who reach out their powers even into heaven. That there is no one devil to whom the hells are subject is evident also from this, that all who are in the hells, like all who are in the heavens, are from the human race (see n. 311-317); and that those who have gone there from the beginning of creation to this time amount to myriads of myriads, and every one of them is a devil of such a nature as was his opposition to the Divine while he lived in the world (see above, n. 311, 312). (HH 544)

Just as heaven, deriving as it does from the Lord, constitutes through mutual love one human being and one soul so to speak, and consequently has one end in view, which is to preserve and save all men eternally, so conversely does hell, deriving as it does from the proprium, constitute through self-love and love of the world, that is, through hatred, one devil and one frame of mind (animus), and consequently has one end in view, which is to destroy and condemn all men eternally. That this is the nature of their endeavors I have perceived thousands and thousands of times. Unless therefore the Lord were preserving everybody in every fraction of a moment, man would perish. (AC 694)

Some have brought with them from the world the idea that they must not talk to the devil but flee from him. They have been informed however that nothing at all could harm people whom the Lord is protecting, not even if the whole of hell were surrounding them, both from without and from within. This I have been given to know from many amazing experiences. Such were those experiences that in the end I had no fear at all, not even of the worst of the hellish crew, to deter me from talking to them.

I have also been granted such experiences so that I might get to know what the members of that crew are like. To people who have marveled that I have spoken to them I have been allowed to say further that not only would this do me no harm but also that devils in the next life have previously been men who went through life in the world hating, getting revenge, and committing adultery. I have said that some of them at the time were highly respected people, and indeed that some of them are people whom I had known during their lifetime.

I have also been allowed to say that 'devil' means nothing else than such a crew in hell, and in addition that people while living in the world have present with them at least two spirits from hell, as well as two angels from heaven, and that these hellish spirits though ruling among the wicked have among the good been overpowered and made subservient. Thus it is wrong to think of some devil existing since the beginning of creation other than those who have previously been men. When people have heard all this they have been dumbfounded and have confessed that they have held an altogether different opinion concerning the devil and his crew. (AC 968)


5.1.2  Structural and Functional Relations in the Mind or Spiritual Body


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5.1.3  Relationship Between Mind and Culture

We are born dual citizens of the universe, with a physical body on some planet in the natural world, and a mental body in the world of spirits. Human beings on earth are therefore spirits temporarily tied to a physical body. Both the physical body and the mental body grow and develop together, locked into step by the inexorable laws of correspondences that governs the relation between natural and spiritual events. When the physical body dies, the mental body in the world of spirits is liberated and we continue a life of immortality in either the heavens of our mind, or the hells, depending on what we love more. The immortal mental body houses the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor organs of our mind which contain our threefold self--our character and memories.

The mental body in the world of spirits is surrounded by an external atmosphere and a social environment just like the physical body on earth. The atmosphere around the mind is made of rational ether created by the Spiritual Sun, just as the atmosphere around the physical body is made of physical ether and gases created by the natural sun. The social environment of the mental body is created by the presence of other spirits. The interaction between spirits depends on their state of mind.

While we are still tied to a physical body on earth our conscious self is immersed in the natural mind and we are not conscious of spirits who are in the presence of our mental body. We are only conscious of what enters the natural mind through our sensorimotor organ that reacts directly to the sensorimotor apparatus of the physical body. Swedenborg reports that our mental body is visible to the spirits in the world of spirits but they are not allowed to approach it. A distinct odor familiar to spirits emanates and surrounds our mental body, and this special odor keeps them from approaching us. We are not aware of them because our awareness is restricted to the sensorimotor input from the physical environment.

There is however another type of communication between our mental body and the spirits in the world of spirits. This is called our vertical community (see Section xx). God connects us and disconnects us from various spirits on a moment by moment precise timing procedure. This process allows God to completely control what operations are going on in an individual's mind. Without controlling every thought and feeling in people, God could not control the events of the world and universe. The overall or general events are made up of the little individual events and so these have to be controlled in order to control the whole.

The process of connecting and disconnecting our mind with other spirits is called "influx." The diagram below shows that influx enters the affective organ, not the cognitive organ. Influx excites particular elements in the affective organ, the result of which is that we experience a particular kind of feeling. There is a correspondence between this feeling or emotion that we experience and the ruling love of the spirits who initiated the influx. Spirit societies in the heavens and the hells are arranged in a hierarchy that reflects their ruling loves. For instance, among the spirits of hell, the love of destroying innocence is a different ruling love from avarice, which is different from cruelty or illicit sex. Among spirits of heaven, the love to protect children is different from the love to acquire knowledges or to the environment clean. Every heavenly and hellish trait in human beings is traced back to a spiritual society where all its members have that one trait as a ruling love. Influx is the method by which they communicate this ruling love to those on earth. Through this exchange, which is automatic and completely controlled by God, they are able to experience fulfillment of their ruling love. Look at the diagram below.

Spiritual influx enters the affective organ where we have the DNA record of all our inherited traits. The organic record of that particular love is now activated by the particular influx. The result is that we have an experience in our consciousness that we call a feeling or a preference, also, a need or impulse, also, a longing, desire, motive, goal, or intention. These are all sub-varieties of what are called affections and loves in the good sense, and in the bad sense, infernal loves, lusts, and cupidities.

The spirits who originate the influx also experience something, which they find highly rewarding, though they do not know that it comes from us to them. The Writings describe how the process works. The affections that are aroused by the influx into our affective organ, now seeks out a cognitive partner it can ally itself with. This built in. Every affection has the property of seeking out a cognition that is compatible with it, like in a marriage, and the two as a couple, then produce offspring. In this case the offspring is the outward behavior, as shown in the diagram above.

Both the spirits and us feel most rewarded when the influx starts a chain of events that culminate in the outward behavior. For instance, God connects us with a spirit society whose ruling love is to hurt others by first befriending them and then treating them cruelly. As a result, we instantly experience a desire or impulse to hurt someone we are at that moment talking to. Our cognitive skills respond to the affective impulse by thinking of how to ridicule this person. Suddenly we say something out loud that is insulting to the person we are talking to. This closes the loop if influx. We experience an immediate enjoyment when we realize our insult has worked and the person is hurt. The spirits who originated the influx now experience a full completion and satisfaction of their own love to be cruel and hurt others.

What's amazing is that neither the spirits nor us have any inkling of the intimate way we are untied to each other during that moment of fulfillment. In fact, the spirits have the illusion that the thoughts we had in the selection of the insult, were their thoughts! They are not aware of us, but they are aware of our thoughts, and so they have no other choice but to experience them as their own thoughts responding to their own loves. Similarly, when we experience their loves of the moment, we are not aware of their presence so that we have no choice but to experience those loves as our very own.

As the diagram shows our loves in the affective organ are inherited, while our thoughts in the affective organ are acquired through cultural experience in the physical world. Spirits are no longer tied to the physical world and so are not capable of having new cultural content enter their thoughts. They are starved for new thoughts that could combine with their old loves so that these may be revitalized, as in anew marriage. They depend on us to supply the new cultural content through the thoughts we have in response to their loves. There is thus a perfect mutual balance and dependence between people still on earth and people who have already passed into their life of immortality.

The natural world and spiritual world are thus perfectly dependent on each other and neither can be removed without destroying the other. For us who are still on earth to develop and grow, we need influx. And once we enter our life of eternity in the mind, we join the existing spirit societies and provide influx for the new people born on some earth. (See also Section xx.)



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5.1.4  Rational Mind Mediates Natural and Spiritual Information


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5.1.5  Rational and Sensuous Consciousness


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