Related articles on spiritual geography:
Overview--How is Spiritual Geography Useful to
I would be delighted to know your reactions.
Spiritual Geography is the phrase I used to mark in the margins when I was studying Arcana Coelestia and realized the obvious, namely that this inspired work is revealing to us a detailed map of the mind. It reveals the astonishing awe inspiring ringing reality that
the spiritual world=the mind
Many many authors have written about the spiritual and the mind, but how many have stated this equation? Only Swedenborg. And if I'm wrong factually or historically, I'll correct this statement. Still, the point is that it is not an equation that is well known by the very experts of the mind and theology or religion. And now that this has been revealed 250 years ago, it is still not generally known. Moreover, when experts or non-experts hear about it or read this equation, they either deny it, disconfirm it, want to deny it, want to disconfirm it, or are unexcited intellectually about it, thinking, What's this? So what?
One reason is that in our generation, civilization, and level of consciousness, science and religion have not crossed the Inversion point discussed in previous articles (see charts in De Hemelsche Leer article). Our generation remains unregenerate as long as science and education remains atheistic or theistic but fundamental. Both of these prevent the development of a rational consciousness which has its beginning point immediately after the Inversion. When science is atheistic, scientists operate in their research and theory at sensual degree of consciousness (Descending Pathway in charts), all theory or proposal or explanation that is based on rational consciousness being rejected as worthless or non-serious. An outstanding example is the Word or Sacred Scripture. Basic, important, and fundamental scientific revelations are made in the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Writings of Swedenborg. Especially in Swedenborg this is obvious because the Third Testament covers text in over 50 volumes and is a modern work by a famous scientist of the 18th century who had an especially well developed genius for reconstructing the harmony between modern rational science and ancient religion. In the Writings we have clear scientific and religious proof of this amazing equation: the spiritual world=the mind.
What does the equation mean and why is it important?
Even when we are willing to assent to this equation from within, as a kind of insight we are inclined to favor, it takes several steps in sequence to understand its significance and implications. It has taken me years when I compare my re-readings of the Writings, especially the dated marginal and other notes I write. Now I can see that every concept or idea we acquire that is in rational consciousness evolves in its sequence of interiorization. As we continue to regenerate we step through the series of six stages repeatedly since every step has its embedded recursiveness as explained (see charts in De Hemelsche Leer article). Similarly with this idea that the spiritual world and the mind overlap. The first time people hear about this idea is from religion and especially in the New Testament when Jesus declares "the kingdom of heaven is within you:"
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
In the universal sense, 'the kingdom of God' is used to mean the whole of heaven, in the less universal sense the Lord's true Church, and in particular every individual who has true faith, that is, who has been regenerated by means of the life that inheres in faith. For that reason the individual is also called 'heaven', for heaven is within him, and 'the kingdom of God', since that too is within him. This the Lord Himself teaches through Luke,
Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, When is the kingdom of God coming? He answered them and said, The kingdom of God is not coming with observation, nor will people say, Behold, here it is! or, Behold, there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20, 21.
In other words, the spiritual world Swedenborg "traveled to" is within him, but not just within him for that would hardly be really important news to the world! But it is also within you, and me, and every human being. This is what makes the idea so amazing and important. What Jesus said "the kingdom of God is within you" applies to every human being by creation. We are created and are born dual citizens of the two worlds--the body in the physical universe of time and space, and the mind in the spiritual world of omnipresence and eternity. The two--the body and the mind, interact and are tied to each other perfectly by discoverable rational laws called "correspondences" (as referred to in many articles). Our dual citizenship is remarkable and amazing given the many implications of the formula "the spiritual world=the mind." For instance,
- since there is no actual "space" in the spiritual world--as proven by Swedenborg in many ways, and
- since myriads of human beings from all the planets pass into the spiritual world when the mind is freed from the physical body,
- therefore it follows
- that we all "overlap" mentally within the same human boundaries of consciousness.
The entire human race--past, present and future, evolves in an overlapping mental or spiritual space. There is no "division" across individuals in their consciousness. Every individual from the present or the past (not the future), is available for contact and communication at any time or in any place. This universal co-presence of the human race is what I call our "Vertical Community." For me, this scientific revelation is a shock from which I'm still trying to recover, years after I first read it in the Writings. There is no such thing as "being alone" or "by oneself" as an individual. No more than a branchlet or little leaf from a giant tree can be alone or by itself. It is easy to see and acknowledge this with the branchlet or leaf because we have physical sensuous evidence that when it is snatched off, it falls to the ground, dries quickly, and decomposes away into non-existence. But more difficult to see and acknowledge in the case of ourselves since we are in the illusion of apparent individuality and independence of the self or conscious awareness. We feel totally private in our feelings, thoughts, and sensations, no matter what show we make with our body or who is present physically to observe it--what we can call our "horizontal community.". But when we cross the Inversion interspace from sensuous consciousness to rational consciousness, we face our true reality--the Vertical Community.
So the formula "the spiritual world=the mind" includes the idea of the vertical community, or the co-presence to each other of all individuals present and past from all regions of the universe irrespective of birth of origin on any planet in any generation of its history. The actual use of this co-presence and our ability to perform these communicative acts will be discussed in the next section. Swedenborg has described his abundant communications for 27 years with individuals we all know from history and literature on this planet, and many communications with individuals born on planets close and distant from our star system (see the summary of these communications in his Earths in the Universe).
What is equally astonishing is that we have been given a map of the mind or the spiritual world in an astonishing way, namely the literal of the Word or Sacred Scripture (see this article on the characteristics of the style of writing in the Word). Think of the Old Testament for instance. It is composed of comprehensible historical narratives and of less comprehensible visionary and figurative description of old prophets. We read about the three patriarchs journeying from here to there, about their adventures and children across lands and landmarks they give names to as commemoration of some event. And they also talk to God and angels. What is astonishing is this next formula:
the characters, events, names, places, landmarks, and numbers in the Word
=events in our consciousness as we develop and grow as individuals in any generation of the human race
Truly amazing to think that these historical events are both accurate historically and applicable universally to the consciousness of every human being in the universe. The remarkable property of the style of writing of the Word is that only those historical details have been written down and preserved that form a rational series of properties and events about the regeneration of human consciousness in every individual ever born. The Word thus makes up a detailed scientific handbook laying open the human mind, the spiritual world, and all that happens in it, and how. As we read and study the Writings, which I call the Third Testament, we can follow the systematic analyses found there of the Old Testament Books of Genesis and Exodus and many other parts of the Old and New Testament books. The literal of this text allows us to extract or construct maps of the human mind or charts of the regeneration process as our consciousness is raised from sensual to rational degrees, all the way to the internalizing celestial degree which alone is the fully human way of being and living (see charts in De Hemelsche Leer article). The process of creating and using these methodological instruments is what I call spiritual geography, a branch of theistic science.
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1408. These and the things which follow occurred historically as they are written; but the historicals are representatives and all the words are significative. The case is the same with all the historicals of the Word, not only with those in the books of Moses, but also with those in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. In all these, nothing is apparent but mere history; but although it is history in the sense of the letter, still in the internal sense there are arcana of heaven, which lie stored up and hidden there, and which can never be seen so long as the mind, together with the eye, is kept in the historicals; nor are they revealed until the mind is removed from the sense of the letter. The Word of the Lord is like a body that contains within it a living soul; the things belonging to the soul do not appear while the mind is so fixed in corporeal things that it scarcely believes that there is a soul, still less that it will live after death; but as soon as the mind withdraws from corporeal things, those which are of the soul and life become manifest. And this also is the reason, not only why corporeal things must die before man can be born anew, or be regenerated, but also why the body itself must die so that he may come into heaven and see heavenly things.
See als this article: Bible Correspondences Illustrated
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1273. CHAPTER 11 CONCERNING THE SITUATION OF THE GRAND MAN; AND ALSO CONCERNING PLACE AND DISTANCE IN THE OTHER LIFE
Souls newly arrived from the world, when about to leave the company of the spiritual angels to go among spirits, and so at length to come into the society in which they had been while they lived in the body, are led about by angels to many mansions or abodes, that is, to societies which are distinct and yet conjoined with others; in some of which they are received, while in other cases they are led to still other societies, and this for an indefinite time, until they come to the society in which they had been while they lived in the body; and there they remain. From this moment they experience a new beginning of life. If the man is a dissembler, a hypocrite, or deceitful, who can assume a fictitious state, and a seemingly angelic disposition, he is sometimes received by good spirits; but after a short time he is dissociated, and then wanders about, without the angels, and begs to be received, but is rejected, and sometimes punished, and at last he is carried down among the infernals. Those who are taken up among angels after being vastated, also change their societies, and when they pass from one society to another they are dismissed with courtesy and charity, and this until they come into the angelic society which accords with the distinctive quality or genius of their charity, piety, probity, or sincere courtesy. I in like manner have been led through such "mansions," and those who dwelt there conversed with me, that I might know how the case was in regard to this matter. It was given me at the time to reflect on the changes of place, and to see that they were nothing else than changes of state, my body remaining in the same place.
4236. And Jacob said when he saw them, This is the camp of God. That this signifies heaven, is because the "camp of God" signifies heaven, for the reason that an "army" signifies truths and goods (n. 3448), and truths and goods are marshaled by the Lord in heavenly order; hence an "encamping" denotes a marshalling by armies; and the heavenly order itself which is heaven, is the "camp." This "camp" or order is of such a nature that hell cannot possibly break in upon it, although it is in the constant endeavor to do so. Hence also this order, or heaven, is called a "camp," and the truths and goods (that is, the angels) who are marshaled in this order, are called "armies." This shows whence it is that the "camp of God" signifies heaven. It is this very order, and thus heaven itself, which was represented by the encampments of the sons of Israel in the wilderness; and their dwelling together in the wilderness according to their tribes was called the "camp." The tabernacle in the midst, and around which they encamped, represented the Lord Himself. That the sons of Israel encamped in this manner, may be seen in Numbers 1 and 33:2-56; as also that they encamped around the tabernacle by their tribes-toward the east Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; toward the south Reuben, Simeon, and Gad; toward the west Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin; toward the north Dan, Asher, and Naphtali; and the Levites in the middle near the tabernacle (2:2-34).
 The tribes signified all goods and truths in the complex (see n. 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060). It was for this reason that when Balaam saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, and the spirit of God came upon him, he uttered his enunciation, saying:
How good are thy tabernacles, O Jacob, thy dwelling places, O Israel, as the valleys are they planted, as gardens by the river (Num. 24:5-6).
That by this prophecy was not meant the people named Jacob and Israel, but that it was the heaven of the Lord that was represented, is very manifest. For the same reason their marshallings in the wilderness, that is, their encampings by tribes, are called "camps" in other passages of the Word; and by a "camp" is there signified in the internal sense heavenly order; and by "encamping" a marshalling in accordance with this order, namely, the order in which goods and truths are disposed in heaven (as in Lev. 4:12; 8:17; 13:46; 14:8; 16:26, 28; 24:14, 23; Num. 2; 4:5-33; 5:2-4; 9:17 to the end; 10:1-10, 28; 11:31, 32; 12:14, 15; 31:19-24; Deut. 23:10-14).
 That the "camp of God" denotes heaven may also be seen in Joel:
The earth quaked before Him, the heavens trembled, the sun and the moon were blackened, and the stars withdrew their brightness, and Jehovah uttered His voice before His army, for His camp is exceeding many, for numerous is he that doeth His word (Joel 2:10-11). In Zechariah:
I will encamp at my house from the army, on account of him who passeth by, and on account of him who goeth away, lest the extortioner should pass over them (Zech. 9:8). In John:
Gog and Magog went up over the plain of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city; but fire came up from God and consumed them (Rev. 20:9); "Gog and Magog" denote those who are in externalizing worship that is separated from internal and made idolatrous (n. 1151); the "plain of the earth" denotes the truth of the church (that a "plain" is the truth which is of doctrine may be seen above, n. 2450; and that the "earth" is the church, n. 556, 662, 1066, 1067, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355); the "camp of the saints" denotes the heaven or kingdom of the Lord on the earth, which is the church.
 As most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has a "camp," which then signifies evils and falsities, consequently hell; as in David:
Though the evil should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear (Ps. 27:3). In the same:
God hath scattered the bones of them that encamp against me; thou hast put them to shame, because God hath rejected them (Ps. 53:5).
By the camp of Assyria, in which the angel of Jehovah smote a hundred and eighty-five thousand (Isa. 37:36), nothing else is meant; and the same by the camp of the Egyptians (Exod. 14:20).
Some characteristic and general relations between repeated themes in the Word and their reference to the mind:
|From Sedenborg's Arcana Coelestia Numbers 1252, 1802, 1895|
|EXPRESSIONS IN WORD (literal)||REFERENCE TO REGENERATION (inner sense)|
|families & nations||MORALS or CHARITY|
|tongues & lands||OPINIONS & FAITH|
|Shem||INTERNAL CHURCH & WORSHIP
(genuine or true)
|Ham||INTERNAL CHURCH & WORSHIP
(falsified or corrupted))
|Father||CELESTIAL SPIRITUAL DEGREE|
(externalizingizing & interior)
|Mistress or Lady||TRUTH ADJOINED TO GOOD|
|Egyptian handmaid (Hagar)||AFFECTION FOR MEMORY-KNOWLEDGES|
|1895. And she had a handmaid, an Egyptian. That
this signifies the affection of memory-knowledges [scientiae], is evident from the
signification of a "handmaid," and from the signification of "Egypt."
Sarai, who was the mistress or lady, represents and signifies truth adjoined to good, as
already said. Truth adjoined to good is intellectual truth in the genuine sense, but
rational truth is beneath this and therefore is lower; and this rational truth is born
from knowledges [scientiae et cognitiones] vivified by the affection that corresponds to
them, and this affection, being of the exterior man, ought to serve the intellectual truth
that appertains to the inmost man, as a handmaid serves her lady, or a household servant
her mistress; and therefore this affection is what is represented and signified by the
 How these things stand cannot well be stated to the apprehension, for it must first be known what intellectual truth in the genuine sense is, and also how the rational is born, namely, from the internal man as a father, and from the exterior or natural man as a mother, for without the conjunction of these two nothing rational can possibly come forth. The rational is not born (as is supposed) of knowledges [scientiae et cognitiones], but of the affection of these knowledges, as may be seen from the mere fact that no one can ever become rational unless some delight or affection of these knowledges aspires thereto. The affection is the maternal life itself; and the celestial and spiritual itself, in the affection, is the paternal life; therefore in proportion to the affection, and in accordance with the quality of the affection, in the same proportion, and in the same quality, does the man become rational. In themselves these knowledges are nothing but dead things, or instrumental causes, which are vivified by the life of affection; and such is the conception of the rational man in everyone. The reason why the handmaid was an Egyptian, and the reason why this fact is stated, is that "Egypt" signifies memory-knowledges [scientiae], as before shown (n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462).
BASIC PREMISES OF SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY (Matrix 1)
|GEOGRAPHIC REFERENCES IN LITERAL OF THE WORD||INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR||COLOR CODED CONCEPTUAL MEANING|
|places, countries, lands, landmarks, directions, journeys, outings, peregrinations, wanderings, displacements||
STATES OF MIND OR CONSCIOUSNESS AND THEIR VARIATIONS IN A SERIES
NOMINATIVE, DEFINITIONAL, PROPOSITIONAL, PREDICATIVE
|location, direction, elevation||
ORIENTATION THROUGH BODY ANATOMY
STRUCTURAL, RELATIONAL, PART-WHOLE
FUNCTION, VARIATION, PROPERTY
I N V E R S I O N
THINKING ABOUT OR THINKING ALIKE
COMMUNITY, COMMUNICATION, CONTACT, HISTORY
SUBJECTIVE OR RELATIVE
DIVERSITY, GENIUS, BIOGRAPHY
|relation to God||
FIXED AXIS RELATIVE TO THE DIVINE HUMAN (see diagram below)
REALITY, APPEARANCE, UNITY, ACTUALITY, EXPERIENCE
|externalizing=Sensual=Descending Pathway=Light Trigram (Pre-topical) (I, II, III)||Interior=Rational=Ascending Pathway=Dark Trigram (Topical) (IV, V, VI)|
|Inversion=Double Line=Origin of Contention Point||For more explanations see matrix 17 in related article|
The above chart (matrix 1) gives the six basic premises of spiritual geography arranged in the series of degrees defined in the charts of De Hemelsche Leer article.
The first rule (I) pertains to the externalizing celestial degree of sensual consciousness (WHITE segments). It has a "nominative" conceptual role, meaning that from it all other implications follow: PLACES IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD REFER TO STATES OF MIND. Whenever countries, lands, landmarks, places, or directions are mentioned in the Three Testaments they have reference to states of mind or consciousness. Similarly, journeys, outings, peregrinations, wanderings, or displacements refer to changes in states of mind or consciousness.
The second rule (II) pertains to the externalizing spiritual degree of sensual consciousness (YELLOW segments). It says that locations in the spiritual world are fixed and pinpointed with reference to our body parts. For instance, whatever is at our right remains there no matter which way we turn. Or, whatever is in front, like the Spiritual Sun, remains in front no matter which way we turn. Whatever is "beneath the feet" remains no matter which way walk or travel. This rule thus has a "structural" conceptual role about defining perspective.
The third rule (III) pertains to the externalizing natural degree of sensual consciousness (GREEN segments). It says that distance in the spiritual world does not impose any limit on visibility or contact. For instance, we can read a piece of paper at any distance-- all we need to do is to "focus in" on whatever we want to see, at any detail. This rule thus has a "functionality" role with reference to conscious intent.
The fourth rule (IV) pertains to the internalizing natural degree of rational consciousness (BLUE segments). It says that communication, contact, or co-presence is referenced in relation to thinking about something or somebody, or thinking alike about something. Contact between people in the spiritual world is referenced with regards to similarity of thinking--differences or contradictions separate, while agreements, sympathies, or harmonies unite. The conceptual role for this rule defines what constitutes a community in the spiritual world.
The fifth rule (V) pertains to the internalizing spiritual degree of rational consciousness (BROWN segments). It says that time in the spiritual world is relative or subjective and is determined by mental parameters such as involvement and mood. Positive involvements lengthen time while disinterest or negativity slows time. This rule defines spiritual "diversity" in terms of differences in genius and mental make-up.
The sixth rule (VI) pertains to the internalizing celestial degree of rational consciousness (BLACK segments). It defines fixed axes in relation to God seen as the Divine Human who appears visually to angels in the center of the Spiritual Sun, being the all in all in heaven and the spiritual world. Its conceptual role is the definition of "reality." For instance, see diagram below.
For mnemonic reasons, let us have President Lincoln in this diagram represent the Divine Human who is seen in the midst of the Spiritual Sun looking out at the created universe and the human race. To the Divine Human the entire human race, past present, and future, appears as one individual. Swedenborg was permitted to obtain a "long distance" view of the entire inhabited lands of the heavens, and he actually saw how they form and coalesce into the shape and form of a human which he called the "Grand Human" ("Grand Man"). To God, that is, the Divine Human, this is not only a visual appearance but an actual functioning reality, almost as it were that He is interacting and taking care of one individual. Such is God's Infinity and Omnipotence that infinite things in God make one. The diagram above portrays fixed locations where the organic forms we call individuals or spirits, are actually located in reality and to eternity. The genius and character out of which an individual is formed and exists, determines the fixed location each is allotted in the spiritual world of eternity. Every individual is "alloted a constant situation in the Grand Human" (AC 1381). These fixed and real locations are equivalent to the quality or degree of our functioning consciousness, for this quality and functioning is an organic structure and function constructed out of spiritual substances during growth. All our feelings, thoughts and sensations are bundled into rational series and located permanently in the spiritual world according to their relation to the Divine Human, that is, according to their relation to good and truth from Him (Spiritual Sun).
But we also undergo changes of mental state, that is, our conscious awareness or experience of self varies within the parameters of our personality and knowledge. Although we are tied to our fixed location through unchanging basic character, we also vary in our moods and involvements within our basic structure, otherwise it would be dull indeed! These mental variations have no limit and constitute our cumulative, endless and immortal biography as individuals. As these biographical variations or experiences occur, we appear to ourselves and others to displace ourselves in apparent space--just like in a dream world where the displacements co-occur with the content of the dream. These displacements and appearances make up the quickening drama that is life in the spiritual world, as described by Swedenborg. They are discussed below throughout this article.
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1377. That in the world of spirits place, change of place, and distance, are an appearance, d3has been evidenced from the fact that all souls and spirits whatever who have existed from the first creation, appear constantly in their own places, and never change their places except when their state is changed; and that as their state is changed, so are the places and distances with them varied. But as everyone has a general state which is regnant, and as the particular and individual changes of state have regard to the general state, therefore after these changes all return to their own situation.
1277. The case is the very same with men, as to their souls, which are constantly bound to some society of spirits and of angels. They too have a situation in the kingdom of the Lord according to the nature of their life, and according to their state. It matters not that they are distant from each other on earth even though it were many thousands of miles-still they can be together in the same society-those who live in charity in an angelic society, and those who live in hatred and such evils in an infernal society. In like manner it matters not that there be many together on earth in one place, for still they are all distinct in accordance with the nature of their life and of their state, and each one may be in a different society. Men who are distant from each other some hundreds or thousands of miles, when they appear to the internal sense may be so near each other that some of them may touch, according to their situation. Thus if there were a number of persons on earth whose spiritual sight was opened, they might be together and converse together, though one was in India and another in Europe, which also has been shown me. Thus are all men on earth, both generally and individually, most closely present to the Lord, and under His view and providence.
1376. CONTINUATION CONCERNING SITUATION AND PLACE,AND ALSO CONCERNING DISTANCE AND TIME, IN THE OTHER LIFE.
I have frequently conversed with spirits concerning the idea of place and of distance among them-that it is not anything real, but appears as if it were, being nothing else than their states of thought and of affection, which are thus varied, and are in this manner presented to view in the world of spirits; but not so much so in heaven among the angels, since these are not in the idea of place and time, but in that of states. But the spirits to whom bodily and earthly ideas adhere, do not apprehend this, for they suppose that the case is exactly as they see it to be. Such spirits can hardly be brought to believe otherwise than that they are living in the body, and are not willing to be persuaded that they are spirits; and thus scarcely that there is any appearance, or any fallacy, in relation to the matter, for they desire to live in fallacies. Thus do they preclude themselves from the apprehension and acknowledgment of truths and goods, which are as far as possible from fallacies. It has been shown them many times that change of place is nothing but an appearance, and also a fallacy of sense. For there are two kinds of mutation of place in the other life; one is that which has been spoken of before, when it is said that all spirits and angels in the Grand Man constantly keep their own situation therein; which is an appearance. The other is that spirits appear in a place when in fact they are not there, which is a fallacy.
The location of spirits in the spiritual world has both fixed and variable elements. Spirits are organic bodies and by the time we arrive in the spiritual world at the death of the physical body, this spirit body is well developed and serves as the foundation for continued eternal development that is based on this foundation. Without this foundation acquired during life on earth there can be no afterlife in the spiritual world. This foundation is our character and internal genius and as explained in the charts, this foundation can be opened all the way to the internalizing celestial degree. If the foundation is not developed beyond the sensual degrees of consciousness (the Descending Pathway), we have a miserable sensual and corporeal existence (see matrix 2 below or the matrices in this article). But if the foundation is developed to the rational consciousness degrees (Ascending Pathway), we enjoy a heavenly life. Since our character or spirit body is a fixed construction made of immortal substance it automatically has its appropriate fixed place in the spiritual world, and this will never change. It is our regnant loves that gives us this assigned location and we always appear to others and to ourselves in this permanent location in relation to God (see the "Lincoln" diagram above). But we also have variations of state that are consistent with our regnant loves and affections. When these variations occur we appear to ourselves and others in a different location than the usual, reflecting in correspondence these momentary states of thoughts and affections.
There are three conditions to consider in relation to our location in the spiritual world:
- FIXED PERMANENT LOCATIONS: these are real distances due to "general states" (character, regnant loves)
- REAL APPEARANCES OF DISPLACEMENT: these are temporary but real appearances due to actual fluctuations in mental states.
- FALLACIOUS APPEARANCES OF DISPLACEMENT: these are illusions created by "counterfeit states" induced by magic, hypocrisy, delusion (e.g., appearing in several places at once, or appearing in the upper regions while the spirit body is actualy in hell, etc.).
The Writings reveal that when people enter the afterlife they are called "novitiate spirits" and are so recognized by the others there. Some novitiate spirits are conveyed directly to heaven or to hell, if their character interiorly, and their personality in the externalizing, already are united and perceptible to the individual. But some require additional experiences during which that which is mixed in and not consistent in their character, is rejected by the person when it appears in their perception or understanding. During this transition phase they are called "wandering spirits" and they appear to others and themselves in various places. After "being conveyed" to various places, communities, cities, where the experiences and choices take place, they are eventually transferred to their final fixed location in the company of those who are like them. In these associations with spirit societies their character can often be perceived by those whom they approach:
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1396. A certain spirit who while he lived in the world had desired to arrogate to himself merit for his acts and his teaching, went away to the right and came to those who were not of such a character. In order that he might be associated with them, he said that he was nothing, and that he desired to serve them; but instantly, on his first approach, and indeed while he was still far away, they perceived what he was; and they at once replied that he was not what he professed to be, but that he desired to be great, and therefore could not be in agreement with them, who were little. Being ashamed at this, he withdrew, wondering that they knew him so far away.
The diagram above portrays the equality between the spiritual world and the mind. All of the spiritual world is in every individual but our conscious awareness is restricted to the growth we undergo to eternity. When we are restricted in our awareness to the lower regions of consciousness while the upper regions are closed to access, we live in a state of hell with others who are also in a similar state of consciousness. When we undergo regeneration all the way to the upper regions of consciousness, we are inhabitants of the heavens forming celestial communities with those who are most like us. The process by which these variations in consciousness are brought about is dependent on our reception of goods and truths from the Spiritual Sun or the Divine Human. It is the same indivisible and infinite substance flowing into every individual, but the reception is according to development and growth. The higher our consciousness is opened while in the life of the physical body, the more truths and goods we can receive in an internalizing way, hence in a purer way, with less distortion. In the lower regions of the mind this same influx is received, but with distortions and adulterations that turn into fallacies and evils.
The diagram below (matrix 2), shows the characteristics of reception of Divine influx as a function of the level of consciousness in which we operate.
RECEPTION OF INFLUX PROPORTIONATE TO DEGREE OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Matrix 2)
|MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS AT EACH LEVEL|
|** we see the Divine Human
continuously, existing in His presence
** we hold on to loves from which we have wisdoms
** we occupy ourselves with teaching, nurturing, overseeing affections of human race
** we attend individuals on the earths in their conceptions, births, regeneration, etc.
** we recognize all truths immediately by insight or enlightenment
** we perceive Divine influx and can distinguish it from our own feelings and thoughts
** we perceive all the feelings, thoughts, and memories of others
** we can remove sadnesses and anxieties in others by internal communication
** our greatest delight is to communicate happinesses to others by psychic transmission
** in our present we contain all of our past and all of our future
** in our sensual externalizing life we perceive unparalleled felicites and blessings
|** we see the Divine Human continuously, but
from a greater distance
** we hold on to wisdom to which we adjoin loves
** we occupy ourselves with managing and administering the thoughts of human race
** we attend individuals on the earths in their temptations, instruction, regeneration, etc.
** we recognize truths not immediately but by reflection and discussion
** we somewhat perceive Divine influx distinguishing it from our own feelings and thoughts
** we perceive the feelings, thoughts, and memories of others but less interiorly
** in our present we contain all of our past and all of our future somewhat obscurely
** in our sensual externalizing life our vibrancy dwarfs all lower degrees
|** we see the Spiritual Sun
continuously, at some distance
** we focus on externalizing uses from which we have wisdom and love
** we occupy ourselves with business or sports inspiring humans on the earths
** we attend individuals on the earths in their temptations, instruction, regeneration, etc.
** we have insights into truths that deal with our preferred activities
** we acknowledge and attribute all power to Divine influx
** we perceive the feelings, thoughts, and memories of others but less interiorly
** in our present we contain all of our past and all of our future but obscurely
** in our sensual life our vibrancy dwarfs what can be experienced with the physical body
|** we are blind to the Spiritual Sun seeing
only darkness there
** we consider only externalizing world as real and are carried away by appearances
** we see only effects believing they are causes and fall into fallacies of the senses
** we deny Divine influx and rely on our own intelligence and guidance
** we reason about truths but end up rejecting them
** we lack rational intelligence so we're led away from common sense
** we are not willing or capable of struggling with temptations, thus cannot be regenerated
|** we are blind to every
truth and turn away from all good
** we consider only corporeal sensations as real and valuable
** we see nothing rational, even denying that God and heaven exist
** we hold ourselves in fantasies and delusions, excluding all else
** we hold on to and are immersed in hatreds towards the entire human race
** we delight only in evils, lusts, falsities, adulations, and all filth and degradation
See Numbers 1383 ff. in Arcana Coelestia
When considering a listing such as the above (matrix 2), it is important not to fall into the false assumption that the upper regions of the mind do not contain the lower regions. It appears that way by looking at the descriptions of the corporeal and sensual minds and realizing that these are outside (or below) heaven in our mind. Yes, these corrupted versions of the lower regions are outside our heaven and we are not connected with them when we dwell in the upper regions of the mind. But we are connected with the sensual within which is the rational. The perverted corporeal and sensual minds do not have the rational within them for the rational does not communicate with the perverted corporeal. However, the rational (or heavenly) cannot reside in nothing as it needs an externalizing sensual as a containant, just like the inner spiritual sense of the Word needs an externalizing (corporeal) literal in order to exist and achieve its function. When we dwell in our heavenly consciousness, whether natural-spiritual, spiritual, or celestial, we exist in two planes, as all things do--internalizing and externalizing. Our internalizing heaven must have an externalizing to exist and this heavenly externalizing is the sensual-corporeal. This corporeal is not physical-chemical corporeal, but spiritual-substantive corporeal. It is the spirit body that we have in heavenly consciousness. This spirit body is capable of experiencing the heavenly sensual which is far more perfect and vibrant that what the physical-corporeal can experience. In our heavenly consciousness we have all the senses--touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight through the spirit body, and we enjoy the felicities and happinesses of conjugial love far more than in the physical body. As testified by Swedenborg's many visits to the inhabitants of the heavens, the spirit body and its sensual environment of gardens, paradises, animals, and magnificent art, clothes, jewelry, and architecture are far superior to what we can produce on earth or imagine in our greatest expectations.
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1387. I have several times conversed about perception with those in the other life who, while they lived in the world, had regarded themselves as able to penetrate and understand all things; telling them that angels perceive that they think and speak, and will and act from the Lord. But still they could not conceive what perception is, but supposed that if all things were to inflow in this way, they would be bereaved of all life; because in that case they would think nothing from themselves, or from what is their own; and in this they had made life to consist; and that in that case it would be another who was thinking, and not themselves; so that they would be mere organs devoid of life. But they were told that between having perception, and not having it, the difference of life is like that between light and darkness; and that men first begin to feel alive when they receive such perception; for then they live from the Lord, and also have what is their own, which is given together with all happiness and delight. It was also shown them by varied experience how the case is with perception, and at the time they acknowledged the possibility of it; but after a while they again did not know, doubted, and denied. From this it has been made evident how difficult it is for man to comprehend what perception is.
The question many people have about heaven and hell is why an omnipotent and loving God refuses to admit everyone to heavenly life in eternity. Why not just forget about their sins, forgive them out of a big heart, and let them in. Isn't this love? A popular answer many people give at this point is that God hates sin because of His nature, and sin adheres to the person until washed away in a manner that is pleasing to God's nature. Once the cleansing ritual has been performed, the sin is washed away, God can forgive, and the individual can enter heaven and live there to eternity. Different religions have various prescriptions that specify what the cleansing ritual must be. The rituals are typically administered and supervised by professional experts--priests, shamans, sorcerers, holy person or grand master, and so on. The ritual is justified by doctrinal explanations formulated at a level consistent with the consciousness level of the group involved. Corporeal mentalities are impressed by magic, the occult, and the fetish--all of which are affirmed as 'bottom realities' to them since they operate on physical things: human bodies or body parts, physical feats like bending objects at a distance or divining the location of hidden or lost things.
These material appearances strongly affect our corporeal mind but only to the extent that this mind doesn't have conscious awareness or contact with higher minds within it (or above it). Our sensual mind is above the corporeal, thus within it. "Above" or "within" in theistic science refer to discrete degrees of existence (see Ian Thompson's work on this same subject from a physicist's point of view). When we regenerate all the way to the celestial degree our feelings, thoughts, sensations and actions (A/C/S units), exist or operate as fixed organic substances having determined structures or shapes--in an analogous way as the brain exists and operates as fixed material elements having having determined structures or shapes called lobes, clusters, and synaptic networks. In fact, the brain has these structures solely because it mirrors or corresponds to the structures in the spirit body. These structures begin as consciousness structures within the spirit body or mind, that cumulate and develop from each feeling, thought, and sensation that we experience moment by moment, thus never ceasing, even at sleep. Thus our immortal mind grows as the spirit body (or mind) within the physical body. This "within" is a correspondential relation, not a physical location in space or time. Discrete degrees of existence refer to this "within" relationship, that is, by spiritual correspondence, or by the laws of spiritual correspondence--laws which have been revealed in Sacred Scripture.
Because the developing spirit body, or mind, is made of immortal substances or fibers and fibrils, it remains fixed in the shape it is evolving in an analogous way to many trees and plants. They can compensate with new growth but the result is a permanent twist that can never be removed except by cutting the tree, which will destroy it if the cutting is extensive or central. Since we are born with hereditary inclinations that are destructive and injurious to the growth of our spirit body, it has become AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY for every individual born on earth to be REGENERATED.
Without being regenerated, our injurious hereditary inclinations carry us powerfully and irresistibly into corporeal consciousness and existence. This is hell. Our character is formed of fibrils that grow in the OPPOSITE direction of what can live in the spiritual atmosphere of rational consciousness. If we arrive to the borders of celestial inhabitations in our mind, we are seized with torture and writhing, as Swedenborg has observed many times, like a serpent thrown on a very hot plate. The instant we can we cast ourselves down, down, down, until we feel comfortable, in corporeal consciousness, closing up tight all that is above. Swedenborg saw them hide in deep dark caves where now windows can exist--this because it corresponds to their corporeal appearances. In this sense corporeal consciousness is bottom hell when everything above or within is prevented of flowing in and taking over.
Yes, flowing in and taking over--that's what the higher does to the lower, and that's why the lower resists. But this resistance only lasts until it is vanquished. After that, there is obedience instead. So the higher degrees constantly try and urge to inflow into our lower degrees. This trying and urging is not from ourselves but from the celestial individuals in our vertical community. One of the "occupations" they have in the heavens is to oversee the regeneration of people on earth, just as they were guided when they were on the earths. It's a perpetual process that populates the heavens, this being the goal of the created universe. Those who reside in the higher degrees of the mind (or spiritual world), attend and guide those who are in the lower degrees. For instance, our experiences (or biography) are arranged by them (from the Lord) in such a way that our decisions and choices form a sequenced arrangement. We are given to step through the phases and sub-phases of our regeneration, struggling daily with our temptations and putting up the effort to develop a good character. These activities are accomplished by those who attend us by occupying our internalizing degrees that are still non-functional to our own awareness. Our conscious awareness matches the degree we are operative in our perceptions of truths. All the internalizing truths are not perceived, but the attendants perceive them. They operate downward (or outward) from the places in our mind they occupy. As the downward influx proceeds downward (or outward) it eventually matches our operative level of consciousness. At that precise moment the idea or feeling pops into our awareness. This appears to us as spontaneous or coming from ourselves. We do not comprehend as yet how this might come from our spiritual and celestial attendants. We therefore attribute the thought or feeling to ourselves.
As the degree of our consciousness rises in our awareness the spiritual influx is detected earlier and earlier in the downward process. This means that we can become consciously aware and understand more and more internalizing truths, or higher and higher truths, or truths that are nearer and nearer to the Divine. Since truths are tied to loves or goods, both are raised together, and our quality of life reflects it (see matrix 2 above).
The diagram below portrays the structure of the vertical community to which all individuals belong no matter where they are.
The diagram above shows that the conscious awareness of individuals anywhere in any state always depends on its relation to the conscious awareness of other individuals. Those who are in the conscious awareness of the celestial degree are called "Angels of the Third Heaven." They occupy the inmost (or highest) position in relation to influx. They receive influx directly from the Spiritual Sun into the interiors of their celestial consciousness. They then send this influx downward in full awareness, seeing the individuals who are in the conscious awareness of the spiritual degree. They are called "Angels of the Second Heaven." Those who are in the conscious awareness of the celestial degree perceive, see, understand, and direct the mind of those who are in the conscious awareness of the spiritual degree, but the latter when looking up (or inward) see nothing. But when they look downward, they too can perceive, see, understand, and direct the mind of those who are in the conscious awareness of the natural degree. They are called "Angels of the First Heaven." When they look up they see nothing, but when they look down they perceive, see, understand, and direct the mind of those who are in the conscious awareness of their corporeal and sensual degrees. They are the individuals on the earths and those in the hells.
Those who are in the celestial degree of awareness can see those who are in the spiritual degree of awareness, and since the latter can see those who are in the spiritual degree of awareness, and these can see those who are in the natural degree of awareness, who see those who on earth and in the hells, it follows from this unbroken chain that the highest (or the inmost) and see and guide all those that are lower (or outer), all the way. The inhabitants of the third heaven can therefore see and guide the interiors of those who are on earth and in hell through the intermediary of the individuals who are in the in-between degrees of awareness. This is the vertical community. It unites all the minds everywhere. No mind can exist that is not in this chain.
When we are regenerating on earth our consciousness can be opened throughout its height (or depth) as a foundation for life at some level in the spiritual world. Since our conscious awareness cannot escape our connection to the physical body, this opening only consists of the foundation for each degree and sub-degree. Each higher (or more interior) degree is founded on our connection to those already in a higher conscious life. Our internalizing natural degree (BLUE segment of the Ascending Pathway) is established as a foundation through a connection with the inhabitants of the first heaven. Our internalizing spiritual degree (BROWN segment of the Ascending Pathway) is established as a foundation through a connection with the inhabitants of the second heaven. Our internalizing celestial degree (BLACK segment of the Ascending Pathway) is established as a foundation through a connection with the inhabitants of the third heaven.
When we pass on, our spiritual body, or mind, is freed from its connection to the physical body and we "awaken" in the consciousness of our highest degree achieved. If our mental foundation was not developed beyond the corporeal degree, we dwell in the hells from then on. If our mental foundation was not developed beyond the natural degree, we dwell in the first heaven from then on. If our mental foundation was not developed beyond the spiritual degree, we dwell in the second heaven from then on. And if our mental foundation was developed to the celestial degree, we dwell in the first heaven from then on. The quality of life we then have or enjoy in each of these locations has been described in matrix 2 above.
From all this it can now be seen that no one gets admitted into heavenly life by being forgiven of sins through performing some prescribed ritual. It's not a question of God not forgiving us because sin adheres to us and sin is against the nature of God. This is true, but it is not the reason that we are not admitted into celestial life. The reason is that we can only be admitted to the degree of consciousness that we came with, that is, that we acquired in regeneration while on earth. Once again you can see that nothing can be more important to us than to learn how to cooperate in our regeneration. The vertical community can guide us in regeneration but this remains of no effect unless we reciprocate. Then we gain conscious awareness to higher and higher degrees. This cooperation or reciprocation on our part must be voluntary and conscious. This is achieved during our struggles with temptations and the myriad of choices we make all day long, every day, that form our character or spirit body.
As our conscious awareness grows from sensual (Descending Pathway) to rational (Ascending Pathway), we reject the idea of entering heaven through performing rituals that gain us forgiveness in the eyes of the Divine. We begin to see more and more interiorly or rationally, that God gladly forgives us even before we commit a sin. But that is of no avail. We then begin to see rationally that life in heaven has to do with preparation of one's character. All religions based on Sacred Scripture teach this, though some emphasize it more than others. When doctrine from Sacred Scripture is taught by teachers who are in the sensual degree of awareness of truths, the focus is mostly on ritual worship and blind or mystical faith. This contains heresies such as sectarianism, fundamentalism, literalism, faith alone, salvation by transcription, meritoriousness, holiness, and so on (see this article for a detailed analysis of this topic). But when doctrine from Sacred Scripture is taught by teachers who are in the rational consciousness, the focus is mostly on regeneration and character formation, what is called charity and works. This is effective for it raises the degree of consciousness and prepares the individual for heavenly life.
In general, there are six types of activities that must occur to make up any event in the universe. The first three belong to the Descending Pathway and is made of A/C/S units. The last three belong to the Ascending Pathway and is made of S/C/A units. These movements are explicitly described and mapped out in matrix 19 and 20 of another article. The symbol "A/C/S" unit stands for Affective/Cognitive/Sensorimotor unit, while the S/C/A unit stands for Sensorimotor/Cognitive/Affective unit. A/C/S units are externalizing events in sensuous consciousness, while S/C/A units are internalizing events in rational consciousness. In order for an event to occur there must be an internalizing S/C/A unit within the externalizing A/C/S unit. In developmental sequence it appears that the event goes through the six steps serially as a chained sequence, but in reality the six steps must be simultaneous. For example, it appears that age periods are sequential: infancy, childhood, adolescence. Then, young adulthood, adulthood, and old age. But in reality, infancy is a state of celestial consciousness, and so is old age. Childhood is a spiritual consciousness, and so is adulthood. Finally, adolescence is a state of natural consciousness, and so is young adulthood. A diagram of this can make this more explicit:
Infancy/childhood/adolescence is a Descending series of externalizingization of any event. An event occurs in the body or physical world when those who are in the internalizing celestial degree of life (BLACK segment) have the desire for that event--this is called LOVE and manifests itself in their internalizing AFFECTIVE organ. Simultaneously, or synchronously, through the laws of correspondence, a thought occurs in those who are in the internalizing spiritual degree of life (BROWN segment). They do not know where this thought came from. They are aware only that it "occurred to them" on their own. But the reality is that the thought that occurred to them did so solely on account of its being a correspondence to the desire of those who are in the celestial degree. There is thus a close connection between the celestials and the spirituals. The thoughts of the spiritual occur in their COGNITIVE organ. There is thus a very close connection between the events in the affective organ and the events in the cognitive organ. But this would not be enough for any event to occur unless a corresponding event occurs simultaneously, or synchronously, in the internalizing SENSORIMOTOR organ of those who are in the internalizing natural degree of life (BLUE segment). There is thus a very close connection between affective events, cognitive events, and sensorimotor events. There must be an Ascending pathway of events within the Descending pathway of events, or else the event cannot come into existence.
Those who are regenerated in this life to the celestial degree pass on into an eternal life in this degree. They form celestial communities with each other called the heavens or the heavenly societies. Swedenborg visited these inhabitations and described their lifestyle. Those who dwell in the internalizing celestial degree of consciousness are fully rational and most fully human. They constitute "the First Heaven" and are called LOVES. Their character and power was discussed in matrix 2 above. Those who dwell in the internalizing spiritual degree are called WISDOMS, also discussed above. They constitute "the Second Heaven." Those who dwell in the internalizing natural degree of the mind dwell in the "Third Heaven" and are called USES. These three heavens are tied to each other by correspondence since they form a vertical community with one another. Thus, LOVES initiate corresponding WISDOMS, and they initiate corresponding USES. The inhabitants of the internalizing celestial degree could not have any loves or affections unless there were corresponding events in the form of thoughts or understandings in the internalizing cognitive degree, and corresponding uses in the internalizing natural degree. The existence of the vertical community thus insures that the three corresponding events can occur synchronously in the three heavens.
The Descending pathway is called a process of externalizingizing because it is made of the sequence LOVES/WISDOMS/USES (which is an A/C/S unit). The internalizing celestials are above (or within) the internalizing spirituals, and these are above (or within) the internalizing naturals. In spiritual geography, what is above is also within, and what is below is also on the outside. This is according to the laws of correspondence. What is within or above is primary, and what is outside or below is secondary. The primary initiates and is the cause, while the secondary reacts to it as an effect. In the perspective of time, or sensual consciousness, there is the appearance that the cause precedes the effect, but in rational consciousness, the cause is seen within the effect, and simultaneously with it. The Descending sequence of externalizingizing is the sequence of creation or generation of events. From the inmost of the universe, which is the highest degree of consciousness called LOVE (affective mind), there is an apparent "descent" into the more externalizing spiritual degree called WISDOM (cognitive mind), which is intermediary in sequence. From this there is a descent, or further externalizingization, into the still more externalizing degree called USE (natural mind). The A/C/S unit of descent (externalizingization) is the generative sequence that synthesizes the existence or occurrence of any event in the natural mind, and from there, in the body and the world.
The Ascending pathway is inductive and requires the rational consciousness degree to be opened. It is constructed out of S/C/A sequences. The SENSORIMOTOR segment (see matrix 2 above) of the Ascending sequence is in the internalizing natural degree of consciousness. This begins the climb back up into heaven. An event is generated through the Descending pathway of the vertical community in the spiritual world, as just explained. The events that we witness or experience in the physical body and through it, in the surrounding world, are created or generated by the three heavens. We are not conscious of this at all. To our everyday sensual consciousness these internalizing events are hidden from our awareness and they are unconscious. Events just happen seemingly in a chain of effects we call "fate" or "chance" or they happen "spontaneously." We are totally ignorant of the Descending pathway and the vertical community that ties the heavenly inhabitants together. But when we begin the journey of regeneration our rational consciousness is developed consciously and voluntarily. This gradual development is accomplished through the Ascending pathway. First we become internalizing natural when our mind comes into correspondence with the natural angels, that is, those who dwell in the internalizing natural degree of consciousness (First Heaven--USES). While we are still in the physical body, our spirit body, or mind, develops through experiences and character choices we make. The first step of this developing rational mind is to put ourselves in voluntary and conscious agreement with the internalizing natural angels (BLUE segment). This is accomplished through natural temptations during which our conscience and prudence strengthens and becomes conscious.
When this phase is consummated or accomplished, our rational consciousness is opened further to the internalizing spiritual degree (BROWN segment). This is accomplished through spiritual temptations in company with the internalizing spiritual angels (Second Heaven-- WISDOMS). When this phase is consummated, our rational consciousness is opened to the internalizing celestial degree (BLACK segment). This is accomplished through celestial temptations in company with the internalizing celestial angels (Third Heaven-- LOVES). Thus, at the completion of the Ascending pathway we have gone through natural, spiritual, and celestial temptations, by which our mind was opened more and more fully.
The Ascending pathway appears to follow a sequence of periods, each one of which must be consummated before the next step in the sequence can be taken. This appearance however is the externalizing reality (sensual consciousness) and the not the internalizing or actual reality, as perceived in rational consciousness. In order for us to take the first step of internalizing natural activities, we must arrange our mind in accordance with the natural angels, and this we are conscious of as we struggle with our conscience and the rules and regulations involved in character reformation. But we are not conscious that the spiritual angels must be within the natural angels in order for us to undergo the first step. Moreover, we are even less conscious of the actuality that the celestial angels must be within the spiritual angels in order for us to make this first step. So all three heavens are involved all the time in our regeneration steps, but we are only conscious of the step we are in, and all the steps below that. We are not conscious of any step above the one we arc in. As we move from the internalizing natural consciousness to the internalizing spiritual, we are now consciously aware of both the spiritual and the natural angels, but not yet the celestial. Finally, when we are opened to the inmost degree, we become conscious of the full series involved in the Ascending pathway.
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1399. Every spirit has communication with the internalizing and with the inmost heaven, though he is wholly ignorant of it, and without this communication he could not live. What he is inwardly, is known by the angels who are in his interiors, and he is also ruled by the Lord by means of these angels. Thus there are communications of his interiors in heaven, as there are of his exteriors in the world of spirits. By means of internalizing communications he is fitted for the use into which he is led without his being aware of it. The case is the same with man: he likewise communicates with heaven by means of angels-although of this he is wholly ignorant-for otherwise he could not live. The things which flow in therefrom into his thoughts, are only the ultimate effects; all his life is from this source, and from this are ruled all the endeavors [conatus] of his life.
The basic principle of spiritual geography was stated previously as the equality between "mind" and "spiritual world." The mind=the spiritual world and both overlap completely. No part of the mind exists that is not in the spiritual world and no part of the spiritual world exists that is not in the mind. This leads to the astonishing conclusion that every mind overlaps with every other mind. The entire human race is mutually overlapping and therefore accessible to each other for contact and communication. Of course, as discussed throughout this article, there is no conscious awareness of this overlap except to the extent that an individual's mind has been opened or made operative through regeneration. When we lay the foundation for our celestial degree to be opened, we live as angels in the afterlife. The angels of the first heaven are the most conscious or aware, and they have effective access to any individual anywhere through the interiors of the individual. In general, an individual has access to any individual in the universe who has a lower degree of consciousness. An inhabitant of the first heaven (internalizing celestial rational consciousness) has access to all the people in the hells through their interior, as well as to all the people in between--the second heaven (internalizing spiritual rational consciousness), the third heaven (internalizing natural rational consciousness), and people on earth.
There are two known major evolutionary steps in human consciousness since humankind departed from its pristine state of creation. This departure is called The Fall and it was a gradual process of decline due to hereditary transmission of self-destructive inclinations. The restoration of the human race to its former state then took two major evolutionary steps that amount to a new creation. The first step is called the Incarnation, which is also known as the First Advent. This is an historical event described in the New Testament. The second major step is called the Second Advent and is described in the Writings of Swedenborg (1688-1771). The First Advent was the sensual consciousness of God "in flesh," that is, God in a Natural Body. This development was eventually neutralized and made to no effect due to heresies, especially the notion that there were three Divine Persons, not just One. Since this is an irrational and impossible event, the heresy put a complete stop to the evolution of rational consciousness. The Second Advent was then brought about through the greatest miracle since the first creation, namely, the introduction of a well known and respected scientist of the 17th and 18th century into the spiritual world while still living in the physical body. Swedenborg's mind was opened all the way to the internalizing celestial degree in full conscious awareness for 27 years continuously, so that he was given access to the entire spiritual world. The Writings in some 50 volumes constitute the record of his experiences. Moreover, Swedenborg was taught immediately from the Lord what lay hidden in Sacred Scripture so that he could compose the Third Testament in the style of the Word.
The Third Testament is a scientific treatise that describes the orderly opening of the degrees of consciousness. This knowledge is necessary for the regeneration, or new creation, of the human race. Without the Second Advent, humankind would have gradually perished, that is, be unable to be regenerated. Even the regenerate in the highest heaven could not have been saved without the Second Advent through the Writings of Swedenborg. This is because the vertical community is so closely tied together that all depend on all mutually. If people born on earth cannot be regenerated, those who are regenerate in the heavens cannot continue in their integrity. So the Heavenly Doctrine in Swedenborg's Writings had to be given to humankind to insure the continued regeneration of the race. The Second Advent or Heavenly Doctrine rests on an architecture of three rational ideas, which are these:
- The idea of the as-of-self as the basis of human freedom
- The idea of the Doctrine of the Church from the literal of the Word
- The idea of salvation by means, and not by forgiveness
The first idea belongs to the affective domain, the second to the cognitive, and the thrid to the sensorimotor. These three will now be discussed.
1) The idea of the as-of-self as the basis of human freedom
There are two ideas we have about our relation to the omnipotent God: the idea of "self" and the idea of "as-of-self." The second is rational while the first is irrational. The idea of the self is first in order and is based on the appearance that when we think of something we do so from our own self, and when we choose something, we choose from our own self. This is the basis of our sensual consciousness and rests on appearances. This idea that we have freedom to think, do, and feel as we choose from ourselves is irrational when you view it from the rational idea of God as omnipotent and infinite. Indeed, if we have freedom to act from ourselves, God is not omnipotent but shares power with us. This is a contradiction and a fallacy. If we hold on to this idea, and base all our other ideas on it, we effectively prevent the development of our rational consciousness and we cannot be regenerated.
The second idea of freedom which comes to us through the Writings is that the self is an appearance, not a reality. Therefore, instead of the self, the Writings reveal the idea of "as-of-self." God does not give us the power to live and act as our own power to live and act. This is not possible for God is indivisible and cannot give some of the Divine power away to a created thing. Therefore all laving things were created to to be "receptacles" of life, that is, biological organs of life. The organs are formed by the divine to be able to receive influx from the Divine. This influx is why we are animated and can think and move. If the influx stops, our powers and our life stop. We would then be like minerals and stones and other physical objects we call inanimate. The influx returns, and we are animated again. This rule or reality applies to all the things we have by influx, things called uncreate and Divine: life, feelings, thoughts, sensations, intelligence. These things are Divine and come to us from the Divine by continuous influx. They are received in the spiritual organs of the mind. Each organ specializes in reception of one or another type of power or ability. Once the influx animates and activates the receptive organs we become conscious of this activity. It feels like it is something happening within us, within our self. We feel something, or we think of something, or we hear something, or we react spontaneously by blurting out some words. We feel it is our self doing these things. We feel free to think this or to think that, even under coercion and threat by other people. This is the certitude of sensual consciousness. It is an appearance. Without this appearance or sensation of inner freedom could we be happy? Would we not lose all incentive or motivation to do anything? Would God's world and heaven not be a shambles and nightmare, instead of a paradise?
So it is out of kindness and love that the Divine from creation allots us this sensation of inner freedom and continually grants us this sensation of freedom. In the Writings if is revealed that the details of this element of creation is given in the Genesis story of the Creation, which refers to the steps of our regeneration and salvation as a human race. The part of the story where the creation of Eve is described refers itself to this granting of a proprium or sensation of inner freedom and selfhood. The rest of the story must be known by all who would be regenerated and enjoy eternal life in heaven. Both Adam and Eve, that is, our intelligence and our selfhood, colluded to eat of the forbidden tree of Knowledge. This tree represents our self-intelligence. We are forbidden to eat of this tree because that tree represents self-intelligence and to eat of it means to convince yourself that it is your own. Self-intelligence was given to give us the motive and happiness of striving for goals we choose from inner freedom, and achieving them. Freedom is this activity. Without self-intelligence we do not have this freedom. The tree of Knowledge is there in our mind, but we must not attribute it to ourselves but to God's influx. That's all it takes. Just don't eat it. Use it, enjoy it, be happy with it, but don't convince yourself it's your own.
Because as soon as you do, you die. To die means to stop your progress of regeneration. You then eventually arrive in hell and exist there forever. This is called being dead in comparison to those who live in heaven. We must be regenerated because of our inherited inclinations to evil, which refers to our ties to hell. Our mind or spirit is tied to the societies of hell in our vertical community. These inspire in us the evil inclinations. Unless we struggle to get rid of these through conscience, we play out our evil inclinations and love them. Once we love evil, we are in hell and will live there at the death of the physical body. So it's of the utmost importance that we regenerate. But if we convince ourselves that our self-life is our own from itself, just as it appears to be when we feel free, then we arrest the possibility of regeneration. This is because to be regenerated we must develop our rational consciousness. Only this rational consciousness is capable of being regenerated. this is because regeneration is accomplished through truths, and these truths must be rational. We destroy our rational when we convince ourselves that the life and freedom we feel is our own. Instead, we need to adopt the rational idea of the as-of-self. This means not to eat of the tree of knowledge.
The specific purpose of the Second Advent was to create a Third Testament that described in rational and scientific language what the as-of-self is. By studying this knowledge we begin to understand what is the rational and what it has to do with God, regeneration, and our salvation. What is amazing is that the rational is something we immediately recognize. It's not something like algebra or a foreign language that we have to painstakingly build on more and more practice and study until we gain minimal and basic skills. The rational is recognized as soon as it is read, heard, or thought of. It is a new sense. Before the rational is developed consciously we only rely on the sensual consciousness for our reality. Whatever is not physical or material feels and appears to us as less real, less bottom line, more abstract, less fundamental. But the opposite is the reality. For the rational is real and permanent, while the physical is an appearance and vanishes like a dream. The rational is created from spiritual substances while the physical is made of material stuff that has limited duration and existence. Whatever is made of spiritual substances is permanent, immortal. Our mind (or spirit body) for instance is made of spiritual substances, and so we are immortal creatures made to receive influx of life to eternity. But this life can be in heaven or in hell. The difference is that between the rational and the sensuous consciousness. Sensual consciousness without the rational within it, can only live in hell. Sensual consciousness with the rational animated within it, can only live in heaven.
We must therefore see to it that we develop our rational consciousness. This is done through the acknowledgement of the as-of-self. That is, we acknowledge that our feelings, motives, desires, thoughts, decisions, sensations, and actions are not from our self but only appear to be of our self. This is the idea of the as-of-self.
By acknowledging this, and constructing all our mental edifice in harmony with it, our rational is activated and grows through the various steps. This birth of rational consciousness is called the Second Advent. It grows through several steps, as described in these charts, at last is ready for eternal life in heaven. Then the transition is effected through the loss of the physical body, whereupon the spirit body is set free and begins existence in eternity.
We are not free from our own power but God grants us the sensation that we are free. This appearance was necessary for without it we would not be able to become human. We would be born animal-like, without the possibility of acquiring knowledge as-if by ourselves, through experience and effort. If we did not have the sense that we act from ourselves while we are still in sensual consciousness, we would not be motivated to learn, to acquire knowledge, to become intelligent and interact with our environment. While we have the sense that we do this from ourselves, we continue to be motivated to learn, to evolve, to improve, to change--and so to struggle to become a better person, a true human being. A human being acts from love through intelligence. We make our desired choices on the basis of our intelligence, and thus we grow and become more intelligent. We can read the Word and motivate ourselves to act and live in accordance with God's commandments. We can obey the commandment to love God more than our self and the neighbor as much as our self, and from this, we can become fully rational and wise. Thus we can be regenerated and be prepared ;for life in heaven.
The road to becoming wise is the road of regeneration. The Second Advent has brought us the idea of as-of-self which means that God gives us the sense that we have a self, that we may be human, but in reality, we do not have any power from ourselves since power cannot be given away by God--this is a rational truth. In fact, nothing that belongs to God can be given away since God is indivisible and infinite--this is a rational truth. So life, which belongs to God, cannot be given away, but it can be received in such a way that it appears to be ours--this is a rrational truth. Similarly, good and truth, or love and wisdom, cannot be given away by God but can be received in our mind and the organs of the mind that are created as vessels or receptors of these things from God. So we are receptors of life and power from God and these are in us but not of us.
To accept this idea fully, means to shun all thoughts that are contrary to it. If you forget your acknowledgement you start building ideas and convictions that push out and destroy the acknowledgement so much so that you no longer wish to acknowledge it. You doubt it. You think it's laughable. You think it cannot be proven. Etc. Thus, you die.
But what about people who are atheists and so intelligent they become top notch experts in their field of science or endeavor? Obviously if they are atheists, or if they no longer give acknowledgement to God or the as-of-self, or if they are wicked and laugh at the commandments, they are not rational and as a result they are digging their grave in hell. How then do they appear so intelligent that they win the acclaim of others through their inventions, discoveries, and accomplishments? The answer is that every individual while sill in the physical body can be regenerated. So for the entire life of an individual on earth God insures that this possibility exists until the ver end. This cannot be insured unless the individual is given intelligence, even if the intelligence is deliberately misused. But this is not the individual's own intelligence but acts into the mind in an unconscious way. When the individual works at some project, this unconscious influx of intelligence comes through the vertical community and works itself out as those inventions, discoveries, and accomplishments. But none of it is from the individual's rational. Once the rational consciousness is activated however, the intelligence comes from the vertical community as before, but passes through the individual's rational mind. As a result, the individual can be wise. Before this, the individual cannot be wise, but only intelligent from influx. Upon the death of the body, this unconscious influx of intelligence ceases with those who do not have a rational plane for influx. Thus the wickedness of the person returns to them in hell where they lose all intelligence and humaness.
2) The idea of the Doctrine of the Church from the literal of the Word
It was said just above that to live in heaven we must be regenerated, and to do that we must develop a rational consciousness. The Second Advent was given for this purpose. There are three rational truths that form an intellectual edifice which we can use to become rational and be regenerated. The first rational truth was explained as the idea of the as-of-self. Now the second rational kingpin of the Second Advent: The idea of the Doctrine of the Church from the literal of the Word. This topic receives detailed attention in another article which you might want to read after this one. Here we can summarize it as follows.
The Word, or Sacred Scripture, contains scientific revelations about how to be regenerated. We need this information or knowledge in order to regenerate. We cannot do it by our own intelligence. This is a rational truth. But these revelations are given in a natural language through some chosen individuals whose minds have been prepared by the Divine to receive these words and sentences. Some of the message or knowledge appears in the literal of those sentences. For instance the commandments that tell us not to lie, cheat, and be hypocritical as a way of living our life with others. Also things like reporting the words spoken by an angel or by God's voice. But the greater part of the knowledge contained in these revelations is hidden within the literal. Just like we are taught to understand great poems and gain insight through them, we can be taught to understand these hidden knowledges about revelation that is contained in the literal of the Word or Sacred Scripture. This instruction is called the Doctrine of the Church when it is in the context of a religion or theology, but in the context of science it is called theistic science (see the other article).
Without being taught the rules and procedures for extracting knowledge from the Word people are misled by what they imagine is there and all sorts of false knowledge has thus arisen. The Second Advent reveals that rules of exegesis we must apply in order to extract true knowledge. Only this true knowledge can make us rational and allow us to be regenerated. In summary there are two main rules or principles to acknowledge and follow. First, we have to learn and apply the laws of correspondences revealed in the Third Testament (the Writings of Swedenborg). Second, we must witness our inner life and there recognize what the laws of correspondence reveal about a sentence or phrase in Sacred Scripture. When we thus apply the information to our own life of feelings, thoughts, and actions, then and only then, can we be enlightened to see the hidden meaning.
Without extracting this Doctrine for ourselves we cannot comprehend or see the hidden meaning, thus cannot be become rational, thus cannot be regenerated.
You can see why it is of the utmost importance for each of us to study the Writings on a daily basis.
3) The idea of salvation by means, and not by forgiveness
We discussed two of the necessary rational ideas we need to be regenerated. The first was the idea of the as-of-self. The second was the idea of Doctrine that must be extracted for ourselves from the Word in order to obtain the necessary knowledge hidden in the literal. Now the the third idea needed to become rational: The idea of salvation by means, and not by forgiveness. Sensual consciousness hangs on to the idea that to be saved and prepared for heavenly life in eternal blessedness we must be forgiven of our corrupted nature and our sins. And to be so forgiven, we must placate God who turns away from us on account of our sinful nature. We must go through various membership rituals prescribed by religious rules and administrators. Then God can admit us to heaven. As long we think along these lines we prevent our rational from being opened. This is because it is not rational to think that God turns away since God is pure love and this never turns away. Moreover, it is not rational to think that a ritual procedure can change our status from damned to saved. This is because God does not condemn anyone to damnation. We end up in hell because we refuse to be regenerated. This is a rational truth. By acknowledging this truth and making sure nothing we believe or think goes against this rational truth, we can be regenerated and become rational.
The third purpose of the Second Advent therefore is to explicate and demonstrate how we are saved, that is, through regeneration.
The opening of our consciousness is called spiritual growth. We are created and born as dual citizens with a mind existing in the spiritual world and a body existing in the physical world. The mind is also called the spirit body or the spirit. Unsuspected to most people, the shape of the mind, or spirit body, is identical to the shape and anatomy of the physical body. In fact, the physical body is genetically structured to grow into the shape and exact form of the spirit body. As the spirit body grow, so does the physical. The physical body is a duplicate of the spirit body. But the spirit body is made of spiritual substances from the Spiritual Sun, and is immortal and permanent, while the physical body, as it's well known, is made of material stuff and is temporary and vulnerable to injury and deformation. At some point in our life, later or sooner, the individual's regeneration or spiritual growth reaches the stage beyond which it is not going to go further--this being known to God of course. God continuously and ceaselessly strives with the individual from birth to eternity, to keep the regeneration going. We never reach perfection as human beings, but God has arranged that we keep perfecting ourselves to eternity, This feeling and actuality is necessary for our heavenly blessedness and joy. God therefore intimately participates in our experiences moment to moment to guide and supervise the growth of our immortal and ever perfecting spirit body. This is our mind or spirit for the mind or spirit is an organic body made of substances and arranged in the anatomy of the human shape, inside and outside. This is a rational truth.
Spiritual growth is the building up and layering of the fibers and fibrils in three principal organ systems: the affective, the cognitive, and the sensorimotor. First, the affective is the organ of reception for heat from the Spiritual Sun. This spiritual heat enters the affective mind and animates it in accordance with its functions. Our conscious self then experiences a feeling or love. The variety of loves is infinite to allow us to perfect ourselves to eternity, this being necessary for our happiness. Second, the cognitive is the organ of reception for light from the Spiritual Sun. This spiritual light enters the cognitive mind and animates it in accordance with its functions. Our conscious self then experiences a thought or mental perception. The variety of thoughts, cognitions, or mental perceptions is infinite so that we may in grow in knowledge and wisdom to eternity. Third, the sensorimotor is the organ of reception for sensations coming in through the senses of the spirit body. Note that the influx of spiritual heat and light is from the interior while the influx of sensations is through the exterior. The directions of interior and exterior is by reference to the Spiritual Sun where God dwells. The spiritual world where the mind lives is held together or structured by layers or atmospheres starting from the inmost around the Spiritual Sun to the outmost which are the lands, oceans, forests, cities, and individuals. So as individuals move around and live their immortal lives in the spiritual world their affective and cognitive organs are activated by interior influx while the sensations we have such as sight, hearing, smell, touch, etc., are activated from external influx. The laws of correspondence insure that the three organs of life-- affective, cognitive, sensorimotor, are activated together, so much so, that in our conscious awareness we have the appearance of an inversion of actual influx. It appears to us that we see something out near a tree, let's say, so that we have a sensation of it in our sensorimotor mind. Then it appears that this sensation gives rise to some thought, say, the idea of a bear who is looking at us coupled with the thoughts of how dangerous bear can be. Finally, it appears to us that we have a feeling in reaction to the sensation and thought, say, fear and the desire to take flight. This inverted sequence is an appearance and is not the actual sequence. Consider the chart below (matrix 3):
feelings==>thoughts==>determinations to act
determinations to act==>thoughts==>feelings
Partway of Regeneration by Immediate Influx of GOOD
(externalizing) (sensual consciousness)
Partway of Regeneration by Mediate Influx of TRUTH
(internalizing) (rational consciousness)
This chart (matrix 3) portrays the idea that regeneration proceeds in a particular sequence. Regeneration is a growth process that involves making a series of recursive steps. Each step is a sub-unit of the overall regeneration process--just like we need to take a series of steps in order to walk to some place. Each step is a sub-unit of the journey. There are six steps for every regeneration sub-unit. These six steps are portrayed in the chart. First there are two main units called A/C/S units and S/C/A units. The A/C/S unit represents the actual sequence and the S/C/A unit represents the appearance to our conscious self. The forward A/C/S sequence is accomplished through our vertical community when immediate influx from the Spiritual Sun activates the celestial degree to start things going. The inhabitants of the third heaven dwell permanently in this sphere and the influx reaches them before others. As the loves, cognitions, and sensations of the celestials are activated, there is a corresponding simultaneous or synchronous activation of the loves, cognitions, and sensations of the inhabitants of the second heaven who dwell in the spiritual degree. Finally, in this sub-unit, the loves, cognitions, and sensations of the inhabitants of the first heaven are activated. They dwell permanently in the natural degree of consciousness. So there is a simultaneous corresponding activation of the minds of the inhabitants of the three heavens before anything can happen in our mind. Our mind is also in the spiritual world but since we still are tied to a physical body, our mind or spirit body appears to proceed in an inverted manner. The Descending Pathway is the sub-unit of our sensual consciousness.
In other words, our sensual consciousness is immediate and unconscious. The unconscious activity is described by the Descending Pathway. Whenever a feeling, thought, or sensation comes into a consciousness, it is as a result of the activity of the inhabitants in the three heavens. This joint corresponding activity in the minds of the heavenly inhabitants and our mind is called the "vertical community." We are tied to each other in this remarkable way that whatever happens in our mind is the result of what happens in the minds of the heavenly inhabitants. This is a rational truth. The first half of any regeneration step is thus called the Descending Pathway and is unconscious to everybody involved. It is God's immediate infinite activity in us that we generally call Divine influx. Now the second half of each sub-unit of regeneration--the S/C/A unit that is according to appearances to our conscious self. This is the rational consciousness (S/C/A order) we want to develop for every sensual consciousness sub-unit (A/C/S order) so that it may be regenerated. The six steps thus constitute the minimum unit of regeneration. For mnemonic purpose the steps are color coded. This hexagrammatic color coded system is followed throughout the charts found in the articles of this Glossary (see for example the explanations and references in this article).
The Descending Pathway is our unconscious life that connects us to the vertical community and is God's method for organizing the human race into a unity. Our sensual consciousness, that is, our conscious self and awareness of experience, is the result of unconscious feelings, thoughts, and sensations (A/C/S units) that are active in our unconscious mind descending from our vertical community. We are conscious of the effects in our mind of this Descending Pathway but not of the A/C/S unit that generates it. So the first half of any regeneration step is this unconscious activity whose effects we experience as sensual consciousness. We have sensual consciousness in the same sense as animals. This is not yet human. Animals have feelings, thoughts, and sensations. They have purposes, plans, and actions. They have an affective life, a cognitive life, and a sensorimotor life. But all this life is merely the consequence of the externalizing activity of the Descending Pathway. In order for it become human in us, we must participate in the Ascending Pathway. This is the beginning of rational consciousness. The rational is the beginning of the human.
Rational consciousness is thus the activity of inversion of influx from A/C/S/ units to S/C/A/ units. The full six sub-steps must be activated for any single unit step of regeneration to take place. We are regenerated when we voluntarily and consciously participate and carry on through the three sub-steps of the Ascending Pathway. Notice the inverted order of how it appears to us. First, we are conscious of a sensations, appreciations, and determinations to act. This conscious activity in our natural mind is in concert with the conscious activities of the inhabitants of the first heaven. Simultaneously we become conscious of cognitions, meanings, and thoughts, and apparently from these, we become conscious of loves, affections, and feelings. In this way we complete the A/C/S/ unit with its corresponding S/C/A unit. When the two units are completed together, the unconscious activity in our sensual consciousness becomes conscious activity in our rational consciousness. This is the true human life, when the two are active together--the sensual consciousness in the exterior mind, the rational consciousness in the interior mind. The unconscious activity of the vertical community that gives rise to our sensual consciousness (A/C/S/ units of the Descending Pathway) must be matched by our voluntary reciprocation in rational consciousness (S/C/A unit of the Ascending Partway). The Descending component is the vertical community's unconscious life generating sensual consciousness; the Ascending component is the vertical community's conscious life resulting in rational consciousness. Together the six sub-steps constitute one unit of regeneration. There are numberless such units of regeneration. The properties of the recursive series are worked out in a related article.
The process of being regenerated is the process of the opening of consciousness from its lowest to its highest degrees. As discussed above, this consists of acquiring rational consciousness by means of rational truths obtained from Sacred Scripture or revelation. Three principal rational truths were discussed above: the as-of-self, Doctrine, and salvation. Each truth is made of an S/C/A unit activated in rational consciousness (Ascending Pathway). For example, when we have the sensual awareness of our inner freedom, we experience the self. We sense the inner freedom and the spontaneity of our sensations, appreciations, and determinations to act. The is the consequence in our sensual awareness of the unconscious A/C/S/ unit that descends into our mind. Now we can voluntarily attach an S/C/A unit to create the rational consciousness. We can reflect on the as-of-self concept and apply it to our experience. We can label the sensory and motor activity of the self as the result or effects of the inflowing A/C/S units of life. Though these sensations and determinations to act appear as our own within us, they are really not originating in us. Similarly we can label the cognitive activity of the self as the result or effects of the inflowing A/C/S units of life. Though these thoughts and reasonings appear as our own within us, they are really not originating in us. Finally, we can label the affective activity of the self as the result or effects of the inflowing A/C/S units of life. Though these affections and feelings appear as our own within us, they are really not originating in us.
Similarly with the second rational truth--Doctrine. We are aware of our own self-intelligence activity that builds up explanations and theories in our understanding. We can now voluntarily label all this knowledge as appearances of our sensual consciousness, not true reality. We can study the Word and extract science and Doctrine for ourselves, and then we can apply this rational knowledge to the items of our sensual consciousness. We thus build up a corresponding (Ascending) conscious S/C/A unit to match each unconscious Descending A/C/S unit. When the match is completed, the unit step of regeneration is consummated. In this way we build on all the steps throughout our regeneration. Failing to do these matching prevents regeneration from taking place. Thus, it is by means of rational truths that our regeneration is accomplished. But not until these rational truths are applied to all three components of the mind: sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective. Those who fail to regenerate while still in the physical body arrive in the spiritual world in a spirit body that has no rational consciousness, only sensual. They are called corporeal spirits and can only live in the lowest regions of the spiritual world called the hells. The quality of life and character of those who have not been regenerated in comparison to those who have, is contrasted in matrix 2 above.
The human race has had to be regenerated by going through periods and ages that match the six steps discussed in the chart above (matrix 3). The principle of how history recapitulates biography, and vice versa, is discussed and explained in another article. With every new civilization new revelations had to be given in the form of a new Word that contained more interior truths that the one before. The more interior truths allow individuals of the new age to be regenerated further by opening deeper or higher degrees of rational consciousness.
The mind, or spirit body, is regenerated and made rational by replacing the self with the as-of-self through our voluntary participation. To our sensual consciousness resulting from the unconscious Descending A/C/S/ units, the idea of replacing the self with the as-of-self is threatening and offensive. We imagine that the self is what gives us freedom and we see the as-of-self idea as turning us into a "robot" awaiting influx to be animated. We want to reject this as-of-self idea as preposterous, and thus we resist and oppose it. It is necessary for the Divine to provide us with temptations during which our sensual consciousness of the self is threatened and bruised by pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, doubt, hesitation, depression. Our sensual consciousness is then more ready to be relieved from these negative states into which circumstances seem to have thrown us. We can come out of our mental doldrums by voluntarily supplying the matching S/C/A unit through the Doctrine we have accumulated. The Divine therapist attending us through the services of the Descending pathway, now gives our spirit relief from the negative states. We are transported into positive states of peace and rational understanding as we apply the truths of Doctrine to our life situation. Bit by bit we learn to do this more and more, and as we become more rational we are given more interior truths, more interior Doctrine, more interior sciences. At last we are given interior celestial truths, and then for the first time we are truly human.
The more rational we become the more we experience the as-of-self idea as freedom itself, and the more we see how the self idea is slavery itself, or non-freedom. The more we extract Doctrine from the Word and apply it to our life, the more rational we get. The more we see that salvation is not though forgiveness but through means, the more we can cooperate in our regeneration, and thus be regenerated to deeper degrees. In our sensual consciousness we rely on self, on miracles, on sensual proof of God, and we fall prey to literalism, mysticism, cultism, and magic. But as we move into rational consciousness at every unit and sub-unit, we rely on the as-of-self idea, on rational proof of God, and the Holy Spirit which is our conscious relationship to the Divine at the rational level of consciousness. This gives us the power to become fully human (see matrix 2 above). In sensual consciousness we either give in to our inherited and evil inclinations, promoting self-intelligence, or we rely on our conscience, which is also inherited, but is serviceable for building character. But as we become more rational, conscience is replaced with actual perception. We can see, comprehend, and justify why we want to be good. Conscience is relatively blind made of inherited urgings; perception sees rational truths in clear light.
In the following passage from AC 1495 it is revealed how our consciousness is raised or opened from hell to heaven.
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1495. Why saidst thou, She is my sister? That this signifies that He then knew no otherwise than that He had intellectual truth, is evident from the signification of a "sister," as being intellectual truth; and also from the fact that Abram had said so (as is evident from verse 13), which was done to the end that the celestial might not suffer any violence, but might be saved. From all this it is evident that when the Lord as a child learned memory knowledges, He first of all knew no otherwise than that those knowledges were solely for the sake of the intellectual man, that is, in order that He might get to know truths from them; but it was afterwards disclosed that they had existed in order that He might attain to celestial things; and this took place to prevent celestial things from suffering violence, and in order that they might be saved. When man is being instructed, there is a progression from memory-knowledges to rational truths; further, to intellectual truths; and finally, to celestial truths, which are here signified by the "wife." If the progression is made from memory knowledges and rational truths to celestial truths without intellectual truths as media, the celestial suffers violence, because there can be no connection of rational truths-which are obtained by means of memory-knowledges-with celestial truths, except by means of intellectual truths, which are the media. What celestial truths are, and what intellectual truths are, will be seen presently.
 That it may be known how these things stand, something shall be said respecting order. The order is for the celestial to inflow into the spiritual and adapt it to itself; for the spiritual thus to inflow into the rational and adapt it to itself; and for the rational thus to inflow into the memory-knowledge and adapt it to itself. But when a man is being instructed in his earliest childhood, the order is indeed the same, but it appears otherwise, namely, that he advances from memory-knowledges to rational things, from these to spiritual things, and so at last to celestial things. The reason it so appears is that a way must thus be opened to celestial things, which are the inmost.
All instruction is simply an opening of the way; and as the way is opened, or what is the same, as the vessels are opened, there thus flow in, as before said, in their order, rational things that are from celestial spiritual things; into these flow the celestial spiritual things; and into these, celestial things. These celestial and spiritual things are continually presenting themselves, and are also preparing and forming for themselves the vessels which are being opened; which may also be seen from the fact that in themselves the memory-knowledge and rational are dead, and that it is from the inflowing internalizing life that they seem to be alive. This can become manifest to anyone from the thought, and the faculty of judgment.
 In these lie hidden all the arcana of analytical art and science, which are so many that they can never explored even as to the ten-thousandth part; and this not with the adult man only, but also with children, whose every thought and derivative expression of speech is most full of them (although man, even the most learned, is not aware of this), and this could not possibly be the case unless the celestial and spiritual things within were coming forth, flowing in, and producing all these things.
There are two sequences described in this passage (AC 1495). One is the actual order called "influx" while the other is the apparent order and is the inverse of the actual order. The actual order of influx that gradually opens or raises consciousness is from highest or inmost to lowest or outmost:
Note the intriguing comment about this series: "In these lie hidden all the arcana of analytical art and science." I take this to mean that it is basic for scientists and artists to understand the difference between these two orders--the actual synthetic and generative direction called influx, and its reverse in appearance or observation--the analytic approach which characterizes our externalizing rational mind. When we study some phenomenon as scientists and artists, we observe it through our analytic methods and keep track of it backwards from actual reality: FIRST its outermost information from the senses, which in actual sequence is the LAST or effect (consequence). Then from outmosts, applying our analytical judgment process, we move inward to what precedes the effect, perhaps a correlated effect initially, but eventually its cause or precipitation. This usually requires theory or explanation, and this is now abstract, removed from the outmost. When scientists and artists fully understand a phenomenon through this analytic process, they may be able to reconstruct the phenomenon, or produce the phenomenon under controlled conditions. This generation or production process now represents the actual synthetic order, from inmost to outmost.
Note the statement: "when a man is being instructed in his earliest childhood, the order is indeed the same, but it appears otherwise, namely, that he advances from memory-knowledges to rational things, from these to spiritual things, and so at last to celestial things." This is the apparent order of regeneration and of education. It appears that it starts from the outside through books or lectures, and memorizing information obtained through reading, hearing, and observing (experiences). These are called "memory-knowledges" and reside in the natural mind. Then, as we reflect and construct our understandings and explanations, the memory-knowledges are left behind or below in our consciousness, and we think from a rational understanding that contains abstractions not found in the memory-knowledges below or outside. So the progress appears to us as going from natural to rational. This is an appearance and not the reality. In actual fact, the rational cannot be opened or created in our mind except through "influx." In other words, the higher spiritual from within, which is not yet opened to our conscious awareness, must enter the rational and open it. It is not the memory-knowledges we acquired in the natural mind that enter upward into the rational, constructing it. Rather, it is the unknown spiritual from above that descends into the place where the rational is to be opened, and opens it from within. This descent and opening occurs when we reflect upon the memory-knowledges. The effort of reflection on memory-knowledges is the occasion or opportunity for the influx or descent. Similarly, when the spiritual is opened in consciousness it is not from our rational already opened, but from the celestial not yet opened flowing into the spiritual that is going to be opened.
This influx or synthetic-generative opening of our consciousness is purely a Divine work. How intimately indeed does God manage our every thought and affection!
See also this article on Spiritual Time and Space
|From Sedenborg's Arcana
1440. Abram passed through the land, even unto the place Shechem. That this signifies the Lord's second state, when the celestial things of love became apparent to Him, is evident from what precedes and from the order of all these events-from what precedes, in that He advanced to the celestial things of love and attained to them, which is signified by "they went forth to go into the land of Canaan," and by "they came into the land of Canaan;" and from the order of the events, in that after He had advanced to celestial things and had attained to them, they then became apparent to Him. In celestial things there is the very light of the soul; because the Divine itself, that is, Jehovah Himself, is in them; and as the Lord was to conjoin the Human Essence to the Divine Essence, when He attained to celestial things it could not be otherwise than that Jehovah appeared to Him.
This quote from AC 1440 indicates a fundamental law about the growth and opening of our consciousness: We FIRST are transferred into the next higher degree or sub-level, and THEN we can perceive our new state of consciousness. Clearly the process of advancing or progressing from one degree to the next is not something we do, but the Divine does it for us. This shows once again the amazing intimacy with which God and the individual interact and are joined together--consciously for God but only dimly for the individual. The more however our consciousness is raised by God, the more we can reciprocate on our part, and the more consciously (with rational awareness) we can perceive our nearness to the Divine. This is not merely a perception but more importantly, a love, for only love conjoins. It conjoins through the perception, true, and without the perception the love would not be there at all. To pass through the land is how the Word refers to consciousness raising. The map of the land of Canaan is the spiritual geography of our mind as it passes through the land, that is, as it is opened more and more by regeneration.
The passage also reveals in what way the Divine can be said to be in the individual. When our consciousness is raised or opened all the way into the celestial degree (BLACK segment--see charts in De Hemelsche Leer article), the celestial substance is then within us, within our spirit or mind, that is, within our perceptions, thinking, and affections. Every single thing that we are, tat our self is made of--feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and sensations, now has the celestial substance within it. The celestial substance is what forms these organs in our consciousness or self. Our new character is made of the celestial substance. This celestial substance is the Divine's Own substance ("Proprium"). Our new character is woven out of the fibers of the Divine Character and then it is laid over with the other degrees, the lower degrees, the externalizing degrees through which we had to "journey" through the "land" and after our wanderings reach "Canaan"--the celestial land, the celestial substance, the internalizing degree of the Human rational. Thus, when we are regenerated to the celestial degree we have the Divine within us. This Divine cannot become part of us for the Divine is One and indivisible and cannot be imparted. But the Divine can adjoin and conjoin the created human being to Itself. This is what it means to say that "God is in me," namely, that I have been conjoined to God, that God "dwells" in me--but not that "I have a piece of God in me" for this idea would be a stumbling-block that would arrest our regeneration (see this analysis).
The above passage in AC 1440 also indicates how the infinite and indivisible Divine is conjoined to the created human being. In this passage "Jehovah" refers to the Divine Essence--which is Divine Love, and "the Lord" refers to the Human Essence--which is Divine Truth. This Glorification process that took place historically from the Annunciation to the Ascension told in the New Testament, is a new creation process. As indicated in many places in the Third Testament, our regeneration recapitulates the Glorification which was the opening of the consciousness of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Substance and Form of Jehovah. The Lord's Glorification series as told in the peregrinations of the characters in the Book of Genesis, describe the specific steps consciousness must take to be raised. These are the specific steps we become aware of as we are regenerated. The actual historical Glorification process that took place some thousand years on this planet, was the new creation, not existing before, of the regeneration steps we must step through to be "saved", that is, to acquire a new inner character and personality suitable for life in heaven to eternity. How fabulous and fantastic this new creation is, indeed! Without it our fate is truly sorry and miserable--hell that is. Because we are born hells in miniature and are quickly and inexorably headed to life in the lowest regions of the mind, just as a leaf that has been blown off by the wind inexorably must end up on the ground where it dies and decays and disappears from existence.
Since we are born immortal from creation and constitution, we cannot disappear from existence like the leaf. When the Word talks about us "dying" it is referring to our resuscitation into the spiritual world when the mind or spirit is freed from the dying body. But when it talks about "the dead" it is referring to those who dwell permanently in the hells. Their consciousness has sunk to the bottom of human consciousness and existence, cut off from anything above the bottom, hence having nothing whatsoever of the celestial or heavenly. Their feelings are hellish hatreds, their perceptions and thoughts are irrational mad delusions, and their senses and spirit body are contracted horribly and dysfuntionally--forever and ever and ever. This is the hell we avoid when we take the journey of regeneration and suffer ourselves through struggles in temptations, to discard the old character and attitude we have from birth and lust, and espouse the new that contains the celestial substance revealed to us and made available to us through life according to rational faith for the sake of conjunction with the Divine Human. Not only is the end wonderful and fantastic, but so is the journey--for we get plenty of foretasting during the Infancy stage of every degree and level we pass through (see charts in De Hemelsche Leer article).
Please see a continuation of the topic of spiritual geography here:
A closely related article giving the charts of consciousness in its progression is De Hemelsche Leer article
I would be delighted to know your reactions.
e-mail me now.
You might also be interested in consulting related matrices involving the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains in the following articles:
The Will and Understanding || The Heart and Lungs || Good and Truth || Religious Behaviorism || Religious Psychology || Comprehensive Discourse Analysis || Driving Behavior || Phases of Development in Becoming Internet Literate || In Psychotherapy || The Threefold Self || Symbols and Drawings || Topical Organization in Social Psychology || Titles of Articles || Resistance to Health Behaviors || Language Teaching || Song Analysis || Genetic Culture || Cross-cultural Atlas of Affective Meanings || Swedenborg's Theory of Trisubstantivism
I would be delighted to know your reactions.
Some related articles are available here:
Related articles on spiritual geography:
Spiritual Time and Space || De Hemelsche Leer || Theistic Science || Religious Psychology || Spiritual Associations or The Vertical Community || The Vertical Community || Spiritual Psychology || Cyberpsychology: Cyberspace and the Spiritual World || The Postmodern Paradigm Shift in Psychology || Swedenborg's Status and Significance: A Great Paradox || Elements of Biological Theology