The Devil starts a new educational program

devilThe Devil looked at all the attendees of his new hellish workshop and, with a cavity-filled smile, said, “We can no longer simply trick earth-humans into making overt acts of wrongdoing. That’s getting too obvious. From now on, you must stay away from influencing people to openly ignore and challenge the Ten Commandments.”

The evil-embracing students looked at each other with quizzical expressions. Was their hero-teacher going mad and losing his touch?

“The world is getting smarter, so we have to be more subtle when applying our craft. We don’t want human society to become the least bit suspicious about our actual existence and aims,” said the Devil with a big evil grin.

“So instead, when you go inside people’s neural networks, I want you to search through all the ideas within your victim’s memories and identify what that person really loves the most in life. Then, interject flattery concerning these loves and slowly lead their hearts and minds into our community. Once you lure them into our circle you can easily mold similar—yet ever so slightly different—affections out of that original love, whereby you can slowly dim its power until you turn it into its opposite and destroy it. Ha, ha, ha! By using these subtle tactics the victim will even believe that these new desires and contentions sprang from his or her own heart and mind. Remember, when you destroy a person’s love you destroy that person. And you know, this destruction will give you the greatest of all delights imaginable. So let’s stop pushing overt acts of evil and start getting our kicks from destroying people’s lives!” said the Devil with a sly and harsh voice.

The Devil looked around the classroom. His students were taking notes furiously.

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Psycho-spiritual flora and fauna

floraScientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg made the claim that the evolution of the human spirit mirrors the evolution of organic life (plants and animals) on earth. Both “upward” processes involve a similar principle of the rules and order in the trajectory of increasing levels of awareness.

In other words, the human mind and spirit evolves just like plant life and animal life did when it emerged from the mineral kingdom of the earth. By knowing the order and sequence of this physical process one could then determine the steps in the growth of the non-material human mind from analogy, or correspondences.

The mineral kingdom of the human mind are the principles one adopts in life which forms the “ground” or foundation of one’s character.

The psycho-spiritual plant kingdom represents the intellectual ideas (or faith-system) that is derived from, and grows out from one’s chosen principles.

The animal kingdom of one’s inner world represents the qualities of one’s feelings and loves—the things that move us into action.

So the emergence of “dry ground,” “plants” and “animals” in the Seven Day Creation Story of Genesis actually represents the orderly and sacred (God-given) steps of our spiritual evolution.

Relatively few people know this. In the future, many more people will gain and embrace this higher, heavenly knowledge.

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Does your Astral Body stink?

smellyThe strange word formulation, above, was uttered by George Gurdjieff, but it could have been said by Emanuel Swedenborg, as well. Both men were concerned about humankind’s inner (or spiritual) development.

Humans, if they ignore their spiritual responsibilities, will literally give off a foul-smelling sphere in the “other” (or spiritual) world.

This “smelly sphere” represents the inner quality of one’s heart and mind, which becomes organized into a real body for the soul. (The human form is ultimately the reflection and organization of all one’s loves.) Gurdjieff called the rarefied (magnetic) blood, which constructs this higher bio-organization (like the Astral or preliminary spiritual body), Hanbledzoin, while Swedenborg called it the Animal Spirit.

During the process of genuine spiritual transformation and regeneration, it is this inner blood that gets purified (Divine Love & Wisdom, n 423). This higher blood, in turn, purifies the lower, corporeal (red) blood. During the organic processes of life this higher, magnetic blood, gives off and eliminates its dregs through perspiration and is connected to our sweat glands.

I predict that someday we will develop the technology to measure this bio-cleansing process and, from subtle odors released, determine whether we are spiritually evolving or just fooling others through pretense.

Now that would be a great improvement over the current lie detector!

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The three psycho-nuptials and spiritual growth

just-marriedIn Emanuel Swedenborg’s great theological work Divine Love & Wisdom (n 404), he discusses three levels of marriage (nuptials) or conjunction between the human intellect and heart that leads to true reasoning and rationality.

The main message here is that during the growth of the human mind, it is the level of one’s love that determines the level of one’s intellect.

For instance, when we first start learning in the world (as a child) we have a love (and curiosity) of knowing things. At this early stage we fill our memory with knowledge and all kinds of data.

At the second stage (usually as teenagers) we gain a love for understanding what we know. This leads to the deeper development of the human imagination.

The third conjunction (and marriage) between the heart and intellect happens at maturity when we desire to be wise. This stage leads to a perception that brings about rationality and true thought. Swedenborg also stated that God’s Word (Genesis 16:1-16) described this highest level of worldly and terrestrial consciousness as being represented by Ishmael, the son of Abram and his maidservant Hagar.

But a person’s love can still go higher! It can rise to having a sincere affection for God’s spiritual truth (symbolized by Isaac, Abram’s legitimate son from his lawful wife, Sarah).

This spiritual mental level of growth and psycho-conjunction, which seeks the highest truth in the universe, is where the Seven-Day Creation story kicks in and directs our inner lives toward a heavenly paradise!

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Pondering Swedenborg’s Doctrines more deeply

swedenborg_bibliographyI have been studying Emanuel Swedenborg’s theological writings for forty years. Each year I am becoming more convinced that I have wrongly interpreted Swedenborg’s insights towards spiritual transformation.

It is true that Swedenborg pointed out the incorrectness of the Christian doctrine of salvation by faith alone. The idea of justification by Faith alone simply allows individuals to hold their flaws and evil passions to be of no eternal account, because by believing that the Lord wiped away all sin, Christians can sit pretty.

But Swedenborg stressed that it is one’s deeds (good works) that lead to a real heavenly life because charity and usefulness represents the actual quality of life within one’s faith.

This later idea, although true, has been so stressed over recent years (as ways of growing a loving community and church) that a crucial step in spiritual growth has been overlooked. After all, one can do good deeds in the world from pretense, hidden agendas and egoism.

So, although justification by faith alone is a faulty doctrine, so can doing good deeds in the terrestrial world lead to a bad direction. The problem is that we humans have a dual nature—an inner and outer world. Both worlds have to change.

One cannot legitimately change both worlds towards higher, spiritual or heavenly principles without sincere self-examination and inner cleansing. This practice alone allows nothing to remain deeply hidden or masked when one is being outwardly friendly and charitable towards others.

Throughout the ages, all religion was originally designed to unify both our inner and outer worlds. This universal idea—running through all religion—has been sadly forgotten. But I, at least, am discovering (with horror) that I still cling to many self-delusions—which rely on my keeping both of my worlds separate and from observing each other!

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Unflattering self-discoveries

Argue2What many people miss about the purpose of religion is that, while living, each of us is to “die” to our old self and its ways.

Changing one’s smile, wardrobe, hairstyle or the books one reads doesn’t cut it. These are merely external modifications and don’t go deep enough to effect a change in the quality of one’s spirit.

The problem is that we are conditioned to underestimate how rotten our spirits (passions and intentions) have become. However, one extraordinary test for confirming this rottenness in our lives is if anyone or any group of people causes a feeling of indignation in us.

Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg claimed that all personal evil bubbles up from a principle of self-love. And indignation certainly comes from a feeling of superiority.

True religion was meant as a means for identifying such behavioral flaws in our lives and then removing them (causing our old self to “die” and a new one to emerge). But instead, many faith systems are giving us more reasons for feeling indignant toward others.

This kind of rottenness, if kept unchecked in one’s inner spirit, will go with us into the spiritual world.

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Love without Truth | Truth without Love

love-truthWhat many people find hard to understand is that good deeds are terrestrial (worldly) and not spiritual, unless done from some divine principle or teaching.

Without this, even our best intentions and actions toward others become self-centered. Why? Because we falsely assume that it is “us” who are being good—as opposed to the Lord God working heavenly goodness through us.

However, truth without love describes an entirely different condition where simply having the right (intellectual) convictions (faith-knowledge) in our mind is believed to be enough for our eternal salvation, which is a dead faith. But love without truth is the false belief (from a principle of self-love) that we are good from our own powers.

True heavenly worship in life requires the marriage of both spiritual love and truth.

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The two oysters

two-oystersOnce upon a time there were two oysters. They were good friends but attended different churches.

They came together one day to compare notes on their church’s approach to religion.

The first oyster said, “My church believes that God is love, therefore our minister emphasizes gentleness and sweetness while he gives his message. Everyone in our church is made to feel valuable, important and pampered. In fact, we are all made to feel happy as clams in our church.”

The second oyster said, “My church teaches that we need to look deeply into—and purify—our hearts. Treating us gently and sweetly all the time would obstruct the need, urgency and process for genuine spiritual self-examination and transformation. It seems that our minister even says things that will often irritate us and make us feel personal discomfort instead of trying to convince us how valuable we are—in spite of ourselves.”

“What is genuine transformation?” asked the first oyster.

“Open up your shell so that we can get a glimpse of what is in your inner world,” said the second oyster.

The first oyster opened his shell, revealing nothing of particular value—just a mass of slippery meat inside.

The second oyster opened his shell. Inside, there was a valuable pearl!oyster-pearl

“How did that pearl get in there?” asked the first oyster.

“I have learned to deal with my irritations and to become aware of the many indignations I harbor deep within my self-centered heart. I am trying to make my life more valuable, and not simply be told I am valuable,” replied the second oyster.

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Theodicy (the issue of evil in the world) is a false worldview

pilate-jesusLoads of people these days have given up their belief in a Divine Creator because of the many misfortunes which befall all of us, or the many disasters and injustices we see happening all around us.

A God of Love would not have created such a world full of disharmony.

What we fail to take into account is that what we love most in the world usually runs counter to God’s Pure Love.

For one thing, it is not in this world that we should find our happiness, putting all our attention on self-centered concerns. This belief causes us to blame everything bad that happens to us on outer circumstances. But Jesus told Pontius Pilate (who represented the worldly human reasoning mind) that His kingdom was within.

Few people these days understand this unique premise.

What it means is that heaven (or hell) is not some place you go to, but is something you become. God puts misfortune and failure before us so that we will see that the physical world can never offer us true happiness—in order that we might change our focus (and wake up) to working on improving the more interior qualities of our hearts and minds.

Certainly, the length of our lifespan on earth, which is relatively short, cannot possibly make living a corporeal life worth all our effort and energy.

Scientist/theologian Emmanuel Swedenborg discovered that we earth-humans would actually see God as our enemy if we could see what the Creator had planned for us through Divine Providence. Only when we begin to sense our true cosmic responsibility do we begin to treat our misfortunes differently—as blessings, designed to get us back on the right spiritual track.

I have devoted a whole chapter to the Theodicy issue in my award-winning book, Proving God. It will change how you view and value things.

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The pregnant woman standing on the moon

woman on moonOne of the most ultra-fantastic scenes portrayed in Holy Scripture is in the Revelation chapter (Apocalypse) where a pregnant woman is standing on the moon and a Great Dragon is threatening her (see Rev 12: 1-3).

Here, faith runs up against reasoning. Such a situation seems impossible to our rational minds, and therefore the Bible cannot be inerrant (always true).

Why would the Creator promote such nonsense? Perhaps this scenario (and all the others in the Lord’s Word) is designed to address a higher spiritual mind, which angels enjoy, but terrestrial humans only have as a potential ability.

Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg proved this was indeed the case, and with the Lord God’s guidance, was able to interpret the Bible’s narratives from higher, corresponding meanings, which were contained within the literal words and used to communicate its stories.

Nothing new about religious doctrine will ever be distilled from Scripture without penetrating beyond our literal thinking.

For instance, a pregnant woman standing above the moon represents a love for truth from its source (God). This orientation “stands” above the more external or reflected knowledge of one’s intellect and memory (the moon reflects the sun’s light—which she is clothed in, thus elevating her quality).

The reason for her pregnancy is that the quality of such an affection and love will give birth to a new understanding of spiritual matters. Her pregnancy pain represents that this new spiritual offspring will meet big resistance among the status quo thinking of the world. The Great Red Dragon represents this big resistance. The Dragon symbolizes a population of people who feel threatened by this birth (a new spiritual dispensation) and who want to put an end to it, before it changes the world’s current institutions and paradigms.

So, the shocking revelation here is that the Great Red Dragon could be represented by our life’s actions! So be on your toes. Because it also seems that this new, more dynamic thinking about spiritual realities will be coming to a neighborhood close to you!

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