The more one studies Swedenborg, the more one discovers how far he/she is from their highest possibilities

There is a saying that if one person can accomplish something, others can accomplish it. Swedenborg accomplished many things in life. He was a great scientist of his time and later became perhaps the greatest theologian of all time.

I have studied Swedenborg’s writings (both scientific and theological) for almost 40 years and the more I learn, the more, uneasy I get. I am no longer consoled by the fact that the Lord loves me.  I have become more concerned about how well I can reciprocate that love and move beyond my habitual self.

Because Swedenborg discussed the reality of angels and insisted that all angels were spiritually evolved humans from this earth (and from other planets throughout the universe) I was given a rare glimpse of my own highest potentials. Unfortunately, I also felt uncomfortable when I applied this measurement to my current state of affairs. (You have to be hypnotized not to take this discrepancy into account.) For instance, when one reads Swedenborg’s multi-level interpretation of the Bible narratives in his 12-volume Arcana Coelestia (Secrets of Heaven) one becomes quite cognizant of at how low a level one’s worldly brain usually operates.

Swedenborg actually offers us a real taste of angelic wisdom. He insisted that because all humans are—inwardly—spirits, they had this same wisdom lying dormant within the deeper structures of the human brain and mind. So this means we have all been given a certain responsibility for the God-given gift of life.

To gain access to this connate angelic wisdom one must adopt a higher (and more inclusive) principle of love into one’s life activities. Then, for the purpose of spiritual sincerity and integrity, one must next be put to the test. Swedenborg claimed that it is not enough just to admit that one isn’t perfect or has flaws, but that the process of spiritual transformation (regeneration) requires identifying specific ignoble traits, deciding you no longer want these character flaws in your life and praying to God to help you resist and remove them.

Most people lack the heart to develop such precision in this unflattering undertaking.

We all decide how far we want to get into the weeds, and which exit we want to get off on from the challenging path of reaching our highest spiritual potentials. The more intense our self-examinatio,n the further along the path we travel and the closer we get to God.

Personally, I feel more rotten as a person than I did forty years ago. But that is because I am allowing the Lord God to dig out of me more and more disturbing self-discoveries. On the positive side, I am becoming more humble and my actions are more innocent.

My conscience gnaws at me when I lower my goals in this process. And I am appalled when I see people going to church merely to find external affirmation, self-esteem and self-worth from others because they inwardly sense a certain failure to become fully engaged in the serious process and demands of spiritual regeneration.

Any church or faith-system that finds its future in question has too many of its member-followers getting off at the early exits (and therefore, unable to provide potent evidence as to the full power of their beliefs)!

About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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4 Responses to The more one studies Swedenborg, the more one discovers how far he/she is from their highest possibilities

  1. treegestalt says:

    Striving is one thing. Continual insatiable self-disatisfaction is something else.

    • thegodguy says:

      Are there personal flaws that should remain untouched?

      Spiritually yours,

      • treegestalt says:

        One day when he was feeling his own faults very strongly, Murshid [‘Sufi Sam’ Lewis] went into meditation and asked God what to do. He received the answer:

        “Your faults are My Perfections.”

        from _In the Garden_ [writings from & about Murshid Sam Lewis]
        — —- — —-

        I don’t think this is about deliberately continuing practices that injure self-&-others.

        But (paraquoting Robert Aitkin this time): “Zen is the perfection of character. It is not someone else’s character.”

        A great many personal ‘flaws’ are simply the drawbacks of corresponding personal strengths. No doubt there are ways to mitigate the effects, but such flaw/virtues themselves are built into the design, & serve in lieu of serial numbers…

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear treegestalt,

    Glad you have it all figured out. My studies of Swedenborg and Gurdjieff offer much evidence that humankind lives in a dream – the design itself includes being hypnotized (that is a drawback that has no simple corresponding solution). Therefore, you cannot assume that people are “awake” and inclined to discover their (spiritual) flaws or seek their legitimate potentials.

    Spiritually yours,

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