I won’t be winning any medals or praise from this extra attention. In fact, I am taking a big hit to my self-esteem and ego. The spotlight I am under comes from the God of heaven (plus my willingness to let the Divine Creator show me unexpected and unflattering things of my life).
This special spotlight, also known as self-examination, reaches all the way into the deepest intentions of my heart and ideas of my intellect. It shines as brightly as I am willing to be sincere with myself. Because, what I am seeing is not pretty. In fact, I am a rotten person.
I have studied the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg for over 36 years and am well acquainted with the concepts that only God is real and good and that humans come into this created universe carrying nothing but inclinations towards self-importance and love for the material things of the physical world.
So Swedenborg offers us both knowledge of God and knowledge about ourselves.
Unfortunately, the second kind of knowledge, or self-knowledge, cannot be obtained or verified just by reading books, listening to really good sermons or through conceptual ideas. It is learned and verified from our being brave enough to take a peek at what is really going on in the shadows of our innermost life.
Yes, I want spiritual transformation and to become a more caring and loving person. But what I seem to be achieving is uncovering all my bullshit and imagined self-importance. Thus, I have a horrible sense that I am only moving backwards and becoming less angelic in the process. Actually, I am being given a front row seat to all the obstacles that stand in the way of my reaching true angelhood.
Swedenborg was spot on—I am nothing in this great universe, and full of evils of every kind! My challenge is to spot and acknowledge these flaws and pray to God for the power to remove them from their deep chokehold on me. Only such radical sincerity and effort can bring each of us to the required state of humility and innocence for receiving the Lord God’s love.
In other words, I am discovering more and more that one doesn’t simply decide to become good one day and suddenly begin doing good deeds. (This is how we deceive ourselves.) Heavenly progress is not simply the enhancement of a positive state. It requires cleaning out the dirt in our lives. Even going to church and being nicer to our neighbors won’t relieve us of this most uncomfortable responsibility.
I have explored these irksome challenges to our spiritual growth in my new book “Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links (Anti-intuitive Essays For Personal Transformation). Interested? Brave? Click on: