I won’t go into the details, but providence put me into a situation where I would be introduced to the unique ideas of both George Gurdjieff and Emanuel Swedenborg on the very same day! This gave me the opportunity to evaluate their ideas from different and potent perspectives. I have been doing this for almost forty years.
Spiritually speaking, I align myself with Swedenborg’s theology. But thanks to Gurdjieff’s system of spiritual transformation, I became uniquely attuned and sensitized to studying the “fine print” of Swedenborg’s theology concerning spiritual love and how to acquire it.
One can study Swedenborg for decades and easily assume that we are each spiritually challenged to receive the doctrine of love and faith in the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor. While this is true it can still lead to a big mistake. On the surface of things this concept implies that we make direct and straitforward efforts at increasing the goodness of the intentions in our hearts and minds.
Gurdjieff points to a caveat and deeper obstacle to this noble undertaking. We cannot simply add more goodness to our lives without first doing some serious “house cleaning.” Swedenborg concurs, but those who have created church communities in order to follow his dynamic theology and religious doctrine are strangely overlooking the not-so-minor point that all the good of love and truth of faith flow into our hearts and minds from the Lord God in the same proportion as we dig up and acknowledge our personal dirt and desist from evil.
My personal experience is that people are dropping the ball on this issue because it is so unsettling, and they go to church to find “peace.” I have even heard more than one Swedenborgian minister complain that members of their congregations overlook the process of sincere self-evaluation, preferring warm smiles and self-affirmation (and are making less and less effort at studying the inner treasures and symbolic language of God’s Holy Word).
I have learned the hard way that hugging, caring and community support is no substitute for spiritual regeneration! Why? Being helpful to others does not guarantee innocence, and sincere goodness requires it. Acquiring innocence is at the heart of our personal life-challenge.
The problem is that self-love and its many self-interests are much more subtle than merely abstaining from the noticeable and obvious crimes against society. Gurdjieff doesn’t pull punches here, and offers many ways for individuals to become acutely aware of their deepest character flaws, many of which have become second nature, mechanical and invisible to our daily lives.
I believe that the Lord God is indeed creating a New Church and a more dynamic religion on earth (The New Jerusalem). However, this new church will only grow as individuals grow inwardly, find innocence and activate their God-given, inner (spiritual) potentials.
I have reason to believe that God ultimately wants us to become truly internal creatures and even be able to communicate with angels (as humans did in the past). If this topic interests you, I have written a new book, Swedenborg & Gurdjief: The Missing Links (Anti-Intuitive Essays For Personal Transformation), which will offer you greater details concerning this sacred challenge.