Funerals are a terrible thing to waste

When I have attended funerals I have observed that there is a common presumption by the mourners that the deceased person is now in a “better place” and is being cared for by God and heaven’s angels.

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Having studied the unique ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg and George Gurdjieff for almost four decades I find this optimistic attitude wasteful.

Swedenborg claimed that the Lord God opened his internal sight so that he could make rational observations about the afterlife and enlighten the terrestrial human race. This God-given ability even allowed him to follow the spiritual trajectory of people after their physical deaths—including family, loved ones and friends. The outcome was not always positive.

Swedenborg explained why this was so. He shared this “negative” information so that those of us still on earth could do a “gut check” on ourselves through sincere self-examination. The reason for the need of such introspection and self-examination is that the spiritual world is a reflection of the various inner qualities of one’s character (one’s true heart and mind). We are challenged to dig up the dirt we find in ourselves—and we each have dirt!

George Gurdjieff mentioned that in some earlier civilizations, those who attended funerals each talked about and shared among themselves the flaws of the deceased. This may seem counter-intuitive in our post-modern world of political correctness, but Gurdjieff claimed that this approach to funerals proved how (spiritually) advanced these ancient societies actually were. Why? In such a custom one is reminded and alerted to things that he or she must be inwardly vigilant against and not waste their short time on earth with self-calming illusions and misplaced hope.

One big illusion is that loved ones who have passed on to the other world want to communicate with us that they are OK and that they are constantly thinking of those still on earth in loving ways. This self-serving hope smacks of non-angelic self-importance and self-centeredness among the bereaved. It also means that life in heaven consists of looking back down on earth instead of upwards toward God, which is a falsehood.

You may be creating an inner reality that will take you to a different eternal abode than those you were close to on earth. Sorry.

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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