So rather than getting caught up in mere “navel-gazing,” people are choosing to be more compassionate and sympathetic to the needs of others in order to enact real change in the world.
Emanuel Swedenborg would suggest that such a strategy represents an incorrect approach to angelic love, charity and usefulness to society. Why? Swedenborg would say that taking such a course of action overlooks the reality of our true situation—that hell has access into much of our inner world and has to be jettisoned.
Spiritual regeneration is not selfish because it is an ego-deflating process. Swedenborg makes it clear that we are to search out our flaws of character and personal evils (Apocalypse Explained n 100) in order to affect genuine spiritual growth. This takes an act of permission from the heart—not the intellect.
In fact, so far as we are able to successfully search out our false ideas and evils—and reject them (repentance)—our compassion and sympathy for others becomes spiritually genuine and less worldly.
But, instead of going through such a personally uncomfortable and unflattering process, many people favor focusing immediately on good deeds. This is stealing from the Lord God because goodness comes from God alone. The Lord God directs spiritual love into an individual to the extent that he or she is purifying their heart and mind of evil influences.
This brings innocence to our good deeds, in which gain, status and reputation no longer become motivating factors. (Angels are not just good—their goodness springs from innocence!)
Attaining affirmation from others is why many people go to church. While personally comforting, affirmation can hinder the process of true introspection, spiritual cleansing, personal vigilance and humility because it gives us a false sense of security, importance and belonging—which can be self-centered.
Be vigilant of your heart and thoughts!