Sexual Intercourse In Heaven

Heaven would not be heaven unless one could continue to partake in all the enjoyments and pleasures of life after the death of the physical body. This includes marriage and sexual intercourse.

To grasp this we have to take into account that heaven is not in time and space. Therefore, if individuals are enjoying life in the spiritual world, without a physical body, they must have spiritual bodies. Without the appropriate organic form, pleasure has no substantive subject by which it can really exist.

However, since spiritual bodies are non-physical, their organic forms, whether we are talking about a penis or vagina, can only be understood as the embodiment of the qualities of one’s heart and mind (which is one’s true spirit).

All spiritual bio-complexity consists of one’s true inner reality given real substantive and non-physical organic form. In other words, in the spiritual world non-material organs are generated out of all the aspects of our heart and understanding. All organic structure in heaven is psycho-topological.

A spiritual penis or vagina is therefore a more perfect embodiment of one’s love, values, and ideas as well.

A penis in the spiritual world reflects a male spirit’s ability and potency to probe the subject of his passion from his understanding. A spiritual vagina represents a woman’s receptivity and will to accept these qualities and potencies of her suitor by becoming the ultimate focus of his love.

This receptivity is the inner essence of a woman’s attractiveness and beauty in the spiritual world. A woman in heaven becomes more beautiful as she becomes the life and love of her husband’s spiritual understanding. A woman becomes a wife in this manner and is the only way two partners can be wedded in heaven.

The man becomes a more perfect husband and increasingly handsome as his spiritual knowledge increases. So the husband becomes the embodiment of his wife’s understanding and wisdom. The male and female genitals are the spiritual analog, and represent, the dynamics of this profound union.

This level of bonding is not generally known in on earth. But there is no way for two partners to become increasingly intimate with each other if they could not take on the intimacy that is found between a united understanding and its will. This increased intimacy allows a heavenly marriage to be perfected through eternity.

Sexual intercourse in heaven mirrors this dynamic as the spiritual act of a husband’s understanding seeking union with the wife’s love. Wives in heaven are spiritually formed so that they can be impregnated by the ideas of their husband’s understanding (his ideas are his spiritual seed).

The husband’s ideas gestate in the wife’s heart. She brings them to life in the spiritual world as new qualities of love and wisdom that are shared by both partners (because they always act as one spirit). Spiritual offspring are the things generated from this holy union – increased love and service for the heavenly community.

Rather than a multiplication of people, spiritual progeny are the multiplication of usefulness and goodness.

In God’s scheme, whether on earth or in the spiritual world, all intercourse is for the sake of impregnation and creation. All creation has origins in the marriage of God’s love and truth. All sexual intercourse follows this Holy pattern to promote and give birth to something fruitful in the universe.

Those in heaven do not engage in anal intercourse or make use of dildos. In the spiritual world, these things represent corporeal pleasures excluded from spiritual principles and their prolific power.

Have I rained on anyone’s parade?

Posted on August 24, 2008by thegodguy


Posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, psychology, Reality, religion, spirituality, symbolism, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Chapter XIX. Growth During Infancy.

IN this diagram B is the spiritual mind in three degrees answering to the angelic heavens the highest or celestial degree of which is a; C is the natural mind in three degrees answering to the world of spirits, the lowest degree of which is b. For the designation of each degree in the spiritual and natural minds see Diagram XIII. D is the spiritual body consisting of the spiritual-sensual and spiritual-corporeal, E the limbus in three degrees the lowest of which is c, F the gross body as distinct from the limbus. The limbus and gross body together constitute the entire natural or material body.

This diagram illustrates the commencement of two orders of discretely progressive development one from above down in the spiritual mind the other from below up in the natural mind, and shows the origin and nature of the principles by which this development is effected during infancy. In the Writings the periods from birth to manhood are called infancy, childhood and youth, each covering some years. During manhood with him who becomes fully regenerate there are also three periods.

During the period from conception to adult life man is not actually regenerated but is prepared for regeneration to he accomplished in after years. The nature of this preparation is the principal subject of this and the next two diagrams.

Order requires that man be first imbued with celestial principles, afterward with spiritual. The celestial are love of the LORD, charity, innocence and peace; the spiritual, wisdom, intelligence, knowledge and scientifics, or what is the same, truths of every degree. This order however does not exclude another which obtains during reformation preparatory to regeneration, that of being led by truth to good or by the spiritual to the celestial.

Concerning the states and changes during minority, we read-

(1.) The celestials of love and charity and the essential innocence that is in them “are insinuated into man primarily in infancy till childhood, and this without cognitions, for they inflow from the LORD and affect before man knows what love is and what affection is, as appears from the state of infants and afterwards from the state of early childhood; these in man are remains and are stored up for use in after life”. -AC 1450.

(2.) “Celestials are insinuated into man as well without cognitions as with them; celestials without cognitions from infancy to childhood, but celestials with cognitions from childhood to adult age.” -AC 1451.

(3.) ” It is one thing to he in celestials, and another to he in the cognitions of celestials- Infants and children are in celestials more than adults because in love toward their parents and in mutual love and also in innocence [within these loves]; but adults are in the cognitions of celestials more than infants and children, and very many are not even in the celestials of love.”-AC 1453.

(4.) “From first infancy to early childhood man is introduced by the LORD into heaven and indeed among the celestial angels by whom he is kept in a state of innocence, in which state, as is known, infants are till early childhood. When childhood commences he by degrees puts off the state of innocence, but still he is kept in a state of charity by the affection of mutual charity toward his like, which state with many continues even to youth, he is then among spiritual angels. At this time, [youth after childhood and after passing from under spiritual angels], inasmuch as he begins to think from himself and act accordingly, he cannot be kept in charity as before, for he then calls forth hereditary evils by which he suffers himself to be led. When in this state, the goods of charity and innocence which he had received, according to the degrees in which he thinks evils and confirms them by acts, are exterminated; still they are not exterminated but withdrawn by the LORD toward the interiors and there stored up. But as he has not yet known truths, the goods of innocence and charity received in the two former states have not been qualified, for truth gives quality to good and good gives essence to truth, therefore he is from that age by instructions and especially by his own thoughts and confirmations imbued with truths. So far as he is now in the affection of good, so far truths are conjoined to good in him by the LORD and stored up for use.”-AC 5342.

(5.) “From infancy to childhood and sometimes to early youth, man imbibes goods and truths by instructions from parents and masters, for he eagerly seizes them and believes in simplicity, innocence helps them forward and fits them in the memory but places them in the first threshold, for infantile and childish innocence is not the internal innocence which affects the rational but is external innocence affecting only the exterior natural. But when man advances in age and begins to think not as before from parents and masters, but from himself, he then again takes up and as it were ruminates upon what he had learned and believed, and either confirms them, or doubts about them, or denies them.”-AC 5135.

(6.) “Man’s rational is begotten by celestial Divine good as a father…. but not conceived by spiritual truth as a mother [but by the affection of knowledges in the natural. (See AC 1895.)]

… Man is not born into any knowledge nor into any rational, but only into the faculty of receiving them. [He learns in an external way and as he learns he becomes rational.] There continually inflows something from the interior [into the natural], which receives the things that enter and are insinuated [or imbibed] [from without] and arranges them. That which inflows and receives and arranges is celestial Divine good from the LORD. Hence [the things which enter from without have “their life and their order.”-AC 2557. (To see why “not spiritual truth,” but an “affection of knowing, in the natural, is the mother in this case, consult the whole number; and also Nos. 1895, 1902, and 1910.)

(7.) “As soon as man is born he is introduced [by the LORD] into a state of innocence that it may be a plane of the remaining states, and the inmost in them;….. next he is introduced into a state of the affection of celestial good, that is of love toward his parents, which at this time, is instead of love to the LORD;…. afterwards he is introduced into a state of the affection of spiritual good, or of mutual love, that is, of charity toward his like; as he advances further in age, he is introduced into a state of the affection of truth.”- AC 3183. At length other states follow till the last which is that of true wisdom signified by old men. In this state is the innocence of infancy ; and thus the first state and the last are united.

(8.) “Goods of three kinds are signified by remains, viz.: goods of infancy, goods of ignorance, and goods of intelligence. [Infancy, is from nativity to the age of instruction and knowledge; ignorance, when he begins to be instructed and to know; and intelligence when he reflects from himself on good and truth.]

“The good of infancy is from infancy to the tenth year; the good of ignorance [that is man being ignorant is instructed] from the tenth to the twentieth; from this year man begins to become rational, to have the faculty of reflecting on good and truth and to procure the good of intelligence.”-AC 2280. The ages here specified for these three kinds of good are only general approximations.

(9.) Cognitions with man never come in childhood from his interior but from objects of the senses, especially from hearing. Cognitions are learned and implanted in the memory according to the influx of the internal man,” [that is, the external, by good flowing into it from the LORD through the internal, is gifted with an affection for knowledge, which good not only gives to the external the affection for knowledge but by that affection arranges all the knowledge acquired and implants it properly in the memory.]- AC 1460.

(10.) “The external man cannot be brought to correspondence and concordance with the internal except by knowledges. The external man is corporeal and sensual, nor does it receive anything celestial and spiritual unless cognitions be implanted therein as in soil, in which cognitions celestials may have their recipient vessels.”-AC 1461

(11.) States of innocence, charity and mercy which man receives from the LORD in infancy and childhood, and the knowledges and truths of faith, are what are called remains and are preserved with man when man (in adult age) is about to be regenerated “these states are the beginnings of regeneration and man is led into them, for the LORD operates by them. “-AC 1050. (See AC 10110.)

The state of boyhood extending from the fifth year to the twentieth (AC 10225) is generally subdivided into childhood and youth as in Diagrams XX and XXI.

The development and preparation of the spiritual mind B progresses through its three discrete degrees successively from above down; the preparation and development of the natural mind C progresses through its three discrete degrees from below up. This diagram illustrates the accomplishment of the first step in these two directions. These processes meet midway between the natural and the spiritual mind at adult age. This diagram represents man at the close of infancy and at the beginning of childhood. Infancy and childhood, though distinct, measurably coexist-infancy subsiding and childhood commencing.

Comparing this with Diagram XVIII (“Man at Birth”) we see a remarkable growth and change mostly in a b c and F, the other parts having attained a moderate advancement.

From this and the next two diagrams we see that the growth of the spiritual mind is from above down and of the natural from below up.

While the LORD by inscrutable influences directly from Himself and mediately through the highest angels deposits the initials of love and thence of wisdom in the plane a, He at the same time acts upon the ultimates through the intermediate degrees and also immediately, imbuing them with what is celestial in its external form. Hence arise external growth as well as external loves, innocence and peace with the infant and at the same time internal development and a storing of love, innocence and peace corresponding to them; but the internal are imperceptible.

While (a b D c F) are rapidly growing and their appropriate principles are being deposited, the other faculties also slightly increase. During the reign of innocence in the external of the infant, “the interiors are forming for use.” (AC 10225.) Through the innocence in the infant in its perceptible and conscious operation is merely external (as is also the love to parents and others in which love that innocence inheres) yet it flows in “through the interiors,” into the externals, where it produces the palpable and other effects mentioned in the Writings. (HH 277.) This innocence thus flowing in with the Divine life in it must cause some growth and deposit of its initial forms as remains in those internals which correspond to the externals now developing and receiving remains. This agrees with the law that the LORD works from Himself in first principles and by Himself in last principles to order and arrange intermediates, which law involves that He works at the same time by principles just below the first and just above the last. (DP 124, 125, 220.) So He comes down the steps through the spiritual mind at the same time that He goes up the steps of the natural mind, while preparing man for regeneration. The natural must be developed in its three degrees and stored before the first step in adult regeneration can be taken. This development must be from without in, first the sensual in infancy, second the scientific in childhood, and third the natural rational in youth or adolescence. These steps cannot be taken without corresponding ones in the spiritual mind. Regeneration requires the action of the spiritual mind to excite the reaction of the natural mind, but the spiritual cannot act without suitable development and supply of spiritual and celestial goods and truths from which to act and with which to flow into the natural mind.

The lowest degree of the natural mind b which is developed and imbued with celestial influences during the state of infancy, is the corporeal and sensual. Corporeal sensations and sensual affections and ideas are being formed and treasured as remains and as a base for future states to be developed and for processes to be effected by the higher faculties operating in the lower.

That these externals are formed, enlivened and gifted from appropriate and corresponding internals, is clear from Arcana Coelestia,

“The internal man with every one [meaning the inmost] is of the LORD alone, for there the LORD stores up goods and truths with which He gifts man from infancy: hence by means of those He flows into the interior or rational man, [elsewhere called the spiritual mind] and through this into the exterior.”-AC 1707

The lowest plane of the limbus c is developed and imbued with love, innocence and peace. This degree coincides with the lowest of the natural mind b and with it responds to the highest degree of the spiritual mind a. Each degree of the natural mind composed of spiritual substances must have a corresponding degree in the limbus which is the ultimate of the natural mind and is formed of natural substances; and as the spiritual mind rests at last on the limbus there must be a degree in the limbus answering to each degree of the spiritual mind, otherwise the limbus would be abnormal and unadapted. The natural body and the spiritual body the natural mind and the spiritual mind have each its three degrees.

We read, “The internal by degrees elevates the natural to itself” (AC 6239.) The work here diagramed is in part the work of the internal preparing the external for regeneration. Such preparation must of course be by degrees successively. Hence the limbus must be developed and prepared by degrees. The trinality of the limbus thus comports with the trinality of all else in man and with the trinality of everything in the universe.

That truth from the LORD flows immediately into the external man C D E F, as well as mediately through the higher degrees to develop and store the external appears from Arcana Coelestia

“From the LORD proceeds Divine Truth immediately and mediately. What proceeds immediately is above all the understanding of the angels. But what proceeds mediately is adapted to the angels in the heavens, and also to men, for it passes through heaven, and hence puts on angelic quality, and human quality; but into this truth also the LORD inflows immediately, and thereby leads angels and men both mediately and immediately; for all and singular things are from the First Esse and the order is so instituted that the First Esse may be present in the derivatives both mediately and immediately.”-AC 7004.

This shows that the external degrees are developed and filled by intermediate Divine operation and that the external is formed and stored through the internal and of course each external degree by its corresponding internal as in the diagrams.

The growth of each degree involves its formation and storage with two Divine principles- the Divine celestial which is love and all its attributes, and the Divine spiritual which is wisdom and all its attributes. The recipient of the celestial is the will, and that of the spiritual the understanding. The will and the understanding are in each of the three degrees of the natural mind and in each of the spiritual mind. Hence celestials which are of the will do not flow into the highest degree of the spiritual mind a without celestial spirituals which are of the understanding, for these must be with the celestials. And as both celestials and celestial spirituals flow into and develop the degree a during this period, so they both flow thence through the intermediates into the ultimates and develop them, namely, the sensual degree of the natural mind, b, the spiritual body D, the lowest degree of the limbus, c, and the body F; thus affecting even the body with love and wisdom from the highest degree of the spiritual mind.

The two important truths, first that the external mind is developed and stored in part by influx from the internal mind, and second that while the external is consciously growing and being stored the internal is being unconsciously developed and filled, are involved in the following teaching, –

“Cognitions with man never come in childhood from the interior, but from objects of the senses, especially from hearing. There are with the external man recipient vessels, and these are formed by cognitions, the internal man inflowing and assisting. Cognitions are learned and implanted in the [external] memory according to the influx of the internal man.”-A. C. 1460.

This relates alike to infancy, childhood and youth. The doctrine is that the external is formed and filled so that it can act from the influx of the internal. From this it follows that the internal during the same time grows and becomes receptive, else it could not act and impart.

This formation and storage during infancy, childhood and youth as well as the operations of Providence therein are imperceptible, as set forth in the following –

“The rational is in the internal man [in B] and what transpires therein is unknown to the natural [that is, to C, and all below it.].. Man, who lives a merely natural life, can know nothing of what transpires in his internal man. The LORD disposes such things while man is entirely ignorant of it. Hence too it is that man knows not [perceptibly] how he is regenerated.”-AC 3570. This can be known only from Doctrine.

During infancy hereditary evil is mostly quiescent, less so during childhood represented in the next diagram, and still less in youth. Were hereditary evil not quiescent, man could not he imbued with love and instructed by truth by which he may be reformed and regenerated. Before regeneration hereditary evil is within and the goods and truths of remains in the natural man are without, after regeneration the reverse.

As regeneration and the preparation for it proceed by three great distinct degrees and as each degree of the spiritual mind and each of the natural is composed of less and yet lesser degrees, so each step is a progressive work. (Diagrams XIV and XVII.)

The work accomplished in infancy may be summarized under two heads, (1.) Organic growth, and (2.) Storing of the several degrees.

(1.) A marked development of the highest degree of the spiritual mind, of the lowest degree of the natural mind, of the spiritual body, of the lowest degree of the limbus, of the gross body, and a moderate growth of the germs of the other degrees. (See the diagram.)

(2.) Storing the developed degree of the spiritual mind with the initial forms of celestial love and wisdom in which dwell innocence and peace, and gifting the lowest parts of the natural with the celestial ultimates of those higher faculties.

The ultimate celestial states (just mentioned) whose presence is indicated by the tinge of red in b D c and F include the innocence and peace which imparts that celestial tenderness and sweetness so observable in infants, and also love of parents, mutual love, confidence and obedience, with the external delights; appropriate to this age which embraces the first five years.

During this period and largely through childhood and youth hereditary evil is held quiescent. Potent among the forces effecting this are the states of celestial innocence and peace.

Previous: Supplement. Up: Discrete Degrees Next: Chapter XX. Growth During Childhood.

How does God squeeze infinite knowledge into a finite book?

The Bible is a ponderous book. But in no way can its 1,000+ pages contain God’s Infinite Wisdom.

Why is this an issue?

Because, everything God does, must be done from an infinite and eternal perspective. Otherwise, divine action would be dissimilar to God’s actual infinite character and nature. Dissimilarity means imperfection.

If God is the ultimate author of Scripture then it must somehow contain infinite knowledge within its numbered pages. This would also give us a more effective way to verify the sanctity, authority, and inerrancy of the Holy Word – beyond our having unshakable faith or some corroborating archeological evidence.

Even if we were to find archeological evidence for every story in Scripture this would only prove that God was accurate with the historical facts.

Accurate time lines do not portray Infinite Wisdom. Furthermore, the accuracy of biblical events, like the creation story and the age of the universe, are called into serious question by scientific discovery. So how are we to take seriously the claim that all things in the created universe were created from the Word? (John, 1:1-3) That would mean the Holy Word contains scientific as well as moral laws!

Does Scripture give any reference to relativity theory, quantum physics, or superstring theory?

And, what are we to think of God being depicted as angry, starting wars between nations, supporting slavery and polygamy?

Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg had an answer to these problems. He discovered that the Holy Word was a multi-dimensional document. This gave Scripture the depth to contain God’s Infinite Wisdom through levels that contained deeper meanings and revelations within its narratives.

Once this scaffolding of the biblical architecture is recognized and grasped, the mysteries of faith become accessible to the human rational mind – especially concerning the dynamics of salvation and the secret behind the Lord’s return. And more. Much more.

Universal patterns will begin to emerge out from our careful reading of the biblical stories, displaying God’s design in scientific matters as well. Because hidden within the sacred narratives are the patterning principles for holistic process in the universe. By elevating our minds above the literal meaning of the words, Scripture addresses quantum discontinuity, top-down causality, and reveals how every detail of its stories is non-locally connected simultaneously, that is, perfectly oriented to God’s eternal goal and Infinite Wisdom.

These are a few of the issues I will be addressing in my next book, Proving God.

Do these ideas seem strange to you? Does this possibility shake up your current world-view?

Well then, my friend, welcome to the Lord’s Second Coming!

Posted on August 22, 2008by thegodguy


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Inner life crisis – What does it mean?

Inner lifeJohn was going through an inner life crisis. But he could not fathom what was wrong. He and his wife were comfortably well off and had got the house as they wanted it. He had always been a confident person. Outwardly in their lives nothing much had changed.

Inner life problems

But, now for the first time he was getting low moods and experiencing unease with no obvious reasons. These feelings were sapping his self-esteem. He found himself voicing self-doubt and uncertainty about where he was going in life; questioning his lifestyle, his career and even his marriage. He felt he had been drifting along, no longer with any sense of direction. He had lost touch with the ambitions that he had once had.

When one’s inner life not in harmony with one’s outer life

Life may have become less hectic. But this had meant there had been opportunity for him to hear his inner self telling him things he did not want to hear; that being pre-occupied with paying the mortgage, keeping senior managers happy and cutting the lawn at home plus all the other work he had done on the house, was not really what life is truly about. He needed to let go of the old and do things differently.

The process of self-discovery is to do with uncovering one’s inner life. This is not uncommon especially in middle age when there is less focus on the normal hurdles of early adulthood. Anyone might also become exposed to their own complacency, noticing an attitude of smugness and self-satisfaction that previously lay hidden, appreciating the mixed motives often behind  what they do. They start to notice a real self lurking within the persona they had been living.

John started to see that some of the things he had done had stemmed from a self-centered orientation whilst in his own eyes he had been acting in a worthwhile way. He was beginning to grasp the extent he had been living in a fool’s paradise. No wonder his confidence was reducing and sense of contentment becoming elusive.

Inner life crisis an opportunity for self-discovery

I believe the inner life crisis is there for a reason. It is prompting an honest self-appraisal of what we are deep down.

“Count your rectitude as foolishness, know your cleverness to be stupidity”
(Lao Tse Tao Teb King, xiv. Taoist tradition)

Despite a spiritual awakening, we can resist new insight and turn back to the darkness that once enveloped us. Often the outward appearance of everything we encounter continues to seduce us. This can show in smug self-justification of established patterns of behaviour as if a radical response to the inner crisis were not needed.

We might find ourselves thinking, `No matter what the current economic climate, I’m too astute and knowledgeable a person to go under.’ Or  `No matter what my weakness for sexual excitement might be I’m too good and worthy a provider, and family carer to be rejected by my partner.’

But, if instead we were honest with ourselves, would we no longer need to make up excuses? If we are genuine with others is it not less draining than constantly trying to hide our true selves from them?

Authentic relationship is the key to inner life harmony

My belief is that only by an authentic relationship with others, with whatever notion of God we hold, and with ourselves, can we hope to stop self-deception.

In line with this spiritual philosophy, those of us with a deep trust in a higher truth about life and the provision of a spiritual destiny, are never likely to lose hope, whatever in life threatens us. The spirit of truth and love lives on. However, such faith does lead to consequences. For there can be no new birth without some pain – there is no letting go of former things without some pain of loss.

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
(John 3:3)

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems


The peace of mind mystery

We can’t all escape to a cave to gaze at our navels all week in silent contemplation. That’s the trouble – we can’t get away from life itself with its daily frustrations and setbacks. It’s what takes away our peace of mind. The fact that we have a burning desire for certain things means that we are likely to feel tense or angry if anything turns up to prevent us having them.

According to the spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, there are basically three kinds of things we love and so when these are threatened or lost, there are three ways peace of mind can allude us.

Firstly, everyone is concerned to some extent for self and so we all feel uneasy when what we need is under threat. Who doesn’t want a secure livelihood and so get angry when losing their job during a recession? We feel anxious if there is a risk to our social status and the good regard of others. Anxiety arises when health is threatened by illness.

Secondly, one can be concerned for others and feel worried for their sake. The media reflect a widespread horror at the plight of starving people in an overseas famine and those suffering destruction of their homes due to a natural disaster. Our hearts go out to them and we feel disturbed by the pictures we see on the television news.

Thirdly, we love what we value as good and true. How such values cause distress is more difficult to spot. But we know how up-tight people can get when their favourite work of art, political stance, or religious belief is under threat. Don’t we feel guilty if we go against our own values and principles or uncomfortable if they are undermined by what others say?

Unease, anxiety, worry, horror, disturbance, distress, feeling uptight, guilty feelings and discomfort all take away peace of mind. These feelings derive from what we love. Get what we love in the right order then our fears gain a higher perspective.

There is an ancient Taoist parable that tells of an old man and his son who lived alone in poor conditions. Their only possession of value was a horse.

One day, the horse ran away. The neighbours came by to offer sympathy, telling the old man how unlucky he was. `How do you know?’ asked the old man.

The following day the horse returned, bringing with it several wild horses, which the old man and his son locked inside their gate. This time the neighbours hurried over to congratulate the old man on his good fortune. `How do you know?’ asked the old man.

The next thing that happened was that his son tried to ride one of the wild horses but fell off and broke his leg. The neighbours were quick to tell the old man that this was a disastrous turn of events. `How do you know?’ asked the old man.

Soon after, the army came through, press-ganging young men into service to fight a battle far away. All the local young men were taken – except the old man’s son, because his leg was broken.

The old man had peace of mind. A deeper kind of reflection less attached to the things of the world opens the interiors of the mind. But fear and anger close them. Being too tied to what is going on around us makes it difficult to assess from our limited perspective whether an event is good or bad.

A young woman patient of Carl Gustav Jung’s was proving very difficult to help in therapy because she was keeping her personal feelings to herself only conversing on an intellectual level. She had had a dream in which someone had given her a golden scarab – a costly piece of jewellery.

While she was telling Jung about this dream, he heard something behind him gently tapping on the window. He turned round and saw that it was a large flying insect knocking against the window-pane in an apparent effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to him to be very strange. He opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle (Cetonia aurata) whose gold-green colour most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. He handed it to his patient with the words, “Here is your scarab.” This moving experience broke the ice of her intellectual resistance and we are told treatment continued with satisfactory results.

Carl Jung gives this as an example of what he calls `synchronicity’. This notion was his answer to the puzzle of why people sometimes experience meaningful coincidences in their lives that are inexplicable and apparently not due to what might be expected from chance. At first sight this sounds a bit like the magical beliefs of so-called primitive people for whom no accident, change in the weather or the health of the villagers is ever thought to be attributable to natural causes. Everything is somehow due to magical influence. Jung does not go this far.

Nevertheless, he does say that synchronicity is one of the things that influences our lives as well along with natural causes. It is relevant when we are trying to fathom our experience of any purposeful trends in our affairs. The synchronous experience is said to occur when two kinds of reality (i.e. the inner and outer) intersect.

I think we can be more specific regarding such experiences. Swedenborg writes that there is a divine providence that is quietly looking after our deepest needs. It hides itself but we might detect it when later we notice things working out for the best. Only later, if we reflect on what has happened to us, may we possibly comprehend that various separate strands of our life have been knit together.

For example, we might later appreciate how we have been nurtured deep down, how the mess and muddle we make of our own lives has been cleaned up, and how new and interesting paths for us to follow have been illuminated. I feel attracted to the idea that we experience peace of mind when we never allow ourselves to trust in our own intelligence but instead contentedly allow ourselves to be carried along in the `stream of divine providence’ making the best of our opportunities. For when self-orientation no longer rules our hearts, then we rise above our worries concerning the transient things of the world and instead come to rely on the things of divine spirit.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy