We are conscious of our own sensations, thoughts and feelings. We each have the sense of being a self-contained individual. What makes each of us unique? Our name? Our genes? Our environment? Or the person we have become as we inwardly determine every moment of our lives?
When we live a self-orientated life, we feel separate from others to some degree or other and lack any wider view on what life is all about. However we are all capable of noticing, within our soul, the divine spark of what is deeply human, revealed to us in e.g. music, books, dreams or conversation. In this way our hearts can be stirred to want what is good. As we choose to do what is helpful for the sake of others and not just for self, we begin to find a sense of fulfilment.
Whilst alive in the world our inmost thoughts and feelings are part of a flow of life linked from one person to another. Emanuel Swedenborg found that after our death, we become much more aware of this shared world of the spirit, as we mix with others with whom we are in harmony.
All good people whatever their race, education and background are united because there is an infinite creative force for all that is humane in the world. This is the underlying divinity of love which integrates together all who receive this inspiration.
Although having different skills, understanding and interests, we can join together in a common purpose. Each religious tradition has its part to play in one universal faith. This idea is similar to the way different components of the human body fit together to form a whole healthy body. Each part depends on the others as long as they are not diseased, for the whole to function properly.
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”