Money – What attitude to take to it?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Morocco is a country where a lot of people live on the bread line. It is common for a picture of the king and his wife to be hung in people’s homes and from some outsider’s viewpoint it would appear that the royal family is often idolized.  Yet, we cannot help noticing the way the rulers of this and some other Arab states like Qatar and Kuwait — not to mention Saudi Arabia — have been amassing money for themselves. Mohammed VI of Morocco has been said to amass a fortune of $2.5 bn from the phosphates found in the Western Sahara which account for half of world reserves. Other rulers have based their wealth on oil.  Are such rich people happy and contented with the opulence they can afford?

moneyDo we feel indignation or perhaps a secret envy towards them? What attitude should we take to money?

Dreaming of money

When one is hard up, buying a lottery ticket and thus dreaming of untold wealth has its attractions, even if in one’s heart of hearts one knows there is virtually no chance of winning. A bit of harmless fun. Or is having a pleasing fantasy any different from coming out all guns blazing to make money and lots of it?

It is widely thought that the current economic recession in the United Kingdom — at least in part — has been brought on by reckless bankers still enjoying bumper bonuses. It may be just ‘childish foot-stamping’ but these say they want to move abroad because of the 50% top rate of tax they are paying.  Money seems to be a more powerful lure for them than the attraction of living near family and friends and one’s own community let alone the notion of banking integrity. Perhaps this is why they were attracted to working in the financial industry in the first place.

One could ask provided one earns enough money for one’s basic needs, why should it bother one if another person happens to be earning more?

Money and social status

I, for one, feel uncomfortable where the private affluence of the few is flaunted in the publicly seen poverty of the many. Can this not be seen in the ostentation of the ‘nouveau riche’ compared with poorer housing, medical and educational facilities available in the public services?

On the other hand, arguably unless they had a profit motif where would our entrepreneurs come from; where would our start-up businesses develop?  Just how money orientated can one be without it amounting to grasping opportunism? For how many of us is the amount of wealth we have of more significance than the use to which it could be put or by what means it was acquired in the first place?

Love of money

You do tend to get a lack of human warmth where people are too busy making money to make themselves agreeable. How could such people accept the notion of heaven which is one of sharing and doing things for the sake of others? This could never be comprehended by those who love themselves more than others and who are greedy for gain.

Swedenborg describes a group of people who had died. They had expected the happiness of the heavenly paradise to consist of magnificence, splendour and boundless wealth. They were allowed to experience exactly what they had imagined heaven to be like until they were sick of it and begged to leave!

How much better if people were prepared to be untroubled by any lack of possessions. The tradition of those from isolated rural areas can be to restore their energies by spending time living simply without expensive modern conveniences close to nature and far from the maddening crowd.

Often people say that it is a fallacy that the way to happiness is the acquisition of more and more money. Money itself may be a good thing, but no wonder we remember that the love of money is said to be the root of all evil.

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

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

30th March 2011Categories Ethics, Private EthicsTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Spiritual Wisdom

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There is a universal spirituality which can be expressed in many ways. This site uses the insights of the mystic Emanuel Swedenborg to help explain the meaning of our lives.

These words of wisdom add to the ancient wisdom of the world and are in harmony with many spiritual insights of the new age.

Click on any of the rainbow headings to discover more exciting spiritual wisdom to help make sense of your life and to support your personal spiritual growth.

Click to review the key Spiritual Principles underlying the content of this site: Spiritual Principles

Happy life – Does this require affluence?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

happyWho wouldn’t be happy to have more money? To pay off the credit card or buy that needed furniture. Yet, the huge wealth of the ‘fat cats’ who run large companies in the UK has astonished us. By October 2011 the pay packages of directors of FTSE 100 companies had increased by 49% in a single year. The average figure had then become £2,697,644.

The total rewards of the chief executives of these companies were even higher. Forbes Magazine reported that the ratio of their income to that of the average UK employee rose from 45:1 in 1998 to 120:1 in 2010.

Some might wish them well in their good fortune. Who wouldn’t enjoy having a large yacht, a smart place to live, fast car, and no money worries?  But is it right to assume the happy life requires affluence? That having lots of money is the solution to common frustrations and stress?

Self-awarded rewards and the question of a happy life

In Britain politicians voting themselves high salary increases caused public disquiet. This soon turned to outrage when we discovered that many of them had been collaring small fortunes in expenses for themselves. All at a time when average living standards were being severely squeezed.

This desire for wealth is shown by a stitch up in the boardrooms as directors have awarded their own pay rises succumbing to the temptations of wealth.

We all thought that the shareholders own the company and determine who gets paid what. Also that the executives manage it to develop a more successful venture on a stable footing. But this seems to have changed. Companies have grown. Shareholders are now spread widely. Consequently, there has become a lack of external check on the pay of top managers.

happy‘The actual controllers of the company would cream off the profits into their own pockets, direct profitable business into other companies controlled by themselves, as well as award themselves magnificent salaries.’  (Ferdinand Mount, political commentator)

What has shocked us is the shameless way the top managers in numerous incidents have abused their power. They have taken more out of the company even when its performance has been at best mediocre. The same thing has happened in the large public bodies.

Pursuing an illusion of a happy life?

Grabbing huge pay rises, despite resulting social approbation, indicates a strong belief that wealth will make one happy. It is a common enough attitude. However, is seeking affluence actually the pursuit of an illusion? It would seem so. Study after study by psychologists has shown no association between wealth and happiness. The exceptions are where housing costs are a large proportion of income necessitating long working hours and cases of poverty when extra income does relieve hunger and suffering.

More startling still is research showing the pursuit of money is not only a mistake but also a dangerous one. Psychology professor Tim Kasser discovered that extremely rich people are not significantly happier than people on average income, and suffer from higher levels of depression.

Carolyn Gregoire, writing in The Huffington Post, quotes research that found that where both partners are materialistic, couples have a poorer quality of marital relationship. Also there are findings that students with higher materialistic values tend to have lower-quality relationships and feel less connected to others.

What then does lead to a happy life?

Researchers in positive psychology discovered that a real sense of personal well-being comes from good relationships, meaningful and challenging activities, and a sense of connection to something bigger than us – such as a religion, a political or social cause or a sense of mission.

All of us can hanker after money. According to transpersonal psychologist Steve Taylor, hardship does not drive the appetite for wealth and material goods. Instead, our inner discontent causes it. I would say a self-orientated inner state of mind creates this discontent. In other words what makes one happy is something non-materialistic- deep within one’s being.

Angelic state and the happy life

In his books, mystical writer Emanuel Swedenborg tries to put into words some of his limited experience of the happiness of what he terms an ‘angelic state’ of peace, contentment and joy. He says to be deeply happy involves several things.

  • A loving attitude towards other people. The highest form this takes is wanting to give what is one’s own to others.

Those who are moved by mutual love are constantly approaching the spring-time of their youth….. This process continues for ever, constantly bringing increases in joy and happiness.‘ (Emanuel Swedenborg)

  • Mindful involvement in the present moment. Neither being concerned about the past nor the future leads to happiness. In other words having genuine concern for someone draws us away from our bodily and worldly interests and lifts our mind to heaven and so we are pulled away from things that belong to time.
  • Freedom from feeling self-centered. Instead, of being led by one’s own wishes, happiness comes from identifying with one’s true Self. This means innocently trusting in something beyond one’s false self. It involves following thoughts in line with our image of what is supremely good. Swedenborg points out that this can only come from not falling for the illusion that one is separate and self-contained.

In line with this third point, I believe my good intentions and perceptive insights are not my own. Instead their spiritual Source inspires them into my heart and head..

Copyright 2017 Stephen Russell-Lacy Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on 22nd March 2017 Categories Latest post, Meaning of life, Other aspects of meaning Tags , , , , , ,

Fate – Can I Escape It?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

fateAfter the terrorist explosion at Maalbeek Metro station in Brussels in March 2016, one person said he was going to stop using the underground railway and walk to work instead. However, others think in terms of fate. ‘What is meant to be, will be’. ‘My time will come when it comes.’ Do you think that things will probably happen no matter what you do and that fate will catch up with you in the end?

Alternatively, can you escape fate? Can it be cheated?

If you believe in fate, then you might believe what will happen to you is already written in the stars.

In some cultures in the world there seems to be more of a tendency to believe in fate. Ahsan Ul Haq Kayani is a senior patrolling officer with the national highways police in Pakistan. He did some research in three cities there, interviewing professional drivers, police officers, and policy makers. It became clear that, across the board, fatalism about death extends to fatalism about risky driving. For example, one police officer said, “If a disaster has to come in your life, you cannot escape, no matter what you do – even if a driver follows safety measures.”

Consequences of believing in fate

In some places, tragically there are downtrodden people who are defeatist for understandable reasons. They live in dire poverty, and lack opportunities to better themselves. Their situation reminds me of the laboratory research on dogs by Martin Seligman in the 1960’s at the University of Pennsylvania. Whatever the dogs did to escape their cages, they were punished with an electric shock, and so they became passive and gave up trying. Likewise, if oppressed people were to try to escape their dreadful circumstances only to be continually defeated, then, like the laboratory dogs, it would not be surprising that they might learn to feel helpless and passively resign themselves to their fate.

Usually, however, for most of us only some things in life turn out badly – perhaps you fail your exams, your boss at work is overcritical, or you catch a dangerous bug.

If you were to blame fate for misfortune you would see the future as inevitable and might actually give up studying, stop trying to work well, or no longer live in a hygienic manner. Nevertheless, in so doing, would you not be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Bringing about the very things, you do not want?

Fate and religion

Since the time of active belief in Roman, Greek and other mythologies, fate has often been thought of as divinely inspired.

It seems difficult to think about a God who can be all-powerful but who does not actually control everything that is going on in the world.

The Pew Foundation in 2012 asked Muslims in twenty-three countries ranging from Bosnia to Indonesia, “Do you believe: in predestination or fate?” and found widespread fatalism.

Over the years, there have been deadly stampedes and other crowd disasters during the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Yet, each year thousands continue to make the journey. After a building crane fell into Mecca’s Grand Mosque in September 2015, killing 114 and injuring 394, the mosque’s Imam Abdul Rahman Al Sudais visited the injured and, as he met each one, told them, “This is the will of Allah.”

“Whatever man is or does and whatever happens to him is directly willed by Allah”(Raphael Patai, anthropologist referring to Muslim belief)

Many critics say that until the Saudi authorities do something the deaths are likely to continue. It seems to me they are using the excuse of fate for not taking responsibility.

We also find a similar idea of fate – what theologians call pre-destination – in some strands of Christianity.

Yet paradoxically, even when religion has this idea of fate, it is not thought to take away individual freedom to make personal choices. So, how could these two ideas – divine omnipotence and free will – be mutually compatible? Even today, this question is a matter of great study and interest.

Fate and free will

I think the teaching of Emanuel Swedenborg regarding the nature of God offers an answer. The all-powerful force behind the universe is said to so love us that we are allowed the freedom to think and be what we want. In other words, it is not in the divine nature of loving others to want to impose one’s will on them; but rather to permit us all to learn from our mistakes and freely choose our own character.

If there is freedom, things are not inevitable” (Emanuel Swedenborg)

I would suggest that if we did not have this inner freedom to choose, then we would be inhuman – mere robots – following our inbuilt software to obey the dictate of the engineer who designed us.

Swedenborg’s idea is that it is God’s priority is to work in a hidden way to provide us with what we deeply need for a peaceful and contented eternal life – wisdom, forgiveness, a kind generous heart etc. This happy fate is what God wants for all people. A lower priority is that we get what we physically need for pleasure during this temporary life on earth. Therefore, according to this doctrine, improvement to one’s inner life can only come when one freely chooses to respond positively to the divine leading.

If all this is true then it follows that the all-powerful God will not necessarily stop me being a victim of circumstances and human folly. But when evil things happen, it is not the will of God. God never wills bad things on anybody. Instead, God’s love wants us all to be inwardly happy.

My advice is do not be resigned to what you imagine is your earthly fate but trust in Divine Providence for your eventual destiny. Likewise, a common attitude seems to be that life is full of bad things and we just have to hope for the best and get on with it.

A person’s fate after death is determined by the kind of life he led in the world” (Emanuel Swedenborg)

Copyright 2016 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author Heart, Head & Hands

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on21st June 2016CategoriesMeaning of life, Other aspects of meaningTags, ,  Leave a comment

Father – is he uniquely important?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

fatherTraditionally, the father has been the bread-winner for the family. These days, however, many women have well-paid jobs in the professions and business. The two sexes are said to be equal, and the ‘new man’ as a father is supposed to reduce his time at work so as to be as actively involved as the mother – not just in domestic chores – but also in time spent with the children, and in thinking about their health and schooling.

Does the gender of the parents matter?

However in doing more of what mothers have traditionally done, some men are beginning to wonder if there is any unique role for a father that can be valued. As the mother goes out to work, the father is no longer the sole or sometimes even main family bread-winner.

A lead article in the Journal of Marriage and Family concludes “The gender of parents only matters in ways that don’t matter.” This assumes there is nothing that a father brings to the table of parenting that is not easily replicated by the mother. Is a father then not distinctly needed other than as an additional parent?

The father in animal studies

In fish, reptiles and in many species of mammals, there is seen little or no paternal role in caring for offspring. It is the females who must do all the work of caring for the young. For example a male bear leaves the female shortly after mating and will kill and sometimes eat any bear cub he comes across, even if the cub is his. Bear mothers spend much of their cubs’ early life protecting them from males. Domesticated dogs are not monogamous with their mates and show little interest in their pups.

On the other hand there are some animals where the fathers take a paternal caring role with their young. A male wolf helps feed, protect, and play with his pups and is the one who does most of the hunting for the young when the mother is securing the newborn pups. Most male waterfowl are very protective in raising their offspring, sharing scout duties with the female. Examples are geese, swans and gulls and a few species of duck. When the families of most of these waterfowls travel, they usually go in a line and the fathers are usually the ones guarding the offspring at the end of the line while the mothers lead the way.

In animal studies, whether the parents are monogamous seems to be a crucial factor in the involvement of the adult male in the young.

The love of a mother

In humans, from the child’s conception, the mother is the parent who nourishes the baby and forms the primary attachment which is continued as the infant grows and experiences her affectionate nurturing care. And so she is likely to be the major caregiver of the children, even if she herself is employed to a larger or smaller extent in the labour force. According to spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg, the love of children directly affects women because of the linkage of a deeper monogamous affection he called conjugial love with the female sex.

In recent years social science studies have been showing the benefits on children of healthy father-child relationships for example higher self-esteem, increased curiosity, greater empathy.

Why should this be the case? Is it because two parents are better than one? Or is it because each sex has something special to offer to child raising?

The mother is usually more affectionate and closer to children whereas the father tends to be more emotionally distant. Some men will drift and muddle through their home life, others make every effort to be a thoughtful and loving parent giving time for play, and keeping an eye on the child’s well being.

Swedenborgian view of gender

For Swedenborg the male mind is more prone to understanding and the female to feeling and thus a father  has a tendency to see things from a broader perspective. If there is something in this, then in so far as a father is interested in his children’s welfare, can he not offer a distinctive good sense? For example as a result of his male approach to life children may be more interested about the world around them and develop greater problem solving skills.

A father’s influence on the children may be indirect as often the mother has more contact with them. Nevertheless her loving care and way of dealing with the child may possibly be influenced after discussing common concerns with her partner and getting his views on wider issues.

Does a good father not also combine with his partner to contribute to the caring and moral atmosphere in the home? If so he is likely to want to explore and share good ideas of relevance to the child’s developing understanding. Arguably, in the fatherly role, a man can be instrumental in fostering ethical principles and ideas about the meaning of life that remain unconscious within the child as he or she developments into adulthood.

Copyright 2014 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on8th October 2014CategoriesMeaning of life, Other aspects of meaningTags, , , ,  Leave a comment

Share ideas – How to talk about beliefs.

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

It might be tempting to keep quiet about what you really believe or hide behind a book that gives your view rather than talking about it yourself; especially if you are afraid if you share ideas they might be discarded or even trampled on.

But don’t we each have some sort of responsibility for freely offering a word of wisdom freely received?

I would argue that it’s only when we share ideas and beliefs that we can build deeper relationship. But how many of us fail to do this, preferring to say the comfortable thing, and conform to what we assume is expected? Conversations that touch on important issues really give satisfaction; one soul has touched another.

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” (Rollo May)

Perhaps you are reticent to share ideas about your hopes, values and convictions. Do you  avoid any honest talk about politics and religion, or quickly pass over difficult subjects like the meaning of death or human suffering, or your personal aims in life. Is this because you have little to say or are unhappy about being your real self?

“There are some people who have the quality of richness and joy in them and they communicate it to everything they touch. It is first of all a physical quality; then it is a quality of the spirit.” (Tom Wolfe)

Here are some suggestions about how to share ideas.

1. Be clear about what you would want to say if you had the chance. One possible reason why you might sometimes gloss over matters, is you haven’t thought through your ideas; have not understood what is important to you about your beliefs; or are not yet clear about what ideas you want to share.

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” (Epictetus)

2. Find an appropriate person to speak with. You cannot expect to share ideas  about the local football team with someone who is bored by sport. Nor can you expect to talk about your spiritual beliefs with someone who is disinterested in the deeper aspects of life.

3. Even then you cannot just launch into a topic out of the blue. Only by listening carefully, will you be in a position to show the relevance of what you want to say to the other person, beginning where they are at. This means being sensitive and aware of the other person’s feelings.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others” (Tony Robbins)

4. I would advise not tackling a passionately held attitude head on. It will get you nowhere. Only by listening can you learn what switches someone off or where to tread carefully. One would walk warily around certain topics where the other person has strong feelings. Raising a certain topic like gay marriage, re-incarnation, vegetarianism, human suffering may feel like walking over broken eggs.

Instead try to share ideas by testifying to our own experiences and thoughts and their relevance to the person’s situation and practical issues.

5. Share ideas by offering your views for consideration rather than telling someone in an authoritative way what to think. This means asserting your thoughts without dominating; listening to the other person’s attitude even when they don’t oppose you.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” (Peter Drucker)

6. Wait for the right time to mention what you have in mind; looking for opportunities to steer the conversation towards the topic that interests you

7. Share ideas by keeping to the point.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” (Hans Hofmann)

8. Share ideas by using words in common parlance avoiding jargon or terminology with socially unacceptable connotations. When talking with someone you don’t know too well from a different background it is important to check out any misunderstanding of words with a specialised meaning that do crop up.

When it comes to deeper ideas, any language can be inadequate especially when you are trying to express the inexpressible. For example if you want to share your spiritual beliefs then be wary about the way the word ‘God’ is used. Some people have rightly rejected a distorted image of God. Nevertheless they may still have a feeling that there is an underlying divine source of what is good and true in life.

share ideas9. Use effective and socially acceptable non-verbal behaviour; for example the right tone and loudness of voice, eye-contact, body posture.

10. Only suggest an idea if it might lead to something useful for the other person. There is a chance that what you want to say is not needed by a particular individual.

11. Don’t assume listeners will agree that what is said is self-evident. Nothing can be more annoying than for someone to share ideas by telling us what to think as if they must be right. It sounds arrogant and dogmatic.

Better to say “This is my opinion; here is my experience and evidence; look for yourself and decide.”

12. Don’t voice your opinion as a way of winning an argument and getting the better of someone. People use their inner freedom to search for meaningful notions because they love what makes sense. We should encourage such people to exercise their freedom to rationally weigh up our beliefs. We cannot assume everyone we speak with is able to intuitively perceive the truth of what we say. After all we may be wrong.

13. Welcome questioning of what you say.

“A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.” (Marcel Proust)

Look upon a conversation as a two way process. You can learn from the other person and hopefully they can learn from you.

Swedenborg

Spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg wrote that we never achieve truth as it is in itself, but that all of our insights are only approximations to genuine truth, mere appearances of what is true adapted to human understanding. In communicating with people we need to accommodate our message to where each is coming from in terms of the appearances and illusions they have. And to share ideas with them we need to listen to what they have to say in terms of our own misapprehensions.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on13th August 2013CategoriesMeaning of life, Other aspects of meaningLeave a comment

Reincarnation – How plausible is it?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

reincarnationMore people in the West are becoming interested in the concept of reincarnation. They are attracted to the idea that the human spirit lives on beyond death. I suspect they have lost patience with two specific doctrines of traditional Christian religion.

Instead of reincarnation, final destiny according to actions in one life

The first of these is that one’s soul is judged to eternity on the basis of how one behaved in one’s short life on earth. Given the unequal range of hereditary and environmental influence, on the face of it, there seems to be too short a time in one life to provide sufficient opportunity for one’s destiny to be decided.

Instead of reincarnation, final destiny according to beliefs in one life

The second doctrine is that one can be judged as deserving eternal damnation because of lack of belief about Jesus Christ. It smacks of a God of condemnation rather than one of love. The first doctrine seems unjust and the second abhorrent.

Reincarnation as not a final judgment

In contrast, the Eastern religious idea of reincarnation is that the soul or spirit of a person returns to live in one or more new bodies, giving us more than one life-time to be purified of our weaknesses and failings.  It does seem more reasonable to suppose that a gradual improvement of the individual spirit takes place rather than a sudden change.

Swedenborg’s account of the spiritual world as an alternative to reincarnation

However, there is an alternative way of thinking to that of reincarnation that takes account of these problems. This is to do with Emanuel Swedenborg’s account of the spiritual world.

If you believe everything that is alive in the body belongs strictly to the soul (or spirit), then it follows that the spirit is the actual person. In line with this is the experience of Swedenborg that when a person’s body is separated from his spirit at death, he or she is still a person — still alive having a spirit body and retaining a complete personal memory.

This would mean the continuation of your personal identity in a spiritual world and thus no loss of your present personality in any new incarnations in the physical world. You wouldn’t have to keep repeating the whole process of childhood, teenage and adult mental and emotional growth.  Nor could you be blamed for any impairments or deformities as signs of past wrongdoing in a previous life which is a problem with the doctrine of reincarnation.

Swedenborg says he has psychically observed how individuals in the next life continue to spiritually develop; a growth that depends on the character they have formed on earth. This observation is in line with the idea of karma that what one does in this present life will have its effect in the next life: what we sow we will reap.

Retention of individuality

He indicates that after death spirit people retain their individuality and pass through stages something similar to what we might say are different kinds of psychotherapy. He claims this will involve you firstly in self-exploration: secondly in a stage where any attitudes, desires or habits of thought, that are out of line with your basic character, are removed: and thirdly in a situation where you will be able to learn more about spiritual life if you so wish. In other words, as long as you are genuinely sorry about your wrongdoings, these can be forgiven and set aside.

Phenomena apparently supporting reincarnation

One phenomenon, apparently supporting the conclusion that one has had a previous existence, is that of déjà vu – sometimes finding a place or person familiar although not actually previously seen and thus knowing what to expect. Another phenomenon that seems to support reincarnation is the memory of past life as revealed in regressive hypnosis.

My own view is we should try to distinguish between this evidence and its interpretation. I do believe these actually are evidence of past lives — but not the individual’s own past lives.

Swedenborg testifies from his psychic journeys that all spirits in the spirit world are men and women who once lived on our physical plane when they were in the body. I am persuaded by his experience that there is a psychic presence of these spirits of dead people with all of us on earth. It’s just that we cannot ordinarily see them.  I cannot see or hear them but I believe that their desires and thoughts come into my heart and mind; feelings and ideas that I mistakenly assume to be my own. Swedenborg says I am free to choose which one’s to ignore and which one’s to listen to and act on.

He writes that these spirits are normally not permitted to communicate from their own memories. However, for some reason, that admittedly is not clear to me, he says it does sometimes occur and, when it does the person recollects something he or she has never seen or heard.

So the explanation of the experience of past lives that I offer, is of an occasional overstepping of the boundaries by spirits associated with people leading them to believe they must have lived before.

Instead of thinking of reincarnation in terms of human souls reincarnating in new physical bodies, we could think of the Source of all life repeatedly reincarnating through each new created soul. We could also think of this Creative Source being reborn again and again within each person who is willing to receive the Divine inspiration during an eternal process of personal regeneration in this life continuing in a next world of spirit.

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

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

Posted on9th November 2011CategoriesMeaning of life, Other aspects of meaningTags, , , , , ,, , , ,, , , , , , ,, , , , , ,,  Leave a comment