Chapter V. Will and Understanding. – Another View.

THIS diagram presents the will as a distinct faculty above the understanding, or, in simultaneous order, within the understanding. The will is called the celestial faculty and sometimes the celestial kingdom, and the understanding the spiritual; love is celestial, truth is spiritual. The will in every man and angel answers to the celestial kingdom of heaven, the understanding to the spiritual kingdom. (Consult Diagrams IX, X, XII.)

Considering the will as the highest and inmost degree and the understanding as the middle, the spiritual body D will be the lowest or outmost degree of the spirit. The spiritual body, however, is not another faculty, but merely an ultimate of the will and the understanding, so organized that by it the will and the understanding may enjoy outward sensation and give expression corresponding with affection and thought. In this view the mind constitutes the whole spirit of man, and the spirit is but an internal and an external will and understanding.

And as the material body is merely an intellectual and voluntary organism superadded for lowest and outmost sensation, perception and expression, it must be included when we say that the whole man is but an organic form of will and understanding. (DLW 358 to 432.)

jesus said

jesus said; i have cast fire on the world, and see, i guard it until the world is afire… the truth has to appear only once in one single mind, for it to be impossible for anything ever to prevenByOGixJIMAA0ly0t it from spreading universally and setting everthing ablaze. a lie can travel halfway around the world, while the truth is putting on its shoes.. there is no greater drama in human record than the sight of a few christians, scorned and oppressed by a succession of emperors, bearing all trails with a fierce tenacity multiplying quietly, building order while there enemies generated chaos, fighting the sword with the word, brutality with hope, and at last defeating the strongest state that history has known, caesar and christ had met in the arena, and christ had won.

What was the mystical knowledge of Ancient Egypt?

meaning of mystical knowledgeThe Egyptian artist was never a literalist, but used symbols to represent inner concepts. He was free to combine human and animal parts, yet show the resulting image in a ‘seamless harmony’. A simple example of this is shown in Egyptian grammar. To write the single personal pronoun ‘I’ the writer would draw a human figure. But to express the reflexive ‘myself’, he would add a snake in front of the figure. The snake is a world-wide emblem which appears as something to be both feared and revered. Is this because it symbolises something of the deeper self, the roots of personality. If so, why?

The snake crawls along the whole length of its body. Its movements are sinuous, sensuous and so it can readily be seen to represent the lower levels of our experience, just as birds more fittingly represent higher levels of thought and detachment. Here are three examples from the Bible.

The cunning seducer in the Garden of Eden

This story (Genesis 3) is par excellence the moment which sets the serpent as enmity with mankind. Adam and Eve are thought to represent the innocence of mankind who lived in obedience. But the serpent begins to whisper that we can decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. This explanation means that Eve is not to be seen as the cause of ‘original sin’, but the feeling part of our nature. Our own desires are seduced by our senses into unwise behaviour. Eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil shows that people have decided what they themselves will call good or evil without reference to higher authority.

The staff of Moses becomes a serpent

Moses had been chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God gives him a sign and asks him to cast the staff in his hand on the ground. There it becomes a serpent and Moses runs away in terror. The useful, reliable staff in the hand of Moses, once he lets go of it, can have a life of its own! He is commanded to take hold of it, and it becomes the familiar staff again (Exodus 3 & 7).

One way of understanding the meaning of this is to say it shows the orderly function of the senses in our life. Whatever we first learn after birth we absorb entirely through our senses. Our mind opens out to absorb, to enjoy these sensations and to realise our identity through them. When the Egyptian royal crown was adorned by a raised cobra, it showed the benevolent aspect of knowledge and power (our staff) which we gain through our senses. Only when our senses get out of control do they become dangerous. They have assumed a life of their own.

The words of Jesus to his disciples

Jesus told his followers that they should be ‘as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.’ (Matt 19:16) These words can be understood to mean that the serpent in us is our strength, our protection, circumspection, our sensation of all things beautiful; and our healing touch. Within it lies the very experience of our selfhood and these sensations will grow purer and more refined when they are linked with the higher wisdom and the kingly power which exercises self-control through the innocence of a dove.

The Tet Pillar

mystical knowledge of Egypt
Tet Pillar

The exact meaning of this symbol is not known, but it has been called the emblem of stability.

The four horizontal planes leave three openings and, if we look for other parallels, we are reminded of the three storeys in Noah’s Ark, and the three defined areas in the Tabernacle. Swedenborg tells us that these universally used patterns reveal that the human mind exists on three levels.

1. As we have seen, our life begins on the level of the senses. This enables us to develop our memory and from that we can accumulate knowledge.

2. When we have sufficient knowledge, then our thoughts can begin to be formed. Thought is quite a different function from memory!

3. The highest degree is the ability of judgment and reason.

These are the three separate storeys of the mind. In the truly mature individual the higher levels control the lower ones. The Tet pillar can be seen as a reassuring symbol of such stability.

The Magic Eye

meaning of mystical knowledgeOne of the marvels of the hieroglyphs is their stylised simplicity which nevertheless has strength and impact. The eye symbol really looks at you in a penetrating way. It is the all-seeing eye of God from whom nothing is hidden. In ancient Egypt it was known as Utchat.

The Psalmist says, “He who formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalm 94,9) If the eye of the all-seeing Providence is looking, then there can be no lack of purpose in a person’s life. Whilst the cynic may see in the Utchat mere superstition, the spiritually minded person knows that it is a representation of the reality of the Divine in human life.

The insight is that the human spirit is not separated from the body. They are in correspondence with each other. This why the knowledge of symbols is of practical value for all of us today. Those who deny the life of the spirit within themselves will naturally see no sense in this mystical knowledge, because it does not connect up with their own ‘reality’. It is like showing a musical score to a profoundly deaf person, or like describing colours to the blind. But as Helen Keller remarked, “None are as blind as those who will not see — those who shut the eyes to the spiritual vision.”

Based on material by Christopher Hasler first published by the Swedenborg Movement.

Three Levels of Life in Every Individual – According to Emanuel Swedenborg

ISwedenborgn Emanuel Swedenborg’s book, Heaven and Hell, at marker 468 [2], he talks about three levels of life, he writes;

“Our rational ability is opened at the first level by means of civic truths, at the second by moral truths, and at the third level by spiritual truths.”

He goes on to say, that knowing the truths is not enough, you must live them. Not only live them, but spiritually love them.

Civic Truths – Love what is fair and equitable.

Moral Truths – Love what is honest and upright.

Spiritual Truths – Love what is good and true in regard to heaven and the church.

Swedenborg extols us to not love them because they make us feel better or superior to our fellowtruth humans, but because of our affection for the truths. Truths that become part of our conscience, embedded in us so we may retain these feelings in subsequent lives and build upon them.

The New Jerusalem And Its Metaphysical Light

 

I have been maintaining through my various posts that Sacred Scripture contains a quantum vocabulary within the literal meaning of its narratives. As further evidence, I offer you the following “strange” verse concerning the Holy City, the New Jerusalem:

And the city hath no need of the sun and of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb. (Rev. 21:23)

Scripture then goes on to say “And the nations which are saved will walk in the light of it,” (21:24) also that, “the gates of it shall not be shut by day, for there shall be no night there” (21:25).

The above passage makes no sense when considered from the merely natural or material comprehension of the human habitual mind. We have a situation here where there will be no physical light source yet the Holy City will never be in darkness. How can this be? How would one improve his or her navigational skills in a busy urban setting without the electromagnetic influence of the sun’s rays?

On reflection, we can easily ascertain for ourselves that we can avoid obstacles and problems not just by ocular vision but also from the mind’s ability (the mind’s eye) to visualize certain unfavorable outcomes. Eyesight lets us see physical objects but understanding lets us “see” concepts and evaluate them.

The human understanding does not need physical light to operate. It is this inner and deeper capacity of seeing things within the human mind that God’s Revelation is directed at. All enlightenment deals with matters of truth. God’s Truth is metaphysical light. This is why the Lord makes two appearances. First He appears in natural light and in a physical body, then, He appears in metaphysical light, by opening our understanding to the deeper levels of truth within Scripture. This new spiritual light will shine through from the Lord’s Word as we begin to recognize the deeper, quantum vocabulary of its narratives.

This quantum vocabulary provides the answer to the strange idea that the New Jerusalem will not need a sun or moon yet it will never be in darkness. Understood from its elevated meaning, the Holy City is the Lord’s new “construction” project within our inner being.

The New Jerusalem represents a new spiritual doctrine, which will take the shape of a new “cosmopolitan” framework and dwelling place in the human psyche and spirit. This doctrine will replace the current fabricated dogma about the destruction of the physical world and its eschatological replacement. The Second Coming is a paradigm shift that is to take place in the human heart and mind. This is how the Lord will make “all things anew.”

Would you agree that a powerful inner change could change how you view everything in the physical universe?

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john 16 the spirit of truth

John Cinspiring-4196hapter 16 the  literal sence of the word and  internal sence

                                        

  1. But I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.
  2. And when he is come, he will reprove the world about sin, and about justice, and about judgement.
For truth, in its external manifestation, must apparently be taken away, to the intent that it may be received again internally, and by such internal manifestation may remove from man the powers of evil and error, and establish in him the heavenly powers of good and truth, vs 7, 8.
  1. About sin indeed, because they believe not in me.
  2. But about justice, because I go away to my father, and you see me no more.
  3. But about judgement, because the prince of this world is judged.
All which evil and error result from the non-acknowledgement of the lord’s divine humanity, whilst the glorification of this humanity, together with the subjugation of the powers of darkness, constitute the all of good and of truth, vs 9, 10, 11.
  1. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
  2. But when he shall come, the Spirit of Truth, he will lead you into all truth; for he will not speak of himself, but whatever things he shall hear, [those] he will speak; and he will announce to you things to come.
Therefore a limit is set to the instruction of truth externally, but not to the reception of truth internally, because internal truth is in connection with divine good and truth, and thus leads man to depend on the lord in all states of life, vs 12, 13.
  1. He will glorify me for he shall receive of mine, and shall announce it to you.
  2. All things whatever the father has, are mine; therefore said I that he shall receive of mine, and shall announce to you.
  3. A little while, and you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall behold me, because I go away to the father.

26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the    father, the Spirit ofTruth, which proceeds from the father, he will testify of me.
27 And you also shall testify, because you are with me from the beginning.

For internal truth is the operation of the lord’s divine humanity, and thus the medium of communication with the divine truth in its union with the divine good, and therefore it succeeds the external manifestation of truth, vs 14, 15, 16.
Nevertheless the operation of the lord’s humanity, when fully united with the divinity, will prove to every believer that he is the only god by virtue of that union, and every true believer will also confirm this testimony, because he will perceive that all of regeneration from the first insemination of truth, is from that divine source, vs 26, 27

Misfortune – Why does everything go wrong?

misfortuneMost people suffer at least one misfortune during a lifetime, but if you have been experiencing a series of things going wrong, — for example losing your career, partner, home, and social standing — then perhaps you should be asking if there is something going on here you really need to know more about?

No surprise then that you feel depressed. People who know you as a caring sensitive soul, feel there is no justice in life. Just how unlucky can one get?

Margaret’s story

Margaret was pleasant company and considerate. She had been brought up by strict parents who were somewhat critical and slow to give praise. Lacking self-confidence at school she tended to give in to the demands of others. She wanted to go into nursing but her father pressurised her into taking a job in administration at a large company. There she was conscientious and hardworking and not wasting her income: but still longed for a caring role with people.

Rather than looking around properly for the right man to share her life, she settled rather too soon on Adam. Although he was very polite and well turned out, he did like to get his own way. He sponged off her for money for betting even before their marriage. Adam wanted her to be at their home looking after him and their children. Two babies came along in quick succession before she was ready to decide about her career.

Later, Adam became an increasingly frequent gambler who wasted their money. He eventually became bankrupt in business and left her and the children to fend for themselves saying he could no  longer afford to contribute to the family. Even after they were separated, she gave him some of what little money she had managed to scrape by over the years to help pay his debts. By the end of their relationship she was penniless, tired and depressed, and no place to call her own.

Understanding Margaret’s misfortune

Why on earth did Margaret get involved with Adam in the first place? Surely it was obvious that this person was taking her for a ride. But of course it wasn’t always obvious to her.

Like many people with a poor view of themselves, Margaret was inclined to act as if she did not matter much; rarely asking for favours, or venturing to voice her opinions. Whilst sensitive to how others felt, she was blind to her own emotional needs. She allowed father, husband and others to influence her unduly. As a result she didn’t make wise decisions about important aspects of their own life. I think the roots of Margaret’s continued misfortune lay within herself.

“Misfortunes one can endure–they come from outside, they are accidents. But to suffer for one’s own faults–ah!–there is the sting of life.”
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

We might wonder if at the root of Margaret might be an unease about being alone, a  suspicion she might be unworthy of devotion, and an anxiety about being ignored?

Vulnerability to misfortune

I do wonder if Margaret typifies a certain type of person who is more likely to be a loser. I am suggesting that people at risk of multiple misfortune have her three traits:

1.      Unassertiveness,

2.      Low self-esteem,

3.      Sensitivity.

How the first of these causes things to go wrong is perhaps more easily seen: if you fail to stand up for yourself don’t be surprised if someone sooner or later takes advantage to your lasting cost.

But what of the other two traits?

Some one with low esteem reminds me of the joke about the guy who noticed an exclusive social club with many desirable features. When he had a chance to join, he turned it down saying that he wouldn’t want to join a club that would be prepared have him as a member! But feeling a low sense of worth is no laughing matter — it takes away self-confidence and is associated with depression.

Sensitivity to another person’s feelings can almost be experiencing such feelings as one’s own. Sure, since Carl Rogers championed empathy in counsellors, we have seen this as a desirable quality. But can’t it have its down side? Like when you so feel for somebody’s problems that you take them on as your own.

Need for truth and love

I’m not saying all suffering and misfortune is the fault of the sufferer. Far from it. But sometimes you can play a part in your own downfall. Breaking unfortunate patterns requires much reflection and resolve.

Once you bring the ways you inwardly think out into the open, you can examine them in the light of day and challenge them if unrealistic or self-defeating, and look to making some real changes in your behaviour.

There is a mistake in assuming your own opinions are less important than that of others. Only you can judge what is right for you but this does mean making a correct assessment based on inner rather external considerations.

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
(John 7:24)

This is where truth and love come in. Acknowledging the truth about one’s mistakes is surely the first step to better fortune.

Like seeing the error of running yourself down or of neglecting your own needs. How can you expect to be able to love others until you can first care for yourself?

“I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.” (Charles Dickens)

Yes I feel the way to avoid a string of misfortune is to recognise the mistakes one can make in life and do something about it.

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