Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations


This is Volume 3

A Man of the Field

Forming The New Church Mind In Today’s World

 

Volume 3: Regeneration

Spiritual Disciplines For Daily Life

 

 

Volume 1: Reformation

The Struggle Against Nonduality

 

Volume 2: Enlightenment

The Spiritual Sense of the Writings

 

Volume 4: Uses

The New Church Mind In Old Age

 

 

By Leon James

October 2002

(draft 18)

 

Author information appears at the end. This document is in the process of being revised. Please note the draft version marked on top. To print this document, see Printing Note at the end.

 

A “field” means doctrine (AC 368)

A "man" signifies faith and truth (AC 427; 4823)

 

Volume 3: Regeneration

Spiritual Disciplines For Daily Life

 

Table of Contents

 

Access other Chapters and Volumes here:

Preface to Volume 3

DEDICATION

Chapter 1

Self-Witnessing Your Life

1. Introduction: The Spiritual Dimension Within The Natural

1. The Inherited Self Vs. The Innate Idea Of God

2. What Is Being Regenerated? – The Proprium

3. No Yoga In The Church Hall?

4. How The Spiritual Can Be Approached

5. Regeneration Requires Rational Consciousness

6. The Two Phases Of Regeneration

7. Turning A Moral Discipline Into Spiritual

8. If I’m A Good Man, Why Do I Need To Be Regenerated?

9. The Physical Body Hides The Spiritual Devil Within

10. Spiritual Insanity Chains Us To Hell

11. Spiritual Sanity Is To Return To God And To The Word

12. Macro-Behaviors Are Regenerated By Means Of Micro-Behaviors

13. Self-Witnessing Our Micro-Behaviors

14. Overlap Between The Mind And The Spiritual World

15. The Mind And The Brain

16. Metanoid Self-Witnessing

17. Enlightenment From The Letter Of The Writings

18. Regeneration Disciplines Are Spiritual

19. Innumerable Things In Every Evil

20. Relationship Between Interior Evils And Exterior

21. Do We Need To Confess Our Sins?

22. Without Self-Monitoring Our Evils They Cannot Be Removed

2. Snatching Things From Sudden Memory

1. What Makes Our Life Moments Spiritual

2. The Most Ancients Prior To The Split-Brain Evolution

3. Self-Witnessing Sudden Memory As A Spiritual Discipline

4. Filled With Blasphemous Thoughts And Curiosities

5. The Natural Mind Must Be Compelled To Realign Itself

3. Conscience And Temptations Are The Methods Of Regeneration

1. Creating More And More Angels

2. External And Internal Methods Of Cooperation

4.The remains of good and truth in the afterlife

5.The Regeneration Of The Threefold Self: Willing, Thinking, And Acting Out

1. Self-Examination: Monitoring The Threefold Self

2. Keeping Track Of The Motives We Have

3. The Agony And Ecstasy Of Regeneration

4. Head In Heaven, Feet In Hell

5. Seeing The Ugly Scary Proprium

6. Regeneration Is By Spiritual-Rational Correspondences

7. Teachings Regarding Doctrine And The Spiritual Sense

Chapter 2

The Doctrine of the Wife

1. Introduction: Subduing The External Man

1. Discounting Our Wife’s Opinion Relative To Our Own

2. The Doctrine of the Wife

1. A Philosophy Of Action Or Spiritual Discipline

2. Men’s Resistance To Conjugial Love

3. Conjugial Commandments In The Writings

4. Commitment To Conjugial Unity

5. The Four-Step Conjoining Process

6. Leon’s Story

7. The Husband’s Spiritual Dependence On The Wife

3. The Unregenerate Husband

1. The Appearance Of Eve

2. External Reformation Vs. Internal Regeneration

3. Leave Mother and Father And Cleave To The Wife

4. Becoming An Interior Man

5. Proving The Doctrine of the Wife and Rule 1

6. External And Internal Marriage

7. Heresies Regarding The Husband's Wisdom

8. Feminine Love Within Which Is Masculine Wisdom

9. The Role Of The Wife In The Husband's Wisdom

10. Inventory Of Confessions For Husbands

11. Six-Step Process For Removing Our Evils

12. The Marriage Of Good And Truth

13. Shunning Sins, Doing Good, And Performing Uses

14. To Detest Evils And Sins

4. The surrendered wife vs. the surrendered husband

1. The Surrendered Husband is The Ideal Elevated Man

2. The Self-Entrapment of Male Intelligence

3. Who Is Going To Do The Bills?

4. The Spiritual Physiology Of Marriage

5. Her Heaven, Not His

6. Divine Truth Within Which Is Divine Love

7. Is The Surrendered Husband Feminized?

8. The Conjoint Mind Is Both Masculine And Feminine

5. Rule 1: The Regeneration Discipline Of Acting From The Wife

1. Achieving Internal Union

2. I’m Commanded To Not Disagree With Her

6. Giving Up Male Prerogatives As Contrary To Conjugial Unity

7. The Equity Model Versus The Unity Model Of Marriage

8. The Spiritual Discipline Of Sweetheart Rituals

1. Sweethearts Spend All Their Time Together

2. The Commandment Of Conjugial Simulation

9. Conjugial Intimacy Disciplines

10. Overcoming Threats To Sweetheart Rituals

11. How To Avoid Turning Cold Against The Wife

1. The Fallacy That Men Want Sex More Than Women

12. Spiritual Psychobiology Of The Conjoint Self

1. Conjugial Husbands Are Loyal To The Wife

13. The Regeneration Discipline Of Conjugial Massage

1. Sensorimotor Memory

2. The Sensuous Mind Turns Itself Away From The Rational

3. Creation Of The Natural-Rational Mind

4. The Weekly Massage Routine

5. The Masculine And Feminine Mind

14. The Regeneration Discipline of Heaven On Wheels

1. Becoming A Reformed Driver

2. Meeting My Master

3. What Is Repentance

4. Driving Like The Lord Is My Passenger

5. The Conjugial Discipline Of Partnership Driving

15. The spiritual discipline of shopping together

15. Wife takes precedence over the children

1. The Parenting Relationship Is Temporary And External

2. Moses, Paul, And Swedenborg Phases Of Marriage

3. Blood-Love For Children Is Spiritually Hurtful

16. The spiritual discipline of metanoid television watching

1. Teaching The Metanoid Self-Witnessing Technique

17. Summary of anti-absorption techniques

Chapter 3

Additional Regeneration Disciplines

1. Kitchen Disciplines

2. Laundry And Housecleaning Disciplines

3. Daily Disciplines Of Studying The Writings

4. Monitoring What’s In My Mind

5. Monitoring What’s On My Face

6. Monitoring What Are My Eyes Doing

7. Holding In Your Stomach

8. Conjugial Grooming Rituals

9. The Discipline Of Junk E-Mail

10. How To Handle Junk Phone Calls

11. The Spiritual Discipline Of Eating Half-Portions

12. Arrival And Departure Rituals With The Wife

13. The Spiritual Discipline Of Colon Cleansing

14. Acknowledging The Lord’s Co-Presence

15. Talking To The Lord Is To Apply The Letter To The Letter

16. Rational Consciousness Of The Lord Now Conjoins

17. Rational Consciousness From Applying The Letter To The Letter

18. So Far As The Lord Is Present, So Far He Speaks With The Man

19. Cleanliness And Health Disciplines

20. Not Detachment, But Right Attachments

21. Self-worth, Self-esteem, Self-efficacy

22. Remains Are The Cornerstone of Self-worth

23. Shunning The Rage-Depression Spin Cycle

Volume 4

A Kingdom Of Uses: The Innocence of Old Age

Preface to Volume 1

1. The Writings Are A Divine Scientific Revelation

2. The Writings Are The Lord’s Second Coming

3. Heaven Is Created From Rational Love

4. A Divine Revelation That Surpasses All Others

5. Swedenborg’s Scientific Experiments In The Spiritual World

6. Swedenborg’s Dual Citizenship—Natural And Spiritual

7. This Book Is About Regeneration

End Notes and References

 


 

Access other Chapters and Volumes here:

 

 www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html

 

Every spiritual truth in the Writings
is a Divine Commandment

 

Preface to Volume 3

 

You may want to read the Preface to Volume 1 and Volume 2 along with this. See Table of Contents for the location of the Preface to Volume 1.

 

This Volume is called Regeneration. Volume 1 is called Reformation, and Volume 2, Enlightenment. These three represent the three steps that the New Church mind lives through in order to mature in old age into the innocence of wisdom. Thus prepared, our mind is celestial and can enter heaven. It is not until then that we are fully human. We begin Reformation sometime in adult life, early or late with a variety, when we begin worshipping the Letter of the Writings as the Lord Himself in the Word of His Second Coming. This acknowledgement, when sincere, is always passionate and exciting. It is the feeling that we have at last found the vision and consciousness we had been searching for. It replaces everything that was there before. It is all consuming, all pervasive, a new birth. What an amazing difference it makes to pick up a book of Swedenborg and read it, versus to pick up the Word of God through which the Lord Himself speaks to our mind. This new vision, enthusiasm, passion, and content leads immediately to reformation, for how can we mean it and still think as before?

 

When we read the Writings as a Divine Scientific Revelation we are undergoing reformation. It can take just a few months, or longer, depending on how intense our study of the Writings is. For my part, I could not read anything else since I started reading the Writings. Whenever I read other books I soon begin to feel that I’m wasting my time, and with relief and joy, I reach for a book of the Writings. I make sure that I’m always surrounded by the Sacred Volumes. It is with joy and interest that we take up the truths, the new information, the new science, the new insights, the new concepts and the new reasoning from them. We become erudite and intelligent and rational in our ability to think, to distinguish, to trace, analyze, evaluate. With our rational-mind formed from the Writings we complete our reformation, a new man, looking in everything towards heaven, instructed by the Lord Himself, walking out into life with new powers to wage war against our inherited character or proprium.

 

The truths of the Letter of the Writings give us this new power. Volume 2 explains the process by which we are enlightened from the Lord when we apply these truths to our daily willing and thinking, hour by hour, minute by minute, and second by second. The Writings gives us a scientific understanding of regeneration. It is a process of rewiring millions of bundles of fibers in our inherited will. These spiritual fibers have grown and matured into degenerate organs that coil in the opposite direction of the heavenly will. Consequently our will is a receptor of evil affections from hell and we have these affections in us. They make our life, and were the Lord to remove them, we would have no life left. Hence regeneration is the gradual process of replacing these degenerate fibers, one by one, and replacing it with a heavenly affection that coils in the heavenly direction. This new will then becomes a receptor for heavenly affections, and it is being regenerated or purified more and more. As the heavenly affections are instilled, the Lord removes the infernal ones. In this way we do not feel that we are losing life, but gaining it. Our new affections are far superior to the old, giving us new perceptions and understandings, new powers to act and execute.

 

To be enlightened is to acquire the spiritual consciousness or conscious awareness of spiritual-rational correspondences. These are appearances of Divine Truth accommodated to the individual’s intellect by discrete degrees. Volume 2 explains how we can extract a spiritual sense from the Letter of the Writings. This spiritual sense cannot be described in natural language except by means of correspondences. In the initial phases of reformation, the New Church mind sees the literal meaning as the spiritual sense when it is deepened by comparisons and outlined rationally in our mind. But when enlightenment is given, we begin to see that these expert knowledge systems we develop for ourselves, are not the spiritual sense.

 

To see the spiritual sense we need to look at the literal expressions as natural-rational correspondences. Once this is acknowledged, we are prepared for enlightenment. This happens the moment we apply some doctrine or principle to our willing and thinking. We are then enlightened as to this one thing we were applying. It may not seem much at first, but the new perception of this one thing is so powerful, so real, that it is enough to be proof that we are capable of spiritual consciousness in the physical body. Applying the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings to the stream of willing and thinking, has a built in mechanism of enlightenment. The Lord enlightens every time this is done by anyone. Thus it functions as a new psycho-physiological mechanism for the human race. Hence we may call it a scientific mechanism, knowing as always, that every mechanism is maintained in place by the Lord on a continuous basis by influx of good from within.

 

Enlightenment of this or that truth builds and cumulates so that it becomes a permanent background to our personality.

 

Rational consciousness is the method the Lord has provided for the new human race to be conjoined with Him. He has now revealed Himself as the Divine Human within whom there is the Divine Rational. Henceforth the new celestial mind of the human race is to dwell in new heavens built out of these new rational truths. Our enlightenment continues to grow in regeneration. It is a gradual process of using higher correspondences as the basis of our thinking, as explained in Volume 2.

 

But regeneration is not an automatic process. Nor is it easy. It is a commandment of the Letter that we cooperate with the Lord in the process of His removing the degenerate fibers in the will. He cannot create new heavenly fibers without us letting go of the old infernal fibers. It cannot be done like the weight control surgery popular today, of mechanical suction or aspiration of the surface layers of fat under the skin. Regeneration is more like a heart transplant. The new heart has to fit the genius and life of the old individual, or else it cannot survive. The new heavenly affections that the Lord implants must be loved, or else we feel that we don’t have our life back. But they cannot be loved without first detesting or rejecting those in place now, to which we are committed and by which we are delighted.

 

This is where the hard part comes in: How do you learn to hate what you love?

 

This difficult struggle is regeneration. This Volume is about regeneration disciplines for husbands. A discipline is a method of procedure we use when the outcome is of great importance to us. Nothing is more important to us than regeneration, for it is the only path available to salvation and heaven. First it is necessary to focus on the Letter of the Writings from a perspective of enlightenment, as explained in Volume 2. This builds up the Spiritual Doctrine in our understanding. The level of thinking by which we operate when thinking about the Spiritual Doctrine is called interior-natural, or spiritual-natural. This is effective in proportion to our gradually increasing enlightenment. This basis of thinking is called spiritual-rational correspondences and is a discrete degree above the Letter of natural-rational correspondences.

 

Physiologically, natural-rational correspondences operate in the upper portion of the natural mind, but spiritual-rational correspondences operate in the interior-natural mind, which is within the natural-rational mind. This is why thinking with spiritual-rational correspondences is called enlightenment while thinking in natural-rational correspondences is not.

 

It is the Spiritual Doctrine we need in our mind to lead us through regeneration. The angels are doing the leading and we must understand them in a spiritual-rational way, not merely in a natural-rational way. When we understand the angels’ leading us at the level of natural-rational correspondences we are not yet being regenerated because we are not yet willing to look upon the evil delights we are to give up. Spiritual-rational correspondences in our thinking are for more powerful in fighting against the evil delights we want to hang on to. We need interior spiritual truths to be able to fight interior spiritual evils. There is always a balance between heavenly and infernal loves. The highest heaven must have the lowest hell, the lowest heaven must have the highest hell. There is an exact correspondence so that one supports the other. The formation of the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind is a Divine operation, as explained in Volume 2.

 

Without regeneration disciplines can we cooperate with the Lord?

 

I give many illustrations from my own regeneration journey. It’s obvious after studying regeneration that it is a general process of spiritual biology. It has to do with willing and thinking moment by moment. This is our human life. Without it we are no longer human. We never go to hell for the sins we’ve inherited, nor even for the sins we’ve committed. We only go to hell for the sins we are committing in the world of spirits. In the afterlife, we bring with us a psychological disposition that defines our preferred relationship styles with others. All our preferences in the spirit-body now become intense loves that cannot be resisted.

 

We are then at the complete mercy of our preferences, loves, affections, delights, motives.

 

This is why regeneration is so crucial. It is the only biological process available for getting rid of the infernal affections, replacing them at the same time with heavenly affections.

 

This must be done while we still are tied to the physical body. It cannot be done after we wake up in our spirit-body.

 

Since we express a preference or delight, moment by moment, every day in our willing and thinking, you can see that there are thousands of individual distinct items of willing and thinking chained together as an act or decision. There is no time to waste if we are seriously engaged in cooperating with the Lord regarding our regeneration. We are not going to be regenerated by floundering or relaxing or going slower or using any of the many tactics men use to oppose their regeneration. This is a serious matter of life and death, of eternal misery versus eternal conjugial bliss. Nothing can be more important!

 

You will see that I emphasize the wife’s role in the regeneration of the husband. The regeneration discipline of the Doctrine of the Wife presented here is that the husband needs to learn to love to act from his wife’s will, more than he loves to act from his own will. I have discovered the great efficacy of this spiritual method.

 

There is no area of life that does not need to be regenerated. The illustrations I present are only points on a map. The map is your ego. It is the ego that needs to be regenerated. And the ego starts with being the all in all in our self. Thus, the ego must be dethroned and the Writings enthroned as a Divine King. This is done my the daily study of the Writings and applying it to life.

 

 


 

DEDICATION

 

 

 

 

To my wife

 

It is her internal wisdom that led me to write this book as-of myself. She brought into our marriage the conjugial love she has in her from the Lord, inborn from nativity

 

 

An inclination to love one of the opposite sex, and with it a capacity for receiving that love, has been implanted in Christians from birth, for the reason that this love comes from the Lord alone

(CL 466).

 

Wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands … But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives (CL 216)

 

The intelligence of women is by nature modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft and gentle, while the intelligence of men is by nature critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and given to intemperance.  Evidence that this is the nature of women and the nature of men is clearly apparent from the body, face, tone of voice, speech, bearing and behavior of each sex.

(…)

From this I could clearly see that a man is born a form of the intellect, and a woman a form of love.  I could also see what the nature of the intellect is and what the nature of love is in their beginnings, and thus what a man's intellect in its development would be like without conjunction with feminine love and eventually conjugial love.

(CL 218)

 

 


 

The man of the field is the living husband

 

Chapter 1

Self-Witnessing Your Life

 

A person's mind is his spirit, or the surviving personality which lives on after leaving the material body. (TCR 816)

 

A man who examines himself for the purpose of practicing repentance, should explore his thoughts, and the intentions of his will; and there he ought to examine what he would do, if he were at liberty; that is, if he were not afraid of the laws, and the loss of reputation, honor, and gain. A man's evils are in his thoughts and intentions; and the evils which he does with the body are all from thence. Those persons who do not explore the evils of their thoughts and of their will cannot practice repentance; for afterwards they think and will just as they did before; and yet willing evils means doing them. This is meant by self-examination. (NJHD 164)

 

Chapter 1, Section 1

 

1. Introduction: The Spiritual Dimension Within The Natural

 

Today on the car radio on my way home, I heard an interview with a famous lawyer known to millions from his TV appearances, books, and the famous cases he had successfully pleaded. At one point he was asked to give his definition of what is “right.” He said that would be a very difficult thing to define, that it would be impossible for him to do so, since he didn’t know what is right. He said the world knows what’s wrong, what’s evil, when we see it, like the Nazis and what they did. But no one knows what is right, he said. Who is going to decide what is right? “No one to my knowledge,” he said has ever heard God say to them what is right. I do not believe that for a moment. A human being is always looking to know what is right, and the answer evolves. Anyone who says that he knows what is right, I feel sorry for him, because he has lost one of the chief reasons we are human, which is to look for what is right, but never actually find it, though his understanding of it gets better.”

 

This is an approximate rendition, as I can recall it. You can see that this philosophy of what is right, is a nonduality because it denies the absolute duality between human beings and God. Those who accept this duality, know what is right because God reveals it to them in the Word or in teachings based on the Word, and in their conscience—for the idea or concept of God’s existence is “inscribed” on the mind of every human being, and along with it, an innate cognitive ability to distinguish between good and evil, and consequently between right and wrong (xx). This famous lawyer no doubt had both, besides being literate in history and literature, having written book and articles on this subject. He also has a conscience by which he could know that there is God (xx). He thus had to work actively to neutralize and eliminate these sources of knowledge of God and what is right in a Divine absolute sense.

 

Note how we all accomplish the same thing while we are in our unregenerate state. Prior to our conscious free choice of reformation in adulthood, the New Church mind-to-be is equal to everyone else regardless of religion, race, or education.

 

The idea of God that everyone has through conscience from within, is something we own. It feels like our own idea because it comes to every human being from within (xx). We already know it as children when we first hear the idea of God from an adult or a TV show. Children instantly accept it, acting as if they already knew about God. They may have questions about God, but not ignorance of Him. This “implanted” idea of God (xx) is necessary to guarantee that no human being under any circumstance of time and place, will have the free choice of living life in accordance with God’s wishes or in accordance with the wishes of the self. This is the fundamental innate absolute duality of human life upon which every right and rational idea is based. It therefore enters into every concept of right living, regeneration, and heaven. It is the only means of salvation the Lord has provided for the human race. The result of every individual’s choice in this fundamental duality is the final outcome of their destiny: eternal bliss in heaven with a conjugial spouse vs. insane and cruel misery forever in hell. Could anything possibly be as important as this?

 

1. The Inherited Self Vs. The Innate Idea Of God

 

And yet the unregenerate mind, whether a New Church mind-to-be, or a famous popular lawyer in America, defender of individual rights, willfully sets aside the God in our conscience, calling it a mere self-produced concept, and leading a life guided by the search for what’s right, rather than by a knowledge of what’s right. While we do so, our understanding and intellectual scholarship are drawn more and more into the stream of unregenerate affections, which are infernal. Rejecting the fundamental duality of God’s definition of right vs. ours, is a self-condemnation to eternal misery in an infernal mind that would scare us to death, could we see it as the angels see it, in its true nature. The Writings reveal that the self, called our very own or “proprium” in Latin, appears in the afterlife as a bony skeleton-head charred black, sometimes “grayish-white like a plastered wall” (SE 5464). In either case it is ugly and inhuman.

 

When we willfully silence and turn away form the inborn living idea of God, we turn ourselves to the proprium. We are then led by the hells, as detailed in this horrendous description of what we are in ourselves from birth and self-guidance, and what to destiny it leads us:

 

(1) They place themselves at the back, below and above, and there they thrust in their thoughts; they turn the thoughts of another spirit, and thus of a man, to himself, to his own power, to his own praise, in a word, to the proprium. Almost all infernals know how to do this.

 

(2) Others gaze upon various parts of the body and upon the head and, where they see anything black, they know the proprium still rules there - for the proprium is black, because it is of the love of self - and, then, they seek to learn what of self is there, and, when they find out, they infuse their own thoughts there, and lead [their victim] whithersoever they will.

 

(3) Some look into the forehead; and, if it appears black, they then lead him; likewise, if it is grayish-white like a plastered wall, inasmuch as this indicates simulated external sincerity; but from him in whom they see human flesh they withdraw, and him they do not lead.

 

(4) Some cast a black veil over his face and also over his breast, and thus they magically take away his thoughts of the neighbor, and oblige and compel him to think of himself; and so they lead him, but not like they do others who are black of themselves: the former return immediately.

 

(5) Some enshroud another in darkness and convey [him] into the dark, and so compel him to think of self.

 

(6) From the color around a spirit or man - black, white, flesh-color, or yellow -  they conclude something about the man's state as to his proprium, or self-love. Where it is black, there is self-love: such a one is led; and it is according to the intensity of the black.

 

(7) Some only perceive by means of the thoughts of another - for there is a general law of thoughts - and these insinuate themselves into them and turn them to [the victim's] proprium and love of self, in all ways - by phantasies, by magic; and by the aid of many of the hells; and, so, they drive him to thinking about himself; and, when it comes to that, he is in their power.

 

(8) Sirens know how to insinuate themselves into the various affections which are the ruling love of a man; and so they take him with them. Also, they know how to reduce the thoughts of another, magically, even to the sensual, which is the extreme external; and, when he is reduced to that, they induce various phantasies and lead him whithersoever they wish. It is the sensual of man where his self-love, or proprium, resides: so far as he can be drawn up, or elevated, out of that, as to the thoughts, towards interiors, so far he can be led away from his proprium. Man's sensual, at this day, is, with most people, wholly corporeal, and has not anything spiritual.

 

(9) It was granted me to perceive when I was in the proprium, and when not in the proprium. When in the proprium, I was fit for nothing; wherefore, I was led out of it by the Lord, as far as that could be done. Hence is manifest what the love of self, and the love of the world for the sake of self, is. When [any] are led in the proprium and borne away, they appear to be led down through the surrounding places; which is according to the changes of the state of the thoughts. There were some such of the Swedish nation, whose desire it had been thus to reduce the thoughts of other spirits to subjection, and so to lead them whithersoever they would; but they did not know how, save one or two of them. They were in the western quarter. (SE 5464)

 

When I read this, I am scared! What scares me the most is the idea that I was headed to this destiny as a result of my willful rejection of God. I didn’t know the magnitude of the consequences, though I could have known had I wanted to. It’s scary to think how close I came to having that destiny of passing to the next life with an unregenerate proprium.

 

Whether we say self or love-of self, it is the same in the unregenerate state prior to reformation. We are born with the inherited tendency to love our self more than God. This is called the Fallen human race. It is the proprium or self that is our god from birth so that it kills off the other innate tendency which is to obey God. As children, every unregenerate person goes through a state of innocence in which the Lord walls of the inherited love-self and its related infernal affections. The child’s unconscious spiritual mind is surrounded and infilled by angles, an activity which results in an outward natural behavior that is innocent and full of the love to obey and be close to others. This is the period of life when the idea of God becomes conscious, and the child’s natural mind gets trained to know consciously what is right and wrong.

 

But soon the Lord can no longer continue walling off the inherited loves because this would take away the individual’s inner freedom to choose. We could then choose heaven, but not from our free will, and therefore, we could not love that choice. And whatever we do not love is not appropriated to our being, hence it is not there in the afterlife. Therefore the Lord is compelled to free the inner dams of infernal loves, whereupon the angels are forced to withdraw, and the individual is then led by the infernals. But after adolescence, when we enter young adulthood, we once again are given the desire and power to turn ourselves away from the proprium by turning ourselves to God, and this gradual turning is called reformation. Upon completion of reformation, which can last months or years, we are ready to begin regeneration and undergo the spiritual rigors of temptations.

 

By means of these temptations, carefully managed in a sequence and timed by the Lord, we become aware of our infernal delights, and are forced to face them, and do battle against them. In these battles the Lord draws near the individual, very close, and the angels are present ready to battle the hells. For when one individual on earth fights with a temptation, the entire hells are united in that battle. No one could withstand this unimaginable line up! In the quote above (SE 5464) it is said: “these insinuate themselves into them and turn them to [the victim's] proprium and love of self, in all ways - by phantasies, by magic; and by the aid of many of the hells.” Note the phrase “by the aid of many of the hells” which tells us that the infernals use each other’s “magical” powers to fight battles against us in any temptation. This is the awesome work of regeneration that lies ahead of us in forming the New Church mind in ourselves.

 

2. What Is Being Regenerated? – The Proprium

 

You can see that “regeneration” refers to the self or proprium. It is the proprium that needs to be regenerated. And it is revealed that the proprium cannot be “fixed” but is lost forever. One can only be saved by the proprium being reborn, the old being laid to rest, the new being an image of the Lord’s Proprium or Personality. The Lord is the only actual Human! This is a physiological or genetic fact about the human race existing on this earth. The proprium, being a spiritual organ, cannot die. If it is “fallen” or degenerate, it cannot be fixed. But the Lord loves the human race for the sake of which the universe exists, and the Lord is omniscient and omnipotent. To Him the entire human race appears as one, and He evolves this race in the image of His Own Proprium. This is an inexorable evolution for there is no other power in the universe than the Lord’s power within each and all things. The Lord can withdraw His power from anywhere anytime and the “it” falls into an inanimate thing, or vanishes altogether from existence (xx). There is no want of power in the Lord to do anything.

 

It would be a grave error to believe that the revolting degenerate proprium we are born with, has evolved because of a want of power in the Lord to prevent it.

 

The Writings explain this fully in a rational way by means of the Doctrine of Permissions, and why the Lord has allowed this sorry evolution. And yet when the Lord’s work of evolution and creation is viewed from a spiritual perspective, it is seen as Divine and perfect work. It would be an imperfect creation if people were condemned to hell on account of their birth, would it not? Similarly, condemning people on account of how they behaved, as a means of punishment, would also be imperfect, when viewed spiritually. The Lord does neither. He does not condemn anyone to hell, for whatever reason, no matter how evil and cruel a person’s deeds were. (xx)

 

The truth is that the Lord instructs everyone who arrives in the afterlife. They are given instruction, therapy, real-world experiences recreated on a kind of spiritual holo-deck (xx). They are taken for visits to heaven. They are given anything they need and want, and then they are required to make a choice: to enter heavenly life or life in hell. This proves that the system and the process are perfect, since both heaven and hell can only exist in a free choice!

 

Note also this statement in sub-paragraph (8) of the quote above (SE 5464):

 

It is the sensual of man where his self-love, or proprium, resides: so far as he can be drawn up, or elevated, out of that, as to the thoughts, towards interiors, so far he can be led away from his proprium. Man's sensual, at this day, is, with most people, wholly corporeal, and has not anything spiritual.

 

The only method we have of accessing the spiritual is by means of thoughts, that is, by means of the truths we think about and with which we reason and draw conclusions. These truths in our conscious mind are not spiritual truths but representatives and correspondences of spiritual truths. These are the truths that save us because they are our own and feel like our own. Therefore our freedom of choice is maintained even though we obey these truths against our preference.

 

The truths we understand give us the power to align ourselves with new powerful affections, higher powerful loves implanted in our interior-natural mind by the Lord. Therefore, even though we compel ourselves, we do so in freedom. These spiritual truths, in their natural correspondences, are rational truths, not sensuous experiences. They are in our natural-rational mind or understanding. These truths cannot be discovered when we are in the state turned to the proprium. Self-intelligence, natural science, mental disciplines, physical initiations—not of these things can discover a single spiritual truth no matter how advanced they become.

 

Spiritual truths in correspondence are available only from the revelations the Lord gives the human race in His Word, and for the new age of the Second Coming, His Word is the Writings, which will endure forever (xx).

 

Note this statement in sub-paragraph (9) of the quote above (SE 5464):

 

It was granted me to perceive when I was in the proprium, and when not in the proprium. When in the proprium, I was fit for nothing; wherefore, I was led out of it by the Lord, as far as that could be done. Hence is manifest what the love of self, and the love of the world for the sake of self, is. When [any] are led in the proprium and borne away, they appear to be led down through the surrounding places; which is according to the changes of the state of the thoughts. “

 

Swedenborg was given to see what we cannot, namely a conscious perception of his proprium and of being in and out of it. But all we need is his description, if we take it as the Divine Truth the Lord wants us to know for our regeneration. “When in the proprium, I was fit for nothing”—what a devastating confession by the man whose mind was prepared by the Lord from his early childhood to develop into the first of the new race called the New Church mind.

 

About two years before I discovered the Writings I had a disturbing vision. I believe I was just falling asleep, when I saw from a distance a person wrapped in a black robe. It was coming closer to me but I could not see legs or feet. I then saw the head in bright light. It looked like a mummy that had been unwrapped, with a bony head that was extremely emaciated with hardly any flesh. It had no hair. I couldn’t tell its gender but I thought it might be a female. Then as it got close to me it seemed that it projected something at me with extreme power and violence. It felt that my personality or self was shattered, imploded from within, annihilated. I woke up from the terror of it. I thought about this vision over the years. First I decided it could’ve been a male, not a female. Second I couldn’t decide whether it was benign or hostile. It sure didn’t feel good to be shattered like that, but I thought maybe that’s how earthlings feel when they are visited by a higher power, like those who saw angels in the Bible and fell on their face as dead. But eventually I decided it was inimical to me otherwise I wouldn’t have felt so terrified. I did not think about again until just recently as I was rereading the passage quoted above about the proprium (SE 5464). After discussing it with my wife, I became convinced that what I saw was my proprium!

 

When I interpret my vision this way, it all makes sense. The appearance of the image was that of the proprium as described in this passage. The amazing hostility and violence it expressed against me makes sense when I consider that the proprium has an insane murderous love to destroy the individual. The proprium fears and hates the New Church mind-to-be more than anything because in this mind it is destined to die, to cease being active forever. It is tragic, and a sign of spiritual insanity, that we love the proprium, this ugly monster that is bent on destroying us and our effort to regenerate. Regeneration marks the death of the old proprium.

 

This idea also helps me to understand a long-standing insight my wife has had for years as she tried to help me in my regeneration. She saw that I had a streak in me for self-destruction. To her this was plain to see by how I behaved, what I considered more important than something else, how I buried myself in my own unhappiness, how I kept myself from knowing what I needed to know, and so on. To me this was a big mystery. How is it possible that I should wish for my own destruction? It didn’t sound logical to me. The self is animated by self-preservation not self-destruction, or else the race could not survive—I thought. Also, it didn’t seem to me that I was bent on destroying myself and I was a student of the self, practicing self-monitoring techniques, analyzing my life, and so on. Surely I would be aware if I was so aberrant in my tendency—I told myself. So I would never believe it and my poor wife had to patiently and without letting up, remind me of her perceptions.

 

All this makes sense when I consider what in fact my proprium is—this infernal monstrosity filled with insane hatred against anything from heaven. Definitely my proprium would be happy to destroy me, to take over, to pull me into hell, to make me its vile slave or zombie. This is quite a paradox to resolve, isn’t? The proprium whom I identify with and love is a monster that desires to destroy me!

 

All this should tell us that we are to take charge of our regeneration in a conscious and disciplined manner, using whatever methods of discipline we can invent to carry out our expected and required side of the regeneration equation: the Lord does everything but we must do just one thing, namely, to face our proprium, to monitor our willing and thinking in the light of Doctrine in our understanding, and to make a free choice of rejecting the evil delights, one by one, daily, hourly, and by the minute. This alone is the real and actual work of regeneration.

 

3. No Yoga In The Church Hall?

 

It’s likely that some of the attractiveness Americans feel toward nonduality and non-Western spiritual disciplines is due to our deep rooted desire for self-improvement and the quest towards ever greater achievements and victories. The interest in attaining greater control over one’s body is widespread in the Western world, as indicated by lifestyles that feature body-building workouts, muscle man contests, beauty pageants, and the varieties of physical disciplines imported from the East such as the many martial arts, Tai Chi, Tae Bo, and Yoga, which are sweeping the country today. My wife and I have attended Iangar Yoga classes in a Church hall for several years now. In this connection, a reader of this book sent me this clipping about a Church hall in England:

 

Wednesday August 28, 2002

The Guardian

 

Adopting the lotus position may seem harmless but be warned it could well be the first step on a slippery slope to damnation - especially if it follows the cobra or the lion. For those who believe they can combine the pursuit of yoga with the practice of Christianity it is time to roll up the yoga mat and think again, according to the Rev Derek Smith. Having banned classes from his church hall at St Michael's church in Melksham, Wiltshire, the vicar has called upon Christians who indulge in the activity to "examine their consciences".

 

Yoga, he believes, is "incompatible" with Christianity because of its associations with the Hindu faith. Even if followers in the west use yoga purely for fitness purposes, spiritual leaders in the east insist it is inseparable from Hindu devotional practice, Mr Smith said yesterday.  "I would ask people who do yoga to think about whether they believe they were in breach of their faith or not. If they genuinely believe what they are doing is acceptable - and I know people that do - of course, I would ask them to follow their consciences."

(...)

The Church of England defended Mr Smith's decision, backing the right of clergymen to take a stand against any practices which "do not square with Christian teachings". "Yoga is used as a kind of generic term for exercise and stretching, but there are many different types of yoga. But some have a more spiritual basis as handed down from eastern religions," a spokesman said. "It's reasonably understandable that someone can say so if they don't want something with a spiritual basis taught in their church hall."  The church was keen to promote good relations with other religions, he added, but that did not involve being "wish-washy or mealy-mouthed" about distinctions in faith.

 

Our Yoga teacher ends each class in the Church hall with prayerful hands extended before the chest and the greeting “Namaste.” Once in a while she explains to newcomers that it means “The God in me greets the God in you.” She never said anything else about it and there are no other signs of Eastern nonduality. For me, it’s just a convenient place for an excellent physical discipline. I thought about discussing with her the idea of how God can be in each of us, but my wife nixed the idea—and rightly so, as I immediately saw it. What would be the point of such a discussion? How could it possibly have a useful ending? But it never occurred to me that I should stop attending classes because she ends each class with Namaste.

 

I discussed in Volume 1 how we are to deal with nonduality—not by confronting those who think from it. Our job in forming the New Church mind is to confront ourselves. For in us is all of the hells. We do not need to go fight the hells on outside territory. We may have to fight those who attack our country, but this is fighting men, not the hells. To fight the hells we must confront ourselves, for nowhere else is hell but within ourselves. We are to fight the nonduality in our mind, and this is an internal struggle, not visible to others.

 

4. How The Spiritual Can Be Approached

 

Regarding physical disciplines, many serve a good use under appropriate conditions, but not under others. The difference is to be understood by considering things the Writings say in relation to the natural mind and spiritual mind. The management or planning function of the mind is called the natural-rational or “external rational” (AC 2657). This is not the “interior-natural” mind nor the “spiritual-rational” mind, which are in discrete degrees above the natural-rational mind and develop in adulthood in proportion to our progress in regeneration (AC 4038). The interior rational (or spiritual-rational) is of spiritual and celestial origin, but the external rational (or natural-rational) is of hereditary and cultural origin (AC 978, 4286; AE 355:14). There is nothing spiritual about the natural-rational mind and there is only spiritual/celestial things in the interior rational mind. This absolute dualism in the levels of the mind corresponds to the discrete degrees in which the heavens are in relation to each other:

 

The existence of these three degrees in people can be seen from the elevation of a person's mind even to the degrees of love and wisdom possessed by angels of the second and third heavens. For all angels were born people, and a person is, in respect to the interior elements which are those of his mind, a heaven in miniature form. Consequently there are from creation as many degrees of height in a person as there are heavens. The human being is furthermore an image and likeness of God, and these three degrees are therefore engraved on a person because they exist in the human God, which is to say, in the Lord. (DLW 231)

 

The things in our natural mind are corporeal, sensuous, and rational. Whatever we do in this plane of life has nothing spiritual in it because the spiritual cannot exist in the natural plane. Rather, the spiritual can exist in the natural plane indirectly, by correspondences. We can look at anything we do that is merely natural, like eating, talking to a friend, or driving a car. In order to communicate with the spiritual dimension we must look upon these natural acts as correspondences. When looked at this way, we are communicating with the spiritual dimensions that are associated with those natural acts. Every natural act has a spiritual dimension associated with it (xx). But we do not know or reflect upon the spiritual dimensions of our everyday acts. We may reflect on their legal and moral dimension, so that we think, “This is legal, this is illegal” or, “This is moral, this is immoral.” But if someone said, “This is spiritual, this is not,” we would not know what they meant, and in fact, no one would. Knowing what is spiritual is possible only from the Lord’s new revelations of the Word of the Writings (xx).

 

The Writings reveal that the celestial human mind, such as angels have, and such as the most ancient peoples had on this earth, can have a sensuous consciousness of the spiritual within the natural (xx). Their brain and respiratory physiology were different from ours—they had internal breathing instead of external, they spoke by lip movements instead of vocal cords, and their brain was not split into two halves (xx). They looked at every object around them and saw within each the spiritual dimension. A natural object was nothing to them but a correspondence to a spiritual event, which was taking place in the spiritual world. This is the “spiritual dimension” of any natural object, quality, or event. It is nothing but the spiritual event or quality that causes the natural event to occur. The natural event is nothing but an ultimate effect brought about by a spiritual cause.

 

For example, when they saw horses, their mind perceived the idea of intelligence from the Doctrine of their Church. Or if they saw rain, they perceived of truths in their various forms that correspond to the spring rain, the autumn rain, the river, the ocean, the lake, the putrid waters—which are falsifications of truths. The sun and the mountains represented to them the Divine Human whom they expected to arrive into the world. Being compassionate to a stranger represented to them charity from the Lord. When they saw a disorderly act by someone they were horrified because to them it represented rejection of the Lord. all day long, as they lived their lives on earth, they could think of nothing but what each thing in their environment represented in spiritual reality.

 

In forming the New Church mind we are emulating the celestial mind of the most ancient peoples on earth. Swedenborg was the first in this new breed of the human race. He was also an intermediary, thus not like all those who come after him. Since Swedenborg was the Lord’s architect of the new rational revelations, he had to have sensuous access to the spiritual world so that he may describe it to us in a natural language of events, history, and science. Those who now make use of this new revelation do not need themselves to have sensuous access to the spiritual world. In fact, such sensuous spiritual perception would prevent our regeneration. The Lord is careful therefore, not to expose us to the sensuous perception of the spiritual dimension, for this would totally compel our belief and instead of a rational revelation, we would be stuck in a corporeal revelation such as the First Coming of the Lord. What is needed now to complete the Lord’s work is a rational consciousness of Him and the spiritual. The new Heavens He created are made of this Divine Rational consciousness and only those who have this rational consciousness of the spiritual can exist in the heavens.

 

You can see therefore that we must approach the spiritual through the rational, not through the sensuous.

 

To approach the spiritual through the rational means that we use correspondences, that we see each natural event as a correspondence for a spiritual event which is primary, that is, the cause of the natural event. Physical disciplines like Yoga are natural activities. To the New Church mind, there is nothing spiritual about it, no matter how it is interpreted in Eastern religious practices. If you went to the market looking for a spoon to buy, and you find one that is just fine, but when you pay for it, the seller tells you that this spoon was used in idol worship ceremonies many years ago. Would this require you to give the spoon back? Of course not. There is nothing spiritual in the idea that the spoon was used in idol worship ceremonies by so and so. The only spiritual dimension in that spoon, as you take it home, is your reflection of what that spoon represents—information we can look up in the Writings for an answer:

 

A choir at a distance was heard one morning. From the choir's representations I was permitted to know that they were Chinese, for they exhibited a kind of woolly goat, then a cake of millet, and an ebony spoon, also the idea of a floating city. They desired to come nearer to me, and when they had joined me they said that they wished to be alone with me, that they might disclose their thoughts. But they were told that they were not alone, and that some were displeased at their wishing to be alone, although they were guests.

 

When they perceived this displeasure they began to think whether they had transgressed against the neighbour, and whether they had claimed anything to themselves that belonged to others. All thought in the other life being communicated, I was permitted to perceive the agitation of their minds. It consisted of a recognition that possibly they had injured those who were displeased, of shame on that account, together with other worthy affections; and it was thus known that they were endowed with charity. (AC 2596)

 

'The spoon-bill', 'the duck', 'the owl', 'the raven' stand for varieties of falsity which arise when Divine truths in the Word are rendered valueless. (AC 5044)

 

I was once allowed to perceive the nature of conjugial love among polygamists. ... After conversing with me for a while at a distance, the substitute sent me an ivory spoon and other tokens that they came from him. At the same time a passage was opened up to transmit the heat of conjugial love experienced there. It was perceived by me as resembling the fetid warmth of a bath-house; on feeling it I turned away, and the passage by which it was transmitted was closed off. (CL 344)

 

In other words, the spiritual dimension of the spoon I brought home represented something about foreigners and their innocent as well as perverted affections and beliefs.

 

When we discuss physical disciplines, we must also include mental disciplines like meditation, shamanism, and asceticism. Many people consider mental disciplines to be spiritual in contrast to physical disciplines. But to the New Church mind both are corporeal. Their spiritual content is called corporeal spirituality, as in Volume 1 Chapter 2 Section 7. The Writings call it “bodily thinking,” or “basing one’s thinking on bodily sense-impressions,” as for instance, corporeal idea of resurrection after death:

 

Finally I talked with the spirits of that world about the belief of the inhabitants of our world concerning their resurrection.

 

I said they were unable to conceive of people coming into the next life immediately after death, and then looking like people in face, body, arms and feet, having all their outward and inward senses.  Even less could they believe that they would then wear clothes and have houses and places to live.

 

This was entirely due to the fact that most people here base their thinking on bodily sense-impressions, so that they do not believe in the existence of what they cannot see and touch.  Few of them can be withdrawn from outward sense-impressions towards inward ones, and so be lifted into the light of heaven in which inward impressions can be received.

 

It is for this reason that they cannot have any concept of their soul or spirit as being a person, but think of it as wind, air or some formless breath, which yet contains some vitality. This is the reason that they believe they will only be resurrected at the end of the world, which they call the Last Judgment, thinking that their body, though collapsed into dust and scattered to all the winds, must then be brought back and reunited with their soul or spirit.

 

[2]  I added that they are allowed to hold this belief, because there is no other way that those who, as I said, base their thinking on outward sense-impressions, could think of their soul or spirit living as a person in human form, except by re-entering the body they carried around with them in the world.  Unless therefore the body were said to be resurrected, they would at heart reject the teaching on resurrection and everlasting life as incomprehensible.

(...)

[4]  For they are unaware that each person is inwardly a spirit, and the life of the body and all its parts comes from the spirit, not from the body by itself.  They do not know that it is the spirit which is the real person, sharing its form, but invisible to the body's eyes, being visible only to the eyes of spirits.  Hence it is too that, when a person's spirit has its sight opened, which is the result of the withdrawal of the body's sight, angels can be seen as people.  So it was that angels appeared to the ancients, as related in the Word.

 

I have had several conversations with spirits whom I knew when they were people living in the world, and asked whether they wanted to be clothed again with their earthly bodies, as they had previously imagined.  On hearing this they ran off to a distance at the mere idea of being reunited, in astonishment at having been led in the world to think so by blind faith without any understanding. (EU 165)

 

The afterlife is existence in the spiritual world. The spiritual world is a rational world while the natural world is a physical world. If we arrive in the afterlife with nothing but a corporeal idea of the afterlife, our mind does not contain natural-rational ideas, but only natural-corporeal and natural-sensuous ideas. The existence we have in the spiritual world is completely determined by the ideas we bring with us. Ideas based on sensuous impressions from the physical senses contain within them evil affections and delights. But ideas based on rational truths from revelation contain within them good affections and delights. Good affections and delights are incorporated into the heavens while evil affections and delights are incorporated into the hells. Good affections can only exist within rational truths; evil affections can only exist in sensuous fallacies. What is called spiritual in a genuine sense is related to rational truths within which are good affections. But sensuous and corporeal ideas are not rational and contain evil affections.

 

Meditation is a mental activity but the cognitive level of this activity remains natural, not yet spiritual. All mental activity in the natural mind is not yet spiritual, only natural. For mental activity to be spiritual, it must exist in the interior-natural mind, which is a discrete degree above the natural-rational mind. The interior-natural mind is purely rational, therefore genuinely spiritual. This mental activity is not from self, as is the activity in our natural-rational and natural-sensuous. The activity in the interior-natural mind is nothing but the reaction by correspondence to what’s going on in the interior unconscious spiritual mind that is occupied by the angels. Therefore the activity in the interior-natural mind allows us to be rationally conscious of the spiritual world, its events, heaven, and the Lord. This is no speechless ecstasy or religious swooning, but only rational understanding of interior truths. These interior truths are genuine spiritual and conjoin us to the Lord and heaven. The expression “higher consciousness” properly refers to this consciousness of the activity in our interior-natural mind.

 

How the this mind is opened by the Lord is discussed in Chapter 7 Sections 8 and 9.

 

5. Regeneration Requires Rational Consciousness

 

Referring to the New Church mind, there is no way that we can ‘break through’ to higher consciousness by meditating on the Lord or on the Writings, or by inhibiting content to one’s thinking while sitting in meditation or some posture of repentance. The only way for the New Church mind to draw near to the Lord and to the higher consciousness angels are in, is through rational consciousness, not natural (xx). This is because all the concepts of the Second Coming are rational, and all the ideas of the angels are rational, not natural. This is necessary since the New Heavens of the Lord’s Second Coming have replaced all the old heavens, so that the angels had to acquire the rational truths of the Divine Human revealed in the Writings. All those who now enter heaven must do so through these “interior rational” truths, also called “spiritual-rational” truths, and also “celestial truths.” The spiritual sense of the Writings is called the Heavenly Doctrines, and all the ideas of this Divine Doctrine are spiritual-rational and celestial.

 

Meditation and other specialized cognitive activities cannot contain any spiritual-rational concepts, but only natural-corporeal and natural-sensuous ideas, visions, or realizations. In Eastern practice of these specialized cognitive activities it is expected that such cosmic breakthroughs to God do occur. But the New Church mind is set in a different order where it is known that discrete degrees prevent continuous progression to occur between degrees (DLW 236-8). There is no way to acquire, receive, see, or understand spiritual-rational (or celestial) truths from the natural mind and its activity of mediation, ecstasy, or swooning. Everything that is from the natural mind is from self and the world, therefore totally devoid of genuine spirituality (AC 978, 4286; AE 355:14). Spirituality comes solely from the interior rational which is where the angels inflow in our mind with celestial truths. This unconscious activity arouses by correspondence the activity in the interior-natural mind, from which we are enlightened, that is, perceive by means of spiritual-rational consciousness. This is called “higher consciousness” because it is a discrete degree above the natural-rational consciousness that is from self-intelligence and natural science.

 

For us there cannot be a supreme moment of achievement in meditation whereby the Lord breaks through from within and presents Himself to us sensuously, as He did to Swedenborg, and others before him in visions, as the Bible testifies. In the new era of the Second Coming the Lord can only come to us in the interior-natural, after He opens it (AE 708[2]). And this opening can occur only to the extent that our natural-rational has been appropriately prepared by a life of discipline and virtue (reformation and regeneration). Meditation and Yoga, and etc., can be useful as lessons in discipline to the external man, but not as sensuous breakthroughs to the Lord in the internal man, or of reaching higher spiritual consciousness.

 

Those who receive the light of intelligence from the Lord as a sun are those with whom the intellectual and its rational have been opened, and who have, in consequence, thought rationally about what should be believed from the spiritual affection of truth; while those who receive light from the Lord as a moon are those in whom the intellectual and interior rational have not been opened, but only the natural, and who in consequence have thought from the memory about what should be believed; and to think about this from the memory is to think only from such things as have been heard from a teacher or preacher, which they call truths and believe to be truths although they may be falsities, since they are not seen beyond the memory.

 

If such while in the world were also in the faith of charity, they are in the heavens under the Lord as a moon, for the lumen, from which is their intelligence, is like the moon's lumen in the nighttime, while the light from which is the intelligence of those who are in the heavens under the Lord as a sun is like the light of day.

(...)

Their affection of knowing truth and doing good is, like themselves, natural, thus deriving more or less from the glory of being learned, and from reputation that looks to honors and gain as rewards, differing in this from such spiritual affection of knowing truth and doing good as those have who are in heaven under the Lord as a sun, for with these this affection is so separated from natural affection that the natural affection is under the feet.

(...)

To this is to be added, that there are three heavens that are under the Lord as a moon, a higher, a middle, and a lower; or what is the same, an interior, a middle, and an exterior, but yet all who are in these heavens are natural. These heavens are interior, middle, and exterior, because the natural like the spiritual is divided into three degrees; the exterior-natural communicates with the world, the interior with heaven, and the middle conjoins.

 

Nevertheless, those who are in the heavens under the Lord as a moon cannot enter into the heavens that are under the Lord as a sun, because their interior sight or understanding has been formed to receive the lunar light there, and not to receive the solar light. They are comparatively not unlike those birds that see in the night and not in the daytime, consequently when they come into the sunlight that those have who are under the Lord as a sun their sight is darkened. Those who are in these heavens are those who have been in charity according to their religious principle, or according to their faith; but such as are natural and are not in the faith of charity are in the hells under these heavens. (AE 708)

 

Note the statement in the next to the last paragraph in the quote: “the natural like the spiritual is divided into three degrees; the exterior-natural communicates with the world, the interior with heaven, and the middle conjoins.” Here the “exterior-natural” refers to the three levels in the natural mind: corporeal, sensuous, and rational. these are called external in contrast to the “internal man” which refers to the spiritual mind, here called the “interior degree that communicates with heaven.” And in between the internal man and the external man is “the middle that conjoins” the two. This middle portion is called the interior-natural mind.

 

Fore greater clarity of conceptualization, please consult the diagrams in Chapter 7 Sections 8 and 9.

 

6. The Two Phases Of Regeneration

 

The New Church mind ought to develop its own indigenous forms of regeneration disciplines based directly on the Writings, rather than fall back on imported disciplines. In an article in New Church Life a few years ago (xx), Wilson Van Dusen, who is an acknowledged expert in both Eastern disciplines and in Swedenborg, complained that the Writings, which he acknowledges as “most excellent,” lack one thing however, and that is, disciplines that help us in regeneration—hence he recommended we create them and recommends a mental exercise called “going within” and other forms of meditation.

 

But in fact disciplines are implied in the Writings where regeneration is discussed—which is indeed almost everywhere. The rational concepts of the Writings easily lead us to formulate any number of disciplines suitable for our regeneration, as illustrated in this volume. We shall call them “regeneration disciplines.” They are spiritual disciplines as well as religious disciplines because of the purpose that motivates us to perform the discipline repeatedly in daily activities, hour by hour, and minute by minute. Regeneration refers to the biological process of growing new spiritual fibers in huge quantities. A fiber is an organic part of the will and the understanding, which are the two organs that make up the human mind.

 

To grow a new spiritual fiber we must reconnect an old spiritual fiber. This is because the old fibers are coiled the wrong way in a permanent organic structure that is an image or model of hell, thus infernal, monstrous, and opposed to heaven. This mass of ossified, dehumanized, blob is connected to the hells, communicates with the hells, is influenced by the hells, and with irresistible force pulls the individual to hell in the afterlife. It is called “man’s proprium” (xx). This is the Fall of the human race. Now when any infant is born on earth its proprium irresistibly leads it to hell in the afterlife. In order to alter this biology, the Lord has provided the process of regeneration. This involves a rebirth phase called reformation of the understanding, and a regeneration phase of the will. The regenerated mind is new mind, not a repaired or fixed up old mind. The entire old mind must be put to sleep, and the entire new mind must be grown into a new understanding and a new will.

 

Any individual is regenerated who is willing. The process involves two phases.

 

Phase 1: Reformation of the understanding or cognitive mind.

 

This involves studying the Writings and having its literal sentences available in the mind in order to evaluate the concepts and ideas we have. The cognitive mind is made of our concepts and ideas, and the reasoning process we use to make decisions in all things of life. These life strategies run our daily and hourly decisions and dictate our attitudes. Thinking is involved in everything we do—getting dressed, driving to work, having a conversation, daydreaming, reading the Writings, etc. Every second of life occupies at least one thinking act, and possibly more, so that on any day we have a potential of performing more than 86,000 thinking acts. This is daily. Now we must examine as many of them as possible in the light of what we know from the Writings. Do they fit or do they not? It will be seen more and more THAT NONE FIT! The reason for this is fully explained in Volume 1. Reformation takes months, sometimes years, in order to rearrange everything in the mind. But sooner or later, enough things in the mind are rearranged that we can begin phase 2, even as we continue working on phase 1. The Lord provides for an overlap for the sake of maximum progress in our regeneration.

 

Phase 2: Regeneration of the will or affective mind.

 

The understanding is reformed from without, using the Letter of the Writings which we have taken up in our natural-rational mind (see phase 1). The will is regenerated from within, when we apply the Doctrine of the Letter in our understanding to our motives. This is called from within, while the understanding is called from without, because the organ to the will is a discrete degree above the organ of the understanding. This is why we say that the motive is within the act, “within” referring to a discrete degree above. Every act of thinking is performed FROM THE WILL. No act of thinking can take place on its own for it has no power, just as my electric toaster could not operate when I don’t plug it in. The will provides the power and the on/off timing of every act of thinking. The organ of the will is made of spiritual fibers that are tied to either hell or heaven. The will cannot live or exist when not so tied to either heaven or hell.

 

The unregenerate will is called the proprium or self. Human beings are nothing but affections that exteriorize as thinking acts, which in turn exteriorize as sensory and motor acts of the physical body. Human actions are therefore produced by a threefold self: the will, the understanding, and the sensorimotor or corporeal mind. This threefold self is the person, the body being nothing but an inanimate chemical plant under the control of the threefold self.

 

Disciplines are systematic methods we learn to carry out our share of the regeneration task. The Lord activates and animates everything in our will, understanding, and body. And yet, He provides that some of this activity be appropriated to our regenerated self, to the extent that we are willing to suffer ourselves to perform the task of conscious self-monitoring of our acts of willing and thinking. Since we perform many thousands of such acts every day, you can see why regeneration takes the entire life on earth. It also continues in heaven, but in a different form.

 

Physical and mental disciplines cannot add to our salvation but moral disciplines can. This is because the moral level of willing and thinking is in the natural-rational mind, a discrete degree above the natural-sensuous and corporeal where mental disciplines exist. Yet not all moral disciplines of life are spiritual and contributors to our salvation. The moral level of thinking that is located in the natural-rational mind is a natural way of thinking, not yet spiritual. The spiritual level begins in the interior rational, also called the spiritual-rational. This is located in the spiritual mind, a discrete degree above the natural mind. But the spiritual mind is unconscious while we are tied to the physical body. Therefore the Lord provides for another way we can be conscious of the spiritual. He creates the interior-natural mind within the natural-rational mind, as frequently explained in this book (see especially Chapter 7 Sections 8 and 9).

 

The moral decisions we make can be animated to have a spiritual within them if we are motivated by the desire to regenerate in accordance with the instructions in the Letter of the Writings. Fro example, we refrain from cheating on an exam or a declaration form. Why? First, because we don’t want to get into trouble later. This is a natural motive. Later, we refrain because we value integrity of character. This is a higher motive, yet it is still natural because in the natural mind. At reformation, we refrain because it is contrary to the commandments in the Writings. During regeneration, the Lord brings deep seated hidden motives to our awareness so that we may be tempted to go ahead and cheat and make false declarations when we can justify it to ourself. Now if we refrain because to cheat or be deceitful would be preventing our old will from being put to sleep. Any active affection we permit, remains and cannot be put to sleep by the Lord. Note then, that the spiritual doesn’t begin until regeneration of the will begins. Reformation of the understanding is not yet spiritual if it is not carried out into the will (xx).

 

7. Turning A Moral Discipline Into Spiritual

 

Moral life may be lived either for the sake of the Divine or for the sake of men in the world; and a moral life that is lived for the sake of the Divine is a spiritual life. In outward form the two appear alike, but in inward form they are entirely different; the one saves a man, the other does not. For he who lives a moral life for the sake of the Divine is led by the Divine; while he who leads a moral life for the sake of men in the world is led by himself. (HH 319)

 

Clearly, then, our moral behavior or conduct is not sufficient to form the New Church mind in ourselves. We must enter the inner mind, or the will, and observe there what is our motivation in each moral act that we perform.

 

This is a matter of our heaven or hell! To enter our inner mind and to observe the affections behind our thinking and behavior is the regeneration discipline called self-witnessing. This is a spiritual discipline to the extent it is done for the purpose of our salvation—meaning that we are motivated to form a new mind in accordance with Divine Commandments which we have taken up for ourselves from the Letter of the Writings. In the Writings every truth we understand is a Divine Commandment that we must obey, or else we cannot complete the formation of the New Church mind in ourselves.

 

At this point something will now be said on how the internal man is reformed and how the external man is reformed -by means of it. The internal man is not reformed merely by knowing, understanding and being wise, and consequently merely by thinking; but by willing what knowledge, understanding and wisdom teach.

 

When a man knows, understands and has wisdom to see that there is a heaven and a hell, and that all evil is from hell and all good is from heaven; and if he then does not will evil because it is from hell, but wills good because it is from heaven, he is in the first stage of reformation, and is at the threshold out of hell into heaven.

 

When he progresses further, and wills to desist from evils he is in the second stage of reformation, and is now outside hell but not yet in heaven, which he sees above him. A man must have such an internal in order that he may be reformed; but he is not reformed unless the external as well as the internal is reformed.

 

The external is reformed by means of the internal when the external desists from the evils which the internal does not will because they are infernal, and still more when the external for this reason shuns them and fights against them. Thus willing is the part of the internal and doing of the external. For unless a man does that which he wills there is within him the failure to will which eventually becomes want of will.

 

[2] From these few considerations it can be seen how the external man is reformed by means of the internal. This also is what is meant by the Lord's words to Peter:

 

Jesus said: If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

[Simon] Peter saith unto Him: Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Jesus saith to him: He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit. John xiii. 8, 9, 10.

 

By washing is meant spiritual washing, which is purification from evils; by washing the head and hands is meant purifying the internal man; and by washing the feet is meant purifying the external man. That the external man must be purified when the internal has been purified is meant by this, "He that is washed, needeth not save to wash his feet." That all purification from evils is from the Lord is meant by this, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." It has been shown in many places in the ARCANA CAELESTIA that washing among the Jews represented purification from evils, and that this is signified in the Word by washing; and that by washing the feet is signified the purification of the natural or external man. (DP 151)

 

The “external man” referred to here is not the physical body since the mind is being discussed. The external man refers to the lower regions in the natural mind called the corporeal and sensuous mind. The “internal man” here is not referring to the spiritual mind, as elsewhere in the Writings (xx). Here the internal man refers to the upper portions of the natural mind called the natural-rational mind. It is said that the external man is reformed by means of the internal man. This means that the lower natural mind (sensuous) is reformed by means to the higher natural mind (rational). It is the natural-rational mind that holds the motives and concepts of regeneration from the study of the Writings as the Divine Word. This is the mind that must compel the sensuous and corporeal mind to obey.

 

This Number makes it clear that reformation and regeneration is about our willing and thinking, moment by moment, all day long, every day. It is necessary therefore that we acquire means or techniques by which we can become aware of the willing and the thinking we do all day long. This technique is therefore a self-witnessing activity, that is, a self-monitoring activity in which we keep track of what affections and thoughts occupy our mind.

 

The state of a person's mind in the natural world determines its state in the spiritual world. (TCR 816)

 

 

8. If I’m A Good Man, Why Do I Need To Be Regenerated?

 

I received this email message from a man who read a few portions of this book:

 

If we throw God away, we are still left with our neighbour. Whether one believes in God or not, one is still left with how one will deal with one's fellow man.

 

Only one course is open to man. Basic human decency. Whether we believe God to be a very personal divine human or a very impersonal force, there can only be one option: to treat other people well and kindly.

 

It is impossible for one who has treated (on the whole) his fellow-man kindly and fairly, not to end up in heaven. It is similar to a piece of cork that cannot be submerged under the water. The kind man will jump his way into heaven! Even the loudest atheist will eventually find himself in

heaven, IF he has been kind to his fellow man.

 

From the perspective of the Writings, we can recognize this argument as sadly wrong. It draws a nonduality between having no faith, having little faith, having much faith. It puts the idea of having faith in God on a continuum, and that it is not of a fundamental importance where on the scale of faith people locate themselves, as long as they are good people who were kind to the neighbor—they will all end up in heaven. And the implication usually is that, therefore let us not argue much about religion, and let everyone believe whatever they want as long as they are good to the neighbor. This implication makes a nonduality out of having a true religion and having a false religion. It puts all religions people practice on a continuum from “whatever religion” to what is true religion, should there be such a thing. It also makes a nonduality out of heaven and hell, supposing that people are lined up on a continuum of being good, from saintliness to average, to mischievous, and on to less and less good.

 

Instead of these nondualities about religion, faith, and heaven, there only absolute dualities in the New Church mind regarding these things. There are only two categories for them: those who have a genuine religion vs. those who do not (xx); those who have a right faith vs. those who do not (xx); and, those who can live in heaven vs. those who cannot (xx). Those who do not have a genuine religion worship an idol, or themselves, and not God (xx). If they act kindly to the neighbor it is from a selfish motive, even if they don’t care to become aware of it. The Writings reveal that such a person is a wolf dressed up as a human, and that as soon as they arrive in the afterlife, feeling now totally free, they quickly shed their outward kindly personality, and spring forth in their own love, which is the love to pounce upon the neighbor and kill him violently, then take away all that belongs to the victim, and even devour the victim.

 

Why does this happen? How can it happen? The Writings explain it rationally and scientifically. We are born a dual citizen—a spirit attached to a physical body. The spirit, which is our organic mind or self, is born in the world of spirits and remains there while the physical body and natural mind are built up on some earth surrounded by nature and our sensory-motor experience of it. Upon the death of the physical body, our mind suddenly awakens in our spirit-body where it had been since birth. But now the rules of reality are different, and we can no longer be a divided person, such as a hypocrite or a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing. Since the physical body is gone our sprit-body is totally free and cannot but express the quality of the loves we have built up in our natural mind. With the physical body gone, we remain such as we arrive (xx).

 

9. The Physical Body Hides The Spiritual Devil Within

 

While we are attached to the physical body, it absorbs the organic life of our loves in the will. People can train themselves to totally hide what they’re actually feeling, thinking, or desiring. But with the physical body gone, there is no absorption and covering up of one’s desires, attractions, and motives. These feelings in the will plainly show to the other spirits and angels who can see from some distance whether they are good or evil.

 

Furthermore, and most important to know, is that it is not possible to change these desires and attractions, once the physical body is cut off from our spirit. Shortly after arrival in the afterlife, our spirit-body undergoes a separation or homogenization process. Those who will be entering heaven may have evil loves to which they are attached, which they were unwilling to give up in the life of the physical body. So now they must undergo a purification process by which they are given the choice to at last cast out these evil loves. This is a very painful process because it is much more conflictual to give up evil loves when we already are in the spirit-body. Having completed purification, they can enter heavenly life with all the good loves they developed in life.

 

Those who will be entering hell must be prepared for life there. Nothing good can remain attached to them from whatever good affections they acquired prior to the separation of the physical body. For example a kind man who felt a private arrogance and disdain for others, nevertheless loved his country, his children, his animals, his parents, and a few sincere friends. He was willing to be kind and generous with them. But inwardly this kindness and generosity was attached to what is his own in others. His children were his own. His country is his own. His parents and friends are his own. So he loved his own in them. But as soon as his own is removed from them, he hates them. And this hate comes out in the spirit-body which compels him to pounce and devour and destroy. He now hates children and goes into a violent fury when seeing an infant (xx). Similarly with loving a woman or wife. Inwardly this love is a love of one’s own, and as soon as the wife ceases to favor him, he pounces on her. Now, upon entering hell, he must give up any of the good traits he had even if it was only for what is his own in others. When nothing of good is left, even apparent good, he enters hell and lives the life of sub-human insanity filled only with terrible fantasies.

 

10. Spiritual Insanity Chains Us To Hell

 

How do we make sure that we avoid such a terrible fate? We lead a busy life, we take care of our family, we pay our taxes, we’re decent neighbors, we go to war for our country, we work and produce something useful, we support the community organizations—WHAT MORE DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD PERSON??

 

From the perspective of the Writings we can see clearly what the answer is, and we can explain it rationally. What it takes to be a good person is to look to God and expect Him to tell us, to lead us, to empower us. This is what it takes to be a good man. There is no other way to be a good person. Why? Because good exists only from God (xx). If we don’t get it from God, we don’t have any. And God gives every person good according to this person’s free choice for accepting. Some people are willing to accept a lot of good from God, and they are good people, very good people, heavenly people. Others are willing to accept just a few goods from God, and reject all the rest He desires to give them. What is the reason that we do not accept most of the goods God wants to give us? The answer from the Writings is explained rationally and scientifically.

 

The reason is that we are born with a spirit that is deformed and monstrous, like those who dwell in the hells. This inherited deformation consists of our spiritual fibers in the organs of the will and understanding: they are twisted around in a horrible looking mess. This is because they are attached to the hells and reflect the appearance of hell. Everyone’s spirit is malformed from heredity. The entire human race has this hereditary infirmity. We are born with evil affections in the will. Every baby and infant has it, but it is kept suppressed by the angels who are guarding the spirit of that child in the world of spirits. But after some months have elapsed from birth, it is more and more difficult for the angels to stay around as guards because the child is unwilling to stay in that state of mind. Evil affections are so attractive and so delightful that they engage in much bad behavior, contrary to order, breaking the peace, being cruel and selfish, obeying foolishness instead of the wisdom of parents and caretakers.

 

As a growing infant or child we turn away from the angels because we love the evil delights more than the good. The evil delights are from hell and fit the twisted coils of our will an understanding. Bad things give us more pleasure and enthusiasm, more happiness, than good things. Good things flow through the twisted coils in our will and we feel tortured, obsessed, in a rage. We fly off the handle because good feels like torture to evil. Good affections from the angels flow into our mind—like being nice instead of rude, or being responsible instead of irresponsible. When affections flow in from the angels they are coiled in the shape of heaven. But the shape of the coils in the will run in the opposite direction! They are modeled according to the shape of hell. Therefore a huge battle arises as to which shape is going to prevail.

 

As it is desirable that the origin of perception, internal dictate, and conscience, should be known, and as at the present day it is altogether unknown, I may relate something on the subject. It is a great truth that man is governed by the Lord by means of spirits and angels. When evil spirits begin to rule, the angels labor to avert evils and falsities, and hence arises a combat. It is this combat of which the man is rendered sensible by perception, dictate, and conscience. By these, and also by temptations, a man might clearly see that spirits and angels are with him, were he not so deeply immersed in corporeal things as to believe nothing that is said about spirits and angels. Such persons, even if they were to feel these combats hundreds of times, would still say that they are imaginary, and the effect of a disordered mind. I have been permitted to feel such combats, and to have a vivid sense of them, thousands and thousands of times, and this almost constantly for several years, as well as to know who, what, and where they were that caused them, when they came, and when they departed; and I have conversed with them. (AC 227)

 

This spiritual combat is felt in the conscious natural mind by the action of correspondence. Whatever happens in our unconscious spiritual mind has a corresponding effect in our conscious natural mind. This is felt more clearly and definitely as we focus in on our habits of willing and thinking.

 

The Lord grants every individual a free and crucial choice for our fate and future: Will we compel ourselves to keep our focus on this constant activity going on in the mind, or will we largely ignore it, relying on outward deeds and occasional self-examination. This is where we begin to realize that a self-witnessing discipline is necessary if we are going to keep the focus and monitor the thousands of acts of willing and thinking every day and hour of our allotted time on earth. According to life expectancy in the Western countries today, the average man has approximately two-and-a-half billion seconds (2.5 billion) on this earth. If we remove one-third for unconscious sleep, we will make a little over one-and-a-half billion acts in our willing and thinking during conscious waking time. So that’s the average man has in terms of opportunity to examine, repent, and modify more than a billion times while we are still attached to the physical body. Once we make the transition and awaken in our spirit-body, we are in a radically new situation. Without the physical body to absorb the affections in our will, and without the fear of punishment and death, we lose all restraint in controlling our impulses.

 

Whatever loves we left deposited in our will now become our master and we cannot restrain them. If these impulses in the will are contrary to Divine Order, the spirit must be restrained by separation from others to prevent their victimization. This separation is actually an incarceration in eternal hell. Why eternal? Because the spirit refuses to let go of the evil impulses despite repeated invitations by the guardian angels to come up to heaven. But this is not possible without giving up the evil impulses, and this the spirit is never going to agree to, not to an eternity—such is its amazing tenacity and love for insanity. And it must be remembered that we are born inverted in our spirit so that our evil affections and impulses appear to us as good, since they are so delightful. And due to this, we judge falsities as spiritual truths, and we judge spiritual truths as falsities. This prevents us from knowing the reality that all our acts are from evil affections until we are willing to undergo reformation by means of spiritual truths obtained from the Writings. For the Writings is the only source of spiritual truths in the new era of the Second Coming (xx). All those on earth who do not know about the Writings, nevertheless will be taught its concepts when arriving in the afterlife (xx).

 

Those will then accept the truths who have lived their life sincerely in accordance with the Word and Doctrine available to them from conscience, religion or faith. But those who did not submit themselves in life to conscience, religion, or faith for the sake of God, will reject the truths, and thus reject heavenly life where obedience to the Doctrine from the Writings is life itself. All those who are unwilling to live their life in such obedience to God’s Word, are then prepared for life in hell. All their good traits are isolated in the will and rendered inanimate. This is done by angels from the Lord who gives them perception into the spirit’s interior will. It’s a kind of spiritual surgery, as I imagine it. At last, without any good and true functioning, the spirit is ready to enter hell where it maintains itself at a sub-human life made of insanity and revolting fantasies. There they choose to remain forever no mater how many times they are offered entry to heaven. They hate heavenly obedience more than the misery of hell. That’s why they are sub-human and appear to angles looking down as monstrous devils, insane satans, obsessed genii, repulsive sirens, and the like, these sorry outward appearance being reflections of their love for self and hatred for God.

 

To focus on the thousands of acts of willing and thinking every day, means to monitor and keep track of them. Note that normal social life does not require this kind of self-knowing. Society requires that we know things outside of ourselves, like the history of our country, or the multiplication table, or how to read instructions and write messages. But there is no requirement that we monitor our feelings, motives, thoughts, and interior dialog with ourselves. Once in awhile, if get called on the witness stand, we might have to report on some of our willing and thinking. We are asked, Why did you do this? Or, What did you decide then? Or, Were you in love with her at that time? Etc. It is required by law that we answer honestly, but knowing the answer is not a requirement. In that case we reply, I don’t remember, and the court accepts it. But the court does hold us responsible for knowing things outside of ourselves, such as, Did you see him or not? and, Were you ever contacted by this person” etc.

 

And yet, for our eternal fate in the afterlife, this external knowledge is not at all crucial, and will only last us as long as we are attached to the physical body, while  the usefulness of the interior knowledge will last us to eternity. Clearly the interior knowledge is immeasurably more important than the external knowledge, and yet, prior to our reformation, everyone favors the external knowledge, and pursues it, hardly paying attention to the far more crucial interior knowledge, which is knowledge about the character of our willing and thinking all day long.

 

This sad and terrible situation is the result of rejecting the goods God desires to give us, and instead, leading our life by self-intelligence and self-reliance in spiritual matters. When we declare that we are an atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, materialist, cynic, realist, etc., we are making the free choice of leading ourselves in spiritual matters. The Writings say that this is spiritual insanity (xx). Spiritual insanity is the state of our spirit when we replace truth with falsified truth in our understanding. This is inevitable when we lead ourselves in spiritual matters since we are born spiritually insane, and what is insane cannot be made sane except by receiving truths from God. To receive truths from God, one must acknowledge Him and His Word. Those who do not have the Word or knowledge derived from it, then must acknowledge their conscience as the inner Voice of God in them.

 

Note well: If they obey conscience without acknowledging that is the Voice of God, they cannot be reformed and all their good behavior and good intentions are only exterior, and within this nice interior, there remains their secret loves of evil delights. In the afterlife they are never willing to let go of a single one, and so their life is in hell. But if we acknowledge the voice of conscience as God operating within them and guiding what they must do to go to heaven, then they arrive in the afterlife prepared to obey God’s Order in the truths taught to them at that time by the welcoming angels.

 

God gives us the ability or power to obey our conscience because it is essential that we make free choices, without which we can have no sense of self, no sense of human happiness.

 

Since we are born with the fibers coiled and modeled after the shapes of hell, we are filled with evil delights that we are unwilling by free choice to let go of, and to detest. These evil affections motivate our thinking to reason in a certain way that the conclusion will be favored by the evil affection. Therefore God must give us a conscience that has the power to resist evil delights. In addition to conscience, God reveals reality and truth in His Word. This knowledge about Himself and the spiritual world, spreads throughout society through religion, theology, education, reading, art, entertainment. Almost no one of the human race is raised without finding out about God’s existence and about life after death. We freely make the choice to reject the idea of God. After that we are on the road down to hell since no other source of truths is available to the human race. And we must have these truths from God to guide our conscience and decisions. Without these truths, not God guides us, but devils in hell to which our spirit is attached by birth.

 

Our spiritual insanity doesn’t show in our social relations and work. The strong motive for self-preservation drives us to hide and moderate the insanity that wants to break out into the open and enjoy the delights of mayhem and violence, of seduction and corruption, of theft and deception, of vulgarity and obscenity. These awful affections in our will are kept in moderation and suppression by the stronger motive of self-preservation, for in all societies it is forbidden to do these things unchecked, and doles out punishment to those who go beyond the accepted limits. Societies do this for their own self-preservation since no society can survive without punishing behaviors that have no limits of self-restrain (xx).

 

The motive for self-preservation has many components and enters into other motives that seem like altruism rather than self-preservation. But this is a false appearance that must be detected when we examine our habitual willing and thinking. During reformation, and throughout the long years of regeneration, we can become conscious, to the extent that we care to, of habits of willing and thinking that are clearly selfish when we look at them. The external act of the physical body may be consistently kind and responsible, to such an extent that spouse, family, friends, and coworkers would rate this individual very highly on a scale of kindness and good will.

 

But heaven cannot be obtained by merit because it has to do with fibers and coils in the will. Self-preservation, desire for success and power, and many secret passions within our will, drive us to exert control over our appearance, visible acts, reputation, language, style. The outward acts are forced, not preferred. If others were able to access a man’s feelings and thoughts, would they still think of him as kind and decent when they can see he wishes them ill, despises them in comparison to himself, and cares nothing for their suffering. They would recoil from him like he is a monster and wicked devil, which he is, since tied to the devils in hell by heredity. We are each like this prior to reformation.

 

And what is required for reformation? The return to God and to the Word by which He reveals Himself and reality, that is, spiritual truth.

 

11. Spiritual Sanity Is To Return To God And To The Word

 

Keeping all of the above in mind, let us get back to the email message that started the discussion in this section:

 

If we throw God away, we are still left with our neighbour. Whether one believes in God or not, one is still left with how one will deal with one's fellow man.

 

Only one course is open to man. Basic human decency. Whether we believe God to be a very personal divine human or a very impersonal force, there can only be one option: to treat other people well and kindly.

 

It is impossible for one who has treated (on the whole) his fellow-man kindly and fairly, not to end up in heaven. It is similar to a piece of cork that cannot be submerged under the water. The kind man will jump his way into heaven! Even the loudest atheist will eventually find himself in

heaven, IF he has been kind to his fellow man.

 

And so the answer to this point of view is that there is no “basic human decency” except in humans who have been reformed and regenerated (xx). This biological activity in the will cannot occur except by means of understanding revealed truth, which is spiritual reality. The truths of the Word and the Doctrine of our religion or faith, must be taken up in our mind by means of reading the Word as a Divine Book, Holy because it is God speaking to our mind. Once our understanding is reformed, we can undergo the required regeneration by using our understanding to compel ourselves to reject what we prefer, and to choose what we know is from God and heaven.

 

The notion that “It is impossible for one who has treated (on the whole) his fellow-man kindly and fairly, not to end up in heaven” is a spiritual insanity. What matters for living in heaven is not how we treated others, but how we loved them. All loves from self are from hell. Therefore, our only way to heaven is to abandon all our own loves and to start loving only the things that are from heaven and God. We cannot decide on our own what is from heaven and God because we are spiritually insane. this will always drive us to reject the loves of heaven, to enter the loves of hell, and then to remain there by calling them loves of heaven. This is the insanity. And this: “Even the loudest atheist will eventually find himself in heaven, IF he has been kind to his fellow man.” This is also spiritual insanity because heaven is from God, not from self. Hell is from self. One cannot deny God and accept heaven. Denial of God leaves us facing the hell with which our spirit was born.

 

From all this you can see that knowing your willing and thinking in detail reveals the evils that you delight in and partake in, and are unwilling to give up. But only when they are held up to the truths of reality in the Word. Rejecting the Word is death of the spirit. But since the spirit is immortal, death refers to hell because life there is sub-human misery in eternal insanity. It is not a punishment by God, for God constantly sends angels to hell to beg all the inhabitants to repent, reform, and enter heavenly happiness. But none are willing to listen to what to them seems false and a worse choice than the misery in which they obstinately keep themselves in forever. Such is the amazing stubbornness of self-willing when allowed to grow to its own level of thinking and enjoyment.

 

For the New Church mind it is the Word of the Writings that provide us with the reality check we need to force ourselves to reform. But the Writings has no power from the outside, but only from the inside. We can read the Writings and reserve judgment and opinion as to what in it we will to accept and what we will to reject. This is reading the Writings in the state of spiritual insanity. It will have insufficient power to overcome our unwillingness to change and reform. Only this will have sufficient power, and more: To read the Writings as the Word, as Divine Truth in every detail, as the Lord Himself within the spiritual truths hidden therein. All spiritual truths in the Writings are hidden within the literal meaning of the sentences we read. This is for our protection, so that we do not get hold of some genuine spiritual idea and misuse it—which would guarantee our fate in the worst of hells (xx). The Lord therefore reveals each spiritual insight in the order and at the rate suitable for each individual.

 

The Lord commands us that we compel ourselves to reform as-of self by means of the understanding we pick up from studying the Writings as Divine Truth in every detail. Only this kind of study will put the Writings into our natural-rational mind. Then, possessed by more and more spiritual truths, we can progress in our regeneration. This progress depends on how much we are motivated to apply the truths from the Writings to our daily willing and thinking. This is the filtering process, the healing process, by which we become spiritually sane and prepared for a life in heaven. From being born hellish and sub-human, we are thus reborn human and angelic.

 

The New Church mind refers to any individual who is motivated to study the Writings as Divine Truth, and to love it by willing and thinking according to one’s understanding of it.

 

12. Macro-Behaviors Are Regenerated By Means Of Micro-Behaviors

 

All acts we do occur in a sequence and a setting. For example I awake at dawn, drive to the beach with my wife, drive back and fix breakfast, and clean up the kitchen. This is a morning routine that takes up a small portion of every day. As I describe this to you, I use expressions that refer to macro-behaviors, or behavior units that are fairly general. You can see that each detail mentioned, has sub-components that I do not mention. For instance, I spend about one hour at the beach walk but I didn’t even mention that, nor did I mention what sub-routines my beach walk consist of. One for instance, has to do with saying good morning to the other beach walkers. This has many details to be considered since it varies with each stranger we say good morning to.

 

And I don’t even mention many things that I do while walking on the beach, such as admiring the sunrise, listening to waves, watching the frigate birds high in the sky looking for favorable air currents, and numerous other things. When I get down to mentioning even more detail, I enter the micro-behavior world. Most people do not describe things at this level for it would be too boring and even meaningless, thus interfering with normal communication. For example, I could describe what I do with my cell phone, not wanting to leave it in the car, fearing another break in as we had twice before. When I enter the car I place the tiny little phone on the tray, then when I arrive at the beach, I pick it up and put in my right back pocket. I have my wallet in my left back pocket. I have my keys in my left side pocket. I avoid putting the cell phone with the keys for it makes a noise as I walk.

 

Who could stand endlessly discussing such details on our daily round of routines? So we don’t. And even each of these sub-details has sub-sub-details, like how I put the phone in my back pocket as I exit the car. My back pocket seals with a Velcro strip so I have to manage to open the flap held tight by the Velcro, as I hold the cell phone in the hand. This takes some practice to do effectively.

 

And then there are finer details to each of these little movements, as when I have a cut healing on my finger and try to avoid opening the wound by putting pressure on it at a certain angle. In each of these micro-behavior details there is a threefold stepwise execution. First, I have a motive, like protecting my cut finger from being injured as I open the Velcro flap. Second, I have a thought, like monitoring the angle of pressure on the cut on my finger and judging at which point I should no longer put pressure. Third, I have a sensorimotor execution of the hand rotation, force exerted, and finger movement  You can see then that willing and thinking is performed in numerous sequence of micro-behaviors built into macro-behaviors. The macro-behaviors cannot be modified unless the micro-behaviors are modified first.

 

In fact self-modification of macro-behaviors is achieved in two steps. First, there must be a general motive or goal, such as going to the beach at dawn. All the sub-behaviors and their micro-behaviors depend on this one macro-behavior motive. The morning I decide to sleep in, all the micro-behaviors at the beach do not occur. In regeneration, the motivation to modify macro-behaviors must therefore come first. For example, I may decide that it is my citizen’s duty to pick up sharp pieces of glasses I see as I walk, so as to prevent injury to those who walk barefoot. In the past I did not do this. Now I’m motivated to be a better beach citizen and to stop acting with indifference towards the danger. This begins my regeneration effort with regard to this one area. It starts with a macro-motivation.

 

Now I need to struggle to regenerate all the micro-behaviors. For example, I see something a few feet away that might be a piece of glass. I should go over there and examine it, but I don’t want to break my aerobic pace, so I keep walking. I feel bothered. Now I can continue to walk or I can turn back. I’m in a struggle. And so on. You can see that the micro-behaviors confront the actual issues involved in carrying out the macro-behavior. Motives are set within motives in a complex hierarchy and we cannot regenerate the macro-behavior unless we tackle and modify the lower issues attendant to the micro-behaviors. This applies to all regeneration.

 

13. Self-Witnessing Our Micro-Behaviors

 

Self-witnessing is a term I’ve been using for decades to refer to my long standing penchant for metanoid self-monitoring. This is a dual focus—one on the mental activity going on, and one on its monitoring and evaluation. I became consciously aware of my metanoid focus in my early twenties, though it felt so familiar that I always seem to have had it, but not by conscious reflection, until my twenties. The Writings speak of this double focus in connection with self-examination, repentance, and regeneration (e.g., DP 114).

 

[A person] can from wisdom above view the love that is below, and in this way can view his thoughts, intentions, affections, and therefore the evils and falsities as well as the goods and truths of his life and doctrine; and without a knowledge and acknowledgment of these in himself he cannot be reformed. (DP 16)

 

Without self-examination, recognition, acknowledgment, confession and rejection of sins, thus without repentance, there is no forgiveness of them, thus no salvation, but eternal condemnation (DP 114)

 

IV. EVILS IN THE EXTERNAL, MAN CANNOT BE REMOVED BY THE LORD EXCEPT THROUGH MAN'S INSTRUMENTALITY

 

It is only religion which renews and regenerates a person. Religion is allotted the highest place in the human mind, and sees below it the social matters which concern the world. Religion too climbs up through these as the pure sap rises in a tree to its top, and from that lofty position it has a view of natural matters, just as someone on a tower or a mountain has a view of the plains beneath. (TCR 601)

 

The will inclines from birth towards evils, even to those which are enormous; hence, unless it were restrained by means of the understanding, a man would rush into acts of wickedness, indeed, from his inherent savage nature, he would destroy and slaughter, for the sake of himself, all who do not favor and indulge him. (ISB 14)

 

From these and many other passages in the Writings we acquire the idea that constant self-witnessing is a method that allows us to carry out the cooperation with the Lord that He commands us to perform because it is necessary for our regeneration. When you begin self-witnessing one striking aspect of it is to become conscious of the macro and micro-integration of human willing and thinking. For example, I think about taking in the car for servicing. This is a macro-topic in my day’s schedule, to be integrated with many other macro-topics like sending email to someone, grooming the cat, shopping for groceries, reading the Writings, vacuuming the pool, and so on. Every macro-topic is kept in place by priorities of motives or affections in the will. But every macro-topic is constructed of a integrated series of micro-topics, each of these being maintained by a hierarch of sub-motives, affections, and preferences in the will.

 

For example, vacuuming the pool is made of sub-tasks (1) getting the pole from its place behind the plants without injuring the plants; (2) taking off the brush attached to it and affixing the hose nuzzle extension on wheels; (3) curling or snaking the long hose into the water to fill it with water and empty it of air; and at least a dozen other sub-tasks. Each sub-task has a series or hierarch of affections that determine the style, rate, and effectiveness of my willing, thinking, and acting out the movements of hands, head, and body. Each sub-task offers plenty of opportunity for inherited and acquired evils to break out and take over, producing errors, ineffectiveness, damage, injuries, anger, affectational styles, neglect, laziness, carelessness, and many others.

 

Self-witnessing reveals the astounding complexity of the ordinary behaviors we perform mentally and physically. Every micro-act or detail is managed by the Lord through good and evil spirits with which He connects us, moment by moment as we perform our willing prompted by affections, our thinking prompted by knowledge and beliefs, and our sensory and motor activities that are in credence with our mental activities. But self-witnessing in itself is not a spiritual or religious activity. What makes it spiritual is the motive we have in doing it. A spiritual motive for self-witnessing makes it into a spiritual or religious discipline. From the Writings we have the commandment to know our willing and thinking so that we may evaluate each mental act in the eight of Doctrine in our mind from the Writings. This is the spiritual motive for self-witnessing in the New Church mind. It is a Divine Commandment. Further, we are giving this commandment for our sake. We are taught that regeneration is by the Lord but limited by the individual. The Lord gives us the spiritual freedom not to regenerate! But to enter heaven, we must regenerate. And the process of our cooperation involves the micro-details of the micro-sub-tasks of the endless stream of ordinary acts in our willing and thinking all day long.

 

Physical and mental disciplines are in the external natural mind and have nothing in it from the spiritual and celestial mind (AC 978, 4286; AE 355:14). From the natural nothing else but natural things can come out. There is no possibility of “emergence” of the spiritual from the physical, as proposed by some neuroscientists today. No matter how evolved the brain becomes it will never be able to give rise to the sensation. The brain remains a dead physical compound just like the natural sun. Everything from the physical universe comes from this or that sun or galactic cluster. No materials that are from this source, no matter how chemically evoluted, can reach across the discrete degree that eternally divides the natural substance from the spiritual substance (DLW 185).

 

Brain activity is the patterned electrical and chemical motions of physical substances. Sensations are neither electrical nor chemical. Therefore sensations cannot exist through the brain and in the brain (ISB 1[2]). They exist in the mind and through the mind. The mind is spiritual organ, that is, an organ made of spiritual substances. When we are born as human beings, we have a physical body in the natural world to which is connected by correspondence, a spirit-body in the spiritual world.

 

Our spirit-body can be seen by the spirits from a distance (AC 4527).

 

It should be known that every man as to his spirit is in the spiritual world in some society there, a wicked man in an infernal society and a good man in a heavenly society; and sometimes he also appears there when in deep meditation. (DP 296:[6])

 

Physical eyes, sensors, cameras, instruments, and other detection devices invented on earth are incapable of seeing or recording the spirit-body. This is because there is no crossing of the discrete barrier between natural and spiritual things. Their relationship is not by crossing, contacting, developing into, or emerging from—these being phenomena in continuous degree, not discrete (see Chapter 5 Section 6). Their only connection is by correspondence (DLW 374).

 

In other words, at any moment the spirit-body receives or detects a pattern of influx in its spiritual world environment where untold numbers of spirits live in their spirit-bodies. Spirits is the name used for human beings who live in the spiritual world after having died in the natural world from which all humans originate. The spirit-body of spirits is able to detect influx from other spirits at any distance no matter where the others are located in the spiritual world (HH 198). What determines the strength of the influx are the specific affections each spirit has in their organ called the will.

 

Spirits who have compatible affections in their will are in close presence, can interact directly, can speak to each other, touch each other, feel each other, and experience all the sensations we have in the physical body but to a far more sensitive degree than possible on earth (AC 4760[2]). Spirits who have antagonistic affections in their will cannot be together because they strive to annihilate each other (HH 194). These rules or laws of the spiritual world are fixed and maintained by the Lord who is very closely involved in the management of all these people’s affections, and the thoughts that are created by these affections in another part of the spirit-body and which is called the understanding.

 

14. Overlap Between The Mind And The Spiritual World

 

Spirits who have similar concepts and ideas in their understanding are able to congregate and live together in a city governed by representatives appointed by the Lord, or, by the Lord through angels who reside in a discrete degree above that city. In this way the hierarchical discrete levels of the human mind are identical with the hierarchical discrete levels of the spiritual world. It is organized from top to bottom:

 

1) The spiritual Sun in which the Lord can be seen

2) The Third Heaven of Celestial Angels

3) The Second Heaven of Spiritual Angels

4) The First Heaven of Natural Angels (or Angelic Spirits)

5) The world of spirits where the new arrivals congregate. This is also where our spirit-body is while we are connected to the physical body

6) The region of the first hells, which are the mildest

7) The region of the second hells, which are intermediate in insanity and wickedness.

8) The region of the deepest hells, where those are isolated whose abominable fantasies have the persuasive power to turn other spirits into zombies

 

When you look at this alignment it is the same whether you are looking at the level of organization of the human mind or the spiritual world. There is a perfect overlap between the two. This is why it is said by the Lord that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, though the people He said it to could not yet understand how this was possible (AC 9305). Seventeen centuries later the Lord has made His Second Coming, having sufficiently prepared the human rational faculties to be able to receive the new interior truths of the Heavenly Doctrines in the Writings. He was able to create New Heavens as well as a new interior portion of the human mind. What made this possible was our ability in these higher levels to understand by correspondence, interior-natural truths about the Lord and His Divine Laws of managing the universe. Infinite such truths are contained in the Writings, enough that only a small portion of them can be uncovered by the generations to eternity (NJHD 260).

 

Most people who hear this assertion about the Writings instantly reject it as foolish nonsense or naive exaggeration. But it is the truth, both because it so asserted in the Writings (xx) and because it is rationally explained why and how this marvel is real. Nothing whatsoever is left to dogma or mystery. Nothing. All of the assertions in the Writings are fully and completely explained and justified rationally so that anyone can verify that this is so by studying all of the Writings with the purpose of finding in it the Divine Truth. Not a single dogma can exist in the Writings since dogma is from hell and every single thing in the Writings is from heaven (TCR 779).

 

Those who are offended by this assertion raise this objection: Is it not obvious that it is a dogma to say, either you accept all of the Writings as Divine Truth or you cannot see the spiritual things in it when you read it. But this objection is not valid. One must first grant that there is Divine Truth or else the assertion is not being investigated. If you accept that there is Divine Truth then you must accept that it is possible that only Divine Truth is contained in the Writings. One follows the other logically. Now if you admit that it is possible for the Writings to contain only Divine Truth then you can read the Writings and see spiritual truths in them. And if you also rearrange your life, your daily willing and thinking, all your concepts, with no exceptions, to be compatible with your understanding of these spiritual truths, then you will also be close to heaven and the Lord, and you will see and perceive with certitude that the Writings are the Divine Truth, that is, the Word of the Second.

 

From all these considerations and facts you can see that everything about your salvation depends on rearranging your daily willing and thinking. Why everything? Does not my faith count? It only counts to the extent that our faith acts together with our charity (TCR 336-393). Knowing, understanding, agreeing with, and teaching the Writings is not enough. Add to it religious faith and call it the Word, and it is not enough. But do your daily willing and thinking according to your understanding of it, and that is enough to prepare your spirit-body for heavenly life. Salvation is not by religious membership and sincere worship. Salvation is only by charity directed by faith. By charity. Not by faith. Note well: we are not saying “by charity alone” for this does not lead to salvation since charity without faith is not genuine charity from the Lord (TCR 336-393). Only that is from the Lord in our spirit-body which is from charity combined with its own faith.

 

Now since faith in its essence is truth, it follows that in proportion to the volume and coherence of truths faith becomes more and more perfectly spiritual, and so less and less natural-sensual. For it is raised into the higher region of the mind, from where it sees below itself rank upon rank of proofs of itself in the natural world. A great volume of truths cohering as it were in a bundle makes true faith more enlightened, more easily perceived, more outstanding and clear. It also becomes more easily linked to the various kinds of good belonging to charity, and consequently more easily freed from evils, and by stages less subject to the enticements of the eye and the longings of the flesh, thus becoming essentially happier. In particular its resistance to evils and falsities is increased, and so it becomes more and more alive and conducive to salvation. (TCR 352)

 

Charity from the Lord cannot be adjoined with faith that is spurious or false, and thus reformation must be completed in the afterlife. Those who exercised charity of religion without confirming it by the falsities of their religion can compete reformation in the afterlife, and then continue with their regeneration to eternity. But those exercised the charity of their religion and adjoined to it by confirmation the falsities of their religion cannot complete their reformation in the afterlife, for they resist and are unwilling.

 

The New Church mind must therefore be reformed and regenerated in a state of charity to which is adjoined the Heavenly Doctrine that we have in our understanding from reading the Writings as the Word. This process of reformation and regeneration is a biological process of the spirit-body. The spirit-body, which is our mind, must be fully matured to enter heaven. All the levels of the mind, as discussed above, must be opened by the Lord and activated for influx. The Lord can do this to the extent that we allow Him, that is, to the extent that we cooperate with Him.

 

How do we cooperate with Him? This becomes the spiritual bottom line for every New Church husband who is willing to begin his reformation sometime in adult life (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]).

 

15. The Mind And The Brain

 

Cooperation requires conscious continuous action and reaction. The Lord is very closely and intimately involved in this process. First, he implants spiritual truths in the upper levels of the mind, as discussed above. We are totally unconscious of this process, just as we are unconscious of how the brain calibrates and manages the thousands of hormones and chemical substances every second to produce adequate electrical patterns or footprints to make possible sensation in the spirit-body. At some point the brain activity matches a certain predetermined rational pattern or footprint. This pattern of activity in the brain is now ready for being acted upon by correspondence. The spirit-body then becomes conscious of a sensation and thought. Note well: the brain pattern of activity does not cause the corresponding sensation in the spirit-body, that is, in our conscious awareness. This sensory awareness in the spirit-body is not caused by the physical sensory input to the brain—which is impossible (TCR 336-393).

 

Rather, the relationship is more like a resonance which occurs in the physical world for things that are in continuous (not discrete) degree with other. For example the sound of a car horn enters the brain and produces an identifiable pattern of electro-chemical activity. The brain activity is an informational representation of the specific qualities of the sound. While the brain is thus engaged in the patterned activity, the spirit-body resonates to this pattern, and when there is a match, we experience the sensation and we hear the horn. Then we can react to it through a similar process. Second by second, our spirit-body is thus active and growing by cumulating sensations, thoughts, and affections. This growth process in the organs of the spirit-body is deformed, injured, corrupt by inheritance. Our spirit-body is created when the physical body is born and the child takes its first breath, filling the lungs (D.Wis 6[9]). This opening of the lungs permits or occasions the start the life of sensation and thought, and therefore, the start of the spirit-body and its development.

 

In short, all affections for good and truth reach out into heaven, and there is thus connexion and linking with those there who have similar affections. All affections for evil and falsity reach out into hell, and there is thus connexion and linking with those there who have similar affections. Affections reach out into the spiritual world, almost as the range of sight reaches out into the natural world. The connexions in either place are much alike, the difference being that in the natural world they are with things, in the spiritual world with communities of angels. (LJ 9)

 

Our moment to moment willing and thinking is what causes the growth of the spirit-body. Such as the willing is, with its companion thinking, such is the growth of the spirit-body because such is our connection to heaven or to hell. When we are thinking this or that in the course of the day we are becoming a part of the affections that motivate the thinking and reasoning. These affections either reach out to heaven or they reach down to hell, as indicated in the quoted passage. The Lord is revealing this fundamental duality to us: Either we are in heaven or in hell with every moment of willing and thinking. And thus our affections continually reach up to heaven or down to hell. And we are at the helm, we are responsible by rational choice or choice guided by the voice of conscience. And such as our choices are, such is our spiritual fate (xx).

 

But note well: This is not an equity model but an all or nothing model! The millions of choices you’ve made in a few decades on earth will not be put on a scale, weighed, and the preponderance of frequency wins. There is no way of entering heavenly life with an equity model! It’s all or nothing at the gates of heaven. If you enter with a few affections that reach down to hell, can you enter? You would be suffocated by the sphere of Good there.

 

Will you be able to leave your evil affections behind when you arrive at the gates of heaven, so that then you can enter? You might reason this way: Does it not say that the highest angels admit that if they were left to themselves they would be plunging into hell with their affections of old that they once had? (see xx) And so not even the angels are perfect. But this is not a correct argument. The angels are perfect because they have left all their affections, left them for the Lord to be in a disanimated state. True, we are told that they can be revived once again by the Lord, if this were for a Divine purpose, which proves that they are still with the angels and will always be (see xx). But it’s clear that they do not have a single affection that is active that does not reach to heaven. This is why angels are called perfect (xx).

 

And so, when you arrive at the gates of heaven, will you be able to voluntarily give up every one of your affections that reach down to hell? You will not be able to because you will not be willing. What an amazing fact! (xx)

 

You can understand why this is so. You have these affections still with you because you have not been willing to give them up in all of your regeneration on earth.

 

You might think that when you get there and everything is all over, then you would be willing to let go of them, especially when you realize that they prevent your entry into heavenly life. But you’re only dreaming or lulling yourself to sleep with this vain hope. The Writings clearly explain that the affections you hold on to until death are the affections you remain with to eternity! (xx, xx). The basic reason for this is that affections are immortal spiritual fibers within which you feel the love of your life. Take away those fibers, and you no longer feel the love of your life, hence you cannot be happy or motivated to do anything.

 

In the unregenerate state into which we are born, our spirit-body is an offshoot of the fibers of the parents (CL 206). Such as is their spirit-body such is the spirit-body of their children. All the evil affections and unconscious preferences and tendencies are in the things inherited by the spirit-body. If we then lead a life motivated by these inherited tendencies in the spirit-body, we will develop a permanent infirm spirit-body that is not capable of living in the heavenly regions of the mind.

 

Everything therefore depends on monitoring our willing and thinking every hour of the day so that we can identify every particular evil affection and all the falsities of life that these evil affections create in our understanding and philosophy of living.

 

The state of the case with the evil in the other life is that they are not punished until their evils have reached their height, and this both in general and in particular. For such is the equilibrium in the other life that evil punishes itself, that is to say those who are evil run into the punishment of their evil, but only when it has reached its height. Every evil has its limit that varies in each individual case, beyond which it is not allowable to pass. When an evil person passes beyond this limit he precipitates himself into the penalty, and this is so in every particular (AC 1857)

 

This passage discusses what happens in the afterlife to those who are unwilling to eliminate their evil affections and falsities in this life.

 

16. Metanoid Self-Witnessing

 

I have discovered that metanoid self-witnessing is an effective method for identifying the content of our willing and thinking in daily life. Therefore if becomes a useful spiritual discipline by which husbands can cooperate with the Lord in their reformation and regeneration. Only by performing this cooperation hour by hour, minute by minute, can the husband become a conjugial husband. Without becoming conjugial, the husband cannot regenerate because his regeneration must involve his wife in a specific way as discussed throughout Chapter 9.

 

The interior can perceive what takes place in the exterior, or what is the same, that the higher can see what is in the lower; but not the reverse. Moreover they who have conscience can do this and are accustomed to do it, for when anything contrary to the truth of conscience flows into the thought, or into the endeavor of the will, they not only perceive it, but also find fault with it; and it even grieves them to be of such a character. (AC 1914)

 

As our regeneration proceeds day by day, the interior rational (or spiritual-rational) which is in the spiritual mind, is progressively opened by the Lord through the influx of the angels into those concepts in our mind that are suitably formed for their influx. This opening process is a psychobiological formation of spiritual fibers growing in the upper levels of the mind (or spirit-body)—for “a person's spirit is his mind, and whatever comes from it” (TCR 138). The activity and influence of the interior rational mind is proportional to the extent to which it can “descend” into (or within) the concepts and ideas of the interior-natural mind (AC 5150). When the interior-natural is active within the natural-rational, the mind is properly aligned to function as a genuine human being, which is the celestial person (or angel) (AC 1940[2]).

 

In order for the interior-rational to be active within the external-rational mind, there must be an interior-natural portion formed by the Lord within the natural-rational. Then the interior-natural can resonate by correspondence to the spiritual mind and reveal to our conscious awareness what those spiritual truths are with which the angels flowed in.

 

This mutually beneficial interaction between angels and earthlings takes place by correspondence in discrete degrees, not by continuous degree or direct contact.

 

I have spoken with spirits about the changes of state of man's life, that it is inconstant, and that he is borne upward and downward, now toward heaven and now toward hell. But they who suffer themselves to be regenerated are being borne continually upward, and thus always into more interior heavenly societies. Extension of sphere into these societies is given by the Lord to those who are being regenerated, especially to those who are being regenerated by means of temptations, in which resistance is made to evils and falsities; for the Lord then fights through angels against the evils and falsities; and in this way the man is introduced into the societies of these angels, which are more interior societies; and into whatever societies he has once been introduced, he there remains; and from this he also receives a more extended and elevated capacity of perception. (AC 6611)

 

Every earthling who is thus regenerated becomes an angel in the afterlife and continues to participate in this ever expanding activity of unity involving the ever expanding human race. This union of humanity into one is visible in the spiritual world as the Grand Human, visible to Swedenborg and the angels (HH 59). Religious or spiritual disciplines are necessary tools of regeneration, a process that progresses only to the extent that we consciously and actively cooperate in it. The religious discipline is a method of practice for increasing the cooperation we are required to perform.

 

IV. EVILS IN THE EXTERNAL, MAN CANNOT BE REMOVED BY THE LORD EXCEPT THROUGH MAN'S INSTRUMENTALITY. In all Christian Churches this tenet of doctrine has been accepted, that before a man approaches the Holy Communion he shall examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins, and do the work of repentance by desisting from them and rejecting them because they are from the devil; and that otherwise his sins are not forgiven, and he is condemned. (DP 114)

 

It is important to understand what makes a discipline religious or spiritual. Those who approach the Writings from a perspective or motive that is secular, not religious, do not see much in the Writings that teaches physical and mental disciplines. For instance, Wilson Van Dusen, a well known authority on Swedenborg, once complained that “the Writings themselves barely touch on how to regenerate, how to make it of the life, how to practice" ("Spiritual Practice That Makes Religion of the Life: Open Letter to the General Church" New Church Life July 1993, 314-319). He states that the New Church mind would be better off importing some disciplines from Eastern practices and Western traditions such as meditation and consciousness raising exercises.

 

A similar form of this idea is suggested by Alfred Acton (“Emanuel Swedenborg’s Concept of Creation and the Human Mind” Arcana 1994 v1 n2 45-54)

 

The human is similarly layered [as the spiritual world]. Inmostly, there is the soul on the plane of human internals, below which are the three spiritual levels, which are unopened here on earth. Still lower is the interior rational, which is on a plane with the world of spirits and can be opened somewhat here on earth when a person is in deep meditation or reflection. Below this level is the natural mind proper with its rational, imaginative, and sensual levels. (p. 52)

 

The Writings do not specify under what conditions the interior-natural can be consciously “accessed” as it were by meditation or reflection. I think that the attempt to direct access by means of reflection could merely yield content from the lower “sensuous” and “imaginative” mind or higher up from the natural-rational, but not anything from the interior rational and interior-natural, which is spiritual. The interior-natural reacts by correspondence to the unconscious interior-rational, thus giving us the ability for a spiritual consciousness. The interior-rational in the spiritual mind and the interior-natural within the natural mind are both created and operated by the Lord with no contribution from self or world. Only the external-rational is constructed by means of things from self and the world.

 

There is this danger to look out for:

 

A mind removed from the world thinks indeed concerning God, but not from God (DP 142)

 

This is said about our state of mind when we are physically sick and scared. The reason given is that when “ a man is in sickness, and is thinking about death and the state of his soul after death, he is not then in the world but is withdrawn in spirit; and when in this state only, no one can be reformed” (DP 142). If meditation succeeds in withdrawing us from the world it would have a similar effect. Perhaps Rev. Acton’s reference to meditation or deep reflection denote intense focus on the dualities in the Writings as we read and study. This intense focus is what I would call the work of reformation, which is, to comprehend dualities from the Writings and to gather them in the conscious mind as Doctrine for life.

 

This in itself is not yet enlightenment. No matter how deep the reflection and complicated the scholarship, its substance is tied to the literal of the text. Thus it Is not yet seen in the light of heaven. But when we consciously apply the Doctrine in our mind to guide our daily willing and thinking, then the Lord can give enlightenment while we are engaged in the activity or use. Enlightenment therefore does not come with reflection or study, but with applying what we comprehend so that it guides our willing and thinking while we are engaged in an activity or use.

 

With those who believe these things, and love it to be so, all evil and falsity are removed while they are reading the Word, because the Lord then enlightens them and leads them. And then they do not think from themselves, nor are they affected by the Word from themselves, but from the Lord; consequently no evil and falsity of evil enter, because the Lord removes these. These are they who understand the Word, and are affected by the truths from it, and also love to live according to them. (AC 10638)

 

Note well: The more we are studious with the Writings, the better is the Doctrine that we build up in our rational mind. The better the Doctrine, the greater the enlightenment when we apply it to our willing and thinking. A form of Doctrine in our mind is better than another to the extent that it is developed rationally and consistently. A serviceable Doctrine is one that integrates all conceptual elements in our mind. There must be nothing of nonduality left and everything must be aligned in terms of discrete degrees. For instance when we think of “sin” we must also think of “inherited evils,” “regeneration,” and “temptations.” Without connecting concepts in this way, no rational account of operations is possible. Yet all spiritual operations are rational.

 

Or, to give another example, when we think of “conjugial love” we must also think of “scortatory love,” “chastity,” and how the “spiritual mind” of men and women differ. Doctrine refers to not just memory and comprehension of passages in the Writings. It also means figuring out the assumptions and implications of every sentence and phrase. The context must be kept in mind in which the phrase and sentence is embedded, which means collecting together what’s being said about that subject from different places in the Writings.

 

This approach to reading and studying the Writings is necessary to build up our natural-rational ideas and reasoning process. Into this will then flow the interior truths from the Lord during enlightenment. Note that these interior truths are not the Doctrine in our mind. They are the new meaning we see in them during the state of enlightenment. When we write these down, or recall them later, we only comprehend them externally, in the natural light of the natural-rational. Then when a state of enlightenment is given again, new meaning is perceived in sentences and phrases that we are very familiar with already, but in which only the old meaning was seen. Such is enlightenment from the Lord through Doctrine in our mind. Periods of enlightenment alternate with periods of self-initiated light, or obscurity. Only when we arrive in heaven do we remain in a permanent state of enlightenment.

 

17. Enlightenment From The Letter Of The Writings

 

Enlightenment is from the Lord while we are reading the Writings for the purpose of knowing the Divine Truth.

 

'With which you shall do the signs' means consequent enlightenment and corroboration of truths. This is clear from the meaning of 'sign as the corroboration of truths, dealt with in AC 6870 The reason why enlightenment is also meant is that the corroboration of truths comes about through enlightenment received from the Lord when a person focuses his attention on the Word to the end that he may have a knowledge of truths. (AC 7012)

 

As we focus our attention on the Letter of the Writings so that we may know truth, the Lord enlightens us. To have the purpose of knowing the Divine Truth is the same as to have the purpose of living that truth, whereas the purpose of obtaining a mere memory knowledge of Divine Truth does not result in enlightenment.

 

As regards enlightenment and a resulting corroboration of truths, it should be recognized that no enlightenment nor thus any corroboration of truths is possible with those who are interested, as the Jews and Israelites were, only in things of an external nature and not in anything internal. But when those who are interested in external things and at the same time in internal ones read the Word they receive enlightenment, and with that enlightenment they see truths, which after that are corroborated for them over and over again. (AC 7012)

 

And what is so amazing, the nature of each person's enlightenment is determined by the nature of his affection for truth, and the nature of his affection for truth is determined by the good present in his life. This also goes to explain why those who have no affection for truth for its own sake, only for the sake of gain, receive no enlightenment at all when they read the Word. Instead they merely corroborate for themselves matters of doctrine whatever they may be, whether they are false, as heretical teachings are, or entirely contrary to truths, as the teachings of the Jews are, since they do not seek the Lord's kingdom but the world, not faith but renown, thus not heavenly riches but merely earthly ones. Or if a desire to know truths from the Word does perhaps descend on them, falsities present themselves instead of truths, and at length denial of all truths. These matters have been stated in order that people may know what enlightenment is, and a resulting corroboration of truth. (AC 7012)

 

Enlightenment is a gradual and cumulative process like the growth of plants or the body of an infant. In the case of enlightenment, it is the growth of the interior-natural mind from which we have enlightenment. This organic development proceeds at a variable rate according to “each person’s...affection for truth.” This means “by the good present in his life.” And the good present in our life is the quality of the willing and thinking we perform all day long, every day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. Prior to enlightenment we are unwilling to be reformed, unwilling to rearrange everything in our mind in accordance with the truths of the Writings. Even if we are persistent students of the Writings prior to enlightenment, we are told that “falsities present themselves instead of truths.” All we do is “merely corroborate ... matters of doctrine whatever they may be.” We cannot tell whether these doctrines be true or false for we are not enlightened.

 

But enlightenment spoken of here is not the same as the enlightenment we have as angels. This enlightenment is that which is given in the spiritual mind, but we are unconscious of this mind while tied to the body. Instead, the Lord gives us enlightenment by correspondence so that we are now conscious of higher cognitions which are animated from within in the interior-natural mind.

 

Nothing from the influx into our spiritual-rational mind by the Lord through the angels can be perceived while we are in a natural body (with the one exception in the case of Swedenborg). The correspondential effects of that influx are felt and consciously seen in the interior-natural that the Lord builds within the natural-rational level of the natural mind (see diagrams and charts, especially in Chapter 7 Sections 8 and 9). Now when we reflect upon what we see happening in the natural-rational mind, we can become conscious of new understandings that represent more interior truths than before. This is called enlightenment (AC 10215).

 

Note that the enlightenment cannot come from or through meditation because the highest content possible content in mediation is below the natural-rational level o understanding. But it may come somewhat, as Rev. Acton suggests, from reflection when the content is rational and spiritual. This content cannot be imagined or discovered but must be consciously received from reading the Writings as the Lord in His Word for the New Church mind by which the interior-natural degree is opened in us.

 

18. Regeneration Disciplines Are Spiritual

 

They hold a false opinion who call the mere memory-knowledge of things celestial and spiritual, separated from charity, faith. For sometimes the worst of men have this knowledge more than others-as those who live in continual hatred and vindictiveness, and in adultery, and are therefore infernal, and after the life of the body become devils. (AC 1162)

 

A central thesis that runs through the Writings is that the primary thing of religion is charity. All genuine faith and worship comes from charity. Therefore, where there is no charity, there is no faith and only corrupted worship that leads to hell. Prior to our reformation in adult life, we are unregenerate and immersed in all the evils from the hells to which we have ties by heredity and culture. Until our reformation, our faith and our worship is not genuine or true faith and worship. And even in adulthood, we may become expert at the knowledges in the Writings, and teach it to others, but this ability is not a sign of true faith or true worship, since this depends only on regeneration. And regeneration depends on charity as the prime mover.

 

Charity refers to the motivation within our faith. Charity is in the will while faith is in the understanding. Until reformation in adult life we have external faith in the understanding but it is not alive with charity in the will. During reformation we become motivated to put charity into our faith. This is what starts reformation and keeps it going until all our concepts in the understanding are rearranged and redefined to conform to our faith, which is our knowledge of Doctrine from the Writings.

 

But what is charity in the will? How do we put it there? The answer is that we put charity in our will by compelling ourselves to cooperate with the Lord in our regeneration and salvation. We already know of the need for our cooperation, as it is taught in many places in the Writings. When we are ready to live this requirement, we put charity into the will. Charity is a motive discipline. By this motive we examine what is in our will, and evaluate it according to the Doctrine in our understanding from the Writings. Everything in our will is either form hell or from heaven, so it’s a categorical duality of choosing one versus the other.

 

Not choosing, and letting it lie there by default, amounts to the same as choosing hell. The Lord cannot remove the hell in our interior mind unless we cooperate by struggling against the hells in our awareness. These hells are revealed to us from within by conscience and by the Doctrine. It stands to reason therefore that we must deal with our daily willing and thinking in terms of a spiritual or religious discipline, by which we are motivated to shun those that are evils and hold them in aversion, that is, detesting them. This is not easy because we are born with a deep seated delight in these evil affections from hell. This is why I call it “the struggle” for reformation.

 

From the life of everyone it may be known what his acknowledgment is. All they are called "sons of Ham" who have a memory-knowledge of the knowledges of faith, and have not charity, whether it be a memory-knowledge of the interior knowledges of the Word, and of its veriest mysteries, or a memory-knowledge of all things in the literal sense of the Word, or a memory-knowledge of other truths, whatever their name, from which these may be regarded, or a knowledge of all the rituals of external worship-if they have not charity, they are "sons of Ham." (AC 1162)

 

To the extent that we function in our daily tasks from the interior activity of charity, to that extent our physical and mental disciplines will have become spiritual. The focus therefore needs to be on how the inside world of charity in the will, can be within the outside world of thinking and action. As we perform our routine acts outwardly, what is happening inwardly to our external or lower mind?

 

What are we enjoying or hating about what’s going on?

What are we thinking that we do not show?

 

[2] For every general is derived from all the component items, as from its own particulars; in no other way can any general come into existence, for it is called a general because it comes forth from particulars. Therefore such as is a man's life in general, such is it in the most minute atoms of his effort and intention-that is, of his will-and in the most minute atoms of his thought; so that there cannot be the smallest bit of an idea in which the life is not the same.

 

As for example with a haughty man; in every single effort of his will and in every single idea of his thought there is haughtiness; with him who is covetous there is in like manner covetousness, and so with him who hates his neighbor; just as with the stupid man there is stupidity in everything of his will and everything of his thought, and with him who is insane there is insanity. Since this is the nature of man, in the other life his quality is known from a single idea of his thought.

 

[3] When a man has been regenerated, then all things in him, both in general and in particular, have also been regenerated, that is, have life, and the life they have bears an exact proportion to the degree in which his own will-which is foul and dead-could be separated from the new will and intellectual that he has received from the Lord. (AC 1040)

 

The separation of the “old will” from the “new will” refers to the activity of willing and thinking in our daily activities. Since we are required to modify our current willing and thinking in every detail of life, it stands to reason that this cannot be done without monitoring our willing and thinking all day long! Continuous self-witnessing is a total discipline for the New Church mind that is commanded in the Writings:

 

It should be known, moreover, that, so long as man is in knowledges only, and not in any life according to them, he is in his proprium and led by self; but, when he is in a life according to them - and to the same extent - he is elevated out of his proprium, and is led by the Lord. This man does not perceive, but still it is so; and so far as man is led by the Lord, so far is there good in him, or good is what he wills and thinks. But it should be thoroughly known, that nobody can live according to the knowledges from the Word, except from them he reflect upon his thoughts, intentions and deeds, that is, examine himself, and abstain from evils and do good as from himself: otherwise, there is no reception by man; and if there is no reception, there is no conjunction with the Lord; therefore, neither can he be led by the Lord. (SE 5945)

 

It’s a rational question we may ask ourselves: “I know it is required that I cooperate with the Lord in my regeneration (AE 911[17]); Now then, how do I know when I’m cooperating?” The discipline of self-witnessing becomes a religious discipline under such a motivation. Within such a motivation the Lord infuses interior rational truths that cannot come into our awareness from the natural-rational mind and the outside world. These interior rational truths have a correspondential effect on the interior-natural mind, which constitutes our conscious spiritual awareness. This effect is to produce enlightenment which is the mental state angels are in. Through enlightenment we receive the experiences of wisdom, endless progress, bliss, full confidence, and charity. What a boon to humankind!

 

Learning to cooperate with the Lord in our regeneration is required for two reasons. First, what we do as-of self out of love is appropriated to us. The New Church mind has to be built up of things that are appropriated to us by our love for them. Second, learning to love being led by Doctrine from the Writings prepares us for loving to act from the Lord’s Proprium more than acting from our own. This is the life and bliss of angels, that they will from the Lord’s Proprium and not from themselves:

 

Any freedom coming from the Lord is real freedom; but any that comes from hell and makes itself at home with a person is slavery. Still spiritual freedom must inevitably seem like slavery to anyone who enjoys the freedom of hell, since they are opposites. Yet all who enjoy spiritual freedom not only know but feel that the freedom of hell is slavery. The angels therefore shun it like the stench of a corpse, though those in hell sniff it as if it were a perfume. (TCR 495)

 

This ability to love acting from the Lord is possible for those who train themselves to love acting according to the Doctrine they have from the Writings. This is because acting according to Doctrine from the Writings is the same as acting from the Lord. Through self-witnessing disciplines we train ourselves to will and think from Doctrine in our mind. (For more on self-witnessing methods see Note 20 at end).

 

Further, through self-witnessing we are given illustration in life of what the doctrine means at more interior levels than we can think when reading and studying the Writings. This is what it means that the angels have Doctrine written on their heart (AE 15). Our sequence of willing and thinking makes a stream of actuality which is an ultimate for interior truths. To witness this stream of Providence is similar to read the literal of the Writings. Into this ultimate stream of expression there is a discretely higher interior which is its cause. This higher interior is revealed by the Lord to the witness just as the higher interior truth contained in the literal of the Writings is revealed when we are enlightened. Self-witnessing one’s willing and thinking according to Doctrine from the Writings is a new method available to humankind for spiritual renewal and higher evolution. It is an everlasting gift and miracle from the Lord that He brings with His Second Coming.

 

As deeds and works are from the will and thought, so are they from the love and faith, consequently they are such as the love and faith are; for it is the same thing whether you say one's love or his will, and it is the same thing whether you say one's faith or his established thought; for that which a man loves he wills, and that which a man believes he thinks; and when a man loves what he believes he also wills it and as far as possible does it. Everyone may know that love and faith are within man's will and thought, and not outside of them, for love is what kindles the will, and the thought is what it enlightens in matters of faith; therefore only those that are able to think wisely are enlightened, and in the measure of their enlightenment they think what is true and will it, or what is the same, they believe what is true and love it. (HH 473)

 

The Writings reveal that it’s common for people to arrive into the afterlife not knowing who they are, that is, what affections and ideas are in their subconscious mind. For instance, husbands do not at first recognize their wives in the afterlife while wives always recognize their husbands (xx). This is because men are less aware of what fills their subconscious while wives have an inner perception of their husbands subconscious mind (CL 166). But it’s otherwise with men who are prepared for conjugial love since they strive by discipline to uncover their subconscious (see Section 1 below).

 

19. Innumerable Things In Every Evil

 

What is in our subconscious? The Lord says: “innumerable things” of evil!

 

There are innumerable things in every evil. In man's sight every evil appears as one single thing. This is the case with hatred and revenge, theft and fraud, adultery and whoredom, arrogance and high-mindedness, and with every other evil; and it is not known that in every evil there are innumerable things, exceeding in number the fibers and vessels in a man's body. For a wicked man is a hell in its least form; and hell consists of myriads of myriads of spirits, and every one there is in form like a man, although a monstrous one, in which all the fibers and vessels are inverted. The spirit himself is an evil which appears to himself as a "one"; but there are innumerable things in it as many as the lusts of that evil, for every man is his own evil, or his own good, from the head to the sole of his foot.

 

Since then a wicked man is such, it is evident that he is one evil composed of innumerable different evils each of which is a distinct evil, and they are called lusts of evil. Hence it follows that all these in their order must be restored and changed by the Lord in order that the man may be reformed; and this cannot be effected unless by the Divine Providence of the Lord, step by step from the earliest period of man's life to the last. (DP 296)

 

Who is the wicked man spoken of here? It is everyone prior to being regenerated. Since there are innumerable things in every one of our evil affections it is clear that we must rely on the Lord to clear them and remove them from us. The very least we can do is to keep track of the major ones in the major categories as we become conscious of them through self-witnessing. You can see that that a general type of confession and self-examination once or twice a year or month, is not going to achieve regeneration. Monitoring our willing and thinking hour by hour every day is necessary and essential for us to become aware of our general evils. And when we shun our general evils, the Lord is able to remove the innumerable evils that are attached to every general evil.

 

For example, there are innumerable evils attached to being overweight from overeating and under-exercising. We must take charge of it in our willing and thinking, day by day, so as to shun the evil delights that cause us to overeat and under-exercise. To the extent that we struggle under this yoke, trying to subdue and control ourselves, to that extent the Lord can remove the innumerable evils that are attached to this general one.

 

The same goes for all our daily habits and routines that are from evil affections, such as our anger, impatience, swearing and cussing, adulterous thoughts, enjoyments of vulgar entertainment, our bending the rules of honesty and fairness to our favor, our neglect of duties and promises, and many such things. These are the things in which are hidden from our consciousness the innumerable evils that are spiritual fibers tying us to the hells and that are broken by the Lord to the extent we do our share.

 

In hell every lust of evil when visually represented appears like a noxious creature, as a dragon, or a cockatrice, or a viper, or a bird of night, or an owl, and so on; and similarly do the lusts of evil appear in a wicked man when he is viewed by angels.

 

All these forms of lusts must be changed one by one; and the man himself, who with respect to his spirit appears as a human monster or devil, must be changed to become like a beautiful angel; and every lust of evil must be changed to appear like a lamb, or a sheep, or a pigeon, or a turtle dove, as the affections of good in the angels appear in heaven when visually represented; and to change a dragon into a lamb, a cockatrice into a sheep, and an owl into a dove can only be effected step by step, by rooting out evil from its very seed and implanting good seed in its stead.

 

This, however, can only be done as is done, for example, in the grafting of trees. When their roots with some of the trunk remain, the engrafted branch draws sap through the old root and turns it into sap that makes good fruit. The branch that is to be engrafted can only be taken from the Lord, who is the Tree of Life. This, moreover, is in accordance with the words of the Lord (John xv. 1-7). (DP 296:[2])

 

Who is the “wicked man” discussed here? It is us, prior to our reformation and regeneration. When we are viewed by angels prior to our regeneration, they see “a human monster or devil,” a dragon, cockatrice , or owl. These are the actual forms of our lusts or evil affections and delights. Note also that the makeover from devil to angel, from cockatrice to sheep, can only be effected like it is done with “the grafting of trees.” We must become physiologically attached to the Tree of Life, as the Lord calls Himself. We become an “engrafted branch” that “draws sap through the old root and turns it into sap that makes good fruit.”

 

In other words, the Lord gives us new spiritual affections to replace the old, and thereby we can live in eternal happiness. The sap we draw is by means of spiritual fibers in our new will. The old fibers must be uprooted by the Lord, and we would have no life remaining in us if He did this without our cooperation. This cooperation must be specific and particular, day by day and hour by hour, as our willing and thinking is witnessed, analyzed in the light of Doctrine, condemned in that light, and shunned and detested. When we reach the point of detesting the old affections and delights, one by one, then we have a new life from the Lord.

 

This is a piecemeal process. Detesting one evil doesn’t make us detest another, especially when the other is hidden in our subconscious because we care not to monitor and find it.

 

A wicked man from himself continually leads himself more and more deeply into his evils. It is said, from himself, because all evil is from man, for man turns good that originates from the Lord into evil, as was said above. The real reason why the wicked man immerses himself more deeply in evil is that as he wills and commits evil he advances into infernal societies more and more interiorly and also more and more deeply. Hence also the delight of evil increases, and so occupies his thoughts that at last he feels nothing more pleasant. He who has advanced more interiorly and deeply into infernal societies becomes as if he were bound with chains. So long as he lives in the world, however, he does not feel his chains, for they are as if made from soft wool or from fine threads of silk, and he loves them as they give him pleasure; but after death, instead of being soft they become hard, and instead of being pleasant they become galling. (DP 296:[3])

 

Here we are told that before we are reformed (“a wicked man”) we tend to lead ourselves more and more deeply into our evil affections, loving them more and more, feeling them delightful and pleasant like nothing else, by which we are tied more and more to the hells. As we advance more and more interiorly into infernal societies, the delight of our evil increases until we become obsessed with it, thinking of nothing else. Then we are chained to those infernal societies, though we do not feel the chains until the afterlife. Then these chains, “instead of being soft they become hard, and instead of being pleasant they become galling.” Thus is our inevitable perdition and damnation, unless we undergo reformation, then are willing to suffer ourselves to undergo regeneration.

 

It is not known, however, that this increase of delight comes from a man's penetrating into infernal societies more and more interiorly and more and more deeply as he commits the evils from will and at the same time from thought. If the evils are only in thought and not in the will, the man is not yet in an infernal society with the evil, but he enters it when the evils are also in the will. If he then also thinks that the evil is contrary to the precepts of the Decalogue, and considers these precepts as Divine, he commits the evil of set purpose, and thereby plunges to a depth from which he can be led out only by actual repentance. (DP 296:[5])

 

At first we think about our evil affections, turning them over in our mind as we consider whether we should do them or not. If we given in and do them, we advance more deeply into associations with the infernals. Then, if we continue to will them despite our conscience, we “plunge ourselves to a depth from which we can be led out only by actual repentance.” Will such repentance come to us? Not without reformation, and the deeper we are in hell, the less we want to repent and reform.

 

The withdrawal from evil is effected by the Lord in a thousand ways that are most secret. Of these only some have been disclosed to me, and none but the most general, as, that the delights of lusts of which man knows nothing are admitted by companies and groups into the interior thoughts of man's spirit and from these into his exterior thoughts in which they make their appearance under a certain sense of satisfaction, pleasure, or longing; and there they mingle with his natural and sensual delights. Here are the means of separation and purification, and also the ways of withdrawal and removal.

 

The means are chiefly the delights of meditation, thought and reflection for the attainment of certain ends which are uses; and ends that are uses are as many in number as the particular and individual matters of one's business and office. They are also as many as the delights of reflection for the attainment of certain ends, as that he may appear to be a civil and a moral man and also a spiritual man, besides the undelightful things which interpose. These delights, because they belong to his love in the external man, are the means of separation, purification, rejection and withdrawal of the delights pertaining to the lusts of evil that belong to the internal man. (DP 296:[10])

 

Here we are given just a few general details about how the Lord removes our evil affections, which He does “in a thousand ways that are most secret.” The Lord supervises this process very closely since it will determine whether we end up in heaven or in hell. First He admits some particular delights of lust into our interior mind of which we know nothing. This is done through the intermediary of evil societies. From there they are admitted into our exterior mind where we become conscious of them, feeling them as “a certain sense of satisfaction, pleasure, or longing.” There they mingle with our natural delights and sensual pleasures. At that point we can voluntarily deny them and reject them because they are contrary to our conscience or the Doctrine we have from the Writings. In this way, to the extent that we shun them in our external mind, the Lord can remove them in our interior mind.

 

The separation of profane and holy ideas when thus conjoined cannot be effected except by means of such infernal torment that if a man were aware of it he would as carefully avoid profanation as he would avoid hell itself. (AC 301)

 

20. Relationship Between Interior Evils And Exterior

 

The difference, as well as relationship, between the interior evils and exterior, are described next:

 

Take, for example, an unjust judge who regards gains or friendship as the ends or uses of his office. Inwardly he is continually engrossed in these, but outwardly his object is to act as a skilled lawyer and a just man. He continually delights in meditating, thinking, reflecting and framing intentions that he may bend, turn, adapt and adjust the right so that it may still appear to conform to the laws and bear a semblance to justice. He does not know that his internal delight consists of cunning, fraud, deceit, clandestine theft and many other evils; and that this delight, composed of so many delights of the lusts of evil, rules in every detail of his external thought, where he harbors the delights of appearing to be a just and sincere man. Internal delights are let down* into these external delights and they are mingled like food in the stomach; and there they are separated, purified and drawn away. This, however, is done only with the more grievous delights of the lusts of evil. (DP 296:[11])

 

“An unjust judge” refers to our constant desire to criticize others in our own mind. We do not show this on the outside because our goal is to gain friends and influence through the relationship. Inwardly, we are continually preoccupied with this goal, but outwardly we strive to appear sincere and altruistic. We continually delight in “meditating, thinking, reflecting and framing intentions.” We do this by “bending, turning, adapting and adjusting” every little move so that our secret goal may not be discovered. What is amazing is that we “do not know that our internal delight consists of cunning, fraud, deceit, clandestine theft and many other evils; and that this delight, composed of so many delights of the lusts of evil, rules in every detail of our external thought, where we harbor the delights of appearing to be a just and sincere man.”

 

This is our undoing. We look away from ourselves that we may not see the delights of our evil intentions in our interior mind. We are content to go by our reputation, and believe that, or pretend to. So at the conscious plane (“outward thought”)we think of ourselves as sincere and good, but at the subconscious plane (interior mind), we seek out the delights of our evils such as selfishness, egotism, arrogance, insincerity, manipulation, dominion.

 

Now when we are regenerating, the Lord “lets down” the interior delights of evils into the outward consciousness where they commingle with the delights of appearing of sincere and altruistic. They mix “like food in the stomach, and there they are separated, purified and drawn away.” In this way our interior delights of evils are removed by the Lord to the extent that we are willing to give up the outer delights of evil. Our cooperation is necessary because before the Lord can draw them away we must become aware of them and repent by desisting.

 

But this is done differently before and after reformation. In the next portion, “a wicked man,” as before, refers to our state prior to reformation, while “a good man” refers to our state after reformation when we are being regenerated.

 

With a wicked man no separation, purification and removal is possible other than of the more grievous from the less grievous evils. With a good man, however, there can be the separation, purification and removal not only of the more grievous but also of the less grievous evils. This is effected by the delights of the affections of the good and the true, of the just and of the sincere, into which he comes so far as he regards evils as sins, and so shuns and turns away from them, and still more if he fights against them. These are the means by which the Lord cleanses all who are saved. (DP 296[12])

 

In other words, prior to our reformation, removal of interior evil delights cannot take place. But after reformation, the Lord can remove all our evil delights to the extent that we cooperate. This means loving to be sincere and good, regarding evil delights as sins, desisting from engaging in them, and fighting against them until our delight in them turns into detestation. This the mechanism by which the Lord saves everyone. It’s clear from this that our primary task in regeneration is to cooperate with the Lord in this mechanism, and this cooperation must be in all the details of our conscious willing and thinking, not just in their general.

 

21. Do We Need To Confess Our Sins?

 

An article in the July 2002 issue of New Church Life by Rev. Erik Sandstrom examines the question of how “we tackle our spiritual life or regeneration” (p. 284). His short answer is, “By finding our hereditary evils!” (p. 284). He cites AC 4317, which I’m citing below in context:

 

[Hereditary evil] consists in willing and hence thinking evil; hereditary evil being in the will itself and in the thought thence derived; and being the very conatus or endeavor that is therein, and which adjoins itself even when the man is doing what is good.

 

It is known by the delight that is felt when evil befalls another. This root lies deeply hidden, for the very inward form that receives from heaven (that is, through heaven from the Lord) what is good and true, is depraved, and so to speak, distorted; so that when good and truth flow in from the Lord, they are either reflected, or perverted, or suffocated.

 

It is from this cause that no perception of good and truth exists at this day, but in place of it, with the regenerate, conscience, which acknowledges as good and true what is learned from parents and masters.

 

It is from hereditary evil to love self more than others, to will evil to others if they do not honor us, to perceive delight in revenge, and also to love the world more than heaven; and from the same source come all the derivative cupidities or evil affections.

 

Man is ignorant that such things are in hereditary evil, and still more that they are opposite to heavenly affections; and yet it is manifestly shown in the other life how much of evil from what is hereditary each one has drawn to himself by actual life, and also how far he has removed himself from heaven by evil affections from this source. (AC 4317)

 

Let’s list the point in each sub-section in the quoted passage:

 

(1) Every individual is born with hereditary evil which lies in the will. These evils in the will are the source of falsities in our mind, the two always going together.

 

(2) The carrier of this hereditary evil is the “very inward form” of the will, which is the source of all our motives, interests, and delights. As a result of this spiritual deformity, the good and truth inflowing into our mind from the Lord through heaven, “are either reflected, or perverted, or suffocated.”

 

(3) The result of this physiological malfunctioning is that “no perception of good and truth exists at this day.” In place of perception we have dictates from the conscience inwardly, an outwardly from parents and teachers. Following these dictates is called spiritual obedience. Note that it is not a rational understanding that produces the obedience but fear of punishment and desire for reward. This is an external obedience rather than a free choice from love and rationality.

 

(4) We inherit the love of self in the will so that we love others less than ourselves, and only when they “honor” us or agree with us. this love of self is the source that leads to all the “derivative cupidities or evil affections” in our character.

 

(5) When we arrive in the afterlife it becomes manifest that we love self alone, and others only to the extent that they honor us or agree with us. Otherwise we hate them and desire to cheat them, to dominate them, to abuse them, or to destroy them. These hatreds and monstrosities are hidden from our conscious awareness while we are still tied to the physical body. And yet everyone is able to become aware of them by self-monitoring their thoughts and feelings.

 

Knowing that we are all this way, for there are no exceptions (xx), we ought to be strongly motivated to monitor our willing and thinking all day long, so that we may become aware of our actual evils in operation. We must witness ourselves in order to discover when and where we wish for something bad to happen to someone, or when we feel envious of someone’s good fortune, and how we use our imagination to delight ourselves with denigrating others and ignoring their expectations, needs, or requests to us.

 

Those who are still in an external state of religion sometimes need or desire external absolution rituals for their sins by someone trusted or in authority. They are encouraged to make lists of their sins and to confess them one by one, receiving absolution for each. But you can see that no one can take away sins, not even the Lord. If the Lord could, He would take away everyone’s sins and would admit each to heavenly bliss to eternity. Such is His Divine Love. Such is His ardent desire for the human race. But He is prevented for the sake of the individual. Should He try to remove evils, He would damage us far worse that the evils do. We would be left without life at all (xx). This is because our evils are our life, since humans are inmostly nothing but their loves and affections (xx). Therefore the Lord cannot remove sins or evils from any individual.

 

This is why the Lord has provided a way that is feasible, practical, and fully effective for every human being who wishes to use it. This is called regeneration.

 

In regeneration we cooperate as-of self with the Lord by choosing to reject a particular evil that delights us or fulfills our needs. This is what makes it possible: our choosing to reject it. Whatever we do in freedom is done from love (xx) and therefore it is a higher rational love that makes us reject lower evil loves. As a result, in the afterlife, we arrive with a mind filled with rational loves, within which we can live as a heaven, because the Lord’s good and truth flows in from within these rational loves.

 

It’s clear from these considerations that the New Church mind does not seek forgiveness of sins by prayer, absolution, or penance, since these are external sensuous methods, not rational. Hence also, the New Church mind is not in need of the practice of confessing to a priest, or to others in the community, such as a spiritual growth group or therapy group. Rev. Sandstrom also comes to this conclusion, quoting from several Numbers that teach how we are to regenerate:

 

(a) by performing uses in everyday work situations (NJHD 126)

(b) in every office, in every business, and in every work (NJHD 123, 126)

(c) according to one’s occupation (TCR 580; AC 2364; AE 1180)

(d) by reflecting on the goals we are reaching for (DP 296)

(e) by dealing with unpleasant things which interrupt (DP 296)

 

Rev. Sandstrom emphasizes those Numbers that teach that it is not what we say in public to others that determines what we actually are inside. It is not our reputation with others that determines our spiritual fate in the afterlife, but how we thought to ourself privately. These private reactions and thoughts correspond to our actual affections, those that we have with us in the afterlife and determine out spiritual fate.

 

When we operate in the company of others, we tend to think in our external personality. We want to be consistent in what we show to others, and we want to hide those things in us that would draw their condemnation or rejection. The people we don’t care about because they have no power over us, are sometimes made targets of our hatred and arrogance. But we hide these insanities from those whose reactions would affect our situation. We also show some of our evils and negativity, but carefully selecting only those that we can get away with without excessive cost or punishment.

 

If we act in a decent or compassionate manner towards others, we derive social benefits, but to derive spiritual benefits as well, we must be acting from a rational love. For example, we might refrain from doing evil to someone out of fear or for the sake of some reward. This is an outside or natural motive, and does not constitute a spiritual renunciation of evil. Hence the evil remains, and in the afterlife it asserts itself, and we become that evil. But if at the same time we also refrain from doing evil on account of God, we derive full spiritual benefit. In the afterlife, this love of not doing evil to others on account of God, can be infilled with heavenly good and truth, so that that individual enters heaven and lives there.

 

We are privately confessing to the Lord our sins against Him, by self-monitoring our willing and thinking all day long for the sake of our regeneration. It is the Lord who manages the timing and content of our awareness and insight into our sins or evils. If we started telling Him about them, it would be pretending that He doesn’t know them, or that He is not in charge of managing them. This would be a foolish pretense. What the Lord wants us to do is to monitor the evil affections and delights, and their false thoughts and attitudes. He brings them to our conscious awareness to the extent that we are willing to desist from them because they are sins against Him. He keeps out of our awareness those evils we are not ready to give up willingly.

 

But note carefully: We do need to make lists of our sins, not for the priest, not for the Lord, but for ourselves!

 

It’s very important to have a scientific or medical perspective on regeneration, for this knowledge helps us to cooperate more with the Lord. The slow down is not on the Lord’s side. He would go more rapidly. But we are holding Him back like a toddler at a street crossing—you end up picking up the child and carrying it across. But the Lord cannot pick us up and carry us to heaven, or else He would, do not doubt that! So He has revealed to us in a scientific way what the process entails and how we are to cooperate for maximum pace. For instance, He has revealed that He cannot remove sins clinging to us by our love, so He wants us to voluntarily desist from it and to detest it. Then He can remove it. So this is rule number one. Rule number two has to do with the direction of our progression. We cannot move from the general sins and evils to the particular, but only from the particular to the general (xx).

 

In other words, if we confess and repent of a general evil in us, the Lord cannot remove it. This is because the particulars are still in place. But if we desist from willing a particular evil, the Lord can remove it. And if we desist from a group of particular evils that cluster together into a general evil, then the Lord can remove the general evil after all the particulars had been removed. If the Lord could remove a general evil directly, then all our sins could be removed instantaneously merely by saying, “Lord I repent of all my sins and from now on I will refrain from all my evils.” But this is a useless prayer (xx). It effects nothing toward our regeneration. Obviously, since the Lord cannot remove the particular evils we hold on by mere pronouncement of a formula, even if it is meant sincerely at the moment of the prayer. Remember that removing evils has to do with replacing an evil love with a rational love. And love is what we freely do, if nothing prevented (xx).

 

I have observed the truth of this in myself. When it comes to conjugial affairs, my wife brings to my attention things in my behavior or attitude by which she feels my opposition to conjugial union. For example, I have postponed reading some financial papers she wants me to read so we can discuss certain matters of investment, insurance, and retirement pension. Each time she brings the matter up I feel repentant and promise to do it at last. In the morning I think to myself that I’ll do it in the afternoon. IN the afternoon I tell myself I’ll do it in the morning. How pathetic! It’s obvious as I think about it that what I need to do is to monitor the particulars of this general evil in my character. As long as I don’t locate the particulars that allow me to play this foolish game, I will not be able to lay away the general. which means that the bad behavior continues even now. (I’ll definitely do it tomorrow, I mean it. Help Lord!)

 

22. Without Self-Monitoring Our Evils They Cannot Be Removed

 

Regeneration involves freely rejecting our evils even though they delight us tremendously. It is not possible to reject our own evils by the group or collectively, as just discussed. It is only possible to reject them one by one. Therefore if we don’t make lists, how are we going to keep track of them so we may reject them? This is a practical issue. If we run a department store without an inventory, can we succeed? We must identify something before we can sell it or reject it. Therefore we should use the method of making lists and inventories of our evils and falsities just as we make lists of things to do on a busy day.

 

 

No one can shun that of which he is ignorant (DP 278)

 

 

Regarding confession, Rev. Sandstrom cites DP 278, to support the idea that “confessing ourselves guilty of all kinds of evils can have a potentially disastrous consequence” (New Church Life, p. 287). I’d like to quote that Number in a larger context, while I summarize each point in numbered items:

 

II. EVILS CANNOT BE REMOVED UNLESS THEY APPEAR.

 

**(1) The title of the Number asserts that the Lord cannot remove our evils in secret or unconsciously. Removal of evils is a conscious and cooperative process, more like lifting a heavy furniture by two men, than surgery performed while being put to sleep by drugs. This is what’s meant by the expression “unless they appear.” To continue the quote:

 

This does not mean that man is to do evils in order that they may appear, but that he is to examine himself, not his actions only, but also his thoughts, and what he would do if he were not afraid of the laws and disgrace; especially what evils he holds in his spirit to be allowable and does not regard as sins; for these he still commits. (DP 278)

 

**(2) The cooperative process is between the Lord and the individual. First, we ought to “examine ourselves.” It is specified that the self-examination focus must be threefold: (a) our feelings or motives in the will; (b) our thoughts and beliefs; and (c) our public acts as regulated by society (“the laws and disgrace”). In other words, we are commanded to examine our minute by minute willing, thinking, and acting out. It is stressed (“especially”) that we monitor the “evils we hold in the spirit to be allowable and do not regard as sins.”

 

What are these particular types of evils? The evils we “do not regard as sins.” For example, we may have long standing habits of thinking about others in a derogatory way. We never bring this out to the surface and would not want others to know about it. We see it as merely an inward habit that you won’t allow to have overt consequences. Just a kind of quirk—we might think. But this is fooling ourselves. We should use the definition of the Word for it, not our own, namely, “evils he holds in his spirit to be allowable and does not regard as sins.”

 

To continue with the Number:

 

In order that man may examine himself an understanding has been given him, and this separate from the will, that he may know, understand and acknowledge what is good and what is evil; and also that he may see the quality of his will, or what it is he loves and desires. In order that he may see this his understanding has been furnished with higher and lower thought, or interior and exterior thought, to enable him to see from higher or interior thought what his will is doing in the lower or exterior thought. This he sees as a man sees his face in a mirror; and when he sees it and knows what sin is, he is able, if he implores the help of the Lord, not to will it, but to shun it and afterwards to act against it; if not wholeheartedly, still he can exercise constraint upon it by combat, and at length turn away from it and hate it. (DP 278)

 

**(3) Here the Lord is revealing the method He has provided for the human race to be regenerated for a life in heaven. From being born infernal, every individual can be regenerated into an angel by the time one passes on. The method is a psycho-physiological one and involves two phases or movements repeated numerous times daily during regeneration. The human race received a split-brain to reflect this two-phased process regeneration (xx). I call it metanoid self-witnessing. The passage here describes it as “higher and lower thought, or interior and exterior thought.”

 

The higher thought can see the lower thought “as a man sees his face in a mirror.” The higher thought refers to the level of thinking in our natural-rational understanding. The lower thought refers to the sensuous and corporeal mind, which are discrete degrees below the natural-rational region of the natural mind. Higher level thinking is accomplished by means of higher correspondences, also called more interior truths. Lower level of correspondences are sensuous and corporeal, not rational. Therefore the lower self, called the external man, is filled with evils from its inherited ties to the hells. It cannot regenerate itself for to the lower self, whatever feels good is good. Pleasure rules and the proof is always in the pudding.

 

But the higher self, meaning the natural-rational, takes up cognitive constructs and representations for life, for heaven, for regeneration. Most of all, the Letter of the Writings, which the natural-rational takes up in its memory, concepts, and principles. The dictates and distinctions of conscience, and the knowledge of the Letter of the Writings, create a higher natural understanding that can look down on the lower natural understanding, and evaluate it, judge it, condemn it; and then, repent from it, compel the lower to desist from it, and at last detest it. This is the process of regeneration the Lord has provided for the salvation of the human race.

 

Note how the entire process of regeneration is recapitulated at the end of the quote above that we are now discussing:

 

when he sees it and knows what sin is, he is able, if he implores the help of the Lord, not to will it, but to shun it and afterwards to act against it; if not wholeheartedly, still he can exercise constraint upon it by combat, and at length turn away from it and hate it. (DP 278)

 

(a) with self-monitoring from the higher to the lower, “he sees it.”

(b) from knowledge of the Letter of the Writings, he “knows what sin is.”

(c) by imploring the Lord for help, he is given the power “not to will it, but to shun it .”

(d) after being able to shun it, he gains the power “to act against it.”

(e) by acting against it, “he can exercise constraint upon it by combat” from conscience

(f) by repeating these steps many times, we “at length turn away from it and hate it.”

 

This six-phased process is cumulatively particular to an evil, and then its consummated and ends. for example, men have a pornographic interest in women who enter their sphere of vision, either in reality or by medium of photography or movie. Even after undergoing reformation, and as I’m undergoing regeneration at age 64, I have not yet gained control over my roving eyes. Movie producers and magazines editors take advantage of this general interest men have in voyeuristic and scortatory interests. It is also a primary mode for marketing many products to men such as automobiles, clothes, weight loss programs, and financial investments, etc. Year after year, week by week, I have worked to decondition my roving eyes, and I’m still failing in the attempt. I know I will have victory. I’ve been stuck on step (e), namely, I exercise “constraint upon it by combat” form conscience and from the Doctrine from the Writings I have in my upper mind. But I have learned the last step to “at length turn away from it and hate it.”

 

But at the end, when I get to hate scortatory interests and delights, I will have peace IN THAT LIMITED AREA OF REGENERATION. I will not have to fight the battle again, once I hate scortatory involvements.

 

This is the case with all our evils. Regeneration is therefore a geographic process like the growth of plants and populations, spreading in different areas at different rates and with various effectiveness, force, or virulence..

 

To continue with the Number:

 

Now, and not before, he first perceives and also feels that evil is evil and that good is good. This then is what is involved in examining oneself, seeing one's evils and recognizing them, confessing them and afterwards desisting from them. (DP 278)

 

**(4) When we reach vastation of a particular evil, have fought against it, and no longer do it, then, “and not before, we first perceive and also feel that evil is evil and that good is good.” This is a momentous event! For the first time our eyes are opened to spiritual consciousness. From a merely natural animal-human, we turn into a genuine human, a celestial mind. We no longer choose to do that particular thing because it is evil. This is true freedom (xx). We can see the contrast.

 

Before, we were slave to the evil. It made us do the evil even while we were trying not to do it. Thus we were in an infernal freedom to do it, which is a slavery of it. To perceive that “evil is evil and that good is good” is the mark of the celestial regenerate mind. The unregenerate mind perceives evil as good and perceives good as evil (xx). This momentous event marks the birth in our mind of the Divine Human in His Divine Rational. This birth repeats itself endlessly with each particular evil that is vastated and removed. In place of the former evil is good from the Lord that comes to us through our Spiritual Doctrine. Note that the Spiritual Doctrine likewise has to be particular and geographic, for there has to be a Spiritual Doctrine for each area and sub-region of our personality.

 

To continue with the Number:

 

[2] As, however, there are few who know that this is the Christian religion itself, for only they have charity and faith, and they alone are led by the Lord and do good from Him, therefore something will be said of those who do not do so and yet think they have religion in them. They are:

     1. Those who confess themselves guilty of sins of all kinds, and do not search out any one sin in themselves;

     2. Those who from religious principles omit such inquiry;

     3. Those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins, and consequently do not know them;

     4. Those who favor sins and therefore cannot know them.

     5. In all these persons sins do not appear, and therefore cannot be removed.

     6. Lastly, the reason hitherto unknown will be made manifest why evils cannot be removed without this search, appearance, acknowledgment, confession and resistance. (DP 278)

 

**(5) This portion of the Number we are discussing states the conditions we must remove from our mind or else we cannot be regenerated because evils in us cannot be recognized. There are four such conditions preventing regeneration:

 

(a) relying on a ritualistic and general confession of sins rather than on self-monitoring and judging particular sins we actually commit

(b) using a principle, doctrine, or dogma to reject the necessity of constant self-monitoring and condemning of each sin in particular

(c) rejecting the central importance of religion in life, and thus neglecting to examine oneself

(d) favoring sins as allowable or as not damning

 

Continuing with the Number:

 

These points, however, must be examined one by one because they are fundamentals of the Christian religion on man's part.

 

First: Concerning those who confess themselves guilty of sins of all kind and do not search out any one sin in themselves. Such a one says, "I am a sinner; I was born in sin; there is nothing sound in me from head to foot; I am nothing but evil. Good God, be gracious to me, pardon me, cleanse me, save me, make me to walk in purity and in the way of righteousness"; and so on. Yet he does not examine himself, and consequently is ignorant of any evil; and no one can shun that of which he is ignorant, much less fight against it. After his confession he also believes himself clean and washed, when nevertheless he is unclean and unwashed from the head to the sole of the foot; for the confession of all sins is the lulling to sleep of all, and at length blindness. It is like a universal lacking every individual, and this has no existence. (DP 278)

 

**(6) the fundamental or governing principle in the New Church mind is called here “the Christian religion.” This foundation rock is regeneration by shunning our evils as sins against the Lord and holding them in hatred. The first aspect of this fundamental in our mind is to “search out” our willing, thinking, and doing all day long and to find there the sins we perform. A general confession of them without observing and judging each particular, is useless for regeneration. It is said that “no one can shun that of which he is ignorant.” General confessions are “like a universal lacking every individual,” which is like a train that has no locomotive or cars, or like a president who has no country.

 

Continuing with the Number:

 

Second: Concerning those who from religious principles omit such inquiry. They are especially those who separate charity from faith; for such a one says to himself, "Why should I search out whether there is evil or good? Why should I search out whether there is evil when evil does not condemn me; and whether there is good, when good does not save me? It is faith alone, thought of and declared with assurance and confidence, that justifies and purifies from all sin; and when once I am justified I am whole in the sight of God. I am indeed in evil; but God wipes it away as soon as it is committed, and so it appears no more"; besides other things of a like nature. Who does not see, if he but opens his eyes, that such are empty words in which there is no reality, because there is no good in them? (...) (DP 278)

 

**(7) Note the sentence: “Who does not see, if he but opens his eyes, that such are empty words in which there is no reality, because there is no good in them?” We can recognize it easily, that when we never wash our clothes, they will remain dirty and foul smelling. Similarly we ought to reason that ritual washings or incantations will not clean the clothes, therefore will not regenerate our character from being born infernal. We are not rational when we believe that our sins are forgiven, washed away, taken away from us by mere declaration of faith, no matter how sincere and well meaning. Sins are evil habits we delight in, that tie us to the hells. Those ties must be broken by free choice and combat, or else they remain regardless of piety and sincerity. No more can sins be taken away by sincerity of faith, than a fever can be taken away by bogus aspirin. That which is truly sincere, shuns evils and does not do them.

 

To continue with the Number:

 

Third: Concerning those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins, and consequently do not know them. These are they who love the world above all things, and admit no truth that would lead them away from any falsity of their religion. They say to themselves, "What have I to do with this? It does not enter into my thought." Thus they reject the truth as soon as they hear it, and if they listen to it they stifle it. They do much the same when they hear preaching: they retain nothing of it save some few phrases, but not any of the substance. As they deal thus with truths they do not know what good is, for truth and good act as one; and from that good which does not spring from truth there is no knowledge of evil unless it is also called good; and this is effected by reasoning from falsities. These are they who are meant by the seed which fell among thorns, of whom the Lord says:

Other seeds fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up and choked them....

These are they who hear the Word, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, so that it becomes unfruitful. Matt. xiii. 7, 22; Mark iv. 7 [18, 19];** Luke viii. 7, 14.

(DP 278)

 

**(8) The literal of this passage appears to talk about others, not ourselves as “the New Church mind.” It identifies those others as “those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins.” In the literal sense “worldly matters” refers to non-religious topics. “To give no thoughts to sins” means in the literal that they do not perform regeneration disciplines. You can see that this description fits the New Church mind-to-be, prior to reformation. The only way we can apply the passage to ourselves is to substitute correspondences for the original expressions. What would it mean “to give no thoughts to sins” when applied to ourselves? We could say, for instance: “When did we give no thoughts to sins? Have we not worshipped in the Church for decades? Have we not listened to sermons and taken classes on the Writings? Have we not studied the Writings almost every day for years? All this worship and knowledge of the Word has given us much opportunity to “give thoughts to our sins” and to regeneration.”

 

Leaving this attitude and orientation behind, we can accept the idea that it applies to us, and therefore that we should use correspondences to discover how it applies to us. The Writings assert that the Word cannot be understood without doctrine (xx). In that case we can ask ourselves: What doctrine do we have in our mind? And how did we use this doctrine to understand the Writings? And now we can further as to the logical implications: And if we did not create Doctrine for ourselves, and used it to understand the Writings, then what did we understand? Searching the Writings we find the teaching that the Letter of the Word is dead (xx) and leads to any falsification we desire in support of our evil affections, thus all sorts of idolatries.

 

Now we can perceive a deeper spiritual sense in the original sentence: “those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins.” Now we can perceive that the expression “worldly matters” is a correspondence for “our understanding of the Letter prior to reformation.” Also, that the expression to “give no thought to sins” is a correspondence that signifies the New Church idolatries we have fallen into by remaining in the Letter of the Writings. (See also the discussion on idolatries in Section 4).

 

We can confirm the spiritual sense we have extracted by correspondence. Consider this passage in the Letter of the Writings:

 

In the Word evils are sometimes called sins, sometimes iniquities, and sometimes transgressions; but what the specific meaning of each of them is, is not evident except from the internal sense. The word transgressions is used for deeds contrary to the truths of faith, the word iniquities for deeds contrary to the good of faith, and the word sins for deeds contrary to the good of charity and love. The first two kinds of deeds spring from a perverted understanding, the last from a wicked will (AC 9156)

 

This confirms the idea that the expression of “giving thought to sins” is a correspondence that signifies self-monitoring our evils for the sake of amendment and regeneration. The Letter of this passage explicitly defines “sins” as “iniquities and transgressions.” It is therefore permissible to use substitution of one for the other since they are in parallel relationship (xx). “To give thought” is a correspondence for self-monitoring since it requires focus and awareness for the higher mind to look down on the lower, and judge its acts on the basis of conscience and the doctrine in our mind from the Letter of the Writings (xx).

 

** (9) Note again the portion of the passage discussed in above:

 

Concerning those who on account of worldly matters give no thought to sins, and consequently do not know them. These are they who love the world above all things, and admit no truth that would lead them away from any falsity of their religion. They say to themselves, "What have I to do with this? It does not enter into my thought." Thus they reject the truth as soon as they hear it, and if they listen to it they stifle it. (DP 278)

 

Note that prior to reformation, we “love the world above all things.” When applied to ourselves, this expression is a correspondence for loving the Letter above loving the spirit within the Letter. “The world” represents the dead Letter of the Word (xx). “To love it above all things” signifies that we are in an idolatrous worship within which there is no internal (xx). The New Church mind ought to worship the Writings since it is the Lord Himself (xx), but not its dead Letter. Upon reformation, we have a spiritual-rational experience the Lord’s Glorified Resurrection when we are given by the Lord our initial experiences of enlightenment, as discussed throughout this Section. By remaining in the Letter of the Writings we are looking for the Lord in the tomb among the dead, rather than looking for Him among the living (xx).The Lord’s Divine Rational is within the Letter, and until we put the spiritual sense in the literal, we are in the dead and unresurrected Letter. Prior to our reformation we look for the Lord among the dead! What a revelation!

 

Prior to reformation, immersed in the idolatries of the Letter, the New Church mind-to-be “admits no truth that would lead it away from any falsity of religion.” A “truth that would lead it away from falsity for religion” is a correspondence that signifies the spiritual sense of the Writings. for it is this sense that makes up the spiritual Doctrine by which we are regenerated and saved. The spiritual sense cannot be perverted by self-intelligence (xx) since it depends on enlightenment form the Lord. If we try to pervert it after our experience of enlightenment, the spiritual sense merely vanishes for it cannot exist in the outward mind that desires to pervert it. But the literal sense of the Writings can be perverted by anyone and turned into anything that flatters the ego.

 

The truth that “leads away” from the falsity of the dead Letter is the truth that the spiritual sense is to be extracted from the Letter of the Writings.

 

They say to themselves, "What have I to do with this? It does not enter into my thought." Thus they reject the truth as soon as they hear it, and if they listen to it they stifle it. (DP 278)

 

This refers to our initial opposition to the idea that the Writings are written by pure correspondences. This new spiritual Doctrine breaks the idols of our worship. As long as salvation lies in the Letter, we feel comfortable in our unregenerate state. We don’t have to face the reality that every sentence of the Writings is about our regeneration, since salvation is by regeneration, and everything in the Writings is for the salvation of the human race. By acknowledging and accepting the idea that the Writings are written in pure correspondences, we suddenly have the awesome responsibility of searching out the literal of every sentence, figuring out its correspondences, making a coherent thesis or doctrine from it, search the Writings again to confirm this spiritual Doctrine, be enlightened by the Lord, and reapply the new perceptions to our daily and hourly self-monitoring.

 

This is an awesome task and we resist committing to it the more we find out its details. We “reject the truth as soon as we hear it” signifies our opposition to the idea that the Word of the Writings is also written in pure correspondences like the Old and New Testaments. We are unwilling to get near to the idea, enough to see that the correspondences of the Old and New Testaments are corporeal and natural-sensuous, while the correspondences in the Writings are natural-rational. When we hear these facts we “listen to them and stifle them.” In other words, we reject them.

 

To continue with the discussion on the Number:

 

Fourth: Concerning those who favor sins and therefore cannot know them. These are they who acknowledge God and worship Him according to the customary ceremonials, and who convince themselves that any evil which is a sin is not a sin; for they disguise it by fallacies and appearances, and so hide its Enormity. When they have done this they favor it, making it their familiar friend. It is said that those who acknowledge God do this, because others do not regard any evil as a sin, whereas every sin is an offence against God. But examples may illustrate this. A man does not regard evil as a sin who in his desire for wealth makes certain forms of fraud allowable, by reasons which he devises. The same is true of the man who justifies in himself the spirit of revenge against his private enemies, or who in time of war justifies plundering those who are not his country's enemies.

 

**(10) This passage, when considered through correspondences applied to our regeneration, discusses our merely natural life when it is not infilled with the spiritual sense of the Writings, which is the only sense that is serviceable for our regeneration, and consequently for our salvation. By remaining in the Letter of the Writings, our understanding of spiritual topics is called “customary ceremonials” which is a correspondence for outward worship within which there is no internal, called the Jewish state of the New Church mind (xx). While we are immersed in this external worship, we “convince ourselves that any evil which is a sin is not a sin.” We love our sins and will automatically use the Letter to hang on to our evil delights and justify ourselves. “Sin” as indicated above corresponds to transgressions and iniquities:

 

The word transgressions is used for deeds contrary to the truths of faith, the word iniquities for deeds contrary to the good of faith, and the word sins for deeds contrary to the good of charity and love. The first two kinds of deeds spring from a perverted understanding, the last from a wicked will (AC 9156

 

“Deeds that are contrary to the truths of faith” signifies that the Letter of the Writings teach that we must extract the spiritual sense form the Word in order to be regenerated (xx). This is the “truth of faith” defined in the Letter. Our daily willing and thinking remain transgressions that are contrary to our New Church faith, which is that we are to draw out the spiritual sense from the Letter of the Word. Transgressions and iniquities in our willing and thinking “spring from a perverted understanding.” A perverted understanding refers to the understanding of spiritual subjects in a natural way and calling it a spiritual understanding. The “wicked will” we have from heredity that needs to be regenerated cannot be regenerated because our willing and thinking are “deeds contrary to the good of faith,” as just explained.

 

Continuing with the Number:

 

Fifth: In these persons sins do not appear, and therefore cannot be removed. Every evil that does not become manifest nourishes itself being like fire in wood under the ashes, and like matter in a wound that is not opened; for every evil that is denied an outlet increases and does not abate until the whole has been destroyed. Therefore, lest any evil should be shut in, everyone is permitted to think in favor of God or against God, and in favor of the holy things of the Church or against them, and is not punished for it in the world. (DP 278)

 

**(11) “These persons” refers to the New Church mind-to-be prior to reformation when we have fallen into New Church idolatries due to our being immersed in the dead Letter, as just explained. that “sins do not appear” in this state signifies that our willing and thinking are transgressions and iniquities, ad explained just above. When we are in this purely natural understanding and worship, it dos not appear to us that our willing and thinking are so many sins. Therefore the mind remains infernal and the New Church mind cannot be formed in it. This sorry state results form the reality that “every evil that is denied an outlet increases and does not abate until the whole has been destroyed.” This means that we cannot be regenerated unless we perform self-monitoring to identify the sins of willing and thinking we commit all day long.

 

The Lord has provided for the reformation of the New Church mind-to-be. This is meant by “Therefore, lest any evil should be shut in.” Without the revelations of the Writings the evils of the human race would be “shut in” and thus be “nourished like a fire in wood” which consumes the spirit, and turns it into an infernal monstrosity. To consume the spirit means to extinguish all truths, for the life we have is within the truths we receive (xx). On account of this, those in the hells are called “the dead,” and to enter hell is called “to perish” (xx).

 

Note this life-saving revelation: “Every evil that is denied an outlet increases and does not abate until the whole has been destroyed” (DP 278). What does “every evil” mean in the literal? It means that there is no particular evil, weighty or light, that does not DESTROY THE WHOLE MIND, when left remaining by denial. The physiology of evil is that it is a defective organic fiber constituting a portion of the organ of the will, in the same way that the muscles in the wall of a malfunctioning heart constitute a portion of the heart itself. If there is a genetic defect causing heart muscle failure, the body will die. But with evils, we need also to think about a deadly virus or bacteria that kills the body when receiving a foothold. Even though the virus initially remains in a single cell, when the time is consummated, and the infected cell has changed sufficiently, the virus population breaks out and infects more and more cells until death.

 

For instance, at age 64 I’m still overweight by about seven percent or 10 lbs. I’ve been struggling for decades to monitor the evil affections that lure me into overeating every day a little bit. In my 20s I was 40 lbs overweight. I struggled from natural good and conscience to keep the issue of overweight as a moral issue as well as a health issue fro myself. I could convince myself to go on a weight loss diet from time to time, losing most of the extra lbs., but they slowly crept back within a shorter or a longer time. I’m still struggling with this evil in my character.

 

Despite my long standing focus and interest in metanoid self-witnessing I haven’t sufficiently become aware of the hidden impulses that lure me to eat and punish me with depression if I refuse to feed my face. So I keep on struggling, imploring the Lord for help. I receive the answer from within: “You have soap and water. Go wash your hands and face, and you’ll be clean.”

 

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil; Learn to do well.... Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.... But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword. Isa. i. 6, 16 [17], 18, 20. To be devoured with the sword signifies to perish by the falsity of evil. (DP 278)

 

The Lord is waiting for me to face the evil of overeating from its particulars, not generals.

 

To continue with the Number:

 

Sixth: The reason, hitherto unknown, why evils cannot be removed without this search, appearance, acknowledgment, confession and resistance. In the preceding pages it has been mentioned that the universal heaven is arranged in societies according to [the affections of good and the entire hell according to] the lusts of evil opposite to the affections of good. Every man as to his spirit is in some society - in a heavenly society if he is in the affection of good, but in an infernal society if he is in the lust of evil. Man does not know this while he is living in the world, but nevertheless as to his spirit he is in some society; otherwise he cannot live, and because of it he is governed by the Lord. If he is in an infernal society he can only be led out of it by the Lord according to the laws of His Divine Providence, one of which is that he must see that he is there, must desire to go out and must himself endeavor to do this of himself. This he can do while he is in the world, but not after death; for then he remains to eternity in the society in which he has placed himself while in the world. This is the reason why man is to examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins and repent, and afterwards persevere right on to the end of his life. That this is the case I could establish from much experience even to complete belief; but this is not the place to set forth proofs of my experience. (DP 278)

 

(12) Again the Number summarizes the necessary conditions for our regeneration. Regeneration is called here the “removal of evils.” The summary of regeneration is specified now in five steps:

 

q       search

q       appearance

q       acknowledgment

q       confession

q       resistance

 

“Search” corresponds to performing constant self-monitoring of our willing and thinking. “Appearance” signifies to locate and identify a particular evil as we perform it, that is, catching ourselves in the act. “Acknowledgment” refers to critically examining the particular willing or thinking in the light of our doctrine that we have in our understanding from the Letter of the Writings. “confession” means that we are to condemn ourselves on account of this evil, for performing it over and over again, for loving it, for hanging on to it, keeping it in our bosom like a cherished monstrosity. Finally, “resistance” refers to desisting, that is, compelling our lower mind not to continue willing the evil, thinking it, and loving it.

 

Note the sentence: “Every man as to his spirit is in some society - in a heavenly society if he is in the affection of good, but in an infernal society if he is in the lust of evil.” This awesome revelation about the vertical community gives the human race an entirely chained view of itself. This revelation is no less revolutionary about the human mind than the Copernican revolution was about the universe. We are dual citizens, and have always been since the beginning of creation. Upon birth, we have a physical body in some society on earth, and tied to this physical body, a spiritual mind that is in some society in the spiritual world.

 

The spirit-mind has to grow up and mature like the physical body to which it is attached by correspondence. The natural portion of the spirit-mind, or its external form, is built up by sensory input from the environment of the physical body. Simultaneously, the spiritual portion of the spirit-mind, or its interior form, is built up by sensory input from the environment of the spirit-body in the spiritual world. These two sensory input sources are coordinated by the Lord so that there is no chaos of independent development and functioning. The spiritual mind develops and receives input from the spiritual world, to the extent that the natural mind develops and receives input from the Letter of the Writings, or from instruction based on it.

 

The mind of every human being is “governed by the Lord” through the intermediary of the vertical community (xx). The passage above says

 

Every man as to his spirit is in some society - in a heavenly society if he is in the affection of good, but in an infernal society if he is in the lust of evil. Man does not know this while he is living in the world, but nevertheless as to his spirit he is in some society; otherwise he cannot live, and because of it he is governed by the Lord. If he is in an infernal society he can only be led out of it by the Lord according to the laws of His Divine Providence, one of which is that he must see that he is there, must desire to go out and must himself endeavor to do this of himself (DP 278)

 

There is only one alternative provided by the Lord, only two states are open to the human mind, one choice: “Every man as to his spirit is in some society - in a heavenly society if he is in the affection of good, but in an infernal society if he is in the lust of evil.” Our heredity predominates us to “the lust of evil” so that each one of us is “in an infernal society” prior to reformation, regardless of religion, intelligence, and lifestyle. There are times when we appear to be animated by some good intention, which we also delight in from heredity. While we are in this externally good state, we are led by the Lord through the heavens. The rest of the time we are led by the Lord through the hells. The Lord cannot prevail upon us to stop loving our evils. He waits and works in the unconscious background keeping things from getting worse. It’s up to each of us to begin our reformation by means of the Letter of the Writings applied to our life.

 

Rev. Erik Sandstrom cites DP 278, discussed above in some detail, to warn that “confessing ourselves guilty of all kinds of evils...may promote them instead, and blind us to them, to boot.” (Ibid, New Church Life, p. 287). This refers to “confessing all our problems to others” and since the Lord already knows all our problems, we don’t need to confess them to Him either. But we must be careful not to draw the wrong conclusions! We went over the entire Number, looking for its literal meaning as well as applying correspondences to it to see how it applies to the regeneration of our willing and thinking. the point is that confessing every sin is necessary in order that it may “appear,” that is, in order that we may become aware of it. Confessing our evils to others and to the Lord is permissible, but we must know that this has no power to regenerate.

 

What has power to regenerate and save is self-witnessing, self-monitoring, and self-examining every evil the Lord brings to our awareness. And once it appears, to condemn it and to compel our lower mind not to will it.

 

Chapter 1, Section 2

 

2. Snatching Things From Sudden Memory

 

A man's mind is his spirit (DP 296)

 

As I practiced the self-witnessing discipline for more than three decades I’m able to say various things about it that may be useful to others (see Note 20 at end). My most amazing discovery was the existence of “sudden memory” by which I’m referring to the stream of thought that is our actual mental life in the natural mind. This stream of thought is the outward form of our affections (see Note 19 at end). The quality of our affections is the result of which spiritual societies we are in contact as the sequence of thoughts proceeds. Through self-witnessing practice I was striving to “tune in” to the stream while I was carrying out my tasks all day long. This is not like meditation or deep reflection which occurs when we stop our tasks and sit doing nothing, thus disengaged from the surrounding pace.

 

The stream of thinking accompanies every act and is a characteristic of human life. I was able to tune in and listen to some extent, I suppose, for the stream goes fast and if you try to catch it, it begins to tumble and roll like an avalanche. It’s as if the conscious filter can hold only so much of it and the rest spills and dissipates as more keeps coming.

 

What I found amazing is that the instant I tried to reflect on what I snatched form the stream, it would be gone. I could not remember what it was. It’s quite unsettling. How do I get hold of it or some of it long enough so I can examine in greater detail? You may be familiar with this experience when, upon awakening, you are still affectively filled the sphere of your vivid dream, but the instant you try to reflect on what it is so you can put it in words, it remains unavailable to the conscious mind, staying just out of its reach—like the “tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon researched in psycholinguistics when I was in graduate school in the 1960s. We were taught that there are two types of memory: short term and long term. The first lasts for several seconds—like the phone number we look up and then dial. If we wait more than a few seconds to dial we have to look it up again. We move things from short term to long term memory by repetition and rehearsal with the motive to recall it later. Sudden memory seems to work for a second or two.

 

I discovered that I can make myself think in words or sentences as I carry out my tasks. This is somewhat like giving a “blow by blow” description to an imaginary tape recorder of what one is thinking. It seems to slow the stream down for awhile, enough so that my short term memory retains more of it and I’m able to get a fix on what the topic is and its direction. In short term memory we can be aware and evaluative, and put anything we want into long term memory by mentally rehearsing or making a physical record of it. In this way the mental discipline pays off because it gives access to our normal everyday affections.

 

Slowly I began to exert rational and religious control over my interior dialog, my daydreams, and my emotional reactions to things moment by moment all day long. Also, my attitudes and interests. I would stop myself from continuing a line of thinking: “Stop it. Why are you wasting time thinking these useless things?” Or: “That’s not a nice thing to think.” Or: “How low can I get to be so fascinated by that sort of thing?” Etc. This gave me greater conscious control over my mental life allowing me to clean out the mental pollution that reigned in it from birth and culture. It is not possible for humans to do anything without the accompanying thinking stream. By controlling this, we control a portion of our natural mind. Control of the lower natural mind (corporeal and sensual) by the higher natural mind (natural-rational) is necessary for regeneration. To the extent that we do this, to that extent the Lord can open our interior-natural mind (DLW 248).

 

This is the genuine human or celestial mind. It is where our life in heaven is. It is where the Lord’s Proprium dwells. The highest angels have a direct perception of how this Proprium comes into them by influx, followed by their as-of-self acting from it spontaneously and as if from self in full liberty (AC 47, 233, 1712, 2877, 5664, 10299; NJHD 148; DP 102; CL 82; SE 5958; LJ 299; AE 864). This process is inhibited and destroyed when we do not remove the mental pollution by our own daily efforts, as-of-self but looking to the Lord for strength.

 

The celestial regions have walls and guards (xx) that keep out mental pollution (strangers and evil spirits) from entering that lofty region or level of consciousness. Therefore we need to erect such walls and establish guards in our mind to prevent unholy things from entering and lodging in our mind. Our culture of entertainment and social cynicism specialize in manufacturing large quantities of polluted ideas, pictures, and situations. Without vigilance exercised every hour of our waking time our mind gets inundated by pollutants, poisons, viruses, and all sorts of unpleasant, sleazy, scortatory, and idiotic suggestions. The mind is weighted down by them, even sinking into the corporeal.

 

Woe to those who make this their abode for in the afterlife they are captured and tortured by those who have these same things in them. And the omnipotence of a loving God cannot deliver them from this miserable lot for to remove them from it would leave nothing behind for any life by them (AC 5854[3]). Best therefore that we be diligent and sincere in our efforts at self-witnessing while there is still time and opportunity.

 

Have you listened in on yourself lately? We cannot trust the reputation or opinion we have of ourselves, for this is subjective, biased, and self-serving. The check mark we place on rating scales are inflated or deflated in accordance with our vanities: How good am I? How often do I get mad? Am I ever unkind or gross? What kind of mistakes do I make? How happy are the people around me with my conduct? Etc. To answer objectively and accurately we must witness our life.

 

When I first discovered sudden memory I was so delighted and felt powerful for the first time (see Note 19 at end). I really had found something that is universal yet unknown. A secret of understanding. I immediately felt superior. I was brave in situations I had been timid. Etc. Until at last I thought I was a god. I used the concept of avatar I read about and applied to myself. So this is what it means to be an avatar. I am it. Etc. I started making discoveries and this was proof that I was a god—see Note 3 for list of discoveries. But the Writings saved me.

 

You have to snatch things from sudden memory into short term memory, and from there you can write it down or dictate it as a record. You have to put it into sentences, what you get to see. The sphere of sudden memory is not linguistic but thought-representations, like spirits think. It’s faster since they think faster than us. Material brain slows it down. We need this slow down to train our conscious awareness, which starts slow cause based on sensory input in natural min d. This is not like a spirit thinks (HH 239). Which means at any moment we’re but a few hours away from speaking in this thought-language and thinking faster and more powerfully, yet totally spontaneously. We enjoy being a spirit, especially at the beginning while we’re still a little in both worlds and sense the contrast keenly.

 

I snatched from sudden memory sphere the sentence “It’s the purpose.” I kept making myself repeat the sentence with the intentionality of “How is this?” And it kept not coming to me so I kept repeating it for a whole minute or longer as I went about cleaning up the kitchen and having a loose dialog with my wife who was opening amazon.com boxes and reading me the e Ta of C from each. I told myself I must try to think about it again later. So here I am. What was it all about? I know it was deep, it was enlightening. In sudden memory I am more consciously at the level of how the interior-natural mind thinks in the brain of the spirit-body, not how the natural-rational mind thinks in the brain of my physical body. Knowing this is pretty good. How many people know this, or can believe it when they hear it? Only those who are willing to think in dualisms. And further, they must be dualisms that are not adulterated or modified by consulting the natural mind. They must be dualisms from the Writings because it is our only source for genuine spiritual dualities.  All dualities are unique permanent distinctions that never cease to eternity (DLW 226). (see Volume 1)

 

1. What Makes Our Life Moments Spiritual

 

Back to “It’s the purpose.” I was thinking about what makes our life moments spiritual? And I perceived in the sphere of sudden memory that everything is interrelated so that one has an effect on all and all has an effect on one—which is the sphere of heaven (HH 49). What makes something I do heavenly is the region or sphere of heaven—when I’m in it and when I’m not. In which case I am in the infernal spheres, to a smaller or greater distance depending on …here it comes…the purpose that animates or motivates each and every micro-act I perform. If my purpose or goal-intentionality is in the heavenly sphere, my act is spiritual. If not, my act is natural. Some natural intentionalities are motivated by mild infernal affections that the Lord is able to bend into the shape of fibers that can contain the heavenly sphere. But other more grave forms of infernal affections refuse to be re-shaped in that way, and thus we remain in them.

 

And still further, my purpose has to fit the Lord’s purpose. Does it? How? Etc.

 

So I understood. It’s the purpose that makes my discipline spiritual and religious. Didn’t I already know this? Yes, it’s all over the Writings and I’ve been reading them daily for years. And yet the heavenly secret enclosed in the idea I take up from the literal remains a secret to the natural consciousness. As a secret it can only work generally in my character, from a distance, less effectively. But when the interior of the literal in our memory is opened, the secret enters into conscious awareness through sudden memory. Then we see clearly, but until then only in obscurity like the sight in a thick fog whereby we bump into tress and fall into ditches. This is how our natural mind works, before it is turned around towards the spiritual mind.

 

The spiritual mind is in rational and good order, but the inherited natural mind and the natural mind instructed by sensory input alone, is not a rational mind but the opposite. To itself the unregenerate natural mind appears logical and supremely rational:

 

With many in the world this does not take place, because they love the first degree of their life, called the natural, and have no desire to withdraw from it and become spiritual. The natural degree of life regarded in itself loves only self and the world, for it clings to the bodily senses and these occupy a prominent place in the world; but the spiritual degree of life regarded in itself loves the Lord and heaven, and also itself and the world, but God and heaven as higher, principal and ruling, and itself and the world as lower, instrumental and serving. (DP 324:10)

 

I noticed things in sudden memory that show how angels are at work in the unfolding of our moment to moment biography. Their thought and intention descends by correspondence into the sphere of sudden memory. I snatch something, it’s a flash, it’s a warning, and my thought becomes conscious of “Careful, easy, keep your finger away.” Or: “The Lord wants me to be forthcoming and compassionate. I must overcome this reluctance.” The connectivity between what the angels think and what I think is specific but correspondential. The thoughts I become conscious of must feel like my own characteristic or recognizable thoughts. It would destroy a person’s sanity to experience that one’s thoughts come from another source (xx). Mystical voyeurism, shamanism, and voodoo spirit possession rituals relate to non-normal states that in prior dispensations were normal, but are no longer allowed by the Lord on this planet (HH 249; EU 155).

 

Direct communication with spirits and angels used to be routine with the people of the most ancient Church prior to the evolutionary splitting of the human brain into two hemispheres (xx). And it has been revealed that this type of communication may be routine on certain other planets:

 

The preacher who was with me had no belief at all in the existence of planets other than our own, because in the world he had thought that the Lord was born solely on this planet and that without the Lord there was no salvation. He was therefore brought into a state like the one spirits enter when they appear on their planet as people - the one described above - and was then sent to that planet, not only to see it but also to talk to the inhabitants there. When this had been done, communication from there was granted to me as well in order that I might in a similar way behold those inhabitants and also some things on that planet. Spirits and angels can talk to people, whatever language they speak, because their thought passes into the ideas in people's minds and so into the words they speak. (AC 10752)

 

Notice the sentence, “He was therefore brought into a state like the one spirits enter when they appear on their planet as people - the one described above - and was then sent to that planet, not only to see it but also to talk to the inhabitants there.” It is said here that earthlings can talk to spirits, but note that the preacher, who was from our earth, was taken to “that planet” thus, not to this earth. There is no evidence that the Lord ever allows people on this earth to have a conscious dialog exchange with spirits. Dr. Ian Thompson (see Acknowledgment and Note 12 at end), while reviewing a draft of this book, commented in an email exchange:

 

It is clear that verbal communication with spirits is possible according to the general laws of order, but that these may be overruled by the consideration of specific groups of people, such as those on our earth.

 

However, it appears that the 'abnormal' people on our earth can still arrive at mental states in which communication is possible. These are generally not rational states -  so they do not learn anything of genuine truth - but are altered or upset states of consciousness - such as with the mentally ill (schizophrenia), or with those  who particularly desire and cultivate them.

 

The manner of interaction with spirits in these altered states is not different in principle from our normal influx from the spiritual world: In particular, inputs from e.g. hellish spirits with novel contents are indeed flowing into what you call 'sudden memory', and have to be fought against in exactly the usual way as above.

 

What is different about influx in altered/schizophrenic states are in particular three features:

 

1) attributed:

the source is attributed to specific spirits. These spirits are those associated spirits that Swedenborg describes, with (normally) inactive memory of their own. They are self-motivated, but rely on the person in the world for memory and sensory input: they talk on the basis of these memory and sensations. Hence they are very suggestible to ideas about what they own life is, and will readily agree to being called e.g. Napoleon.

 

2) into sensory mind:

influx is not only into thoughts (as usual), but also into the sensory mind. This gives visual and  auditory (etc) hallucinations. (Note: not into the brain or into bodily organs, but into the sensorimotor mind).

 

3) more forceful/harder to resist:

the influx in these states is more obviously persistent, hellish and harder to resist.  The Lord now ensures that resistance is not futile, so these people end up with really dramatic temptations almost every minute of their lives! This is quantitatively different from our normal temptations, but is essentially the same process.

 

Actually, it is not clear whether the hellish influx in these states is harder to resist than 'normal', because we do not really know how hard it is for 'normal hellish people' to resist their temptations. Quite difficult, I should think, if they have no truths to fight with.

 

None of the above is permitted with those who are on the way of rational reformation and regeneration, as they are too similar to miracles. (June 20, 2002)

 

Dr. Thompson suggests here the idea that spirits may inflow into sudden memory. We can think of sudden memory as an intermediary zone between the conscious and the subconscious. The affections of spirits are brought into connection with the sensuous content of sudden memory. The spirits are not specifically aware that this stream of sensuous consciousness issues from the earthling with whom they are coupled at any one moment. It may even be that several individuals contribute to the content from their own sudden memory, somewhat like what you would get if you read random paragraphs from several books in alternating sequence. It would not be easy for you to figure out the plot of any of the books! Similarly with the spirits who are kept in rapid alternating contact with the sudden memory of several earthlings. They would not be able to figure out with whom they are!

 

No doubt the laws of Providence govern the degree of conscious awareness between spirits and the individual into which they inflow. However, there is a rational trap here we must look at and avoid. It has to do with the idea we are forming about the "communication." One model, which is the trap, is to think of the exchange as a dialog with spirits to take place in the same direct sensuous way it took place with Swedenborg. This is the way it is reported in the abnormal syndrome of “hearing voices” or “seeing beings” reported by psychotics, schizophrenics, or by those who have hallucinations. These abnormal reports may be like the NDE reports--something imaginative or creative one makes up to give meaning in an ultimate and natural thinking about it (see Chapter 4, Section 5). Thus, there may not be a conscious dialog; only an imagined one. Remember that what is happening is influx by correspondences, not face to face dialog such as Swedenborg had (along with the influx).

 

2. The Most Ancients Prior To The Split-Brain Evolution

 

The other model, therefore, is that conscious dialog is not allowed ever on this earth at the present time. Under what conditions it would be allowed, I do not know. The most ancients prior to the split-brain evolution, did have dialog, though mostly in dreams rather than in the awake state (AC 597[2]). In the episode quoted just above (AC 10752), the preacher got enthused about an earthling woman and grabbed her by the hand, which she withdrew when she realized he was a spirit.

 

While the preacher was with those who were clothed, there appeared a woman of a very beautiful countenance, clothed in a simple garment, a tunic that hung behind in a becoming way, and was also drawn over the arms; she also wore a beautiful head covering in the form of a garland of flowers. Upon seeing this virgin, the preacher was very much delighted, and spoke to her, and also took hold of her hand; but as she perceived that he was a spirit, and was not from that earth, she betook herself away from him. (AC 10754)

 

How is this possible on a physical earth? Perhaps in the sense that during these encounters, the spiritual eyes of the earthling is opened, like the shepherds who saw the Angels at the Annunciation (xx). If the spirits are seen, they are also heard and sensed in touch. But the seeing and sensing is not of the physical body but the spiritual body, though the earthling person may not know this--as in the OT scenes when Angels visited certain individuals:

 

A CONTINUATION ABOUT THE FIFTH EARTH IN THE STARRY HEAVEN.

 

It was afterward granted me to speak with these spirits about their own earth, for all spirits know about this when their natural or external memory is opened by the Lord, because they bring this memory with them from the world; but it is not opened except with the Lord's good pleasure. With regard to the earth from which they were, the spirits then said that when leave is granted they appear to the inhabitants of their earth and speak with them as men, and that this is effected by their being let into their natural or external memory, and consequently into thought such as they had when they lived in the world; and that at the same time the interior sight of the inhabitants, that is, the sight of their spirit, is opened, and in this way the spirits appear to them. They added that the inhabitants know not but that they are men of their earth, and only notice that this is not the case when the spirits are suddenly taken away from their eyes.

 

I told them that in ancient times it was the same on our earth, as with Abraham, Sarah, Lot, the inhabitants of Sodom, Manoah and his wife, Joshua, Mary, Elizabeth, and the prophets in general; and that the Lord appeared in the same way, and that until He revealed Himself those who saw Him knew not but that He was a man of the earth; but that now this rarely happens, lest such things should compel men to believe; for a compulsory faith, such as enters by means of miracles, does not cleave to the man, and also might be an injury to those with whom faith could be implanted through the Word in a state that is not compulsory. (AC 10751)

 

Thus, the reason that conscious rapport with spirits is never allowed on this earth any more is that such direct awareness takes away one’s rational, hence one’s spiritual freedom to choose. In the past the rational did not play that role in regeneration. The result is corporeal spirituality in the natural mind, while the spiritual mind remains closed. All who are in this state are infernal (AC 141). Since the dispensation of the Second coming has now begun only the rational can support spiritual life. Either the rational must be opened here, or hereafter. When arriving in the afterlife our mind (spirit-body) must have been grown into a form that can receive spiritual-rational truths which are more interior than the natural mind. But the natural mind must have suitable conceptual vessels to contain the spiritual-rational truths we receive by being instructed when we arrive in the afterlife (NJHD 51).

 

Hence the awesome importance that we take charge of our goals and purposes, and of our thoughts and reasonings, every day, hour, minute, and second. It has got to go down to the particular, for the general cannot change unless all its particulars are changed. We cannot regenerate and prepare the vessels we need for heavenly life unless we take care of these particulars. Hence the all importance of self-witnessing disciplines. We must not avoid them.

 

One of the great experiences I have several times a day (on some days) is to snatch from sudden memory the work of the angels who are with me, as with every individual regardless of religion or belief (xx). Of course today angels cannot be perceived in the natural world by means of the physical senses of the body—see the discussion in Chapter 4 Section 5). Sensuous consciousness of spirits and angels, such as Swedenborg had, would be injurious and therefore is not allowed by the Lord (HH 249). But rational consciousness of the work of the angels with us is allowed and encouraged because it is of the Laws of Divine Providence in the new civilization of the Second Coming (see the discussion in Chapter 4 Section 5).

 

Rational consciousness is the level for genuine spiritual truths and celestial Doctrine in our mind. The Lord’s giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples represents the new consciousness of Him that He is creating in the human race. This rational consciousness replaces the earlier sensuous consciousness of Him. The New Heavens are in this rational consciousness of the Lord and the workings out of His Divine Providence.

 

From this it is evident that by "Moses said, Make me see I pray Thy glory" is signified the noticing of the internal in the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship. … To receive the internal of the church is to receive Divine truth from heaven, and thereby heavenly love.

(…)

And I will show grace to whom I show grace, and I will show mercy to whom I show mercy. That this signifies that Divine truth and good shall be revealed to those who receive, is evident from the signification of "showing grace," as being to endow with spiritual truth and good, here to reveal it, because the subject treated of is the internal and the external of the church, of worship, and of the Word …

(…)

Those who are in external things not separate from what is internal, can all see the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, thus they can "see the faces of Jehovah."

(AC 10574)

 

10581. And it shall be when My glory passeth by. That this signifies the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, is evident from the signification of the "glory of Jehovah," as being the interior Divine things of the Word, of the church, and of worship…. (AC 10522).

 

Those are said to "see the back parts of Jehovah and not the faces," who believe and adore the Word; but only its external, which is the sense of the letter, and do not penetrate more interiorly, as do those who have been enlightened, and who make for themselves doctrine from the Word, by which they may see its genuine sense, thus its interior sense. (AC 10584)

 

We can apply these passages to the stream of consciousness as we proceed in our daily willing and thinking. The most immediate awareness of this stream is sudden memory. But because of the extreme brevity of this awareness, most of us most of the time cannot capture, cannot paraphrase or describe it, hence, cannot know it. But with practice, as I have indicated, we can snatch portions of the script of existence, or book of life. When we do this we become aware of the internal spiritual meaning within the natural stream of perception and behavior. This is revealed to us by the Lord, as indicated in the passages above referring to Moses. It is said that

 

Those who are in external things not separate from what is internal, can all see the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, thus they can "see the faces of Jehovah. (AC 10574)

 

To see the “Faces of Jehovah” is to see the Divine Providence in action, or, to see the internal spiritual things in the sequence of willing and thinking, from which is doing. This is possible when we apply the Doctrine in our mind that we have taken up from the Writings. Our willing and thinking is then seen without the natural cloud and obscurity that is the normal mode of perception and thinking.

 

When we snatch a view of the Faces of Jehovah we are seeing the angels at work in our life. I have noticed this numerous times but it goes by so fast that it’s hard to hold on to it and make a record of it. This is why I follow the self-witnessing principle “If you think it, ink it.” For instance, I’m about to go inside the house and notice a leaf floating in the pool. I bend over and try to reach it, but it floats out of my reach. I pick up the net stick and reach for the leaf with it. The leaf is headed to the other side of pool so I walk around to reach it and do. But then I see the chlorine container which reminds me to take a look to see how much is left. It’s completely empty. That shocks me since I thought I had another two days before I need to add more chlorine. Still, I feel happy that I was reminded through the leaf. Then I thank the Lord’s Divine Providence for making it happen. Then I realize the angels served as intermediaries. And I thank the Lord for that.

 

Over the years I noticed that I can hear the warning of angels just before I commit a mistake but choose to ignore it. A second later I can no longer remember the warning. Then I make the mistake and become aware of it later, when facing the consequences of forgetting something, or putting something back, or not writing it down as a reminder, or not setting the timer properly, or eating something I shouldn’t have, etc. Numerous times a day we come across a warning from the angels that we ignore and then pay for. I learned to respect these warnings, the majority of times. I make myself do it, do it properly, or do it rightly. I then reap the benefits of staying out of trouble and enjoying predictable routines and events. In addition to these benefits there is also the closeness I feel to the Lord knowing the details He takes care of with every individual every moment to eternity.

 

Be it known that the Divine Providence is universal, that is, in things the most minute; and that they who are in the stream of Providence are all the time carried along toward everything that is happy, whatever may be the appearance of the means; and that those are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine and attribute all things to Him; and that those are not in the stream of Providence who trust in themselves alone and attribute all things to themselves, because they are in the opposite, for they take away providence from the Divine, and claim it for themselves.

 

Be it known also that insofar as anyone is in the stream of Providence, so far he is in a state of peace; also that insofar as anyone is in a state of peace from the good of faith, so far he is in the Divine Providence. These alone know and believe that the Divine Providence of the Lord is in everything both in general and in particular, nay, is in the most minute things of all … and that the Divine Providence regards what is eternal …

 

[5] But they who are in the opposite are scarcely willing to hear Providence mentioned, for they ascribe everything to their own sagacity; and what they do not ascribe to this they ascribe to fortune or chance; some to fate, which they do not educe from the Divine, but from nature. They call those simple who do not attribute all things to themselves or to nature. From all this again it can be seen what is the quality of those who have care for the morrow, and what the quality of those who have no care for the morrow. (AC 8478)

 

To acknowledge the Lord’s Omnipotence from religion is to be “in the stream of Providence” in a general way. To witness the sequence of events in which we participate through the awareness of sudden memory is to be in “in the stream of Providence” in a particular way. This witnessing of the Lord’s Providence in the minute details of the behavioral stream affords a rational view of the universe and brings us closer to Him, allowing us to love Him from a more interior perception. This type of self-witnessing the microdetails of one’s biography leads to the denial of chance, of randomness, of fate, of luck, of coincidence, and thus, an ever stronger confirmation of His management Principles and Laws, in that they are loving, rational, holistic, and perfect.

 

3. Self-Witnessing Sudden Memory As A Spiritual Discipline

 

When you begin to practice self-witnessing sudden memory as a regeneration discipline you come face to face with inherited ties to evil spirits. It’s not a visual “face-to-face” communication but a mental one involving the organs of the will. Neither the spirits nor you are aware of each other consciously so that the contact is by correspondence only. If anyone tells you about having actual direct communication with spirits, the New Church mind cannot accept this as a genuine spiritual communication (see discussion on NDEs –near death experiences-- in Chapter 4 Section 5). But as we face our own thoughts and interests in the stream of consciousness we must strive to assume a metanoid position so that we can react to the content of that stream.

 

It is required for our regeneration that we react to what we observe about the ceaseless stream of our willing and thinking.

 

It is the rational in fact that coordinates everything in the natural, and in accordance with that coordination fittingly regards the things that are there. Indeed the rational is like a higher faculty of seeing which, when it looks at facts belonging to the natural man, is like someone looking down on to a plain below him. The light of that faculty of seeing is the light of truth, but the origin of that light rests with the good present in the rational. (AC 3283)

 

It is said here that the rational self can monitor what the sensuous and corporeal self is thinking or willing. This is the essential method of regeneration that the Lord has provided to the human race after the most ancient peoples destroyed themselves through “dreadful” idolatries (xx). The new human race after that received a split mind so that the understanding could be elevated to heavenly light even though the will remained unregenerate and infernal (xx). By this means, we can learn the heavenly truths from the Word, understand them in an enlightened state, and make a choice to compel our sensuous and corporeal self to obey and to desist from committing evils and thinking falsities. This has become the means of regeneration for the New Church mind that is immersed in the Letter of the Writings. Our natural-rational mind is filled with doctrinals form the Letter of the Writings. These doctrinals can be used to evaluate the willing and thinking of the sensuous mind that we can see “in the light of truth” like “a plain below.”

 

Anyone can know that thoughts are led or tend in accord with the intentions, that is, in the direction that the man intends; for thought is man's internal sight, and resembles the external sight in this, that to whatever point it is directed or aimed, thither it turns and there it rests. Therefore if the internal sight or the thought is turned towards the world and rests there, it follows that the thought becomes worldly; if it turns to self and self-honor it becomes corporeal; but if it is turned heavenwards it becomes heavenly.

 

So, too, if turned heaven-wards it is elevated; but if turned selfward it is drawn down from heaven and immersed in what is corporeal; and if turned towards the world it is also turned downwards from heaven, and is diffused upon the objects that are before the eyes. (HH 532)

 

This passage shows that anyone can perform self-witnessing or self-monitoring of the thoughts and the intended outcomes we desire with our affections. The stream of thinking of the sensuous self is automatic and proceeds spontaneously as we cope with the moment by moment demands of living and doing. We can examine this spontaneous stream by directing our focus on it in a metanoid stance, looking down upon the stream of thinking like on a plain below. IN this way we inform ourselves of the content and quality of our thinking and willing all day long. Willing is an act. Thinking is an act. We are responsible for all our acts. Therefore we are responsible for our willing and thinking acts, each one of them, thousands of them by the hour, every day. We are nothing but the cumulative collection of those acts. Such as these acts are, such are we, when we arrive in the afterlife.

 

Man's love is what makes his intention and determines the sight of the internal man or the thought to its objects; thus the love of self fixes it upon self and its objects, the love of the world upon worldly objects, and the love of heaven upon heavenly objects.

 

So when the love is known, the state of the interiors which are of the mind can be known, that is, the interiors of one who loves heaven are raised towards heaven and are opened above; while the interiors of one who loves the world or who loves himself are closed above and are opened outwardly.

 

From this the conclusion follows that if the higher regions of the mind are closed above, man can no longer see the objects pertaining to heaven and the Church, but those objects are in thick darkness to him; and the things in thick darkness are either denied or not understood. This is why those who love themselves and the world above all things, since the higher regions of their minds are closed, in heart deny Divine truths; and if from their memory they say anything about them they nevertheless do not understand them.

 

Moreover, they regard them in the same way as they regard worldly and corporeal things. And being such, they are able to direct the mind to those things only that enter through the senses of the body, and in these alone do they find delight. Among these are also many things that are filthy, obscene, profane and criminal; and these cannot be removed, because into the minds of such no influx from heaven is possible, since their minds, as just now said, are closed above. (HH 532)

 

You can see from this that our consciousness, or life orientation, is such as the content is of our willing and thinking hour by hour all day long. This content can originate solely from the sensuous and corporeal self, in which case the willing and thinking is purely natural, having no spiritual dimension that we can appropriate. Or, the content of our willing and thinking can be based on the rational self that has taken up the scientifics of the Letter. The scientifics of the Writings contain all the spiritual topics of the Heavenly Doctrines. Even though we understand them naturally, at first, even this natural way of understanding them is rational, and therefore a discrete degree above the sensuous thinking an dwelling. Unless we modify our sensuous thinking by means of these rational concepts, we cannot be regenerated. Those who arrive in that state in the afterlife can receive nothing of heavenly light, and have a lot with the infernals.

 

[3] Man's intention, by which his internal sight or thought is determined, is his will; for what a man wills he intends, and what he intends he thinks. Therefore if his intention is heavenward his thought is determined heavenward, and with it his whole mind, which is thus in heaven; and from heaven he beholds the things of the world beneath him like one looking down from the roof of a house.

 

So the man who has the interiors of his mind open can see the evils and falsities that are with him, for these are below the spiritual mind. On the other hand, the man with whom the interiors have not been opened is unable to see his evils and falsities, because he is not above them but in them.

 

From these things it can be concluded whence man has wisdom and whence insanity, also what a man will be after death when he is left to will and think and to act and speak in accordance with his interiors. All these things also have been said that it may be known what the quality of a man is interiorly, however he may seem outwardly to resemble others. (HH 532)

 

These sentences show how essential it is for the New Church mind to acquire the spiritual discipline of self-witnessing. We need to know when our “intention is heavenward” so that our “thought is determined heavenward.” How else can you be informed of your stream of intentions and thoughts except by monitoring that stream to determine its moment by moment content?

 

We first need to face heavenward by taking up the sentences of the Writings into the rational understanding. This is facing heavenward because the Writings are the Lord, and heaven is where the Lord is. Then we must look down upon our lower natural mind “like one looking down from the roof of a house.” From that perspective and light, we “can see the evils and falsities that are with us.” These evils are the evils that we are willing, and these falsities are the falsities that we are thinking. Without the Letter of the Writings in our rational mind we cannot evaluate the stream of our thinking and willing because “because we are not above them but in them.” What allows us to be “above them” is the heavenly light, which refers to the sentences of the Writings in our natural-rational understanding.

 

4. Filled With Blasphemous Thoughts And Curiosities

 

To react to what we observe is to make an evaluation of our willing and thinking. This evaluation is from a rational level, looking down, while the stream of thinking we are observing, is from a sensuous or corporeal level. An analogy might be standing on a bridge and looking down on the flow of a semi-transparent river and inspecting its contents—stones, fish, plants, debris. These things represent the content of our mind—knowledges, truths, and falsifications of truths. The flow of the river is the sequencing of the thoughts, their reasoning and coherence.

 

THAT CRUEL SPIRITS AND ADULTERERS LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN FILTH AND EXCREMENTS.

(((((I have spoken) previously of this [fact] that to such spirits, filth and excrements are very pleasant, so that they prefer the pleasantness of beholding such things to all other pleasantnesses, and not only filth and excrements, but also foul, loathsome, and horrid intestines of animals, to that degree, that when they act through man they snatch away all his interior sense, as also [his] sight, to such things, because they, are delighted therewith.

 

This also was shown me by manifest experience; when I walked in the street, they carried away my eyes to all such things; wherever there was filth, excrement and intestines, thither they directed my eyes, although I was ignorant where were such things in the street, because not observed by me. Still they saw these, whilst I was wholly unobservant, and thither directed my eyes, either to [my] side, or about [my] feet, or near and farther from thence; and the did not turn my eyes to anything else. (SE 2843)

 

Monitor your eyes as you walk on the street or as you read a magazine or watch TV. The eyes respond to our interest, to our affections, to what we find delightful. As your eyes roam they settle on this or that object, body part, detail. The eyes are quick. You have to catch yourself and become conscious of where they settle for how long, and where they keep coming back to. These eye movements will reveal interests and delights that we do not wish to publicize because they are filthy and scortatory, as the passage above describes. As Swedenborg walked in the street, the spirits with him “carried away my eyes to all such things; wherever there was filth, excrement and intestines, thither they directed my eyes, although I was ignorant where were such things in the street, because not observed by me.” Monitoring our eyes will reveal to us what filthy things are of interest to us form heredity. These filthy interests are not our own affections, they are the affections of the filthy spirits. But we are tied to those spirits by heredity and the filth remains with us unless consciously removed.

 

Since spirits take possession in that way of all that forms a person's thought and will, and angels take possession of what is even more interior, so that he is joined very closely to them, the person cannot avoid the perception and sensation that he himself is the one who thinks and wills. . (AC 6193)

 

Our inherited connections with evils spirits cause our minds to be filled with blasphemous thoughts and curiosities.

 

Anyone who is governed by bodily and worldly love, and not at the same time by spiritual or by celestial love, does not have any but evil spirits with him, even when external holiness exists with him. Good spirits cannot in any way be present with such a person, for they perceive in an instant the kind of love which governs a person. There is a sphere emanating from the interior parts of him which the spirits perceive as plainly as man by his sense of smell perceives offensive and foul odors floating around him in the air. (AC 4311)

 

I remember that I was only six years old when I first became aware of blasphemous thoughts. I recall part of the episode since it was so dramatic: I was walking home from school and I couldn’t stop thinking blasphemies about God. I became very agitated and started running as a way of making it stop. That is all I can remember. In adolescence I put religion away from myself and whatever blasphemy I performed was hidden and restricted to cussing in imitation of the people around me. Since I was living in French Canada I was surrounded with people who cussed using words from the sacred worship of their Catholic religion. Also, Jewish people cussed using the Lord’s Name in vain, and I adopted this habit as a way of feeling like an adult. It is ironic that for years I would say the word “Christ” perhaps a dozen times a day and not think anything about what it means.

 

There are with every man at least two evil spirits and two angels. The evil spirits excite his evils, and the angels inspire things that are good and true. (AC 904)

 

For the nature of all communication in the next life is this: In a community in which people are alike, each thinks that what is another's is his own. When therefore people who are good go into a heavenly community they instantly enter into all the intelligence and wisdom of that community, entering into it so fully that they know no other than that such things exist within themselves. This is also how it is with man and a spirit present with him. The things that flow in from spirits from hell are evil and false, but those which flow in from angels from heaven are good and true; and through these opposite kinds of influx a person is held in the middle, thus in freedom.

(…)

Evil spirits … are angry if they are told that their thoughts and desires do not begin in themselves, because that idea is contrary to what their loves lead them to be delighted with. And they are all the more angry when they are told that life does not exist independently in them but flows into them. (AC 6193).

 

When I became a Christian in my forties, I was filled with terror on occasions when I forgot myself and used the Holy Names of the Lord in vain. I punished myself with guilt and remorse until at last I stopped all cussing, either with the Holy Names or with vulgar expressions that demean women and conjugial love. I then also started practicing self-witnessing sudden memory and I was shocked and horrified to observe sequences of blasphemy in my thinking. This was before I was led to the Writings and so, I did not know that we are with evil spirits through our inherited connections.

 

Anger is a general affection resulting from whatever is opposed to self-love and its cupidities. This is plainly perceived in the world of evil spirits, for there exists there a general anger against the Lord, in consequence of evil spirits being in no charity, but in hatred, and whatever does not favor self-love [amori proprio] and the love of the world, excites opposition, which is manifested by anger. (AC 357)

 

Even after I knew about the vertical community from the Writings (see Chapter 7 Section 6), I experienced my blasphemous thoughts with shudder and panic. The unpleasant experience receded as soon as I began to have a better understanding of the purpose why the Lord allows them in my mind. I saw that they are spiritual temptations brought to my awareness so that I can reject them voluntarily in my reformed mind. My childhood was a period of absorption of the verbal blasphemy performed by the adults in my family and cultural environment. It was part of growing up and becoming like others in the community.

 

This conduct reinforced and confirmed the anti-God orientation of the evil spirits. People showed much inventiveness in how efficiently they can chain together long strings of blasphemies of all kinds, and usually relating to God, one’s mother, and sexual or scortatory activity of the most vulgar and perverse kind. These confirmed blasphemies in our mind then come to haunt us when we approach heaven through the Writings. The spirits who are kept by the Lord in communication with our interior mind react vehemently and with much blasphemy, as witnessed by Swedenborg:

 

Unless they [evil spirits] are given the opportunity to revile the truth, and indeed to blaspheme it, they cannot live (AC 1695)

 

Evil … spirits rush into insanities both from the hatred they bear against the Lord, and from their infernal suffering, and catch at such phantasies. (SE 458)

 

THAT EVIL SPIRITS ESPECIALLY HOLD INFANTS IN HATRED.

… The reason is, because they hold in hatred the Lord, who alone is Innocence. - 1748, June 10. (SE 2284)

 

It is important to realize that what comes into the mind from the evil spirit societies is not damning or a sin. I was able to stop blaming myself by no longer identifying with those awful snatches of thoughts. These were not my ideas, but theirs! I was not the one with affections for blasphemy; it was them! But at the same time I was led to understand that it is my responsibility as to how I react to them. My reaction is what comes out of the mind, and for this I am responsible. Do I just continue being a host to them and letting them use my house, or do I boot them out?

 

The spirits with man, however, are changed in accordance with the changes of his affections; thus, there are some spirits with him in infancy, others in boyhood, others in youth and manhood, and others in old age. (HH 295).

 

If they are lovers of self or lovers of gain, or lovers of revenge, or lovers of adultery, similar spirits are present, and dwell, as it were, in their evil affections, and man is incited by these, except so far as he can be kept from evil by good spirits, and they cling to him, and do not withdraw, so far as the evil affection prevails. (HH 295)

 

Those who are not led by the Lord not only act in partnership with evil spirits, but even arouse the evil spirits to action, because they believe their desires and thoughts are their very own; while those who are led by the Lord are aroused by the evil spirits, and the Lord acts to keep them from consenting. This too is the belief of those who are led by the Lord. (SE 1591)

 

And so I’ve found metanoid self-witnessing to be very useful in becoming aware of thoughts in my mind that were correspondences to the evils of the spirits who were connected to me. The instant the blasphemous content starts flowing, I judge and condemn it. Thus judged, they flee back into their caves, and the Lord can break the spiritual connections, replacing them with better ones. Thus we make progress in our regeneration.

 

Evil spirits cannot be with those who believe in the Lord

 

It has been shown before that evil spirits are distressed and tormented when angels look into them ... It is almost the same when a person on earth has faith, or is kept in a state of faith by the Lord. Then evil spirits cannot approach, but likewise begin to feel distress, and want to flee away. Several times I have heard them complaining and lamenting, when they were in the presence of faith. 1748, 16 May. (SE 1966)

 

In the conflicts brought about by temptations evil spirits are permitted to draw forth all the evil and falsity residing in a person, and to fight from that person's evil and falsity. But once they have been overcome they are no longer allowed to do so, for, being within that person, they instantly perceive that good and truth have been confirmed. Such perception exists more completely with spirits than with men. From the very sphere of a person confirmed in truth and good they recognize in an instant what the situation is, what response they will get, and much else. This is quite clear in the case of a spiritual and regenerate person, with whom evil spirits are present just as much as they are with one who is not regenerate; but with the regenerate person they have been subdued and are subservient. (AC 1695)

 

For more discussion on our association with evil spirits see the vertical community in Chapter 7 Section 6.

 

5. The Natural Mind Must Be Compelled To Realign Itself

 

The life of regeneration is a never ending struggle against the inherent opposition between the natural and spiritual mind (AC 8961). Regeneration progresses to the extent that the natural mind is compelled to realign itself to be congruent with the natural-rational concepts we take up from the Writings. The natural mind’s nondualities are turned into categorical dualities that are suitable for containing spiritual truths from influx. Spiritual truths have no other source. They come into our conscious life by correspondence to the extent that the external concepts from the Writings are loved and willed in daily life. Disciplines of self-witnessing allows us to monitor our daily life which is constructed out of sequences of feelings, thoughts, and acts. The content of our threefold self can be witnessed, sampled, recorded, examined, and used as objective information on where we need to make the changes for regeneration (see Note 20 at end).

 

The New Church mind understands that the unending stream of our behavior, day and night, is accomplished through our association with spiritual societies (De Verbo 3[9]). The Lord manages the inconceivably complex task of hooking us and unhooking us to spiritual societies, moment by moment, second by second, as the stream of our behavior proceeds and changes. Particular emotions, feelings, and motives can only occur in the stream of our behavior when we are hooked up with the relevant spiritual societies who are the source for our affective life or the will. Similarly with our cognitive life which is the stream of thinking. It is made to take a certain direction and to avoid certain others so that we arrive at our next step in our thinking without the slightest awareness that it ended up there through the pushes and pulls of the spirit societies to which the Lord is hooking us up moment by moment.

 

The directionality of our thinking is constrained by the affections living in our will. The Lord cannot hook us up to good spirits whose influence would cause our thinking to end up in a place that we reject as strange and not of our own. We only accept as our own the thoughts we can love. Therefore the Lord is constrained by our loves, and can only exert so much influence before it is detected by our inherent opposition. Should we detect the Lord’s forceful operation in our mind we would instantly be infuriated against Him and reject Him creating a much worse situation for ourselves. Hence the Lord’s infinite love for us compels Him to restrict what societies He can hook us up with moment by moment, bending the affections and thoughts towards good, but never forcing:

 

The Lord never forces anyone, for nothing to which anyone is forced appears as his own; and what does not appear to be his own cannot be his love's, and so be appropriated to him as his own. Therefore man is led by the Lord continually in freedom, and is also reformed and regenerated in freedom. (DP 43; see also: AC 3348, 1079; AE 151; SE 2012).

 

Whatever is done for the sake of the end, namely, salvation, is according to the laws of the Divine Providence. For, as was said before, the Divine Providence, keeping this end continually in view, is constantly moving in ways different from and contrary to man's will. Therefore, at every moment of its operation or at every step of its progress, when it perceives man to deviate from this end, it directs, bends and disposes him in accordance with its laws by withdrawing him from evil and leading him to good.

 

There are thousands and thousands of arcana, of which scarcely a single one is known to man, whereby a man is led by the Lord out of the life of hell into the life of heaven. (AC 9336)

 

It will be seen in what follows that this cannot be done without permitting evil. Moreover, nothing can be permitted without a cause, and such a cause is only to be found in some law of the Divine Providence which explains why it is permitted. (DP 234)

 

Self-witnessing disciplines become religious and spiritual when we turn to the Lord for strength and capacity out of a motive for cooperating in our regeneration. It becomes a holy discipline. Therein lies the holiness of the religious life. As I have practiced self-witnessing disciplines for years I can present some of the observations I was able to make about myself. You will see that what applies to one individual also applies to others since we share heredity and culture.

 

As I monitor my threefold self in the stream of behavior I notice many things that are in place in my habit routines and mental scripts. One large area to witness is food behavior. What are my thoughts? What procedures do I follow? Do I follow rules or merely cravings? How do I decide when to start, when to stop? How fast do I put things in my mouth and in what sizes? Do I swallow what’s there before I put more in it? Do I chew adequately? Do I dislike exerting control over how fast I eat and how much? Do I exert a veto power over my cravings? Etc. The monitoring of these sequences is equivalent to a mapping of the spiritual societies we are connected to. For instance if we stuff and swallow repeatedly we are with different spirits than if we moderate size and rate. If we deny ourselves another portion we are with different spirits than if we give in to our appetite and overeat. Affections for unhealthy foods come from different spiritual societies than affections for healthy food.

 

One arouses spirits of the same character and feeling as oneself.

 

That a person's states are changing day by day, every hour, even every minute, is obvious. Therefore, there are very many states of understanding, and states of feeling. Now there is something dominant in each person, and no matter what state a person slips or comes into, there are spirits who had had the same ruling passion in their life interacting and cooperating. So they are not always the same, but many different ones, and all of them think they are the person; in my case, only that they were with me. (SE 1928)

 

Another large area of daily self-witnessing is the behavioral sequences we chain when doing something physically. As I get dressed I observe when I decide what to wear, how I take off what I’m wearing in the house, and how I put the clothes on. I had a habit of taking my shirt off by pulling it off my head in one rapid motion. When the shirt was tight or had buttons I would often rub my eye in the process. My eye eventually started having an unpredictable twitch that would last for a few minutes at a time. My wife heard about it and urged me to moderate myself and be more rational about it. I must not use brute force. I must do it in two stages, head first, then shoulders and arms. I resisted this for a long time and kept injuring my eye. Today I have a little more control over the process and my eye sopped twitching. But it continue to be a conscious discipline and I remind myself that I have to get rid of the affections that keep me hooked to the bad spirits that enjoy my distress.

 

While doing repair and cleaning tasks around the house I observed myself with numerous illogical and stupid ways of doing many details. I would try to work on something that was located at the extreme point of my reaching, doing it inefficiently, resisting the logic of getting the step ladder. Many such details occur in the course of an hour of work. I seem to follow the principle of “least effort” as the standing operational procedure for all my movements. I also take risks that are foolish and cause trouble. I would throw something, and miss, instead of walking it over. I would try to pick up a leaf on our pool deck, bend down as I walk, miss it, try to grab it again, miss it again, and finally stop and pick it up. A similar illogic animates my behavior routines when I vacuum the carpets. When I’m being with good spirits I take care to get things off the carpet that are going to be in my way. When I’m being with bad spirits I try to move the things with one had as I keep pushing the vacuum with the other, an ineffective and dangerous procedure that interferes with the cleaning and gives me muscle stress or injury.

 

I also witness myself doing what I had seen my father do for years—get mad at objects while manipulating them. At some point of trying to screw something or unscrew, or fit into something else, he would swear and kick and smash as if some frenzied spirits had suddenly invaded his mind. Now this insane script repeats itself through me. But I put a stop to it. I make myself stay with the good spirits who inspire deliberate caution, prudence, and rationality in the sequence of my thoughts, and motions.

 

When I stand waiting for someone to finish talking, I automatically lean against the wall or some furniture in a slouching position. Now I have trained myself to stand up straight, chest up, stomach in, breathing regularly. It took years of daily strengthening disciplines like brisk walking, working resistance bands, Yoga, and Somatics. Now when I stand, I stand straight with the affections that bring good spirits around. I also monitor my face, that it may be appear pleasant to the onlooker. I watch my face in the mirror as I go by and find my expression compressed downward as if I’m worried or tired. So I reset it out of a motive to be in the company of better spirits. Whatever these affections are that create a hardship expression on my face, are affections that I cannot bring with me to heaven. Therefore I must practice now to get rid of them.

 

I believe that physical and mental disciplines, when the motive is spiritual, are excellent methods of preparation for our regeneration because they foster the growth of a suitable natural-rational area in our New Church mind. Both the natural mind and physical body benefit from appropriate disciplines that prepare and develop the natural-rational mind. Yet not all forms of physical and mental disciplines are compatible with the New Church mind. In my view competitive sports has many harmful aspects to the regenerating mind when practiced without restraint. When my two children were growing up I tried to counteract the ferocity of their desire to win by recommending that they always try for second place in a contest, not first place. This advice was intensely snubbed by them in their childhood and onward—such is the opposing power of peer influence and the media.

 

To many people it smacks as un-American not to want to be first in any contest one is in. Psychotherapists and counselors present the view that we should be rational about it, as expressed in this type of attitude: “I would like very much to win, but if I don’t, I’m not going to cry over it.” This intelligent principle of the natural-rational mind is not yet a spiritual motivation, though many people have trouble doing even this much. How many people have you encountered who are sore losers, or else, depressed ones? Many indeed.

 

Conquering and discarding the irresistible desire to be first is a useful mental discipline for the New Church mind. It helps prepare the natural-rational mind to align itself by correspondence to the developing interior-natural. For instance, altruism and patriotism, which are natural mental disciplines in the external mind, can receive within them spiritual things from heaven through the growing interior-natural. Altruism can receive love of neighbor for the sake of the Lord and love of uses for their own sake, and these are spiritual things from heaven that are received in the interior mind (AC 1935). Patriotism can receive love of the Lord’s Kingdom (Heaven and the universal Church on earth) (TCR 407).

 

All who have had conscience are saved; but they who have had no conscience cannot be saved. (AC 5145)

 

Chapter 1, Section 3

 

3. Conscience And Temptations Are The Methods Of Regeneration

 

As it is desirable that the origin of perception, internal dictate, and conscience, should be known, and as at the present day it is altogether unknown, I may relate something on the subject. It is a great truth that man is governed by the Lord by means of spirits and angels. When evil spirits begin to rule, the angels labor to avert evils and falsities, and hence arises a combat. It is this combat of which the man is rendered sensible by perception, dictate, and conscience. By these, and also by temptations, a man might clearly see that spirits and angels are with him, were he not so deeply immersed in corporeal things as to believe nothing that is said about spirits and angels. Such persons, even if they were to feel these combats hundreds of times, would still say that they are imaginary, and the effect of a disordered mind. I have been permitted to feel such combats, and to have a vivid sense of them, thousands and thousands of times, and this almost constantly for several years, as well as to know who, what, and where they were that caused them, when they came, and when they departed; and I have conversed with them. (AC 227)

 

Every human being is equipped with “perception, internal dictate, and conscience” (AC 1043[2]). These functions of the inner mind are produced by our correspondential interaction with spirits and angels. We can be consciously aware of the effects of these interactions on our thinking and willing moment by moment in our daily activities. It’s important to know the psycho-physiology of these interactions and the more details we learn the better we can manage them. The human mind is not a static repository of memories and drives or needs. A better model would be to think of the “online mind” as when we are “being online” with the computer, surfing the Internet. In order for you to be connected to the World Wide Web your computer must be networked or hooked up to another computer called a “server” owned and run by an “online service provider.” These companies charge you for keeping your computer connected to the network.

 

There are many networks connected together by this industry so that it is global. Millions of computers around the world are thus interconnected into one grand network, able to interact by text, by images, by voice, by video. Some of the images, text, voice and video recordings, are on your computer. You can view or hear them when you’re not online since they are permanently stored on your personal computer, and you can access them at any time any number of times. But most of the text and recordings in the global network are not on your personal computer—they are on other people’s computers. In order to access or view them, you must be online.

 

The lower part of your mind is called the natural mind. It is below the spiritual mind. These two portions of the mind are discretely different: they operate differently, on different principles, made of different materials. They can interact through the laws of correspondences. But within each portion of the mind, the interaction is not by correspondences, but by direct contact and communication. The natural mind is similar to the online computer with global network connectivity. Its connection to the natural world is by direct contact, but its connection to the spiritual world is by indirect correspondence. We are therefore dual citizens. A horizontal or direct connection to everything in the physical world, and a vertical connection to everything in the spiritual world. Therefore what is going on in our mind is not static from what is deposited there, but dynamic from our constant interactions with the horizontal network and the vertical network.

 

The mind is never inactive, even during sleep. The two organs of the mind—will and understanding-- are always active, just like the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The brain’s activity is electro-chemical, that is, physical, but the mind’s activity is sensory and rational, that is, spiritual. The mind is also called the spirit-body (DLW 391).

 

The spirit-body of every human being is created along with the physical body, and is connected to it. The Lord is the Manager of these connections (HH 112). He makes sure that the connections don’t get mixed up! The same spirit-body, or mind, must be connected to the same physical body as long as the person still lives on earth. But in the afterlife, the spirit-body is no longer connected to the physical world. The Lord also manages the universal network of human beings, past and present, all of whom live in the spiritual world. Those who are still connected to a physical body are also in the spiritual world since the mind, or spirit-body, cannot descend into the physical universe. It is born in the spiritual world, and never leaves it.

 

The Lord manages the countless numbers of people who have ever been born on the countless earths in the universe. He interconnects them so that in His eyes this entire network is joined together into the shape and form of a human being. This universal network is called the Grand Human (or Grand Man), and Swedenborg has been given to see it also so that he may describe it for us and be a witness that it does indeed exist (EU 9; AC 684, 1276).

 

Theistic science will in the future be able to describe many of these details by extracting them from the Writings. Some of the details we can read in the literal of the Writings, but most of the rest is hidden and must be extracted by appropriate analytic procedures of rational thinking as specified in the Writings. Since the Writings are the Word, they are written in a style that accommodates the infinite Divine Truth of the Lord. There are more truths hidden in the Writings than can ever be extracted by the cumulative human race forever (xx). Clearly, Swedenborg could not know or understand most of what lies hidden in the sentences that He composed under the guidance of the Lord. This is also true of the sentences composed by the prophets and writers of the Old and New Testaments. The writers could not know what was hidden or located inside those sentences. Only the Lord could know and knows, for He is the infinite Divine Truth by which everything created is made of.

 

The purpose of being born on earth is that we can develop our natural mind which then allows our spiritual mind to also develop. These two minds must be formed together in order for us to be able to live as angels in heaven. This is the Lord’s purpose in creating the universe, namely, to have the earths be incubators for angles in the heavens. The heavens are so formed and arranged that its inhabitants can live a perfect life to eternity. The Lord’s Divine Love is the motive for this purpose. The Lord desires with infinite power and intensity to create angels whom He can make perfectly happy. For in this activity His Love finds fulfillment.

 

1. Creating More And More Angels

 

The whole angelic heaven consists solely of the Divine Truth which proceeds from the Lord, the reception of which makes angels (AE 594)

 

How does the Lord achieve His purpose of creating more and more angels? Why does He not create every human being full fledged, an angel in heaven? Why does He first make human beings divided, physical body on earth, spirit-body in the spiritual world? The general answer is that He does everything in accordance with His Order, which is rational and consistent. We need to understand why this idea just mentioned is a human idea that is not fully rational. An angel in heaven who is created full fledged is not a rational idea. Perhaps a robotic angel could be created this way, but not a human being who has a sense of total freedom and selfhood.

 

All happiness of life can exist only in an angel who has a sense of freedom and selfhood, of identity and purpose different from another angel. An angel must have a history, a biography, unique experiences, in order to feel free and a self. Thus, every angel is unique due to this cumulative experience of selfhood, and this to eternity (DP 334).

 

This sense of self-generated freedom and cumulative identity or personality requires therefore social life, birth into a family or society, an environment that provides variable sensory input, and a mind that is self-conscious of itself, willing and thinking moment by moment, and thus accumulating experiences and a biography. This life cannot be created in one fell swoop, by fiat, by pronouncing a Divine Word. It must develop from beginning to eternity. By deeper studies of the Writings you will be able to understand why this individual life cannot be produced solely in heaven, and thus why there must be a dual universe: natural and spiritual. We are thus born on some earth in the universe, are connected to a physical body for awhile, then we are cut off from the physical universe at death and then live eternally in the spiritual world.

 

This is also the reason why the spiritual world has the outside appearance of the natural world. Our spirit-body is developing all along through our sensory and rational experiences while connected to the physical body. It would be mighty strange and impossible to then all of a sudden lose everything that is contained in the spirit-body! What is our sense of selfhood and freedom if by death the spirit-body is thrown into a coma of unconsciousness? There is not selfhood other than the biography we have accumulated since birth and through our physical activities on earth. The people we have known and loved, the activities we have learned to do and desire, our set of unique preferences and thoughts—these have all come into existence through the physical body and our social life on earth. They cannot be taken away altogether, for then nothing is left.

 

And so it is inevitable and rational that the appearance of the spiritual world and spirit-body be like the appearance of the natural world and physical body. Heavenly inhabitations are therefore like earthy ones, but more magnificent by many orders of difference. The environment of heaven is kept in perfect order by the Lord since it is a spiritual environment, but the environment on earth is not. Hence there is disorder in the physical universe.

 

The Lord creates the physical universe and body to allow the possibility of disorder, and He also maintains the disorder that does develop in strict bounds or limits. These limits are called the Laws of Permissions (DP 234). No disorder can come into existence except that which is allowed by these Laws of Permissions. If you study the Writings you will learn about these laws through the history of civilizations or “Churches.” These historical developmental details are also applicable to the individual biographical details of every human being. In order to become an angel, our spirit-body must develop and go through these various stages or phases which are described in the historical developments of the human race. The development of the individual’s mind recapitulates the evolution of civilizations (AC 10225).

 

The early generations on this earth belonged to the civilization of the Most Ancient Church (NJHD 247). They were a celestial race and they were able to be consciously aware of their dual citizenship by direct conscious perception of the environment in the spiritual world. They had direct communication with parents and teachers who were already in heaven. They spent but a few years on earth and became quickly ready to become angels in heaven. They were peaceful and loving and valued only those things that were useful to prepare their mind for life in heaven. They lived in conjugial love in perfect marriage unions that then continued in heaven. They are still there, of course, and Swedenborg had occasion to talk to them (CL 75). But in the course of time, other civilizations emerged with people who liked to experiment with disorder. Eventually the disorder became primary and the human race then took downward turn. This is called the Fall (AC 127, DP 275).

 

Today we are part of the fallen generations and the Lord has provided new ways by which we can live our life on earth in preparation for heaven. In this fallen state our physical and spirit body must develop in a an environment of disorder. From heredity our two bodies are filled with disorder that is maintained by our connectivity to evil spirits as well as angels. Upon death of the physical body, the spirit-body starts conscious life in the spiritual world. All sorts of disorder have formed this spirit-body, thus there are both good and evil spirits. Good spirits are those whose spirit-body can be regenerated, which means that the disorder can be removed by the Lord without destroying the individual’s sense of selfhood. Evil spirits are those whose spirit-body cannot be regenerated, which means that the disorder cannot be removed by the Lord without destroying the individual’s sense of selfhood.

 

Good spirits can be prepared for life in heaven by further experiences in the world of sprits, located midway between heaven and hell. Evil spirits can be prepared for life in hell. Hell is the environment the Lord creates through His Laws of Permissions. Various sorts of disorder are allowed in order to create an environment that would accommodate the many varieties of evil lusts and insane fantasies. In this way, the evil spirits can continue to have a sense of selfhood and freedom. They live in the hells forever since they are immortal and since they are unable to give up the disorder that makes up their spirit-body. In hell they are called devils, satans, genii, sirens, and many other names depending on the disorder of their character.

 

While our spirit-body is still connected to the physical body we are able to undergo regeneration if we agree to cooperate with the Lord in this healing and purification process. The Lord cannot remove disorder in us unless we agree to it. If He removed them without our agreement we would lose our sense of freedom and selfhood, hence our happiness of life as human beings. The Lord therefore labors with every person to achieve cooperation. The more cooperation we give, the more He can regenerate us, that is, remove the inherited and acquired disorder. Nothing is more crucial therefore than learning how to cooperate with the Lord in our regeneration!

 

The confession of the Lord and the acknowledgment of His Divine in His Human is the life of all truth, both in the Word and in doctrine from the Word. (AE 392)

 

2. External And Internal Methods Of Cooperation

 

The Lord provides two methods for this cooperation, one external, the other internal. The external method is through learning truths from revelation called “the Word.” The internal method is through perception, internal dictate and conscience, as described in the passage quoted above. By acquiring Doctrine of Life in our understanding from the Word, we can be reformed so that we can lay aside the false ideas in our mind from culture and self-intelligence. By compelling ourselves to obey the inner dictate of conscience, we can be regenerated gradually until all disorder is removed from our active personality. By these two methods our spirit-body develops a new constitution, one that can live in heaven where only order can exist. Any disorder left in the active personality makes it impossible for us to live in the environment of heaven. It is crucial therefore that we use every moment of life on earth, every day and every minute of the hour, to continue this process of reformation and regeneration.

 

The Lord gives us awareness of the disorder in us bit by bit. He very carefully manages this process so that we never feel like we are forced or compelled by Him, but only by our self. Our reformation and regenerating proceeds day by day seemingly through our own effort and choices. Of course there is no power in the universe except the power of the Lord. And so we must keep in mind that our efforts as-of self are required but that it is the Lord who supplies all the power for the effort and the change. If we forget this we are going to assume that the power is ours, and this is a disorder of insanity or fantasy, hence we cannot be reformed and regenerated. Neither can we say to the Lord, “You go ahead and do it for me or to me.” This would also be a disorder of insanity. So there is no other way but to compel ourselves to act in accordance with conscience and the truths we derive from the Word.

 

To act means to will and to think. Our physical body merely does what we are willing and thinking moment by moment. And so the focus of regeneration must be on willing and thinking. You can see that there is no reformation and regeneration without self-witnessing, that is, without monitoring your stream of willing and thinking moment by moment. When you are monitoring the moment by moment stream of willing and thinking, the Lord makes sure that you become aware of a particular disorder in you. This conscious awareness is brought about by temptations. There are natural temptations, spiritual temptations, and celestial temptations (AC 847[2]). We must learn what they are from the Word. The way we must handle these three types is different. Each requires its own healing procedure.

 

[2] There are many kinds of temptations, which are in general the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural; and these ought never to be confounded. Celestial temptations can exist only with those who are in love to the Lord, and spiritual ones with those only who are in charity toward the neighbor. Natural temptations are altogether distinct from these, and indeed are not temptations, but merely anxieties arising from natural loves being assailed by misfortunes, diseases, or a depraved condition of the blood and other fluids of the body. From this brief account it may in some degree be known what temptation is, namely, anguish and anxiety occasioned by whatever opposes one's loves. Thus with those who are in love to the Lord, whatever assails this love produces an inmost torture, which is celestial temptation; with those who are in love toward the neighbor, or charity, whatever assails this love occasions torment of conscience, and this is spiritual temptation.

 

[3] But with those who are natural, what they frequently call temptations and the pangs of conscience, are not temptations, but only anxieties arising from their loves being assailed, as when they foresee and are sensible of the loss of honor, of the good things of the world, of reputation, pleasures, bodily life, and the like; nevertheless these troubles are wont to be productive of some good. Temptations are moreover experienced by those who are in natural charity, and consequently by all kinds of heretics, Gentiles, and idolaters, arising from assaults on the life of their faith which they cherish. But these are distresses that merely emulate spiritual temptations. (AC 847)

 

You can see from this that a temptation is a warning or distress signal we receive when the Lord brings us into conscious awareness of a disorder in our willing and thinking. To acquire a moral character we must remove the immoral within us. This we must do as-of self by experiencing a conflict in our mind. This conflict is the result of an actual battle that surrounds our spirit-body in the spiritual world. Evil spirits approach our spirit-body and infuse into it evil desires and insane thoughts. This infusion process is quite common when spirits congregate together or come near to each other. As a result of this infusion or influence, our mind becomes active with the particular disorder that characterizes those spirits. The Lord connects and disconnects our association with evil spirits, moment by moment, bringing near certain evils spirits at certain times, and keeping others away.

 

The Lord decides at which point we are ready and willing to deal with a particular disorder. He then brings around the evil spirits whose character relates to this particular disorder in us. We are then conscious of this disorder. We feel it as a desire or need or motive or purpose. It is in our will and we have the strong desire to engage in it, to follow it, to identify ourselves with it, to become it. Simultaneously, the Lord brings around good spirits or angels, and they engage the evils spirits in combat. They use truths of the Word in our understanding to fight this struggle.

 

You can see from this description what a temptation is. Our mind, or spirit-body, is surrounded by evil and good spirits engaged in a fight. The weapons of combat are the truths and falsities in our spirit-body from experience and inheritance. The Lord carefully manages the combat so that we have the maximum chance of winning. We can still lose if we insist on identifying with the falsities activated by the evil spirits. For example, I suddenly feel an impulse to get up from this typing and go to the kitchen and eat some more chocolate. I already had some chocolate just a few minutes ago, but now I want some more. This is the sign that the Lord has approached certain evils spirits that excite my mind to eat more than I want to. This is a disorder in me from childhood, very familiar. I would be obese by now if I gave in to it. Certainly it has caused me to be overweight for many years. Being obese or overweight is a disorder. If I arrive in heaven with this disorder, I cannot enter it and my eternal happiness.

 

So I must rid my character of this disorder. I think about denying myself for the sake of my diet, rationally chosen, and for the sake of maintaining order. This is a sign that the Lord has approached good spirits. And now the combat of temptation is on. I am in it. Whether I win or lose depends on my free choice.

 

Consider another example. As I’m typing this one of my cats enters the room (the other two are already asleep). He does the usual thing, trying to engage me in his ritual. He makes a characteristic sound behind me. That is his demand. Now my temptation begins. I don’t want to stop writing and go ritualize with him. I ignore him, hoping he will go away. This is a disorder of my willing which is activated by the evil spirits the Lord has approached to my spirit-body in the spiritual world. I feel a pang of guilt. I love my cat and I don’t want him to feel rejected and unhappy. He depends on me for services like feeding, scratching, grooming, and playing. This is his life, his happiness, and I’m denying it for him. What kind of love is this? These thoughts and feelings are signs that the Lord has brought certain good spirits to the vicinity of my spirit-body. The combat is on.

 

Now Mana escalates. He jumps on the table where the computer is and looks at me four inches away. I have the impulse of picking him up and putting him out so he stops bothering me. I’m afraid that he is going to jump on the keyboard or on the zip drive or behind the table where the wires are. I’m thinking what a little pest he is. I’m gritting my teeth with anger. I feel like slapping him off. Etc. All these thoughts and feelings are activated by the particular spirits the Lord has brought near. Simultaneously I feel guilt, regret, compassion. How can I be so cruel and selfish to this little creature of God whom I love? Tears come to my eyes when I see the monster I am. I am shocked at myself, at the feelings of violence and cruelty. These thoughts and emotions are a signal that the Lord has brought certain good spirits around who are infusing and activating the ideas and attitudes that I have developed in the past. I am surrounded by warring combatants. Who will I let win? Therein lies my fate and my future.

 

I look at the beautiful little creature’s face and I’m ashamed of myself. I get up. He follows me. We go to the kitchen. I feed him. He doesn’t want it. I give him some cold mild on a plate. He smells it and walks away. He goes to the spot where the catnip box is kept and looks up. I give him some on a tray. He revels in it, lying on it, putting it all over his body, licking it. He lies on his side and looks at me expectantly. Throughout these activities I’m experiencing the conflict. I want to go back to the typing. I want to spend the minimum time. I want to cheat him out of some of the things he demands and wants. I make myself stay and postpone leaving, moment by moment. I give him grooming, I play with him with his string. At last I am able to say, OK, enough is enough. I walk away. I close the door so he can’t come back to interrupt me. I feel guilty about that. I resume my typing, relieved. Etc.

 

You can see from this description what temptation combats are and how they involve the second by second stream of willing and thinking of our behavior all day long. This is what our regeneration is made of. This is how the Lord can prepare our mind for heavenly life, by removing disorder that He brings to our attention, if only we are willing to focus on the details. Every day brings temptations, every hour and every minute. There are many temptations in a single minute. No topic is left out, large or small, for our life is nothing but a collection of these topics, our feelings and thoughts running themselves off. When the Lord judges that we are no longer willing or able to handle more temptations, our time has come and we make the transition to the spiritual world.

 

From then on we are absolutely unwilling to undergo more temptations. Such as we then are, such we remain. To the extent that we are willing to deal with remaining disorders, the Lord can continue to regenerate us. But we are only willing to do this if we have arrived imbued with a love for the Lord, for the Doctrine that we have acquired from the Word or from our religion and conscience.

 

Conscience is twofold, interior and exterior; interior conscience is that of spiritual good and truth, exterior conscience is that of what is just and equitable. Conscience itself is an interior plane in which the influx of the Divine good terminates. But they who have no conscience have not any interior plane to receive this influx; and with these persons good flows through down to the exterior natural or natural-sensuous; and as before said is there turned into foul delights. Sometimes these persons seem to feel a pain as of conscience, but it is not conscience; it is a pain arising from the loss of their delight, such as that of honor, gain, reputation, life, pleasures, or the friendship of people like themselves; and this is because the terminations are in delights like these. (AC 5145)

 

Heaven is within, in the highest portion of our mind. This spiritual-celestial mind must be opened or animated by means of temptations and regeneration. When it is opened, it then acts as a “termination” of resting place for the influx of spiritual truths. When these spiritual truths are in our mind, we are in heaven since heaven is in the spiritual truths. Spiritual truths are from the Lord, hence they are Divine. This is why it is said that the Lord dwells within us, that is, His divine Truth rests in our spiritual mind, and He is Divine Truth. Note that conscience exists in two forms, external in the natural mind, and interior in the spiritual mind.

 

External conscience strives to protect the natural goods and truths that we have accumulated such as the delights of honor, gain, reputation, life, pleasures, and friendships. The pain of external conscience is not spiritual conscience but the fear of losing natural delights and the things of the self and the world to which we are attached. Internal conscience strives to protect spiritual goods and truths such as our delights in being saved, loving uses, the neighbor, the Lord, and the Doctrine from His Word. Without this interior conscience, the spiritual mind cannot be opened and there is no termination or resting place for heaven in us.

 

 

Chapter 1, Section 4

 

4.The remains of good and truth in the afterlife

 

What remains are, has been stated and shown above (AC n. 468, 530, 560, 561, 661, 798, 1050), namely, that they are all the states of the affection of good and truth with which a man is gifted by the Lord, from earliest infancy even to the end of life; which states are stored up for him for the use of his life after death; for in the other life all the states of his life return in succession, and are then tempered by the states of good and truth with which he has been gifted by the Lord.

 

The more remains therefore that a man has received in the life of the body, that is, the more of good and truth, the more delightful and beautiful do the rest of his states appear when they return.

 

That this is really so may be evident to everyone, if he will consider. When a man is born he has not a particle of good of himself, but is wholly defiled throughout with hereditary evil, and all that is good flows in, such as his love for his parents, his nurses, his companions; and this from innocence. Such are the things that flow in from the Lord through the heaven of innocence and peace, which is the inmost heaven, and thus is man imbued with them in his infancy.

 

[2] Afterwards, when he grows up, this good, innocent, and peaceful state of infancy recedes little by little; and so far as he is introduced into the world, he comes into its pleasures, and into cupidities, and thus into evils; and so far the celestial or good things of the age of infancy begin to disappear; but still they remain, and the states which the man afterwards puts on or acquires are tempered by them. Without them a man can never be a man, for the states of the cupidities, or of evil, if not tempered by states of the affection of good, would be more atrocious than those of any animal. These states of good are what are called remains, given by the Lord and implanted in one's natural disposition, and this when the man is not aware of it.

 

[3] In after life he is also gifted with new states; but these are not so much states of good as states of truth, for as he is growing up he is imbued with truths, and these are in like manner stored up in him in his interior man. By these remains, which are those of truth, born of the influx of spiritual things from the Lord, man has the ability to think, and also to understand what the good and the truth of civic and moral life are, and also to receive spiritual truth or faith; but he cannot do this except by means of the remains of good that he had received in infancy.

 

That there are remains, and that they are stored up in a man in his interior rational, is wholly unknown to man; and this because he supposes that nothing flows in, but that everything is natural to him, and born with him, thus that it is all in him when an infant, when yet the real case is altogether different. Remains are treated of in many parts of the Word, and by them are signified those states by which man becomes a man, and this from the Lord alone. (AC 1906)

 

This passage says a number of things about remains that can be summarized in the following points:

 

(1) Remains are “states of the affection of good and truth.” These states are in the interior mind and unconscious.

 

(2) The Lord implants these states throughout our life on earth, from infancy to the end. The are called “gifts of life.”

 

(3) All states of affection we acquire in this life, “return in succession” in the other life, the evil affections as well as the remains of good affections implanted by the Lord unbeknownst to us.

 

(4) The remains of good affections “temper” the injurious effects of the evil affections we brought with us into the afterlife.

 

(5) The more remains the Lord has been able to implant in our interior mind, “the more delightful and beautiful do the rest of our states appear when they return.” The Lord implants remains in our unconscious interior mind to the extent that we shun evils as sins consciously in our external mind (xx).

 

(6) The innocence of infants, expressed as “love for parents, nurses, companions,” is not in the infant or from the infant, but from the Lord through the influx of good. These flow in “from the Lord through the heaven of innocence and peace, which is the inmost heaven.” The states of good that flow in from the “heaven of innocence and peace” temper the infant’s evil states from inheritance so much so that the evil is hardly noticeable in the infant, and what shows instead is innocence and delight that make babies appear so cute and adorable to their parents and grown ups. These states of innocence remain for the afterlife, along with other remains implanted throughout life.

 

(7) But then, as the child grows up, “this good, innocent, and peaceful state of infancy recedes little by little; and so far as he is introduced into the world, he comes into its pleasures, and into cupidities, and thus into evils; and so far the celestial or good things of the age of infancy begin to disappear; but still they remain.” The innocence of childhood is succeeded developmentally by the corruption of evil delights and cupidities from the world and from inheritance. But the remains of innocence are stored up by the Lord in our interior mind for use in the afterlife, and this not only in our childhood, but throughout life, in proportion to our cooperation in reformation and regeneration.

 

(8) In the afterlife, we receive new states in proportion to our affection for truth: “these are not so much states of good as states of truth, for as he is growing up he is imbued with truths, and these are in like manner stored up in him in his interior man.” Without learning truths by means of education and experience, our afterlife cannot be rational, and yet heavenly life is in the truths we bring with us. These remains of truth are “born of the influx of spiritual things from the Lord.” Note that these are not the natural truths we also acquire, but the spiritual truths from the Lord through His Word. From these spiritual truths “man has the ability to think, and also to understand what the good and the truth of civic and moral life are, and also to receive spiritual truth or faith; but he cannot do this except by means of the remains of good that he had received in infancy.” Our natural intelligence of “civic and moral life” are enabled by the spiritual truths from the Lord without which civic and moral motives and decisions would not be present. Survival of society therefore depends on spiritual ideas from the Lord implanted in our unconscious interior mind.

 

(9) The civic and moral life, animated from within by the spiritual truths from the Lord, as well as the external religious life, can be animated by the Lord only “by means of the remains of good that we received in infancy.” These remains include the affection for good and truth. This is a celestial affection, not natural, for in the natural we do not love good and truth, and if it appears that we do, it is because of a motive for reward and merit—which are natural motives, not celestial.

 

At some point in adult life we must desire to return to the states of innocence in order to be motivated to undergo reformation, and then regeneration. These affections for good and truth are stored up by the Lord in our interior spiritual mind. Now as an adult independent thinker, we take up the Writings to gather the spiritual Doctrine by which we reorder our mind and struggle against the nonduality by which it is filled and in which it is immersed. First we read and study the literal of the Writings and take up its meaning into our natural-rational mind.

 

Once these rational truths are in our understanding, we can use them in our willing and thinking all day long. We analyze our concepts, assumptions, beliefs, and decisions, debunking their hidden and assumptive nonduality, reforming them into new shapes, new meanings, new assumptions, all of which are from the Lord through the rational truths we pick up from the Writings. The Lord then adjoins and conjoins the unconscious remains of good, and this action animates our truths, gives them power to guide our willing and thinking. In this way we are reformed and prepared for heavenly life.

 

Chapter 1, Section 5

 

5.The Regeneration Of The Threefold Self: Willing, Thinking, And Acting Out

 

Man's interiors are distinguished into degrees, and in each degree the interiors are terminated, and by termination are separated from the degree next below; it is thus from the inmost to the outermost.

 

The interior rational constitutes the first degree; in this are the celestial angels, or in this is the inmost or third heaven. The exterior rational makes the second degree; in this are the spiritual angels, or in this is the middle or second heaven. The interior natural makes the third degree; in this are good spirits, or the ultimate or first heaven. The exterior natural, or the sensuous, makes the fourth degree; and in this is man. These degrees in man are most distinct.

 

[3] Thence it is that if he lives in good, a man is as to his interiors a heaven in the least form, or that his interiors correspond to the three heavens; and hence it is that if a man has lived a life of charity and love, he can be carried after death even into the third heaven. But that he may be of this character, it is necessary that all the degrees in him should be well terminated, and thus by means of terminations be distinct from one another; and when they are terminated, or by means of terminations are made distinct from one another, each degree is a plane in which the good which flows in from the Lord rests, and where it is received.

 

Without these degrees as planes, good is not received, but flows through, as through a sieve or a basket that has holes in it, down to the sensuous, and then, being without any direction in the way, it is turned into a foulness which appears to those who are in it as good, namely, into the delight of the love of self and of the world, consequently into the delight of hatred, revenge, cruelty, adultery, and avarice, or into mere voluptuousness and luxury. (AC 5145)

 

Regeneration is to be understood as a psychobiological process of the mind. The mind is a spiritual organ, not natural, because it is constructed out of spiritual substances from the spiritual Sun. The essence of these substances is Divine Truth within which is Divine Love. Clearly, then, the mind is a rational construction because it is constructed out of truth. The substance of truth is a spiritual substance, immortal and permanent. The spiritual fibers that constitute the organ of the mind are laid down and coiled in particular directions. In this mode the mind is able to function as a receptor organ for spiritual truths flowing in from the Lord through heaven.

 

The mind develops by means of truths we learn or acquire through instruction and experience. The lower portions of the mind are called the external natural mind because it serves for a resting place or “vessel” for the natural goods and truths that enter through the senses of the physical body in the natural world. This external mind cannot receive any goods and truths from the spiritual world. Spiritual goods and truths can only be received by the upper portion of the mind, also called the interior or spiritual mind. This inner portion of the mind can only be built up by regeneration, and especially by our struggle against spiritual temptations. This struggle is what the Lord calls our cooperation in regeneration. The Lord opens the spiritual mind to the extent that we suffer ourselves to undergo regeneration by means of spiritual temptations.

 

The spiritual mind has three levels or discrete degrees: natural-spiritual, rational-spiritual, and celestial-spiritual. These three degrees in the spiritual mind correspond to the three heavens. If we suffer ourselves to undergo spiritual and celestial temptations, the spiritual mind can be opened all the way to the highest or inmost. Those who have this highest level opened can receive interior-rational truths, also called celestial truths. Within these inmost truths is the Third Heaven and those whose mind has been opened to this level become angels of the Third Heaven. But those who can receive only spiritual-rational truths, enter the Second Heaven. Those who can only receive natural-spiritual truths live in the First Heaven as angelic spirits. Those who can only receive external natural truths have their spiritual mind closed. When they arrive in the afterlife they sink down into hell because their mind has remained such as it was when they were born, namely, filled with “the delight of hatred, revenge, cruelty, adultery, and avarice, or ... mere voluptuousness and luxury.” Since this is their total functioning mind, they are unwilling to let go of its content and remain in them forever.

 

Regeneration is therefore the task of building up the spiritual mind.

 

This growth process consists of two steps in sequence. The first step is to let go of the evil affections in the natural mind. The second step is to compel yourself to will what is good from what you know is true. What is true refers to what the Writings teach. These principles of good and true are called the Doctrine of the Church in the mind. In other words, we study the Writings and formulate Doctrine in our understanding. This Doctrine teaches how we should will and think.

 

Since willing and thinking is made of thousands of particular items every hour and day, you can see that we must be able to monitor our willing and thinking sequences all day long to make sure that they agree with the Doctrine we have in our understanding of the Writings. There is no general way of being regenerated, by confessing, by repenting of all our sins during prayer, by giving charity or doing good to others. These things may be helpful and desirable but they do not accomplish regeneration. The only thing that will accomplish it is to become aware of all the items in our willing and thinking, judging them in the light of our Doctrine, and desisting from doing and thinking them because they are sins against the Lord and they prevent our spiritual mind from being opened. The Lord opens our spiritual mind to the extent that we are willing to clean out the natural mind as-of self.

 

A man's evils are in his thoughts and intentions (NJHD 164)

1. Self-Examination: Monitoring The Threefold Self

 

A man who examines himself for the purpose of practicing repentance, should explore his thoughts, and the intentions of his will; and there he ought to examine what he would do, if he were at liberty; that is, if he were not afraid of the laws, and the loss of reputation, honor, and gain. A man's evils are in his thoughts and intentions; and the evils which he does with the body are all from thence. Those persons who do not explore the evils of their thoughts and of their will cannot practice repentance; for afterwards they think and will just as they did before; and yet willing evils means doing them. This is meant by self-examination. (NJHD 164)

 

Self-examination is therefore a process of self-monitoring. This involves monitoring and note-keeping of our mental life in daily tasks and interactions with others. It is similar to self-witnessing but more limited in focus and duration. Each exercise involves keeping track in the three “domains” or organs of the mind: affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor.

 

Affective Organ (will):

“What feelings do I have in this situation?” Or: “What do I feel like doing right now?”

 

Cognitive Organ :(understanding):

“What thoughts do I have right now?” Or: “What are the words and sentences I’m thinking right now?”

 

Sensorimotor Organ (acting out and sensations):

“What sensations am I experiencing right now?” And: “What is my body doing and how does it appear to others—my face, my hands, my position, my rhythm, my voice, my breathing, etc.”

 

Keeping cumulative notes in a journal or diary is necessary. Dictating notes with a recorder is also useful. Part of the discipline is to review or analyze the data collected over many samples of one’s interactions and behaviors and to evaluate them as indicators of one’s dedication and progress in regeneration. (See Note 20 at end, for additional articles on the self-witnessing techniques.)

 

Another area is the entertainment content we enjoy on TV, comics, novels, and music. The New Church mind becomes polluted when we routinely enjoy and tacitly accept vulgarities, profanities and the portrayal of lusts and violence. Monitoring our exposure and involvement with these things allows us to turn away and to turn back, and so regain an innocence that teaches us to feel shocked at these rehearsals and dramatic portrayals of evil. Similarly, we must not allow ourselves to repeat and love lyrics that are profane and glorify disorderly things. On the other hand there are millions of people who enjoy the songs of romance that portray soul mates leading to eternal love and conjugal happiness. What a contrast between these angelic themes and the love-yourself promiscuity held up by popular songsters like a fiery serpent that is idolized by the unregenerate masses.

 

We can make a free choice to shun these fallen things for inner spiritual reasons rather than for mere obedience to authority such as parents or teachers. The New Church mind is set to cooperate with the Lord from within because the motive for cooperation is deep seated as it has to do with the afterlife and one’s eternal happiness or misery. There is no time for joking around and taking the small details of life as unworthy of our focus for struggle. We know that the last judgment for each of us will hinge on the mental habits of character we bring along to the spiritual world.

 

The “small” choices regarding our lifestyle—are we noisy neighbors or aggressive drivers, etc.—carry equal weight or greater weight than the large things of our biography—degrees, income, awards, recognition, important achievements. The little things carry more weight because they are far more numerous given that they are the constituents of the larger things. And the more frequently we perform non-charitable acts, thoughts, or feelings, the more they fix our character habits, and the less we can change in the afterlife. Our lot there is what we bring along.

 

Knowing this, and keeping it in mind through spiritual discipline, gives us the motive to persist and the courage to suffer through it.

 

Even ordinary and relatively mild things ought to be resisted and held in aversion. For instance when someone says to me “That was lucky” I feel prudent in thinking “Amen” to acknowledge that, in my mind, luck is something the Lord produces, not blind chance. Or if a student thanks me for a course they found valuable, I immediately make my mind dwell on the idea that it is the Lord who decides who gets what when. The Lord uses my skills to advance the development of others that He brings around to my sphere of communication. I had nothing to do with the actual success of it and its effects on others. I was allowed to participate in something the Lord had arranged and brought about. For example, when I get to the parking lot on campus and can’t find a space I inhibit an old habit of saying “Oh, no, how annoying!” and instead I say “Lord, you made this decision for me. Thy will be done, not mine” and when I find a space for my car I acknowledge it by saying “Thank you Lord.” And it’s been many years since I’ve been vigilant in breaking the verbal habit of saying “Darn!” “Shoot!” and “Gosh!” and of course, the Lord’s Name said in vain. These appear little things in the scheme of things and yet they are the most important in fixing our fate in the afterlife.

 

Those who have conscience do not swear in vain(AC 2842.)

 

It’s worth cautioning here that swearing acts can be subtle and subconscious. I noticed that I can swear merely with the body without words, like

 

q       rolling the eyes in protest

q       kicking an object in disgust

q       whistling under the breath

q       smirking as a comment

q       slapping the thigh in disapproval

q       snapping the fingers in condemnation

q       and so on.

 

In the New Church mind these paralinguistic acts are outward manifestations of an inward rebellion against the Lord.

 

To fight this built-in habit we need to remind ourselves constantly that every detail is either from Divine Providence or Permissions (DP 234, 249, 251, SE 1088). This is a rational attitude. I try to remind myself of this frequently in the course of a day or hour: “This is the Lord’s doing.” I say to myself. Or: “The Lord did this to me.” I say these things when I’m under stress: When I trip and fall; when I can’t find a parking space; when I get a hernia; when I get into an accident; when I reflect on 9/11 and all things of our biography and history. It’s easier to attribute to Providence the good things in life, but we must do the same with the other details that are of His Permissions. We cannot slack off from our certitude that the Lord is in full command of all things all the time!

 

This means that we can’t back off from our rational certitude of the Lord’s omnipotence; we can’t think that when a tragedy happens that the Lord’s power somehow failed the prevent it. Every detail of that tragedy is under the Lord’s purview and power, including the skills that the attackers have to carry out their misdeed. We need to understand why the Lord gives ability to a child rapist to carry out his foul deed. It’s not because the Lord lacks power to prevent it. It’s not because the Lord was the source of the evil intent. Why then? The Lord rules and manages by means of His Divine Wisdom from His Divine Love, which has infinite power. This is where we must base our understanding of why the Lord gives His power to the evil doer. The Lord manages the hells no less than the heavens, but not in the same way. He prevents innumerable evils from being performed moment by moment. He keeps Himself in full control all the time of everything. And so His Divine Wisdom from His Divine Love creates and maintains a Divine order for all things and events.

 

The Laws of Permissions are part of this Divine order. It is a perfect order that allows only good to be the permanent outcome of every single thing. And the evil deeds of the rapist, or thief, or deceiver, also must have a permanent good outcome or else the deed cannot come into existence. This general idea can be deepened more and more with further study of the Writings, and it will then be very evident that the Lord is always in charge from His Love through His Wisdom. In short, this is a perfect world. The New Church mind must be willing to affirm that this is a perfect world, and find rational explanations for the evil in this perfect world.

 

2. Keeping Track Of The Motives We Have

 

My self-witnessing discipline also applies to the repeated choices I make in compelling myself to go through routine tasks in preparing for lectures without allowing myself to slack off because I’ve already reached the top of my career. And especially, the motives I have for sustaining my preparation and performing each detail of my tasks as instructor and mental coach. In the early years I would do my work conscientiously for external motives—reputation, awards, recognition, remuneration, fear, anxiety, enjoyment of dominion, etc. These good works will not help me in the afterlife and they will be put to sleep by the Lord and exiled to the far reaches of my spirit. Only those will help me that I did for interior motives, such as, that

 

q       the Lord wants me to

q       the angels are looking on

q       I must perform compassion

q       I must be fair

q       I must set a good example

q       I must be a good leader

q       a sincere teacher

q       a helpful coach.

 

Why must I have these motives? Because otherwise I act from hell and I am hating uses and the Lord, loving myself only.

 

As is a person's life in general therefore, so is his life in every individual part, indeed in the smallest individual parts of his motives and intentions - that is, of his will - and in the smallest individual parts of his thinking; so that not the least part of an idea can exist in which the same life is not present.

 

Take someone who is arrogant: arrogance is present in every individual endeavor of his will and in every individual idea of his thought. With someone who is avaricious avarice is in a similar way present, as is hatred with one who hates the neighbour. Or take someone who is stupid: stupidity is present in every individual part of his will and also of his thought, as is insanity with one who is insane. Such being the nature of man, his character is recognized in the next life from one single idea of his thought. (AC 1040)

 

In other words our general behavior is created out of particular details. Another way of saying this is that our macro-behaviors are made of our micro-behaviors. Also, every act of thinking is motivated just as every act of doing. The motive enters into every micro-behavior or else the behavior would not occur. A particular thought would not occur were it not motivated by some intention, affection, or goal. The expressions “someone who is arrogant” or “someone who is avaricious” or “someone who is stupid” signify the New Church mind in these specific states, which are states of temptation. We are sometimes arrogant, sometimes, avaricious, sometimes stupid. “Arrogance” signifies the “love of self and cupidities” (AC 623). “Avarice” signifies “to acknowledge and believe nothing” (AC 303). “Stupid” signifies “the corporeal sensual separated from the rational” (AE 923).

 

God is unceasingly present, and continually striving and acting in man (TCR 74)

 

When one acts honestly and justly with a companion, one person may do it for the purpose of appearing to be honest and just out of regard for himself and his own honor; another on account of the world and gain; a third with a view to reward and merit; a fourth out of regard for friendship; a fifth from fear of the law and the loss of reputation or employment; a sixth that he may draw someone to his own side, even when he is in the wrong; a seventh that he may deceive; and others from other motives. In all these instances, although the deeds are good in appearance, since it is a good thing to act honestly and justly with a companion, they are nevertheless evil, because they are done, not out of regard for honesty and justice and for the love of these, but out of regard for love of self and the world which the man loves; and honesty and justice are made to serve that love as servants who serve a lord, and whom the lord despises and dismisses when they fail to serve him. (HH 472)

 

This absolutist thinking is precisely what secular psychologists uniformly declare as unhealthy and counsel people that they cannot be happy and adjusted individuals as long as they do this kind of absolutist thinking that involves “I must” (I must be honest; I must be sincere; I must be a good role model, etc.). This is how Dr. Albert Ellis refers to this kind of thinking (Feeling Better, Getting Better, Staying Better: Profound Self-Help Therapy for Your Emotions. Impact Publishers, Inc). He is one of the best known scientific psychologists and a popular author and trainer of “rational-emotive therapy.”

 

For decades now, the theme of the mental health outlook being generally advocated by American psychologists has been to “learn to accept yourself as you are, free of any demands that you be different. Do not attempt to measure yourself or set some kind of value on yourself.” An icy cold atmosphere of nondualism surrounds the therapist’s client in the form of non-judgmentalism: “If you accept imperfection in yourself, you are less likely to engage in dangerous behavior such as striving for the unattainable.” The nondualist philosophy of unconditional self-acceptance teaches that maladjustment and neurotic anxiety stems from an excessively severe and watchful conscience. This theme was introduced more than 100 years ago by Sigmund Freud who, like Karl Marx, had no use for religion and sin. And yet God has revealed that the opposite is the reality: that sin is real, that the dictates of conscience are given by God as the means by which we are able to avoid the unending misery of hell. The New Church mind that practices the discipline of self-examination and emendation in every detail, is closest to reality, because closer to the Lord. In the Lord’s mercy through His omnipotence there is provided for anyone on this planet a way to heaven through conscience (NJHD 139).

 

The Lord provides a tremendously rich social and physical context for every individual’s daily life on earth. There is so much to do to survive or thrive. Our personality is made up of thousands of distinct habit routines we acquire in childhood, and onward to the end. Any one of these can be selected as a discipline that is fashioned into an excellence or expertise by dint of persistent techniques applied in daily rehearsals. For instance, for many years I have taken upon myself the discipline of washing dishes. I insist, without much opposition from others, that I wash the dishes for every meal. I beg people to just put their used dishes any time they wish on the counter by the sink and I will take care of it with pleasure. When I come around the kitchen and see any dishes I quickly wash them. Even today after years of discipline, I experience temptations of leaving them lying around when I don’t feel like doing dishes. What a joy there is in overcoming the temptations and doing the dishes. Also, I inspect the items to make sure I do a proper job. If my wife finds some ill washed dish or fork, I feel guilt and regret.

 

All of this relationship I am having with washing dishes makes it into a regeneration discipline because my motive is spiritual—that is, wishing to cooperate with the Lord as He strives with me to regenerate my character and make it fit for heavenly life. Only with this religious motive can the New Church mind build external natural “vessels” within which the angels can inflow with interior rational truths (NJHD 51). Only this interior rational mind can live in heaven. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we build these vessels for ourselves as we approach the gate of heaven. Otherwise we are tragically caught without wedding garments (Matt. xxii. 12 quoted in HH 180; TCR 331) or without oil in our lamp (Matt. 25:1-12 quoted in SS 17; AE 250).

 

3. The Agony And Ecstasy Of Regeneration

 

True order is connected with decorum, beauty, elegance, perfection (TCR Additions 3)

 

Regeneration can only take place in the conscious aware mind!

 

The Lord is operating from within while we operate from without. This joint action defines regeneration. It is not something we can do on our own. It is not something the Lord can do for us unconsciously, without our conscious cooperation.

 

Regeneration begins after reformation. Reformation lasts months (see Volume 1) while regeneration lasts decades. Regeneration begins when we are enlightened, that is, immerse our thinking in spiritual-rational correspondences. These are a discrete degree above the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. Enlightenment depends on two steps. First, acquiring the Letter of the Writings as Divine Truth in our understanding. This refers to the literal meaning of the sentences and their inter-relationships noted by regular study. Second, applying this Divine Doctrine in our mind to our daily willing and thinking. The moment we begin this second step, we are enlightened by the Lord. We continue to be enlightened more and more as we continue to apply the Divine Doctrine in our understanding.

 

The enlightenment consists in a new perception of higher correspondences. This is the first time that the New Church mind is able, in conscious sensuous reality, to see into the spiritual world.

 

This new spiritual consciousness is the ecstasy of regeneration.

 

We are now conscious as a new birth. Before enlightenment we were immersed in natural-rational correspondences, which is the Letter of the Writings. This immersion of our thinking in natural-rational correspondences prevented like a veil, our seeing through it, which means, our seeing a more interior degree of it, which has been there all along but we cannot see it until we remove the veils.

 

We put the veils there, and maintain it up and dark to the vision.

 

The Lord permits it because it is our first state in regeneration, and we must be in this first phase in order to get on with it. The end is the celestial mind and personality we long for. We long for it from within, from the Lord, from creation, because the celestial mind is the final creation, the completion of the evolution of the human race. It is such as is the celestial mind of the angels in heaven who are wise far above anyone on earth. This wisdom can belong to the New Church mind while regenerating on earth.

 

Enlightenment is given to anyone, man or woman, at any age, from any religion or belief system, country, or planet. The Lord is with every human being in the universe, participating and co-managing every detail conscious to the individual, and managing by Himself every detail of which the individual is unconscious. Human life itself depends on the Lord being with that individual in this co-managerial process. Since the Lord manages these details in the mind of every individual, you can see that He can also give enlightenment to every individual. And He does, using the same condition or rule for everyone who wants His spiritual light. This condition is that the individual undergo regeneration. The Lord has therefore made a scientific revelation of Himself and His Divine Rational mind.

 

This Second Coming of the Lord takes place to each individual in enlightenment.

 

Although we worship the Letter of the Writings during reformation, our level of thinking and reasoning about regeneration and the Word, is immersed in the natural-rational correspondences of the literal meaning in the Letter of the Writings.

 

But enlightenment cannot be given by the Lord in the Letter!

 

Enlightenment refers to spiritual light from the spiritual Sun. Enlightenment is experienced as perception of spiritual-rational correspondences within the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter. This is not a mysterious process, as is fully explained in Volume 2. It is a mechanism of regeneration over which we have rational control. Enlightenment is an organic process going on in the internal portion of the natural-rational mind (consult diagrams in Volume 2). As we are struggling and progressing in our regeneration, the Lord is creating a new mind within the natural-rational mind. This is a biological new growth of spiritual fibers at a discrete degree above the spiritual fibers of natural-rational correspondences in the external natural-rational mind. Now, in this new organic receptor within our rational, we are capable of perceiving consciously with direct sensuous awareness, interior truths which from the Lord only and are called spiritual-rational correspondences.

 

Spiritual-rational correspondences are within natural-rational correspondences. This is because the new interior-rational mind the Lord is creating within the individual, is a discrete degree above the individual’s self-intelligence from the Letter. When our thinking is immersed in and reasons from the Letter, it is called self-intelligence because it must be the first phase of regeneration. We must be led by self-intelligence to being regenerated, otherwise we feel coerced, and lose our life should the Lord continue to coerce us. And then we’ll never regenerate and be blissful conjugial husbands in heaven to eternity! That ecstasy must be bought by our agony.

 

Why? Because we are born infernal, and to extirpate the infernal fibers in our will, while new heavenly fibers are implanted, is to experience agony. Regeneration is therefore both ecstasy and agony. At first, more of the agony than the ecstasy. But in old age, the New Church mind is passed the agony and lives in the ecstasy of the innocence of wisdom. This will be the subject of Volume 4 (in preparation).

 

4. Head In Heaven, Feet In Hell

 

We experience enlightenment as ecstasy. It is the conscious perception of spiritual-rational correspondences. This enlightenment is given to anyone. Volume 2 describes the mechanism by which the Lord gives this enlightenment to any individual. You’ll find there methods which the regenerating New Church mind can use to extract the spiritual sense from the Letter of the Writings. These techniques are taught in the Writings and are from the Writings. The Lord gives enlightenment in proportions. The proportion is determined by the individual. First, the individual must take up in the understanding, the natural-rational correspondences in which the Letter of the Writings are written. These now operate in the highest portion of the natural-rational mind of self-intelligence. They are ready to serve as “vessels” or cognitive meanings within which the Lord can implant the interior-natural mind. Once this mind gets going, it operates only and purely by spiritual-rational correspondences it has from influx.

 

Once we perceive consciously these spiritual-rational correspondences, we are enlightened. There is no mystery to it, only a rational mechanism in human consciousness operated by the Lord for the sake of our regeneration.

 

By means of enlightenment, the Lord can elevate our conscious awareness to heavenly light. This conscious awareness is not corporeal or natural-sensuous. It is rational. Enlightenment refers to the consciousness of the celestial mind. This mind responds and reacts to spiritual correspondences, while the natural mind responds and reacts to natural correspondences. The Letter of the Writings on earth is necessarily written in natural-rational correspondences, but in heaven it is written in spiritual-rational correspondences.

 

By allowing that the Letter of the Writings is written in natural-rational correspondences, we receive enlightenment and we can begin our regeneration.

 

Now we begin regeneration in earnest. Our head is in heaven while our feet are in hell!

 

Our head was not in heaven until enlightenment. The Letter of the Writings cannot give enlightenment because it is necessarily written in natural-rational correspondences. All spiritual things written down in a natural language must be natural-rational correspondences. There is no other possibility. The topic itself may be spiritual, such as the Lord, the Word, regeneration. But the understanding of the spiritual topics is at the level of natural-rational correspondences. Spiritual topics can be understood at the level of corporeal correspondences, in which case we have an Old Testament perspective on God and religious behavior. Further, spiritual topics can be understood at the level of sensuous correspondences, in which case we have an New Testament perspective on God and religious behavior. Finally, spiritual topics can be understood at the level of rational correspondences, in which case we have a Third Testament perspective on God and religious behavior.

 

None of these correspondences in which the Threefold Word is written can give enlightenment.

 

For the New Church mind enlightenment is given when the Letter of the Writings is seen as natural-rational correspondences so that one then has the willingness to extract the spiritual sense from the literal by means of the techniques prescribed for this process by the Writings (see Volume 2 for many citations and explanations).

 

Being enlightened means that the New Church mind is ready to progress in regeneration. The head is in ecstasy and spiritual light, consciousness, and clarity of vision, and wisdom. It is wonderful to enjoy this clarity of vision. Everything else we read or hear about, we can give a rational and wise explanation. To see the world through the light of spiritual-rational correspondences is to see from heavenly light. It ends the search for truth, enlightenment, God, just as for a lost pedestrian on the beach at night, arriving in the lighthouse ends the search for safety and life. Suddenly there is light where before was darkness. Suddenly there is hope and comfort. Now we are carried by the gentle yet powerful stream of spiritual-rational correspondences in our interior-rational mind that the Lord is forever building up to the extent that we continue the process of applying our enlightenment to our daily willing and thinking.

 

Can the enlightenment be taken away? Easily. In a moment. What causes it to be taken away by the Lord? The Lord doesn’t take it away, but we do by erecting a cloud, dark and false, between the natural and the spiritual correspondences. An example of erecting a dark cloud is the convinced belief that the literal meaning of the Writings is the spiritual meaning of the Word (see Volume 2). Another example is the belief that one can be regenerated by the casual study of the Writings, or its familiarity by collateral literature. This is a stumbling block to regeneration because it prevents the individual from being enlightened. Enlightened is possible only after the individual has acquired in the understanding, passages from the Letter of the Writings. As these natural-rational correspondences are applied to our willing and thinking, we achieve enlightenment, in proportion to our application. And this is the agony.

 

The head is in heaven, but the feet are in hell. through the head we have ecstasy; through the feet we have agony. That our feet are in hell means that our will is still infernal and will remain with infernal portions for many years and decades as regeneration proceeds. Why are we in agony when our feet are in hell and our head is in heaven? Because from our head in heaven we perceive Divine truths in the form of spiritual-rational correspondences. This is called light from heaven. It is the light by which the angels see in heaven. It is the light which is within spiritual-rational correspondences. Without spiritual-rational correspondences our mind is in infernal light because there are only two possibilities. To see solely by the light of the literal meaning of the Word is to see only by the light of self-intelligence, and this is from the natural world because from the natural mind.

 

5. Seeing The Ugly Scary Proprium

 

Enlightenment leads to agony because heavenly light illumines things that are in our will, which is in hell, that is, which is infernal by heredity. The agony is the torture we experience when Divine light shines on our infernal affections and delights. This searing torturing light is something that the evil spirits and societies are experiencing as divine light is brought near them (xx). When we look upon our affections and delights from the light of spiritual-rational correspondences, we are shining Divine Truth on the infernals tied to us. They experience this as torture and agony. They are trapped by us keeping them tied to us. As long as we love the infernal delights, we are tied to the devils and satans in hell. They cannot escape because they are tied to us as we are tied to them.

 

As long as we believe that these infernal affections and delights are our own, the tie cannot be broken by the infernals or by the individual.

 

They are with our lower self represented by our feet, but the angels are with our higher self represented by our head. Now there is a battle. This battle is called “combat” in the Writings which make many new scientific revelations about the rules of this combat, and its fateful outcome for the individual. IN general this topic is discussed in the Writings under the subject of “temptations” (e.g., xx, xx).

 

The Lord supervises this fateful combat between the hells and the heavens. In spiritual and celestial temptations, which are the most severe and crucial, the power of the angels enters our mind from within the spiritual-rational correspondences we have acquired from the spiritual sense of the Writings. These spiritual-rational correspondences are collected in our mind into a coherent principle and system of reasoning called by the Writings “the Spiritual Doctrine” (see Volume 2 for details).

 

The Spiritual Doctrine is the source by which the Lord gives enlightenment.

 

i The Word cannot be understood without doctrine.

ii. Doctrine must be drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word.

iii. But the Divine truth which must be of doctrine appears to none but those who are in enlightenment from the Lord. (SS 50)

 

We therefore do battle with the infernal delights by means of the Divine Doctrine in our mind called the Spiritual Doctrine (AC 2496, 2517). This means to have the head in heaven. The Spiritual Doctrine exists and is immersed in spiritual-rational correspondences. It cannot be written in a natural language but it can be written in a celestial language, as shown by the fact that the Writings in heaven are written in this script of spiritual-rational correspondences (xx).

 

The Writings discuss a variety of agonies during regeneration. They are called variously “idolatries,” “backsliding” (AC 4815), “hardening of the heart or making it stubborn” (AC 7412), “obstinacy or making heavy the heart” (AC 7473), “making it unyielding” (AC 7632), “turning from the East” (AC 279; DLW 144), “to teach and to seduce” (AR 134), and others (AC 1250, xx).

 

As the heart corresponds to the affections belonging to the love, and thus to the will, the wise men of old ascribed affections to the heart, and some placed there the abode of affections. This is the source of the common expressions, " a magnanimous heart," "a timid heart," "a joyful heart," "a sad heart," a soft heart," "a hard heart," "a great heart," "a little heart," "a whole heart," "a broken heart," "a heart of flesh," "a stony heart," "fat, soft, or vile in heart," "having no heart," " giving the heart to do," "giving a single heart," "giving a new heart," "laying up in the heart," "receiving in the heart," "not reaching the heart," "hardening one's heart," "lifted up in heart," "a friend in heart," also the terms "concord," "discord," "madness" ("vecordia"), and many other like expressions. And in the Word, the "heart" everywhere signifies the will or love, for the reason that the Word was written throughout by means of correspondences. (D. WIS 6)

 

Regeneration agonies are the automatic consequence of the head in heaven looking upon the feet in hell.

 

Looking upon means shining the light of Divine Truth upon the infernal affections of the will which we are unwilling to let go.

 

When I look at myself in the mirror I am shocked. I am in agony. From heavenly light I can see the family evils on my face. I try not to make an expression, but the unregenerate proprium is still there, in command. The face reflects the affections (xx), consequently the unregenerate proprium. It is an ugly charred bony figure (xx). This infernal proprium is inherited; it cannot be saved or modified or regenerated. Regeneration is by a new proprium, the old is laid aside, and all its life is removed by the Lord. Angels still have their old proprium, but it is no longer animated or operational (xx).

 

I see haughtiness in my face. Arrogance. Nastiness. Cruelty. Corporeal sensuality. Selfishness. Madness. Also: cleverness, fear, insincerity, grossness.

 

When I see the delights I have by monitoring my willing, I am shocked. I am in agony. From heavenly light I can see that what I enjoy is sleazy, scortatory, engrossing, animalistic. I eat a snack when I don’t want to because of weight control issues. Between doing or eating something healthy vs. unhealthy, I’m attracted more to the unhealthy and the nonproductive.

 

When I see the thoughts I have by monitoring my thinking, I am shocked. I am in agony. From heavenly light I can see that what I’m thinking is illogical. Even as I’m eating the extra piece I don’t want to, I’m thinking something illogical, like “It won’t matter. My weight won’t go up. I can just absorb it.” Or else” “I’ll start all over again tomorrow.” Or, in another arena of the day, I see myself think derogatory thoughts about my neighbor. Somebody I pass by on the highway or the shopping mall, somebody I see on TV, somebody I see across the room, somebody I think about—these are all occasions for me to think negative and derogatory thoughts about them. I observe this and I’m in agony.

 

When I see the acts I execute by monitoring my acting out, I am shocked. I am in agony. From heavenly light I can see that what I’m doing is not from heaven, which means it is from hell. Why then don’t I stop? Because I love that sleazy illogical infernal delight. This is agony. On some days I feel abulia—the psychological state of feeling like we can’t do anything. I have the Writings! I think to myself “Later, not now.” Or, I might think: “I’m enlightened. I’m activated by spiritual-rational correspondences in my interior-natural mind.” And my response is: “Yeah. Good. I need to eat something now. Then I need to sleep some more. then I must rest from my rest.” I am in agony.

 

I make myself smile to my wife. I hear complaining about me. I nod. I’m in agony. I want to protest and disagree. I want to explain to her why she is wrong. But I force myself not to talk, not to interrupt, not to give her a hard time. I remind myself of Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife. I simulate agreeableness. I confess and I promise. I’m in agony. But also in ecstasy as I see myself do the right thing, as I see the power of enlightenment acting against the hoards of the hells.

 

6. Regeneration Is By Spiritual-Rational Correspondences

 

The regenerating New Church mind cannot remain in the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. He must extract the spiritual-rational correspondences that are within the Letter in order to gather Spiritual Doctrine in the understanding. Only the spiritual sense of the Writings have the power to regenerated because this is constituted of spiritual-rational correspondences. Perceiving spiritual-rational correspondences is only by enlightenment when the Lord opens the interior-natural. This process is discussed in the following passages:

 

For food in the cities. That this signifies such things in the interiors of the natural mind, is evident from the signification of "food," as being all things that are of use, thus truths and goods (of which just above, n. 5293); and from the signification of "cities," as being the interiors of the natural mind. In the universal sense "cities" signify the doctrinal things of the church (see n. 402, 2268, 2449, 2451, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493); but in an individual sense they signify the interiors of man where doctrinal things are, or rather where are truths conjoined with good. That the truths and goods in man form as it were a city, may be seen above (n. 3584); and hence that man himself in whom is the church is called the "city of God."

 

The interiors of the natural mind are signified by "cities" in Isaiah (...) and the goods and truths in the interiors are signified by the "cities" in the Lord's parable in Luke (...) Here therefore by "heaping up food in the cities and guarding it," is signified that truths conjoined with good were to be stored up in the interiors of the natural mind; and when these truths and goods have been stored up there, they are called "remains," in which the veriest spiritual life of man consists, and from which he is spiritually nourished in every case of need and want, that is, in every spiritual famine. (AC 5297)

 

That truths adjoined to good are stored up in the interiors of the natural mind, and there preserved for use in after life, especially for use in temptations during man's regeneration, is a secret known to few at this day; and therefore something must be said about this. For by the "seven years of abundance of produce" are signified the truths first multiplied, and by the corn being "put in the cities" and "in the midst" is signified that these truths adjoined to good are stored up in man's interiors: and by the "seven years of famine," and by the sustenance at that time from the gatherings, is signified a state of regeneration through truths adjoined to good, stored up in the interiors.

 

[2] The secret is this: from earliest infancy even to the first of childhood, man is being introduced by the Lord into heaven, and indeed among celestial angels, by whom he is kept in a state of innocence; a state in which (as is known) infants are up to the first of childhood. When the age of childhood begins, the child gradually puts off the state of innocence, though he is still kept in a state of charity by means of the affection of mutual charity toward those like himself, which state with many continues up to youth, and meanwhile he is among spiritual angels. Then, because he begins to think from himself and to act accordingly, he can no longer be kept in charity as before; for he then calls forth inherited evils, by which he suffers himself to be led. When this state comes, the goods of charity and innocence that he had previously received, are banished according to the degree in which he thinks evils and confirms them by act; and yet they are not banished, but are withdrawn by the Lord toward the interiors and there stored up. 

 

[3] But as he does not yet know truths, the goods of innocence and charity he had received in the two preceding states have not yet been qualified, for truths give quality to good, and good gives essence to truths; wherefore from this age he is imbued with truths by instruction, and especially by means of his own thoughts and confirmations from them. Insofar therefore as he is then in the affection of good, so far truths are conjoined with good in him by the Lord (see n. 5340), and are stored up for use. This state is what is signified by the "seven years of abundance of produce." It is these truths adjoined to good that in the proper sense are called "remains."

 

Insofar therefore as the man suffers himself to be regenerated, so far the remains serve for use; for so far a supply from them is drawn forth by the Lord, and is sent back into the natural, in order to produce a correspondence of the exteriors with the interiors, or of what is natural with what is spiritual; and this is effected in the state signified by the "seven years of famine." Such is the secret.

 

[4] The man of the church at this day believes that no matter what anyone's life is, he may of mercy be received into heaven, and there enjoy eternal bliss; for he supposes admission to be all that is necessary. But he is much mistaken, for no one can be admitted and received into heaven unless he has received spiritual life, and no one can receive spiritual life unless he is being regenerated, and no one can be regenerated except through the good of life conjoined with the truth of doctrine: from this he has spiritual life. That no one can come into heaven unless he has received spiritual life through regeneration, the Lord plainly declares in John:

 

Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3);

and then He says:

Verily, verily I say to thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5);

 

"water" is the truth of doctrine ..., and "spirit" is the good of life. No one enters by baptism; but baptism is significative of that regeneration which the man of the church ought to keep in mind. (AC 5342)

 

Note especially this sentence:

 

Insofar therefore as the man suffers himself to be regenerated, so far the remains serve for use; for so far a supply from them is drawn forth by the Lord, and is sent back into the natural, in order to produce a correspondence of the exteriors with the interiors, or of what is natural with what is spiritual; and this is effected in the state signified by the "seven years of famine." Such is the secret. (AC 5342)

 

Here it is revealed the spiritual-rational correspondences are called “remains” and that the Lord uses remains in our mind by sending them “back into the natural, in order to produce a correspondence of the exteriors with the interiors.” The earlier passage said that the regenerating mind is called a “city of God” because it contains remains. In is further specified that the remains are in the “interior of the natural mind” and that they are placed there by the Lord in the form of “truths conjoined with good.” These are called “the interiors of man where doctrinal things are.” In other words, the Spiritual Doctrine is not in the external Letter in our mind but in the interior of the natural mind. These are needed for our regeneration:

 

Truths conjoined with good were to be stored up in the interiors of the natural mind; and when these truths and goods have been stored up there, they are called "remains," in which the veriest spiritual life of man consists, and from which he is spiritually nourished in every case of need and want, that is, in every spiritual famine. (AC 5297)

 

The interior-natural mind is formed by the Lord within the natural-rational mind. In other words, the spiritual-rational correspondences are within the natural-rational correspondences we have from the Letter. Spiritual-rational correspondences are called the remains of truth conjoined to good by which we are regenerated. “The Lord sends back these remains” to the external, which means that we become conscious of the remains in the form of spiritual-rational correspondences. This is enlightenment.

 

It is said that “the interiors of man where doctrinal things are, or rather where are truths conjoined with good.” “Doctrinal things” refers to the Spiritual Doctrine to be extracted from the Letter of the Writings. The Spiritual Doctrine is located in the interior-natural mind. “Truths conjoined with good” are from states of celestial innocence granted by the Lord. Celestial innocence refers to enlightenment because then we think from the Lord and not from self. Spiritual-rational correspondences in the interior-natural mind are called remains, and they are what the Lord uses to regenerate us. This cannot be done from natural-rational correspondences, which is the literal meaning, because these are not remains but from self-intelligence. In other words, our study of the Writings adds itself to our self-intelligence, not to our regeneration. But it is necessary step in our regeneration. They are truths not yet conjoined to good because they are not from innocence but from self-intelligence. Genuine truth that is adjoined to good appears to the human race in the form spiritual-rational correspondences.

 

Note this warning:

 

The man of the church at this day believes that no matter what anyone's life is, he may of mercy be received into heaven, and there enjoy eternal bliss; for he supposes admission to be all that is necessary. But he is much mistaken, for no one can be admitted and received into heaven unless he has received spiritual life, and no one can receive spiritual life unless he is being regenerated, and no one can be regenerated except through the good of life conjoined with the truth of doctrine: from this he has spiritual life. (AC 5342)

 

“The man of the church at this day” refers to the regenerating New Church mind. “To be received in heaven” means to be regenerated and saved. We are warned that we are not regenerated and saved because of our Church membership and Church activities and prayers. We are not saved by studying the Writings and understanding it. But it warns that “no one can be admitted and received into heaven unless he has received spiritual life.” “Spiritual life” refers to enlightenment while we are being regenerated on earth. It explains that spiritual life is only from regeneration. In other words, enlightenment is from regeneration and needed for regeneration. And it is specified that spiritual life, or enlightenment, is only “through the good of life conjoined with the truth of doctrine.”

 

In other words, the process of regeneration involves applying the “truth of doctrine” to “the good of life.” The “truth of doctrine” refers to the spiritual sense of the Writings which we have gathered together into a coherent principle of life. Thus, the “truth of doctrine” is the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind. the ”good of life” refers to our daily willing and thinking. In other words, we are to apply the Spiritual Doctrine to our daily willing and thinking. This brings enlightenment. This is regeneration. Consequently, it is salvation.

 

7. Teachings Regarding Doctrine And The Spiritual Sense

 

All the instruction there is done from the doctrine drawn from the Word, and not from the Word apart from doctrine. Christians are instructed from the heavenly doctrine that is in entire agreement with the internal sense of the Word. The rest, as the Mohammedans and heathen, are taught from doctrines suited to their apprehension, which differ from the heavenly doctrine only in this, that spiritual life is taught by means of moral life in harmony with the good tenets of their religion from which they had derived their life in the world. (HH 516)

 

Although the doctrine of faith is in itself Divine, and therefore above all human and even angelic comprehension, it has nevertheless been dictated in the Word according to man's comprehension, in a rational manner. (AC 2533)

 

As the Lord is the Word, He is also doctrine; for there is no other doctrine which is itself Divine.

 (AC 2533)

 

In regard to doctrine the case is this: Insofar as there is what is human (that is, what is of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of the rational) as the ground of belief, so far the doctrine is null and void. But insofar as what is of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of the rational is removed, that is, insofar as doctrine is believed without these things, so far doctrine lives; for so far the Divine flows in (AC 2538)

 

The Lord is doctrine itself, for everything of doctrine proceeds from Him, and everything of doctrine treats of Him; for all doctrine treats of the good of love and of the truth of faith. These are from the Lord, and therefore the Lord is not only in them, but also is both. From this it is evident that the doctrine that treats of good and truth, treats of the Lord only; and that it proceeds from His Divine Human. (AC 5321)

 

Doctrinal things are nothing but the means of arriving at good as the end (AC 5997)

 

The case being so with the spiritual church, it is not to be wondered at that with most persons faith is the essential of the church, and not charity, and also that they have no doctrine of charity. Their doctrinal things being from the Word does not make them Divine truths, for from the sense of the letter of the Word any doctrinal thing whatever can be hatched, and that which favors the concupiscences can be readily learned; thus also what is false can be taken for what is true, as is the case with the doctrinal things of the Jews, of the Socinians, and of many others; but not so if doctrine is formed from the internal sense.

 

The internal sense is not only that sense which lies concealed in the external sense, as has heretofore been shown, but is also that which results from a number of passages of the sense of the letter rightly collated, and which is discerned by those who are enlightened by the Lord in respect to their intellectual. For the enlightened intellectual discriminates between apparent truths and real truths, especially between falsities and truths, although it does not judge about real truths in themselves. But the intellectual cannot be enlightened unless it is believed that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are the principal and essential things of the church. He who proceeds from the acknowledgment of these, provided he himself is in them, sees innumerable truths; nay, he sees very many secrets disclosed to him, and this from interior acknowledgment, according to the degree of the enlightenment from the Lord. (AC 7233)

 

 

No one can enter heaven unless he has acquired spiritual life through regeneration (AC 5342)


 

Chapter 2

The Doctrine of the Wife

 

The Word is vivified with man, according to his life of love and faith … They whose internal is open, and who thus as to their internal man are capable of being elevated into the light of heaven, are enlightened … Enlightenment is an actual opening of the interiors of the mind, and elevation of them into the light of heaven …. Holiness from the internal, that is, through the internal from the Lord, inflows with those who esteem the Word to be holy … They who are led by the Lord are enlightened, and see truths in the Word, but not they who are led by self (NJHD 256)

 

Chapter 2, Section 1

 

1. Introduction: Subduing The External Man

 

Now as merely natural truths and goods, which in their essence are falsities and evils, are altogether opposite to spiritual truths and goods, which in their essence are truths and goods, therefore the devil, by whom is meant hell, is in unceasing hatred against them. This is why hatreds of various kinds are unceasingly ascending from the hells; while on the other hand, spiritual loves also of various kinds descend from the heavens, and between the hatreds of the hells and the loves of the heavens there is an equilibrium, in which the men in the world are held, in order that they may be able to act from freedom according to reason.

 

Consequently those who do not live from the Word but from the world, since they continue natural, receive evils and the falsities thence from hell, and conceive from them hatred against spiritual truths and goods. Their hatred does not appear in the world, because it lies concealed inwardly in their spirit; but it becomes manifest after death, when they become spirits. Then they burn against those who are in spiritual truths and goods with a hatred so great that it cannot be described; it is indeed a deadly hatred; for as soon as they see an angel who is in these truths and goods, or if they merely hear the Lord named, from whom these truths and goods are, they instantly come into a fury of hatred, and feel nothing more delightful than to pursue them and to do evil to them. And as they are unable to slay their body they endeavor with a burning heart to slay their soul. (AE 754)

 

The absolute duality of heaven and hell cannot be escaped. While we are in the world, the Lord keeps us in equilibrium between evil affections from the hells and good affections from the angels. Who are these evil spirits, called the devil? Ordinary folks like we are who lived a normal life according to their self-intelligence, exercising their freedom to chose what to think and love. They are the future devils who have an insane hatred for all truth and good they sense in the angels. It is said that “their hatred does not appear in the world, because it lies concealed inwardly in their spirit.” We are them in our unregenerate state regardless of religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. We become those devils in the afterlife unless we compel ourselves to live by the Writings rather than by the world. To live by the Writings means to monitor our daily willing and thinking and subjugate them to conform to the Writings, shunning whatever is not in agreement, and desisting from willing and thinking in that way.

 

To compel ourselves to live by the Writings is to obey the Divine commandment that we cooperate in our regeneration. This cooperation includes fighting as-of self in our temptations, refusing to give in to them.

 

Temptations, therefore, have for their end that the externals of man may be subdued and thus be rendered obedient to his internals, as may be evident to everyone from the fact that as soon as man's loves are assaulted and broken (as during misfortunes, sickness, and grief of mind), his cupidities begin to subside, and he at the same time begins to talk piously; but as soon as he returns to his former state, the external man prevails and he scarcely thinks of such things. The like happens at the hour of death, when corporeal things begin to be extinguished; and hence everyone may see what the internal man is, and what the external; and also what remains are, and how cupidities and pleasures, which are of the external man, hinder the Lord's operation through the internal man.

 

From this it is also plain to everyone what temptations, or the internal pains called the stings of conscience, effect, namely, that the external man is made obedient to the internal. The obedience of the external man is nothing else than this: that the affections of what is good and true are not hindered, resisted, and suffocated by cupidities and their derivative falsities. (AC 857:2)

 

The “external man” refers to our corporeal-sensuous self. We can also call it the “sensorimotor mind” to distinguish it from the cognitive and affective portions of the mind, which refer to the understanding and the will (see Chapter 8 Section 6). These three portions of the natural mind are arranged in distance from the physical body. The affective functions of the mind are in the will, or the inmost. The sensorimotor functions of the mind are close to the body senses and the brain. The sensory organs of the body and the brain are physical objects. They receive the chemical stimulation but they do not contain any sensations because these are spiritual in substance, not chemical. The sensations are in the natural mind, not the physical brain whose activity is nothing but molecules and electricity moving in patterned motion. So to feel sensations, we need a sensory portion of the natural mind which is made of spiritual fibers. These can contain the sensations we experience when our physical organs are stimulated by the natural environment.

 

This sensorimotor mind is a receptor of stimuli from the spiritual world, of pleasures and cupidities. The passage above says that this lower mind is a hindrance to regeneration because it resists obedience to the higher portion of the natural mind called the “internal man.” The internal man discussed here is that which is in the depth of the natural mind. When speaking of the spiritual mind, the internal man is the inmost of the spiritual mind called the celestial mind, while the lower portion of the spiritual mind is called the external man. So, both the natural mind and the spiritual mind have an external and an internal portion.

 

The internal man of the natural mind operates with concepts and reasoning that is called the rational level of thinking. The Lord operates into this level by means of the voice of conscience which is activated by our affections for good and true, as the passage says. This means that our rational mind prefers the good to the evil, and the true to the false. The Lord insures that every human being is equipped with a conscience, for without it, one cannot be saved for life in heaven.

 

From this you can see that we are divided men, at war with ourselves. The higher wrestles with the lower and the lower resists, hinders, and tries to suffocate the voice of conscience. These battles can be severe and we experience inner pain, or the sting of conscience, when the lower wins over the higher. Temptations play a crucial role in our regeneration because they compel us to face the battle. Without temptations we can continue ignoring our evil affections until death, and so come into the afterlife with the evil loves. These evil loves cannot be removed in the spiritual world and prevent us from choosing life in heaven.

 

Through temptations in the natural mind, our external man is beaten into subservience to the internal man. Gradually there is a realignment of the external man through obedience to conscience and to the commandments contained in our Doctrine from the Writings. Our life is thereby regenerated and the delights we then experience are far more intense and blissful than former cupidities of our unregenerate state. Sensorimotor pleasures are still retained as proven by the immeasurably stronger sensations good spirits and angels experience in comparison to life with a physical body (CL 44[8]). ). But spirits and angels do not value sensuous pleasures highly in comparison to the rational delights of the internal man. Yet the pleasure and happiness experienced by angels from sexual love is immeasurable finer and superior than the strongest pleasures we can have in the physical body. So we are not losing anything or giving up anything when our external man is subservient to the internal man. On the contrary, we are losing most of what we can have by continuing in a state of disobedience to conscience and Doctrine.

 

Conjugial disciplines are techniques we can use to fight our battles on behalf of conscience and Doctrine.

 

One might at first think: Why do I need conjugial disciplines? Do I not love my wife dearly? Do I not pray to the Lord to unite me with her in conjugial love? Do I not feel it strongly enough? But I think these are vain thoughts, even meritorious. Conjugial love is not a feeling or a status obtained by declarations and reputation. Conjugial love is a doing. It is an activity of willing and thinking not as oneself but as the conjoint self. To the extent that we will and think as the conjoint self, to that extent we are progressing towards conjugial love. It stand to reason therefore we have to take charge and make sure that we are performing conjugial love daily, hourly, and minute by minute. Doing this vigilantly and effectively is called a conjugial discipline.

 

1. Discounting Our Wife’s Opinion Relative To Our Own

 

For many years I hear my wife saying to me that I don’t listen to her, that I don’t value her ideas, that I have an automatic prejudice against her because she is a woman and women have no credibility with men. I did not appreciate this wisdom and insight she was trying to pass on to me. I did not listen to this idea, automatically assuming she was talking in hyperboles and exaggerating, since she is a woman. This proved her point, of course, but I was too much into my obscurities from ego to want to really figure out what she was saying and whether it was correct. I was able to make progress in my regeneration to the extent that I was willing to listen to my wife. The more I listened, the more I got to find out that she was correct and insightful in her observations, philosophy, and principles. This dawning realization continued to the extent that I was willing to admit to myself that my ideas are frequently mistaken and inaccurate. This was a totally new experience as I always implicitly had full confidence in my own ideas.

 

There arrived a stage where I was eager to listen to her wisdom, insights, and opinions. I valued them as I saw their intelligence and depth of comprehension. I discovered a new aspect to feminine intelligence and can clearly see how superior it is to male intelligence. The Writings reveal that feminine intelligence and wisdom is in their interior mind, thus of celestial origin, while male intelligence is in the external mind, thus of natural origin (xx). This gender-typed difference in intelligence enters into every single thing of the threefold self—every feeling, every aspect of thinking, and every acting. Women are very capable in enacting male styles of reasoning, acting, and speaking in various social situations and roles. But these are surface appearances enacted for natural reasons (power sharing and equal access), not spiritual. In the interior mind, in which every thing is spiritual, women retain feminine structures of feeling and thinking, by necessity of permanent creation and eternal being.

 

The intelligence of women is in essence modest, refined, peaceful, yielding, gentle and tender; but that of men is in essence serious, harsh, hard, spirited and disposed to license.

(…) Men's gestures are bolder and stronger, women's weaker and feebler. Men's behavior is less restrained, women's more elegant.

 

[2] I was able clearly to see the innate difference of character between men and women by observing how boys and girls behaved when they got together, a sight I have several times seen from a window in a large city overlooking a street, where twenty or more children gathered every day. The boys, in keeping with their innate character, played together making a noise, shouting, fighting, beating and throwing stones at one another.

 

But the girls sat quietly by the doors of their houses, some playing with babies, some dressing up dolls, some embroidering on small pieces of linen, some kissing one another. I was surprised to see that the girls still looked favorably on the boys, for all their behavior.

 

This experience allowed me to see plainly that a man is by birth an intellect, a woman a love, and what kind of intellect and what kind of love they are in their beginnings. So I could see what a man's intellect would be like, if it developed without being linked with feminine love, and later with conjugial love. (CL 218)

 

Consider the last sentence: “So I could see what a man's intellect would be like, if it developed without being linked with feminine love, and later with conjugial love.” Remember this is the Word of the Lord in His Second Coming to the New Church mind. When it says “I could see what a man's intellect would be like” it means that this is how a man’s intellect is like, for it is the Lord speaking to us through this sentence. Let’s apply this to husbands: this is what a husband is like prior to his reformation. Also, this is how a husband is after reformation in proportion to his progress in regeneration. Let’s look at this character we men have by birth, and how it holds sway over every husband prior to his reformation. To do this, we can reread the passage with the goal substituting “husbands” for “boys”:

 

Husbands, in keeping with their innate character, played together making a noise, shouting, fighting, beating and throwing stones at one another.

 

“Making noise” means that they accuse each other, but in this case, the wife (AC 375). Also: that husbands are subjected to the greatest temptations on account of their inherited nature (AC 756). “Noise” also means that husbands are kept in the emotion of fear “in order that they may be deterred from evils” (AC 4942). The evils here refer to the husband’s abusive treatment of his wife. “Shouting” refers to the “spirit of war” (AC 1664), which is alternately applied to protect “the Lord’s truth” or to rob a neighbor’s goods, in this case, the conjugial happiness of his wife. “The Lord’s truth” here refers to the Writings. “Shouting” also refers to declaring one’s faith to others (AC 5323). Here this means preaching to the wife about how to interpret what the Writings say, by which husbands intimidate their wife. “Fighting” refers to “fierce conflict … and laboring … in thoughts and developments of truth” (AC 263). Here this refers to the husband’s struggle for reformation. “Beating” is a sign of rebellion against authority or legitimate officials (AC 4324).

 

In other words, husbands reinterpret the literal text of the Writings to support their dominion over the wife. “Throwing” in a bad sense means attacking truth and “drowning in falsity” (AC 6693), and in a good sense it refers to “initiation of truth into good” (AC 4266). “Stones” refers to “the truth of faith” (AC 114, 4672). “At one another” designates the husband and the wife. In other words, husbands alternate between periods of conjugial cooperation with their wife and periods of enmity against the wife. When cooperating, husbands are initiated in the interior truths of the Writings, and thus they are regenerated.

 

To summarize what the passage says about how husbands treat their wives: A husband makes accusations or is verbally abusive to his wife . This evil behavior is inherited and in order to get rid of it the husband must be willing to undergo the greatest temptations. In order to deter the husband from injuring his wife physically, the Lord keeps him in fear of the consequences. During regeneration, the husband alternates between periods of warring against his wife and periods of cooperating. When he is aversive to his wife, he is also rebellious against the Writings, reinterpreting passages therein to justify his dominion over the wife. When he cooperates with his wife, he is initiated into the interior truths of the Writings, by which he is enlightened and prepared for life in heaven.

 

Another passage tells us about wives:

 

The nerves are softer in women; the veins somewhat wider, and the arteries stronger [than] in men: the hips broader, because the hips signify conjugial love, see Arcana Coelestia (SE 6110)

 

We can apply this passage to our wife by substituting “wives” for “women.” “Nerves” refer to truth (AC 4303). The truth in the wife’s understanding is “softer” than the truth in the husband. Truth that is softer is more compatible to love (AC 185). In other words, the wife’s understanding is higher than the husband’s because it accords better with love. That the wife’s understanding is celestial while the husband’s is more outward and less perfect is revealed in many places in the Writings (see Sections 1and 2 below). “Veins” is used to discuss purification of the blood, that is, rendering suitable for celestial life (AC 5174). “Wider” means greater in scope (AC 8121). “Wider veins” therefore means that the wife is regenerated from the inmost and sits waiting for the husband that he may catch up to her and conjoin with her in conjugial love, which celestial from the inmost.

 

The wife is more willing than the husband to suffer herself to undergo rigorous regeneration by the Lord since she is motivated by conjugial love and the desire to conjoin with her husband from within. The husband is less willing to do this. His love for conjunction is not as deep. He must struggle in regeneration to attain to the same celestial depth. “Arteries” refers to “genuine good” which is compared to the blood in the arteries (AC 3470). This good “leads and applies truths into form” which means that the wife’s higher love acquires to itself a greater wisdom. The wife’s wisdom, therefore, is to “lead” and the husband’s wisdom is to cooperate with her leading. Thus he is obedient to a higher good, whereby he can be regenerated still further.

 

 

Chapter 9, Section 2

 

2. The Doctrine of the Wife

 

In heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel (HH 367)

Each love knows its own love, and they unite reciprocally, or mutually and alternately. (TCR Additions 4)

 

One of the truly remarkable revelations given in the Writings is that the chief power and dynamic spiritual force that animates the universe is conjugial love, the love that internally binds and unites the minds of a husband and wife. Conjugial love is the chief love that rules all other loves in the universe.

 

The chief love is sexual love; and in the case of those who reach heaven, that is, those who become spiritual on earth, it is conjugial love.

 

The reason why a person's sexual love remains after death is that a male remains a male and a female remains a female, and the male's masculinity pervades the whole and every part of him, and likewise a female's femininity; and the impulse to be joined is present in every detail down to the smallest. Since that impulse to be joined was implanted from creation and is therefore continually present, it follows that the one desires the other and longs to be joined to the other.

 

Love taken by itself is nothing but a desire and hence an impulse to be joined; conjugial love is an impulse to be joined into one. For the male and the female of the human species are so created as to be able to become like a single individual, that is, one flesh; and when united, then they are, taken together, the full expression of humanity. If not so joined, they are two, each being as it were a divided person or half a person. Since that impulse to be joined lies deeply hidden in every part of both male and female, and every part has the ability and desire to be joined into one, it follows that people retain mutual and reciprocal sexual love after death. (CL 37)

 

The extending power and influence of this love can be seen in all living species whose survival depends on male-female bonding for propagation. The supremacy of conjugial love expresses God’s chief purpose in creating and maintaining the universe. This purpose is to create an ever growing heaven populated by angel couples who were born on some earth, developed a spiritual mind by living rightly, then went on living to eternity in one of the many heavenly societies Swedenborg has witnessed. The afterlife consists of a heavenly life for soul mates bonded in marriage love between a husband and a wife. This life constitutes the highest human spiritual state and is called heaven. The inhabitants of heaven are all human beings born on one of the many earths in the universe and are called angels in the Writings. We can truly say that this revelation is good news.

 

The bad news is that conjugial life does not come to us automatically and that most people on this earth reject it and act against it, especially men. This is so because we inherit our parents’ traits, both physical and spiritual or mental (CL 202). Scientists today are unaware of these revelations in the Writings. It is believed that psychological traits are not inherited, and it is not known that psychological traits are spiritual organs constructed out of spiritual substances from the spiritual world. These spiritual substances are carriers of the mental or spiritual traits of parents. We thus inherit tendencies that oppose conjugial love. One example is people’s desire to know more than one partner sexually. Individuals who exhibit this interest on Earth, continue to experience the desire for or interest in other partners. But conjugial love does not allow this interest to remain in one’s organic constitution, even when it is expressed merely hypothetically or in fantasy.

 

This tendency and proneness to evils just mentioned, which is transmitted from parents to their children and descendants, can only be broken down by a person being born anew by the Lord's help, a process called regeneration. Without this not only does the tendency remain unbroken, but it is reinforced by a succession of parents, becoming more prone to evils, and eventually to every kind of evil. (TCR 521)

 

Another example of how conjugial love is opposed by inherited traits is the desire for independence based on the false idea that the individual is the unit of life and self-fulfillment. When people marry there is often a sense of loss of freedom due to the marriage bond. But this idea is false because the bonds of marriage and union create a state of heavenly freedom, while what is opposed to this bond is rooted in infernal freedom, which is actually slavery to inherited evil traits. Conjugial love establishes the married couple as the unit of human life giving the partners a wholeness and completeness they do not have outside the union. Independence is incompatible with wholeness, and this reality is resisted by many inherited and acquired traits (CL 202).

 

For conjugial love to develop with a couple it is necessary for both husband and wife to overcome the inborn resistance husbands have for it. Marriage starts in the external mind of the partners through commitment and natural love for one another. This love is not yet conjugial love, which is a spiritual love, and the relationship is not yet a spiritual one, not yet an inner union of minds. In order for conjugial love to develop and grow the husband and wife must change their inner character by defeating all the inherited forces that are opposed to their conjugial union. The Writings teach that only couples that go beyond the external bond of marriage into an internal union of minds can be together as an angel couple in heaven. It is therefore of the utmost importance to gain the knowledge of how to accomplish this since it doesn’t happen automatically even with married individuals who sincerely love each other from a natural love and are devoted to each other from loyalty and friendship.

 

The Writings show how the natural love between partners joined together through an external bond is not spiritually deep enough and as soon as external conditions change and become a challenge, the love seems to evaporate and instead there is anger, rage, resentment, and disdain. Due to the spiritual constitution of men and women, there is more resistance to conjugial love on the part of husbands. Wives are born with an inclination towards marriage and a desire to move on to an internal or spiritual union, as long as the husband also desires it. Husbands on the other hand are born with an inclination for having multiple sexual partners and feel restricted by the marriage bond to one wife. As a result, husbands need special help in order to be able to overcome their inborn resistance to conjugial love, which is “the love of one of the sex,” in contrast to the “love of the sex,” which is natural, not spiritual, and roving.

 

1. A Philosophy Of Action Or Spiritual Discipline

 

The “Doctrine of the Wife” designates a philosophy of action, or spiritual discipline, for husbands that is based on the Writings and is intended to help them overcome their resistance to conjugial love.

 

In summary, this doctrine says that the husband's regeneration or self-change efforts, to be successful, must be focused on his wife and through his wife. She is to be accepted as the seeing eye in the marriage relationship and he needs to agree to voluntarily subjugate all of his resistances to her wisdom and inner perception in everything pertaining to their relationship. Swedenborg explains the mechanism whereby the Lord gives a special perception to each wife about her husband's affections and inclinations, knowledge which is not given to the husband so that he is only dimly aware of his own inner tendencies. The spiritual purpose for this difference in perceptual powers is to make the husband's regeneration dependent on his wife. This is called "cleaving to the wife" in the Old Testament, and is a Divine commandment enjoined on every husband. Without following this commandment the husband cannot be regenerated, hence cannot have an eternal marriage in heaven with this or any other wife.

 

People who are in a state of truly conjugial love look to eternity in their marriage because eternity is inherent in this love. Its eternity is owing to the fact that this love in the wife and wisdom in the husband grow to eternity, and as these grow or progress, the partners enter more and more deeply into the blessings of heaven -- blessings which their wisdom and love of wisdom at the same time carry concealed within them. If one were to snatch away an idea of eternity, therefore, or if by some chance it should slip from their minds, it would be as though they were cast down from heaven. (CL. 216)

 

In people who did not have conjugial love there is no spiritual or inner bond, but only a natural or outer one; and if an inner bond does not hold the outer one in its order and course, it does not last. (CL 320)

 

Conjugial union depends therefore on the willingness of the two partners to modify their inner character into a form that makes them fit together spiritually. Since husbands put up more resistance to this union than wives, it is necessary to give them spiritual tools that can overcome their own internal resistance.

 

2. Men’s Resistance To Conjugial Love

 

Wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands, and by keeping this thought in their will they constantly nurture their love. So abandoning the effort to unite themselves with their husbands would be abandoning their own nature. But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives, the more readily they receive it, the more readily do their wives come in with their love. But if they fail to receive it, their wives equally stay outside with their love and wait. (CL 216)

 

Many husbands resist the process of conjugial unification with such intensity and ferocity that it appears they are hell-bent on destroying their union, their marriage, and their heavenly place with their wife. This is true whether or not the husband is a member of the New Church. Even husbands who love the Writings and consider it the Word of God along with the Old Testament and New Testament, experience resistance to conjugial union. They may not be aware of it and may deny it, yet the Writings show that this male recalcitrance is widespread. For wives this is a major problem since by denying their resistance, husbands neutralize the wife’s power to work towards conjugial unity. Removing her spiritual role makes the wife suffer and feel desperate. The Doctrine of the Wife will help husbands become aware of their coldness and lack of desire for a conjugial relationship. At first husbands may deny they are in such a state of conjugial cold, but later they can acknowledge, confess, repent, and change.

 

Concerning conjugial love, the Writings identify a natural opposition between men and women regarding their receptivity to it:

 

Wives love the bonds of marriage, provided that their husbands love them too. (CL 217)

 

It is different with husbands. Because they are not born forms of love, but are receivers of that love from their wives, therefore to the degree that they receive it, to that degree their wives enter into them with their love. But to the degree they do not receive it, their wives stand outside with their love and wait. (CL 216)

 

Avoiding the conjugial union is natural and inherited for men as well as being fully supported and reinforced by a masculinized society. New Church husbands have a distinct opportunity to liberate themselves from this inherited evil by using a systematic self-change method to achieve freedom. This method is the Doctrine of the Wife, namely, a set of commandments extracted from the Writings to help New Church husbands and wives work toward achieving conjugial union.

 

Passages in the Writings that discuss men's understanding and women's affections are sometimes interpreted by men to mean that Scripture gives them the role of ruling over women or "having predominance" in relation to understanding or intellectual things, since men are born a form of understanding. While women should rule or "have predominance" in relation to affect ional things relating to feelings and love. In order to see the error of this attitude, we need to draw a distinction between

 

(a) what the Writings say in the literal

and

(b) the conclusion we draw from the literal.

 

In this case the Writings say that men are a form of understanding and women a form of love. What conclusion are we to draw? Are we to conclude,

 

(c) that in matters of Church governance or some other forensic or intellectual issue, men should predominate; but in matters of domestic order and works of charity or community, women should predominate?

 

Is this a correct conclusion? Part (a) is far from part (c) which is a political application having to do with governance and community relations. Whatever social applications one makes from Doctrine or from the Word is not in itself the Word or Doctrine. The Doctrine of the Church in the Writings does not actually say that men should predominate in Church administration or that women should be excluded. It is not correct to say that the Writings or the Doctrine of the Church give men the Divine right to have predominance over women in any area of life, intellectual or otherwise.

 

The claim that men should predominate over women in decision-making in any given area of society appears to be a self-serving policy by a masculinized society. The persuasion guarantees that men will rule over women in everyday life--at home, Church, profession, in managing things, making the final decisions, prevailing in opinion, in short, recreating and maintaining a man's world. The Doctrine of the Wife interprets the passages in the Writings relating to men’s understanding and women’s affections as indicating that the husband's understanding should unite with the wife's will, instead of predominate. And since the will rules the understanding, it would make more sense to say that it is the wife who is to rule the husband's understanding. It is therefore the feminization of marriage that creates its sanctification and fulfillment.

 

Note carefully that this is totally different from the idea that women should rule over men. For we are talking about men’s voluntary choice of acting form themselves or from their wife. When a wife rules over her husband it is a disorderly state (CL 291). Instead, the husband chooses to act from his wife’s will instead of his own. This is a free choice and can end at any time he so wishes. The wife has no power to make him act from herself. This is something the husband must do and enforce on himself.

 

Whether you say "ruling over" or "having predominance over" is the same in terms of the actual consequence, which is that the will of one prevails over the other. But there is an essential difference between ruling over someone by domination and ruling over someone by voluntary submission or cooperation. For instance, the police force in a democracy rules over the population in daily activities in public places. This is not oppression or domination as long as the population willingly and rationally submits to the authority of the law and its legitimate agents. But in an autocratic society the law rules by dominion and is hostile to the population.

 

The Doctrine of the Wife deals with the husband's voluntary and rational submission of his will and judgment to that of his wife in all matters pertaining to their relationship and interaction. If he refuses, there is nothing she can do to compel him since he has the greater power. In other words, the husband must listen and choose to follow the wife's directives in all things of their decision-making. Obviously this must be a voluntary submission on the part of the husband and not a dominion over him by his wife. Dominion of one over the other is destructive of the conjugial union but voluntary submission for the sake of union promotes it and makes it spiritual.

 

The infernal marriage, with those who are in the love of ruling and are atheists. On the part of the man there is deadly hatred. But, still, he is manifestly the servant and slave of the wife, so that he dares not murmur against her will: but [this], when she, by various means, has obtained the ascendancy. The reason is, because the man's understanding is subjugated. These have no interior virtue and honor: consequently, [such a one] is not a man. (SE 6110)

 

Every man who is not spiritually rational and moral but only naturally so possesses a coldness towards his wife, such a coldness being inherent in him in his inmost elements. (...) It comes from a lack of rationality on their part in matters of the spirit. Every man who is irrational in matters of the spirit is inmostly cold to his wife and inmostly warm toward harlots." (CL 294).

 

New Church husbands who acknowledge the Writings as the Word may have the temptation of thinking that because they possess the Word of the Second Coming, they are automatically spiritual. However the Writings teach that it is not the Word that makes the Church but the understanding of the Word, and not even this, but the degree to which people live in accordance with their understanding of the Word (TCR 245). And so the study of and expertise in the Writings do not in themselves make us spiritual. Husbands who study the Writings and worship the Divine Human nevertheless remain natural, hate the conjugial, remain unregenerate, and love unchaste sex--until and to the extent that they live their daily life in accordance with their doctrine. The Doctrine of the Wife will help husbands live their life according to their understanding of Divine Truth. Every husband must create adequate and effective Doctrine for himself so that he may strive to live according to it. It is in this striving that the Lord can be present by influx. Without this striving the Lord cannot be present in actuality, as taught in the Writings (xx).

 

3. Conjugial Commandments In The Writings

 

The Word cannot be understood except by means of doctrine from the Word. The doctrine of the church must be from the Word … The Word without doctrine is not understood … They who are in enlightenment form for themselves doctrine from the Word … Doctrine formed by one enlightened may afterwards be confirmed by things rational and scientific; and that thus it is more fully understood, and is corroborated (WH 8)

 

In the Word of the Writings, the Lord has given a number of new commandments to husbands who aspire to become one angel with a conjugial wife. The Doctrine of the Wife is a collection of these commandments and its purpose is to assist regenerating husbands in their difficult task. I can hope that the Doctrine of the Wife will become an ever-expanding body of knowledge, as future generations of regenerating husbands contribute to it through the expansion and deepening of their conjugial relationship. Representing the ideas of the wife will be a primary concern in this knowledge base cumulated by New Church husbands for each other. Through it conjugial love can return to this earth and all nations can return to a state of civilized paradise.

 

This new state of culture and consciousness will be higher than all the preceding states of humanity on this earth. This is why the Writings call the New Church “the Crown” of all previous Churches in history (TCR 787). The “Church” refers not only to the external organization and its buildings and rituals but to the “church within” or the individual’s mind and its content relative to truth and good from the Writings and its Doctrine (NJHD 244). The church “within” is the truth within our faith or understanding and the good within our will or love.

 

The future of humanity depends on the success of husbands in learning to conjoin to their wife on the internal plane of the mind and not just on the external plane of the body and material possessions. This internal conjunction is called conjugial love and is the basis of all other loves in the universe. All other loves are derivative of this one great love. But the husband cannot from his own self conjoin to his wife in an internal way. He appears to be able to do this externally or socially, but he cannot be conjoined in the internal mind without becoming aware of the existence of the internal mind. This is normally closed to his conscious awareness while he is still in the early stages of regeneration. By acknowledging the Doctrine of the Wife, and then striving to follow it, the husband is spiritually empowered by the Lord to overcome himself through the act of enthroning the wife in his mind. By doing this, the husband’s internal mind is activated and made operative in his awareness or consciousness. The principles in the Doctrine of the Wife make explicit in the husband’s mind that there needs to be an internal relationship with the wife and how he can foster it.

 

To enthrone the wife means to conjoin his cognitions or reasoning quality with her affections or needs. This can be done only by loving her affections more than his own, which means following her will or judgment rather than his own whenever they are opposed. By suffering himself to be led by her affections, the husband receives new cognitions that are harmonious with the wife’s affections. These new cognitions are new spiritual truths from the Lord given the man through his acceptance of the wife’s affections as-if his own. In the Heavenly Doctrine (or Swedenborg’s Writings) the Lord gave husbands a long list of commandments to follow in order to allow them to achieve this internal union, each husband with his wife. The Doctrine of the Wife is not only a collection of these commandments but an exposition and explanation of them.

 

The following are some examples of conjugial commandments for husbands. Note how easy it would be to overlook these passages and not see them as commandments, but husbands who are zealous for conjugial love can perceive and acknowledge the commandments in these passages.

 

(1) All human development is in relation to marriage

(see CL 191).

 

Therefore unmarried men are to be considered "pre-husbands" in the sense we think of "preschool" as a state that prepares for the real thing. One implication of this commandment is that the curriculum in biology and psychology needs to introduce all concepts and goals in human behavior as arranged in a hierarchy with the top always being the conjugial union. The hierarchy of affections corresponds to the hierarchy of goals so that the top affection or love is also the primary goal that governs all other goals.

 

(2) Husbands are wiser and more spiritual than unmarried men

(see CL 199).

 

The Lord's commandment in the Old and New Testaments that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, means that the man should dethrone his own affections ("father and mother") and enthrone his wife's affections in his own mind, thus to "cleave" unto her (Conjugial Love No 194). The implication of this principle is that every boy’s education and socialization process ought to be oriented towards becoming a husband and letting his wife change his old character called “father and mother” into a new conjoint character called “one flesh.” In order for her to achieve this, he must give her all the help he can muster through daily interactions of a conjoint nature called “cleaving to his wife.” The Doctrine of the Wife is a collection of principles that foster the husband’s angelic development. A single man ought to think of himself as a pre-husband. A single man should look at every woman as someone’s wife. Feminity and feminization ought to be valued as the ideal state of society and the world. Becoming a husband ought to be seen as a biological necessity and an essential step for spiritual development towards becoming whole and complete. As the Writings put it “marriage is a person's fulfillment, since it makes a person fully a person” (CL 156).

 

(3) Women's intelligence is like the Lord's intelligence, but men's intelligence is not

(see CL 218).

 

And behold Isaac was laughing with Rebekah his woman. That this signifies that … Divine good was adjoined to Divine truth, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Divine good of the Lord's rational … and from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Lord's rational (AC 3392)

 

The rational with the Lord … is represented by Sarah (AC 2189)

 

Here it is said that the Lord’s Divine Rational within which is the Divine Truth is represented by the wife. Women's intelligence, like the Lord's, is described in the Writings as "modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft and gentle," while men's is described as "critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and given to intemperance." The implication of this for husbands is to reinforce in their mind the Doctrine of the Wife as long as their highest objective in life is to form a conjoint union. Unless husbands elevate the conjugial goal to the highest position in their goal-hierarchy, their life is not in the Lord’s order of things.

 

The central feature of the conjoint couple is that the husband loves to be led by his wife’s affections more than by his own. In this way man can be redeemed from his nature as critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and intemperate, traits, which gradually but inexorably take him to hell. His wife is a man’s ticket to heaven, her heaven, for all the societies of heaven exist in a feminized atmosphere, which is the Lord’s Proprium—modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft, gentle.

 

(4) Conjugial love is the state of internal union between husband and wife and it is achieved when they will that their two lives shall become one life

(see CL 215).

 

The “two lives” in the Writings refer to the will and the understanding, or, the affections in the will and the cognitions in the understanding. To will that the two lives become one life means therefore that the will of the wife must be conjoined to the understanding of the husband. Conjugial love is a biological growth process of the mind or spirit that is achieved when the wife's affections (or will) are joined to the husband's cognitions (or understanding). In other words, the husband's thoughts and understanding are joined to the wife's will and affections. This is not an automatic growth process that comes with merely living together. Both partners must consciously will the conjunction. The husband must will to conjoin his own understanding or thinking to his wife's affections or will. This is not easy to achieve because of the inner resistance he experiences and requires persistent effort into which the Lord's power can inflow and achieve the union.

 

Before being regenerated, men have an inborn tendency to discount the opinion or judgment of women in comparison to their own. Husbands experience a sense of revolt at the notion that they give up their own independent ideas and desires in favor of their wife’s judgment with regard to all things involving their joint life. This is why husbands must appeal to the Lord for strength and resolve to overcome their inner resistance to the process of conjugial union.

 

The husband can overcome his resistance entirely if he is willing to follow this one rule on a daily and regular basis: When his wife expresses her affections in the form of a direct request or an implied one, the husband must give and follow these minimally appropriate replies:

 

Yes.

O.K.

That's right.

I will.

 

And never anything else, for it is always offensive and disagreeable to the wife's affections. (Of course variations, extensions and equivalents of these are also acceptable.) This principle may strike some as excessive or perhaps emasculating and denigrating to men. But this is not the case. On the contrary, it is angelic. The Writings reveal that the lower angels, called spiritual, reason about truths before confirming them in their understanding and thereby accepting them as genuine. But the higher angels, called celestial, do not reason about truths so as to confirm them because they are given by the Lord to perceive truths instantly, that they are genuine. They do not need to reason about them. All they have to say to anything by way of confirmation is Yea or Nay. It is not denigrating but elevating for a husband to keep himself from disagreeing with his wife’s affectional requests. If she makes a request of him, his only rational and loving answer is to confirm and go along. This relationship mode builds and fosters their conjoint union.

 

4. Commitment To Conjugial Unity

 

Women are born willingnesses and never cease their striving to conjoin internally to their husbands. Since wives are conjugial willingnesses by spiritual necessity, they are zealously involved in leading their husband out of their inborn hell of unwillingness or independence. This is why husbands must bend over backwards to accommodate and adjust to their wife’s affections all the time and without exception of situation, topic, or area of contention. It doesn’t matter that the wife may appear wrong in some situation and it doesn’t matter if she makes mistakes, or if she fails in something due to her own temptations and regeneration needs. Despite her failings, the husband should honor her at all times. After all, the husband makes plenty of mistakes yet expects her to honor his unilateral decisions. The rationale for his compelling himself to abide by her affections is not that she is more right or smarter than he. It is his acknowledgment of the Doctrine of the Wife that provides the rationale, and this must be constant and continuous to eternity.

 

The most important part is that the husband remains unfailingly committed to internal union—this must never fail if we are to achieve success. This unfailing commitment becomes real and actual when the husband does the following:

(a) He acknowledges that he is out of line as soon as his wife tells him this.

 

(b) He promises her in the name of the Lord that he is determined to change his behavior.

 

(c) He asks the Lord to give him the power to accomplish this.

 

(d) He makes reparations by fixing the problem and adding a treat as a sign of friendship.

 

(e) He honestly strives to be true to his word by being watchful, even keeping a diary if it’s helpful.

 

And when he fails again, he repeats these steps—which for most husbands may be necessary to do several times every day, year after year for decades.

 

 

5. The Four-Step Conjoining Process

 

Conjugial love grows spiritually when the couple repeatedly goes through the following four steps on a daily and hourly basis (based on CL 293-294):

 

Step 1: The wife acts. She reveals her affections to her husband in the form of a direct request or an implied request, either in word, gesture, facial expression, or mere expectation.

 

Step 2: The husband receives. He wills himself to love her affection—which is within the request, and by this, he receives it, that is, conjoins his cognitions to it. Her affection now is as-if his own. He chooses to act from his wife’s will.

 

Step 3: The husband acts out. He says one or more of these four things: Yes. O.K. That's right. I will, (and equivalents).

 

Step 4: The wife reacts. She feels his reaction of conjunction as her bosom delight.

 

These are the four steps of conjunction. The husband must constantly strive to build up the network that conjoins his cognitions or thoughts to his wife's affections, which are expressed as her moment-to-moment needs and requests. The conjunction steps must be performed. Unition of mind or spirit cannot develop from mere declarations and promises, or even occasional and intermittent good behavior. The conjunction steps have to be performed continuously. Think about muscle building exercises, how we repeat the same movement in series or in sets during one workout session. Muscle tissue is built up, fiber-by-fiber, cell-by-cell, with each repetition of a movement. In a similar manner the husband builds up the spiritual fibers of conjunction with his wife when he repeats these four steps on a daily and hourly basis. The Writings make it clear that the mind is a spiritual organ made of functioning parts and fibers just as the organs and muscles of the physical body. Repeating these four steps of conjunction gradually but cumulatively builds up the united mind of the conjugial couple. This united mind is a new spiritual organ called the angelic mind. Couples in heaven have such a mind and those who have not developed such a mind while on earth are unable to be immersed in the atmosphere of heaven and live there to eternity.

 

To show how the four-step conjunction process works in practice, consider this example on the next page, to which most couples can relate:


 

 

The usual way

(does not build conjoining fibers)

The conjugial way

(builds conjoining fibers)

Step 1:

The wife acts

Wife says: “Honey, we need to talk about this now” (=her affectional request).

 

Ditto

Step 2:

The husband receives (or rejects)

The husband internally disagrees (=hates conjugial unity and feels it’s a loss of individuality). He wants to tell her several reasons why it’s a bad idea to talk about it now (=discounts her intelligence). He thinks about those reasons and loves them (=clinging to father and mother).

 

He is conscious of an inner feeling of anger and his mind begins to rehearse reasons why they should not talk about it now. But he just laughs at himself doing that. He turns away from himself and turns to his wife and to her affection and intention. He embraces her affection and immerses himself in it (=cleaves to his wife)

Step 3:

The husband reacts

He says: “You don't understand.” And keeps talking for several more sentences (=striving to coerce her behavior and deny her freedom).

 

He says: “O.K. Sure.”

Step 4:

The wife reacts to the husband

The wife senses her husband's conjugial cold and experiences the pain and loneliness of internal separation. In her chest she senses his rejection or refusal to conjoin his thoughts to her affection.

The wife senses conjugial delight in her chest and experiences her husband's act of conjoining with her (=one flesh). One more pair of her affections and his thoughts are now united and function as one conjoint individual (=angel).

 


 

6. Leon’s Story

 

Many times my poor wife tried to tell me that I talk to her defensively, which she experiences as offensive and upsetting from within. A family trait, she added, to spurn me on to insight. For decades, my response was to deny that I was defensive. Each time we went through this routine, the conjugial separation she felt was made more painful and desperate. What could she do to penetrate this wall of blindness and denial? She got no relief, year after year. At last the Doctrine of the Wife was born in my understanding (in 1985) as I diligently studied the Writings daily. The Lord showed me in illustration while reading the Writings that the expression in Genesis “Hearken unto Sarah” (see discussion below) was a commandment, and therefore applied to me. My defensiveness was obviously a denial of that commandment. I was not hearkening unto my Sarah when I disagreed with her or made her cry—which happened frequently! I attributed her unhappiness to her lack of capacity to adjust to reality. I did not attribute it to me. This is another form of conjugial cold and lack of inner friendship.

 

Later I was able to see the psychobiological perspective on the Doctrine of the Wife. That's when my regeneration really started showing results. For a long time I was merely able to compel my external behavior, putting on a pleasant expression on my face and compel my mouth to express the opposite of the defensive and offensive things I thought and felt whenever she was “in my face,” while not budging an inch in my mind. She would never compromise, thank God. She remained steadfast and brave in opposing my resistance to single-mindedness and independence. This power she had from the Lord, she often said. I falsely thought she was being rigid and uncompromising, unreasonable, not coping with life’s demands. Such was my conjugial cold and blindness.

 

She suffered much because of my stiff-necked and self-centered gender bias. I used to freely declare that women were great, etc.; because this is the reputation I wanted for myself as a politically correct and just person. But in actuality I acted like I considered the views and opinions of women to be inferior to men’s. My wife’s opinion and judgment didn’t count with me as much as my own. This was my inherited culture bias and I lived it, enjoyed it, and held on to it. I came to realize that this unreality would inexorably take me to hell, like an unseen current that pulls a ship towards the reef and disaster. My wife was my only chance to make it to reality, and to heaven.

 

Since the beginning of our relationship, my wife loved my cognitions and instantly and constantly conjoined herself with them, making them as-if her own. She saw and understood what I saw and understood about anything and everything I had an interest in. She was my cognitive clone. In the Writings it is stated that a wife is the love of her husband’s wisdom. But she was more than this for she had her own mind and she deftly applied my knowledge and reasoning to all situations, surpassing me in many things. I admired her. I was not envious of her. I felt both superior and inferior to her. But she did not unconditionally love my evil affections. She did not go along with the modern fallacy that love is unconditional and therefore a wife has to accept her husband’s evils and weaknesses. She drew a distinct line and never wavered.

 

Her intelligence was the deepening of my intelligence. I could not attain with my wisdom to the depths she could attain through my wisdom in her. Later I understood why when I read in the Writings that her wisdom is, by spiritual biology, inmost or celestial (third heaven), while a man’s wisdom is spiritual (second heaven), which is lower or more external. As she receives my wisdom she takes it into her inmost, which means that she elevates it within herself and from spiritual she makes it celestial. This power a wife receives directly from the Lord.

 

A wife attains, lives, and uses a deeper wisdom than her husband’s, even though she remains dependent on and united to her husband’s wisdom. It is rational therefore for the husband to conjoin his wisdom to the wife’s affections because her affections are conjoined in herself to a deeper wisdom than the husband’s wisdom is in himself. In this way he can also attain to a deeper wisdom. If he does not conjoin himself to her affections he cannot attain this deeper wisdom, intelligence and understanding. This principle applies to all rational ideas, including religious doctrine and domestic management. Husbands can gain a more interior understanding of the Writings if they conjoin themselves to their wife’s affections because they are then in a more interior state. To conjoin himself to his wife’s affections means to listen to her requests and not to disagree on something whenever he decides it as an exception. This is the orientation of the Doctrine of the Wife.

 

Here is another example (on the next page) of how the four-step conjunction process works in practice:


 

 

The usual way

(does not build conjoining fibers)

 

The conjugial way

(builds conjoining fibers)

Step 1: The wife acts

Wife continues to clean up and arrange things while husband watches TV. She is very much aware that she is doing this in front of him. Is he going to ignore her, she wonders? She is letting him see that she is determined to finish.

 

Ditto

Step 2: The husband receives (or rejects)

The husband sees her but feels cold for her. He hates the fact she picks this time to buzz around the room, trying to make him feel guilty, no doubt, he tells himself (=ignores her requests). He thinks about many reasons why she is wrong while he is right, and he is in love with those reasons (=clinging to father and mother).

The husband sees her and is instantly aroused by the sight of her slaving away while he does what pleases him. How can he ignore her affection in completing this task? It doesn’t matter that he thinks this is the wrong time to do it. Here she is and he must respond. He sees her presence as his business and he compels himself to accept the affection that animates her task orientation (=cleaves to his wife).

Step 3: The husband reacts

He says in a tone of protestation: “Honey, do you have to do that now?” (=striving to coerce her behavior and deny her freedom).

He immediately presses the mute button, gets up, and begins to facilitate her movements. It's as if he said "O.K. I will" to her silent request for sympathy and recognition.

 

Step 4: The wife reacts to the husband

The wife senses her husband's conjugial cold and experiences the pain and loneliness of internal separation. In her chest she senses his rejection or refusal to conjoin his cognition to her affection.

The wife senses conjugial delight in her chest and experiences her husband's act of conjoining with her (=one flesh). One more pair of her affections and his cognitions are now united and function as one conjoint individual (=angel).

 


 

It is therefore provided by the Lord that conjugial pairs be born, and they are raised and continually prepared for their marriages, neither the boy nor the girl being aware of the fact. Then, after a period of time, the girl - now a marriageable young woman - and the boy - now a young man able to marry - meet somewhere, as though by fate, and notice each other. And they immediately recognize, as if by a kind of instinct, that they are a match, thinking to themselves from a kind of inner dictate, the young man, 'she is mine,' and the young woman, 'he is mine'" (CL 316).

 

Here is a third example (next page):


 

 

The usual way

(does not build conjoining fibers)

The conjugial way

(builds conjoining fibers)

Step 1:

The wife acts

They are in traffic. Husband is driving. Wife says: “Honey, it’s very stressful driving in the fast lane. Can you please stay in the right lane?” (=her affectional request).

Ditto

Step 2:

The husband receives (or rejects)

The husband instantly feels rage (=hates conjugial unity and feels it’s a loss of individuality). “It’s actually safer in this lane. Just let me handle it.” (=discounts her intelligence). “I told you before. Leave the driving to the driver. That’s the way it should be.” (=clinging to father and mother).

He is conscious of an inner feeling of anger and annoyance at her interfering with what he wants to do. But he makes himself look at the situation from her perspective. He turns away from himself and turns to his wife and to her affection and intention. (=cleaves to his wife). He has compassion for her fears.

Step 3:

The husband reacts

He says: “Do some deep breathing and relax. You know I hate it when you tell me how to drive.” (=striving to coerce her behavior and deny her freedom).

He says: “O.K. I’ll switch lanes as soon as I can.”

Step 4:

The wife reacts to the husband

The wife senses her husband's conjugial cold and experiences the pain and loneliness of internal separation. In her chest she senses his rejection or refusal to conjoin his thoughts to her affection.

The wife senses conjugial delight in her chest and experiences her husband's act of conjoining with her (=one flesh). One more pair of her affections and his thoughts are now united and function as one conjoint individual (=angel).

 

More examples are given below in the Inventory of Confessions.

 


 

7. The Husband’s Spiritual Dependence On The Wife

 

Even though men are born understandings and receive wisdom from the Lord, they cannot hold on to this wisdom or make it their own, unless and until they love their wife's judgment above their own judgment. The husband's spiritual wisdom, when genuine, is to know this. The husband's conjugial love is to love this.

 

The reason for this co-dependence is that the wife's wisdom is inmost and celestial, from the Lord. The wife's conjugial love is to love the husband's wisdom to the extent it is genuine. Note this qualification—to the extent it is genuine, since the wife should not love her husband’s ideas and reasoning indiscriminately, just because they are his. Until the husband accepts the Doctrine of the Wife, he is in the delusion that he has genuine understanding of his own, from the Lord, independently of the wife. This delusion comes from conjugial cold within the man. As long as the husband lives this delusion he will deny and oppose his spiritual dependence on his wife. This false sense of independence is also the reason that men discount the views of women in comparison to their own views. Even when they deny this and act as if they value the judgment of women, inwardly they despise women’s opinions, as revealed in the Writings.

 

Men can overtly declare that they support gender equality, but this is merely a political stance they put on in order to uphold their reputation as fair minded and favorable to women. In this state of mind they discriminate against women, discount their views, and abuse them, while at the same time denying this. Husbands refuse to recognize this year after year into the marriage. They seem to be trapped in this mode of resistance. It makes their wife feel desperate and confused and leaves them suffering and longing for intimacy and friendship.

 

Conjugial love is in the same measure a conjunction of minds, and the conjunction remains during the bodily life of the one after the passing of the other. This conjunction holds any inclination to remarry in balance as though in a scale, and tips the scale its way to the degree that true love has been embraced (CL 318).

 

 

Chapter 2, Section 3

 

3. The Unregenerate Husband

 

 

The husband in his internal mind sanctifies marriage when he acknowledges, confirms, and lives in accordance with the Doctrine of the Wife. This Doctrine is a Spiritual Doctrine because it is drawn from the Letter of the Writings, as explained throughout this Section. The Doctrine of the Wife is addressed to husbands and is phrased as follows:

 

RULE 1:

The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.

 

There are no other rules except those that follow from this one rule. You can see that this is a Divine Rule when you reflect on the Adam and Eve story in the Word of the Old Testament, as it is explained scientifically in the Word of the Writings (xx). This rational explanation shows that the spiritual sense of Adam is the husband, and more specifically, the content of the husband’s will and understanding, whether from self and hell or from the Lord and heaven. The state of mind of Adam, prior to Eve’s apparition, was loving himself, loving his self-intelligence, loving his manly prerogatives that take precedence over women, loving to intimidate women and make them serve him, motivated to go after what he is interested at the neglect of what he is to take care of.

 

This is called the husband’s unregenerate state. Today in North America and Western Europe, just about every woman goes through a Christian wedding with an unregenerate man, and then in the ensuing years, has to cope with an unregenerate husband. An unregenerate husband is how we know ourselves prior to much progress in regeneration. The majority of husbands alive on this planet today would, I expect, reject Rule 1 as a Divine commandment from God, addressed to them, and by which they are to live, or else be unable to live in heaven, assuming they even believe in the afterlife.

 

This “or else” is not said as a threat, punishment, or warning. It is a scientific statement about the mind’s organic properties that we are to know about, just as we know about the physical body that vitamin C fortifies its capacity to resist an invading virus. If our immune system fails and we get the flu for which we were vaccinated, is it reasonable to say that we are being punished, or being unlucky? Scientifically we can see that the immune system is very complex, hardly known, and vaccination is only a partial assist to the immune system. Failure of our system is not attributed to our stupidity, since we went to get the vaccination, and we practiced medically recommended washings and inhibitions.

 

It is exactly parallel with the mind, as it is to the body, since everything in the body is a mere correspondence of that which is in the mind or spirit of every human being. Whether we say mind or spirit, it is the same, for what is the spirit except what the mind is, when we know that our affections are located and live in the organ of the will, and our thoughts are located and live in the organ of the understanding. These two organs make up the mind, and they make up the spirit, for there is nothing in the spirit except affections and thoughts (xx).

 

You can now see that if we are denied entry into heaven, it is not a punishment for misdeeds on earth. For example, if you are denied entry at a customs office or check point, it is not a punishment for your race or your legal status as a lawful citizen of a recognized nation. Instead, you don’t have your medical vaccination certificate with you, something that you know is required to be shown to gain legal entry. It is exactly parallel to your being denied entry into heaven. It’s not that your past misdeeds have been found out at the gate, and now a judgment has been rendered against you, and condemned to hell—for there is no other place available when we are denied entry to heaven!

 

If it’s not because of our past misdeeds, why are we not admitted to heaven?

The answer is that we are admitted, but before we can our second step at the entrance gate, we are seized by mental pangs and inner torture of the most intense and unpleasant kind. We are desperate to stop it, and it stops the moment we cast ourselves down to the lower regions of our mind. This makes sense if you think of the mind and the spiritual world as exactly alike. Heaven is the uppermost region in the spiritual world, and hell is the lowest region there. Similarly, with the human mind: the highest region of the human mind is a heavenly state of life, bliss, love, consciousness, and understanding of truths and reality. This is why the Lord said that the heaven is within us (xx). So it is the same thing whether we say “entering heaven” or “entering our heavenly or celestial state of humanity.”

 

In the same way, hell is within us, at the lowest region of the human mind. Entering hell therefore means sinking into the lowest form of the human mind—corporeal spirituality in which there are no rational truths whatsoever. The outward life of this hellish mentality shows as hatred, cruelty, selfishness, foolishness and stupidity, insanity, grossness, vulgarity, immorality, and devoid of any artistry or aesthetics. Denied entry into heaven and casting oneself out upon arrival, is just a correspondence idea for the actual reality, which is that we are then made of a mind or spirit whose will is filled with affections that are suffocated by any rational-spiritual idea or lifestyle.

 

If you were able to force your rebellious adolescent to believe and accept the Ten Commandments and the Numbers of the Writings that you quote to them, what would happen? The poor individual would be so tortured that it would be an inhuman way for you to treat anyone like that. Instead, you have to give up the idea of forcing the adolescent to accept the necessity of the Commandments and related lifestyle behaviors. The Lord does likewise, never forcing any person to accept and live by His Commandments. This guarantees that we always stay in a mental balance that allows us to freely choose our willing and thinking. This is the unregenerate Adam whose willing and thinking is biased in favor of his own proprium, his own ego, his own way of thinking, his own things that he likes to do, and that he doesn’t like to do and doesn’t want his wife to interfere. This is the unregenerate husband who loves himself above his wife.

 

The wife is in his eyes always less than himself, in all things.

 

Therefore she knows that she is nowhere his first. As a result, she knows, perceives, and senses that he is not hers. He is officially her husband, but not actually. A wife has enlightenment from the Lord in sensing these conjugial matters (xx). By this enlightenment, the wife can lead her unregenerate husband into undergoing reformation. He resists and opposes her directions. Thus she feels unhappy, lonely, and desperate. At last he is willing to apply his skills and intelligence as a man to his own marriage. He begins to listen to her at times. In those times, he feels happy. It’s a new feeling, a new state. Now he decides to undergo reformation. He studies the Writings, builds it up into a Doctrine in his mind, and starts dumping things that are contrary to the Letter of the Writings.

 

His mind rearranged and reordered by the Writings, he is a reformed man, a New Church mind-to-be. He now begins regeneration which will go until the end. But long before that, the husband will feel what is to be in an elevated state, in a conjugial state, and this will be all the sensuous proof he will ever need to the rational truths that are in his understanding and consciousness.

 

1. The Appearance Of Eve

 

The appearance of Eve as a correspondence to the New Church mind, marks the first time that the unregenerate husband is seized with the determination to undergo reformation and regeneration as a Divine Commandment of the Writings, hence the Lord. His wife seen through Rule 1 is the appearance of Eve. This is what it means for the husband to reform and regenerate. If he could do it by himself, would he not have done so already? How long can he believably claim that his wife is not unhappy, and that if she is, it is not his fault, thus not something that he could change, but refuses to do so because he is in love with himself. This self-love takes precedence over her, shuts her out, turns her from a wife into a whore to whom he is married. Therefore she feels used, disrespected, denigrated, injured, worthless, thrown away.

 

But then the husband is seized with remorse and pity for her. He gets a glimpse of his monstrous selfishness. He feels moved to repentance and change by his conscience and by higher and deeper feelings he didn’t even know he was able to have. He now turns to the Word and studies the Writings. He worships the Letter of it as Divine. He undergoes reformation and sees that his male prejudices, his male prerogatives and perks, his male belief systems—all of it, must be thrown away as dirty dish water or water that runs off an agricultural field that is poisoned with insecticides and deadly chemicals.

 

As he is reformed he begins to see the literal sentences of the Writings in a deeper way because he is honest enough to want to apply them to himself. At first this is only a very general sort of application and shows mostly in terms of his declarations of support for Rule 1 and its sub-rules or applications. His wife continues to suffer silently within herself, but she is encouraged by his new declarations that sound genuine. Especially is she comforted and reassured by the fact that he is now willing to accept Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment for himself. She feels inward reassurance because he now puts the Lord into the marriage, for the first time.

 

2. External Reformation Vs. Internal Regeneration

 

Studying the Writings gives us an understanding of what is a thing or object. Every created thing is created into a Divine order of discrete degrees (xx). Every object is distinct and has an outside and an inside. This is the definition of a thing or object. It must have two properties to be a created object. One is that must be distinct form any other created thing. The other is that it has an outside and an inside. Thus existential duality is built into the universe. For instance, a fruit has an outside peel and an inside flesh. A rock has an outside surface and an inside structure or matrix. The Word has an outside Letter and an inside meaning. A government has an outside cohort of elected and appointed officials, and an inside authority of making laws that apply to all citizens. A marriage has an outside legal and social reality in the community, and an inside mental or spiritual reality in the mind of the husband and wife.

 

The husband has a mind which has an outside portion and inward portion. The outward portion of his mind is called natural and the inward portion is called spiritual. The mind has two organs: the will and the understanding. Each of these organs must therefore have an outward portion and an inward portion, like the heart and the lungs whose outside walls are made of different types of muscle structures or membranes than the inside of their walls. At birth the outward portion of the mind, which is natural, grows into a deformed pattern as it matures. The inward portion, which is spiritual, remains undeveloped until reformation. At reformation we use the power in the Letter of the Writings to reorder or priorities, rearrange our goals, reconstruct our definitions, radically changing our justifications and orientation. Now Eve appears on the scene, and we acknowledge Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment to which we are committed out of fear of hell and love of heaven.

 

Reformation takes place in the outside portion of the mind. The order in this portion of the mind is a model of hell, from heredity and culture (xx). It is filled only with nondualities, as discussed in Volume 1. Without the Letter of the Writings, taken up into our natural-rational understanding as Doctrine with a Divine authority, we could not undergo reformation. Our acknowledgement that the Doctrine in our conscious understanding is Divine, becomes the condition which the Lord has specified, for being regenerated. That is, for removing the evil affections from hell, and planting new affections from heaven. The part of the husband who displays these new affections, is the man whom the wife recognizes as her conjugial husband. When this man is around her, she is in her joy of life.

 

But the bad guy husband always seems to return unexpectedly and suddenly, especially when she “crossed an invisible line” that he built in his mind and maintains for himself. Like a Jekyll and Hyde masquerade, the husband alternates between treating his wife with evil and treating her with good. He is still not reformed in many areas of his relationship. He is only reformed in some areas, those areas that he will allow. And so his wife languishes, begging the Lord to return the conjugial husband to her.

 

But while he is oscillating between these two states of order and disorder, the husband’s spiritual mind is being opened and implanted by the Lord. This is an unconscious process of the Lord and heaven in our mind. Simultaneously, the Lord creates an interior portion within the man’s natural-rational mind. This interior portion is called the interior-natural mind and it is capable of spiritual consciousness. This process has been described in detail in Volume 2.

 

Regeneration begins in the areas of the husband’s mind in which he was willing to undergo reformation. While he remains in an unregenerate state in some areas, he is making progress in regeneration in other areas. Now for the first time he begins to change in the inward portions of his mind. The outside portion of his mind consists of his corporeal, sensuous, and natural-rational portions. The inward portion consists of his interior-natural mind that the Lord build within his natural-rational mind. The husband himself is in full charge of his natural-rational mind, but only the Lord is in charge of the interior-natural mind. The husband therefore owns his external mind, but the Lord owns his interior mind. To regenerate means that the husband compels his external mind to align itself with the interior mind. In other words, he compels his conscious willing and thinking all day long to conform to the spiritual truths kept in his interior-natural mind by the Lord. In effect, this result is that the Lord now rules the man, to the extent that the man compels his willing and thinking to conform to the spiritual truths he can perceive. These perceptions of spiritual truths constitute his spiritual understanding of the spiritual topics he reads in the Letter of the Writings (as explained in Volume 2).

 

In this way portions of the husband are regenerated from the interior to the external, and these portions give the husband an ability for conjugial love. The wife is now completely reassured. She can now see that her husband knows and wants to unite with her from within, that is, with the external portion of his mind under obedience from the interior portion. She sees that her husband wants now to be ruled by the Lord. And this is the condition for conjugial love and internal unity.

 

You can see from this scientific and medical account of regeneration that Rule 1 is nothing but a behavioral method by which the husband can engineer his regeneration. His mind starts in a disorder, prior to the appearance of his wife as Eve, his help mate in regeneration. When he lives his life by Rule 1 the husband is actualizing his wife as his spiritual help mate. Rule 1 is his lifeline, his ticket to her heaven, which is his ritual inheritance form the Lord, his Land of Canaan in which he can be an angel of the Lord. Conjugial couples in heaven are called an Angel. But not an individual without his conjugial life. This is why angel husbands discussing with each other appear to be alone by external appearance, but in actuality they are each with their wife. Swedenborg has witnessed this phenomenon, as the wife appeared to be standing behind a transparent wall, when permitted to see it (xx).

 

Rule 1 guarantees that the regenerating husband will enter into the inner marriage, that is, the external marriage within which is the spiritual marriage. The external marriage is the social and legal form of it, hence also the body and the external behaviors and interactions visible to others if they are present. The internal marriage is the spiritual form of the marriage within the external form. A couple may appear compatible and friendly to one another, while inwardly there is disagreement and enmity. Rule 1 is a method for eliminating this inward disagreement and enmity the husband feels towards his wife. By following Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment, the husband gains the power to gain control over his willing and thinking, forcing these to conform and obey Rule 1.

 

In other words, whenever he disagrees with his wife’s explicit or implied requests, he compels his outward behavior and appearance to obey her request. This by itself would be mere hypocrisy, ultimately to fail, if he did not also agree with himself that he owes allegiance to Rule 1 from the Lord, not from himself. Therefore the husband cannot justify going against Rule 1 at any time he so wishes because some line he defined has been crossed by his wife’s request. This would make a shambles out of Rule 1 and the Doctrine he has from the Letter of the Writings. Therefore he has no other option but to continue to compel himself to obey Rule 1 as a Divine Commandment. IN this way the inward unity with his wife can go forward gradually and cumulatively over the years of his regeneration.

 

3. Leave Mother and Father And Cleave To The Wife

 

Marriage is the state of spiritual growth between a wife and a husband. There are two phases to this growth, external and internal, or, growth in the external mind and growth in the internal mind. In the external mind, marriage is masculinized and, in society, this is equivalent to the popular notion that it’s a man's world. But in the internal phase, which comes next, the husband through living the Doctrine of the Wife feminizes marriage. Thus from a man’s world society is transformed into a feminine world, more gentle, more interior in intelligence, and nearer to the Lord’s intelligence and character. In the Writings it is stated that the Divine Proprium, which refers the Lord’s Character, is the all in heaven and the angels are given to adopt or assume this Proprium as-if their own (AC 8409).

 

In their conversations with Swedenborg the inhabitants of the highest of the three heavenly Kingdoms said that they actually have a living perception of the Lord’s influx (HH 8). The Lord inflows into their internal mind with Divine Good and Truth, the good into their will and the truth into their understanding. They attribute all their intentions and ideas to this Divine influx. They also said that the instant they close themselves off to this influx in favor of their own intentions and ideas, they experience a sudden drop, whereupon heaven disappears for them and they are in a lower spiritual realm. But the instant they turn themselves again to the Lord and admit Him by influx, they experience an elevation of the mind and they find themselves again in their heaven. Paradoxically, the more they empty themselves and allow spiritual influx from the Lord, the more they feel free and powerful; but the more they turn to their own ideas and intentions and doing what they then feel like, the more they feel constrained and captive of their flight of ideas and emotions. While we are still in the physical body on earth we tend to feel the opposite of this heavenly model. In our external mind it appears that we feel most free when we do what we desire without any interference anywhere.

 

Most husbands experience a sense of constriction and loss of freedom when they acknowledge the commandment against adultery, even in the imagination. Most therapists in our generation tell their clients that it does no harm to the marriage when the husband fantasizes about sexual activities with other women so long as it remains fantasy. They even prescribe it as an activity that can re-invigorate the couple’s sexual relationship. Both self and society look with favor upon that which the Lord forbids, as people can read in the New Testament for the past two thousand years. While our moral or religious life is restricted to the external mind we feel a loss of freedom when we acknowledge God’s commandments. But when our internal mind is opened and made operational, we are turned to God and His commandments and feel freedom in obedience to His will. The internal mind of everyone is opened through the ongoing process of regeneration. This consists of a life in accordance with one’s doctrine based on God’s commandments.

 

The commandment for husbands to "leave mother and father" means to abandon loyalty and love for masculinized truth, and the commandment to "cleave unto the wife" means to conjoin himself in all things with the wife's affections. The essence of a woman’s life is her affections and when the husband conjoins himself to his wife’s affections he becomes a unity with her. The affections in her will and the cognitions in his understanding are organically conjoined like the heart and the lungs in the body that function together as one circulatory system. This is not just an analogy. It takes organic substances from the spiritual world to create the organs and fibers that make up the will and understanding in the mind. As the married partners are engaged in their daily interactions their new joint mind comes into being, built up fiber-by-fiber during their interactions.

 

In this way they gradually achieve the state of "one flesh" which means of one mind, i.e., the mind of an angel. This angelic mind is composed of the wife's affections in the will conjoined with the husband's cognitions in the understanding, thus making one angelic mind out of a man and a woman. This conjoined mind is the highest state provided by the Lord for humans and in this state we are truly human, immortal, in perfect health, ecstatically happy, fully rational, loving and compassionate, creative and skillful to the extreme in all things. This is the angelic state, and it is created when the husband loves his wife's affections more than his own and adjusts his own cognitions or ideas to harmonize with the wife's affections. In his striving to achieve unity the husband is feminizing the marriage. And the Lord rewards them by creating the perfect angelic mind out of the two imperfect individuals.

 

4. Becoming An Interior Man

 

From being an unregenerate outward man, the husband after reformation becomes an inward man. The outward man is represented by a mule of the desert (xx) and hunter of the field (xx)—thus rough, gross, and anti-feminine. But after reformation the husband becomes gentle, civilized, and wise. He is then called a man of the field (see the Introduction to Volume 1). The New Church mind must be formed as a husband who has made his internal man rule over his external. The internal man is the interior-natural infilled by the Lord with higher correspondences, giving us a new spiritual consciousness called enlightenment from the Lord (see Volume 2). The husband who is represented by a man for the field is becoming more and more a husband, and to the extent that he is becoming more and more of a husband, his wife is becoming more and more a wife:

 

XV. THAT IN THE MARRIAGE OF ONE MAN WITH ONE WIFE BETWEEN WHOM THERE IS LOVE TRULY CONJUGIAL, THE WIFE BECOMES MORE AND MORE A WIFE, AND THE HUSBAND MORE AND MORE A HUSBAND.

 

That love truly conjugial conjoins two more and more into one man may be seen above (CL nos. 178, 179); and because the wife becomes a wife from conjunction with her husband and according to it, likewise the husband from conjunction with his wife; and because love truly conjugial endures to eternity, it follows that the wife becomes more and more a wife, and the husband more and more a husband.

 

The reason is, because in a marriage of love truly conjugial, each becomes an ever more interior man; for that love opens the interiors of their minds, and as these are opened man becomes more and more a man. To become more a man is, on the part of the wife, to become more a wife, and on the part of the husband, to become more a husband. I have heard from angels, that a wife becomes more and more a wife as her husband becomes more and more a husband, but not the reverse, for rarely if ever is it lacking that a chaste wife loves her husband. What is lacking is love in return on the part of the husband; and this is lacking on account of there being no elevation of wisdom, which alone receives a wife's love. Respecting this wisdom, see nos. 130, 163-65. This, however, is said of marriages on earth. (CL 200)

 

In this passage, and similar ones elsewhere, the Lord is revealing to the human race one of the most central and important scientific facts about human kind. Every man of the race is born a pre-husband or a husband-to-be. In other words, the individual male as a single man is not a true human being but only natural. True human beings are celestial, such as those who live in heaven. To become one of them we must prepare our mind by compelling the disorderly external mind to obey the order of the interior mind. This order in the interior-natural mind is a Divine order expressed in the higher spiritual correspondences active there and of which we are conscious when regenerating. This is called being enlightened by the Lord through the Letter of the Writings and its Heavenly Doctrines that we are taking up in our memory and understanding for the sake of regeneration.

 

To “become more and more a husband” is a correspondence for regeneration. A husband who is undergoing regeneration is the husband who is becoming more and more a husband. The expression “becoming a husband” signifies to form the New Church mind within ourself by means of the Writings exclusively. In other words, becoming a genuine human being, called the celestial mind, is only possible by becoming a conjugial husband. This husband is not an individual, but the male part of a functioning angel. This is proven by the fact that when the sphere of a wife is experimentally removed from an angel husband, he instantly loses his wisdom, his sexuality, and his happiness, and becomes foolish and morose. To which he greatly wonders. Then as the sphere of the wife is reconnected, he instantly regains his angelic bliss and wisdom. (xx)

 

It is now revealed that conjugial love “opens the interiors of their minds, and as these are opened man becomes more and more a man.” (CL 200).

 

The conjugial couple is the genuine unit of the human race.

 

Knowing this Divine truth gives the regenerating New Church mind a tremendous advantage for all pre-married men and subsequently as husbands. Swedenborg never married according to his biographers and yet he was the first New Church mind. He was thus a pre-married man, a pre-husband. He knew and loved the idea of conjugial love about which he wrote with such understanding. He writes that he had to be led by the Lord to visit the heavens many times so that he may learn by observation the character of conjugial love, the wisdom of husbands, the perceptions of wives, and the internal unity between them.

 

5. Proving The Doctrine of the Wife and Rule 1

 

In the celestial Church good resided with the husband and the truth of that good with the wife; but in the spiritual Church truth resided with the man and the good of that truth with the wife: Such is and was the actual relationship between the two, for in human beings interior things have undergone this reversal. "wife" in the representative sense signifies truth, and a "husband" good (AC 4823).

 

We can apply this passage to ourselves by looking at the main expressions as correspondences to activities in our willing and thinking. Doing this will allow us to see its more interior meaning, that is, what the Lord is saying to us about our willing and thinking, and especially, how they are to be regenerated. Note the contrast between the “celestial Church” and the “spiritual Church.” Taking it as a correspondence to our regeneration, the “spiritual Church” represents our willing and thinking during regeneration on earth, and the “celestial Church” represents our willing and thinking as conjugial couple in heaven. During regeneration “truth resides with the man and the good of that truth with the wife.” But in conjugial partners “good resides with the husband and the truth of that good with the wife.”

 

Human action is always by the understanding from the will, and never by the will through the understanding (xx). This amazing scientific revelation will surely revolutionize many social practices and beliefs, once it is generally understood. Applying this principle to the passage above (AC 4823), we can say that during regeneration the husband (“truth with the man”) acts from the wife (“the good of that truth with the wife”). This follows logically from the principle that it is the understanding that acts from the will, since truth is in the understanding while good is in the will. To say that it is the understanding that acts from the will, is the same as saying it is the husband who acts from the wife, since truth in the understanding of the husband acts from good in the will of the wife. Truth is in the understanding while good is in the will. Truth always acts from good (xx).

 

But during regeneration “good resides with the husband and the truth of that good with the wife.” In other words, the wife acts (“truth of that good with the wife”) from the husband (“good resides with the husband”). Again for the same reason as before, namely that it is truth in the understanding (conjugial wife) that acts from the good in the will (conjugial husband), and never the good in the will that acts through the understanding.

 

What is the significance of this? What does it mean that in the first state the husband acts from the wife, while in the second state the wife acts from the husband? The second state is always higher or more interior than the first, in the same degree that celestial is higher than spiritual. While the husband is regenerating on earth he is called a spiritual Church, but after, in heaven, he is called a celestial Church. Now you can see how Rule 1 is related to the spiritual sense of this passage (AC 4823). The spiritual sense discusses the contrast between the husband on his way to conjugial love vs. the husband in conjugial love. While the husband is on his way to conjugial love he acts from his wife. Once he is in conjugial love, his wife acts from him. When he acts from the wife he is regenerating. In other words, in order to regenerate the husband must act from the wife. Rule 1 says that the husband must learn to love to act from his wife more than from himself. You can see therefore that Rule 1 is a Divine Commandment by which we can approach conjugial love.

 

Continuing with the same Number:

 

In the celestial church the husband was in good, and the wife in the truth of this good; but in the spiritual church the man is in truth, and the wife in the good of this truth; such were they in fact then, and such are they now, for the interiors of man have undergone this change. Hence where celestial good and celestial truth from it are treated of in the Word, it is said "husband and wife;" but where spiritual good and spiritual truth from it are treated of, it is said "man and wife," or rather "man and woman." (AC 4823)

 

The expression “man and woman” signifies husband and wife in an external union, while “husband and wife” signifies husband and wife in an internal unity. Marriage in an internal unity is the true marriage, but marriage in an external union is only a representative of true marriage. On earth, the regeneration of the husband is the condition for an internal unity. This internal unity is exactly proportional to the husband’s progress in regeneration. When he falters, the internal unity dies. The husband is not much aware of the internal unity, seeing it from a distance like a four-legged animal approaching in a field with tall grasses. But to the wife the internal unity is up front, right in front of her face. It is the biggest thing in her life, all other things having a smaller importance. This is how she feels and is from creation.

 

Prior to regeneration, the husband acts from his own will. This unregenerate male mental state is as deadly as a poisonous snake and as slick as an eel. Deadly to himself and slick in his apparent inability to see his own spiritual insanity. Everyone prior to regeneration is spiritually insane (xx). Women marry the unregenerate man, who then becomes their unregenerate husband, rough and painful, self-involved, loving the masculine sphere above that of the feminine. The unregenerate husband is toxic to his wife, in whom conjugial love is present from nativity (xx). He hates conjugial love because the unregenerate mind hates what is heavenly, and hates conjugial love more than any other thing in the universe because it is the highest and most central of all heavenly loves and truths.

 

The Lord has therefore provided the New Church mind with an effective solution—Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife. This Commandment, if followed, allows the husband to regenerate. If not followed, the husband cannot regenerate. It’s a clear and powerful choice—no alternatives.

 

To oppose Rule 1 is to keep the marriage in an external union, merely legal, social, and convenient for multiple reasons. To adopt Rule 1 as a regeneration discipline is to move the marriage into its interior unity.

 

How does Rule 1 work? why does it work? Consider this passage:

 

As speech is the form of sound, so man may be described as the form of the wife; they are one flesh; a man shall cleave to his wife; the wife is the man's soul, and life, or is the heart of the man; but neither knows anything else than that the other is his, or hers, and that each is the other's reciprocally and mutually. (SE 6110)

 

“Man” here signifies the husband who makes Rule 1 into a regeneration discipline. The husband who loves to act from his wife is the “man” here described. The husband is created to be the form of his wife. That he is “created” means that his regeneration creates a “man” out of him, that is, a conjugial husband. Man is created the form of his wife because man is born an understanding of truth while woman is born a will or affection of truth (xx). Every man attains the perfection of his creation when he allows himself to be regenerated by the Lord. To allow himself to be regenerated means that he compels himself to act form the wife, not from himself. He has to desist from acting from himself since this is evil, as all things of the unregenerate man are evil (xx). Hence Rule 1 is his very salvation, the bridge that leads him away from hell and to heaven.

 

Note this amazing scientific revelation: “a man shall cleave to his wife; the wife is the man's soul, and life, or is the heart of the man.” This refers to the regenerating husband who follows Rule 1 as a regeneration discipline. The expression “to cleave to his wife” signifies the application of Rule 1 in his everyday interactions with his wife, which means, always, since the external union of marriage makes one responsible to the other 24 hours a day. The expression “the wife is the man’s soul” signifies that when he loves to act from his wife, his will can be regenerated, so that form an infernal man he can become celestial. The expression “the man’s soul” refers to his will because a man is nothing but his affections, and his affections are in the will. Therefore in his will is not regenerated, he remains infernal, which is referred to as the soul dying or being destroyed.

 

The Doctrine of the Wife is called here “the man’s soul” because this Doctrine regenerates his will. And the regenerated will is his new “life.” This new celestial life is said to be “in the heart of the man” because heart represents the love of his will. When he loves to act from the wife (Rule 1) his wife is in his heart, and she is his soul, therefore, his life. To cleave to his wife is man’s life because he then acts from her, not from himself. To act from himself is death because he then cannot be regenerated.

 

The husband's life enters the wife, through the thighs, and by means of love. How truth then becomes good, or understanding, the will of the wife, and how, finally, the husband's understanding becomes the form of the wife's affection. (SE 6110)

 

Here it is specified what Rule 1 is, namely, it is “the husband's understanding [when it] becomes the form of the wife's affection.” The “wife’s affection” signifies to act from the wife since the understanding acts from the will and affection is in the will. When the husband’s acts from the wife’s will he is said to “enter her through the thighs, and by means of love.” This is the meaning of loving the wife: To cleave to her, to act from her will, and to love this. To love to act from her affections is the true love that unites.

 

To become “the form” of the wife’s affection, the husband has to appropriate to himself the wife’s affection.

 

The wife’s affection, now in the husband’s will, motivates and directs all his thinking. His willing is according to her affection, and therefore his thinking will also be, as a consequence of the first. This is what creates the internal unity of conjugial couples.

 

But once they are completed as a conjugial couple, it is said that the wife acts from the husband. This is a way of saying that the husband and the wife act from each other. Nothing else would be logical. The husband’s understanding has been formed by the wife’s affection during regeneration. Now, this understanding is therefore her understanding in her husband since it was formed by her affections. Therefore she acts from this understanding. She doesn’t act from her own understanding for this would not be unity.

 

Any widow. That this signifies those who are in good without truth, and yet long for truth, is evident from the signification of "a widow," as being good without truth, and yet longing for it. That "a widow" has this signification is because by "a man" is signified truth, and by his "woman" is signified good; and therefore when the woman of a man becomes a widow, she signifies good without truth.

 

But in a still more interior sense "a widow" signifies truth without good. The reason is that in this sense "a husband" signifies good, and his "wife" truth ... (AC 9198)

 

You can see here that “widow” or “woman without husband” represents the two states of marriage when they both fail. The failure of the external marriage is represented by “widow” in the spiritual sense, but the failure of the internal marriage is represented by “widow” in the celestial sense. “Widow” in the spiritual sense signifies “good without truth.” This is the failure of the external marriage. But “widow” in the celestial sense signifies “truth without good.” This is the failure of the internal marriage.

 

Good receives power through truth (AC 3563, 4592)

 

A man is constructed spiritually as the inverse of a woman since woman is interior truth covered over with external love while man is interior love covered over with external truth (CL 32). Therefore, the wife’s truth is more interior than the husband’s by spiritual make-up.

 

The Writings also teach that in all things whatever is interior is always more heavenly than that which is exterior (xx). Clearly then, a woman's intelligence is more celestial or higher than a man's intelligence because the quality of intelligence and wisdom is determined by the truth out of which they are made. The recognition by the husband that the wife’s intelligence is higher than his own sanctifies the marriage in his mind.

 

Regeneration in the case of husbands consists in giving up their own proprium and living as-if from the Lord's Proprium. This means abandoning the unregenerate masculine truth (=leaving father and mother) and entering existence into the interior feminine truth (=cleaving to his wife). The feminine truth is celestial while the masculine truth is spiritual. Feminine truths are called “truths about good” or “truths about love,” while masculine truths are called “truths about truth” or “truths about wisdom” (xx). In the Lord’s Proprium there are both types of truths since in Him infinite distinct things are a one (xx).

 

The Lord’s Proprium is the very atmosphere of life in heaven and only those couples can live in it that have abandoned the natural order of life in the external mind and live in the spiritual order of life in the internal mind. Husbands must choose to place their own masculine affections or intentions below the feminine affections of their wife because her intelligence is higher or more interior than his intelligence and this higher or more interior intelligence can conjoin only with feminine affections, and not with masculine. Higher truths are called here feminine because they are truths about love and good, and these are celestial things. Masculine truths are called lower because they are truths about truth and wisdom, and these are spiritual things. The celestial is higher than the spiritual. Celestial truths are called feminine truths because woman is born a form of love and good, while man is born a form of truth and wisdom (xx). Celestial truths are about love and good while spiritual truths are about truth and wisdom. Therefore feminine truths are to rule over masculine truths since the higher rules over the lower. (xx) Higher means more interior, as celestial is more interior than spiritual.

 

By accepting the wife’s affections as-if his own, the husband experiences an inner elevation of the mind because he can now be given higher truths in his understanding. These higher truths are feminine in constitution and he can now appropriate them to himself by conjoining them to the wife’s affections in him, which he upholds as-if his own. It is this spiritual biology that necessitates the process whereby feminine affections are conjoined with masculine cognitions in the mind of the husband. The Writings call this union “the marriage of good and truth.” All good belongs to affections in the will and all truth belongs to cognitions in the understanding.

 

We know from the Writings that the Lord's purpose in creating and maintaining the universe is to populate the heavens with individuals born on earths. The greater the number of people in heaven, the more perfect it grows (xx). In other words, people in heaven continue to experience greater and greater perfection every day to eternity. The unit of life in heaven is the couple, not the individual, and all heaven is made of married couples. The angelic or conjugial couple is in actuality a single complete angel. Swedenborg witnessed a representation of this when he saw an angel approaching him from a distance, and when the angel was nearer he saw that it was a husband and a wife. This visual representation confirms the idea of the actual internal unity of the married couple.

 

6. External And Internal Marriage

 

Changes of state are of one kind with men and of another with women, because, by creation, men are forms of science, intelligence, and wisdom, and women, forms of the love of these with men (CL 187).

 

Passages such as the above are seized upon by a man’s external masculinized mind, which wants to hold on to the idea that intelligence and intellectual pursuits is the arena of men while feelings and affections are the arena of women. By this affirmation men put themselves ahead of women in intelligence and wisdom while they concede that women are ahead of men in love and affection. This false and self-serving view turns their marriage into an inauthentic union made by man, not by the Lord. The union men want to make is the adjunction together of man's intelligence or wisdom with woman's “affectional predisposition,” as it has been called in New Church discussions. But this is not a true marriage because adjunction does not constitute conjunction. Before a husband is regenerated the wisdom he possesses is external, natural, and not spiritual. The passage above, and all others like it, refers to external states of marriage, which is the first phase while regeneration has not yet progressed to a significant degree. But afterwards in the second phase, internal states are described as exactly the reverse, as in this passage:

 

(a) The difference essentially consists in this, that the inmost quality in masculinity is love, and its veil wisdom, or in other words, it is love veiled over with wisdom, while the inmost quality in femininity is that same wisdom, the wisdom of masculinity, and its veil the love resulting from it.

 

(b) This second love, however, is a feminine love, and the Lord gives it to a wife through the wisdom of her husband, whereas that first love is a masculine love, which is a love of becoming wise, and the Lord gives it to a husband according to his reception of wisdom.

 

(c) Consequently, the male is a form of the wisdom of love, and the female is a form of the love of that wisdom.

 

(d) Therefore from creation there was implanted in both male and female a love of uniting into one (CL 32).

 

This passage has four sentences, which we marked from (a) to (d) in order to consider each in turn. Sentence (a) specifies the "essential" or inmost spiritual difference between man and woman. This spiritual organic difference is such as to allow the formation of an internal unity between a husband and a wife. No unity is possible between alike and alike for that yields only an external adjunction or co-location. Note that in order to create a structural unity there must be a particular kind of difference or relation between the two parts, so that they may function in unison like the heart and the lungs in the body act together in unison, each having its own distinct form, yet the two fitting together for joint operation as one. Sentence (a) specifies the organic structural relation in marriage by indicating that feminizing it consists in elevating masculine wisdom from external truth and reasoning, to internal, or which is the same, from the external mind to the internal mind.

 

A wife imbibes and appropriates her husband's intelligence and wisdom and then elevates it within herself, that is, makes it more interior, and then covers it over with feminine love. This is stated in sentence (b). Note this very important observation: In sentence (b) it is said that the Lord gives the wife conjugial love "through the wisdom of her husband." There are two ways of interpreting the meaning. One is that the wisdom mentioned here is the wisdom of the husband such as it is in the husband. But this is not in accord with the Doctrine of the Wife and its rationale. The other possible meaning is that the wisdom of the husband mentioned here refers to the wisdom of the husband that is now in the wife, and this wisdom is higher than the husband’s even though it originated from the husband. This means that the wife has conjugial love from the Lord when she unites the current wisdom in her (originally from the husband) with harmonious affections also in her, within which is the love from the Lord.

 

In this second interpretation it is clear that the wife's intelligence and wisdom is more interior than his, even though her wisdom originates with him. But it is given to the wife to take that wisdom of the husband within her and to elevate it by implanting it in her inner rational mind where it now functions at a more interior level than that of the husband from which it originated. The Writings say that this interior truth is represented in the Old Testament by Sarah, Abraham's wife, and by Rebecca, Isaac’s wife. It is celestial truth and is such as the highest angels have. Angelic unity of the married couple depends on the husband imbibing the wife's affections and the wife imbibing the husband's cognitions. This reciprocal and organic process gradually changes and perfects the cognitions and affections of both husband and wife in an endless process of deeper and richer union. This is not a static or one time process. When the husband imbibes the wife's affections, his cognitions must change accordingly in order to maintain the equilibrium of unity. He gains a deeper wisdom than before. When a wife imbibes her husband's cognitions, her new affections are more sublime than before. Swedenborg was very affected by this interiorized beauty whenever he was in the presence of angelic wives who were advanced in wisdom. The more husbands and wives love each other's reciprocity, the more they are conjoined in deeper unity. And this to eternity. What an amazing and wonderful reality! This is indicated in sentence (d).

 

Sentence (b) also states that the Lord gives the husband wisdom according to his "reception" of wisdom. What is the measure of his reception? Not his knowledge and intelligence, but the life he conducts according to these. This means the kind of affections he favors because people are led by their affections. The Lord is instructing husbands that if they favor the affections of the wife, then they are receptive of His Wisdom. Then He can give them that Wisdom to be as-if their own, and more of it to eternity. A husband can become wise only to the extent he is living what we knows to be true from his religion, and in the case of the Writings, this means loving the affections of his wife above his own. These are the affections wives have from the Lord and by elevating them above their own affections, husbands are living the doctrine they know and understand from the Writings. They are then receptive to the Lord's Wisdom.

 

As they receive deeper wisdom from the Lord, their wife imbibes it, elevates it in her interior mind, and receives new, deeper and more genuine conjugial love from the Lord. The husband now can imbibe her new affections--and the cycle of unity continues to grow and perfect itself forever. To imbibe the wife's affections and to favor them means that the husband must never disagree and always agree with his wife's affectional requests in all things.

 

7. Heresies Regarding The Husband's Wisdom

 

The Writings of Swedenborg contain the greatest scientific revelations ever made to humankind. The center of these revelations is that human emotions and feelings are arranged in a hierarchy from strongest to weakest, and the strongest at the very top is the intense desire to unite in marriage. This state of inner unition between a husband and a wife is the complete and pure human state of life. It is the angelic life of couplehood. This is the life Swedenborg witnessed with numerous couples with whom he interacted in the spiritual world and the heavens. The married couple is organically united in spirit or mind in a fashion similar to newly born Siamese twins who are physically joined in the body. Without knowing this internal spiritual reality, an inner union between husband and wife cannot be achieved. In fact, due to inherited evils, there is strong opposition to the conjugial union, especially by men.

 

In Conjugial Love Number 168-177 it is shown that a conjugial union is necessary for an individual to become whole and complete as a human being. A man and a woman are singly incomplete, the man lacking the love or affections his understanding needs to be whole, and the wife lacking the understanding or intelligence her love and affections need to be complete. It is stated that men are born to be “intellectual” while women are born to be “affectional.” The Writings also state that men are called wisdoms while wives are called affections. A woman is said to be the love of her husband’s wisdom. A man’s mind is born a form of understanding while a woman’s mind is born a form of love.

 

There is a temptation for men when they come across statements such as these in the Writings. From a natural perspective men prefer to think that they are superior to women in understanding the dynamics of life and the world, and therefore they feel that they should have the ultimate power to decide things relating to Church, government, business, and domestic affairs. In other words, it’s a man’s world and women have their appropriate place in it. The letter of Sacred Scripture in the major religions is written according to natural and cultural appearances so that men of every religion have found Divine justification for putting men ahead of women in many walks of life, if not all. This masculinized notion is a doctrinal fallacy. Husbands must let go of this persuasion or fail in their attempt to regenerate and become an angel with a wife in heaven.

 

In order to free oneself from this masculinized persuasion it is necessary to balance statements of Scripture with passages that say just the opposite. For example, in the symbology of the Writings, Abraham represents Divine Love while his wife Sarah represents Divine Truth. This correspondence is repeated in other Biblical couples such as Rebecca and Isaac. In the story of Hagar and Ishmael in the Old Testament we are told that Sarah asked Abraham to banish Hagar and her child Ishmael from the household, an idea to which Abraham balked. So God appeared to him and commanded, “all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice” (Genesis 21:12).

 

"Husband," when mentioned in the Word, signifies good, and "wife" then signifies truth. It is otherwise when the husband is called the "man;" for then "man" signifies truth, and "wife" good  (AC 2517)

 

In the spiritual church the wife represents good and the man represents truth, but in the celestial church the husband represents good and the wife truth; and-what is a mystery-they not only represent, but also in all their activities correspond to them. (AC 4434)

 

This is another example showing that the intelligence of a wife is higher or more discerning than her husband’s, and that a husband should be obedient to his wife for the sake of conjugial love. Abraham’s idea in his own external mind is to think that Ishmael is his son, and so he is disinclined to listen to his wife when she tells him to get rid of him. Sarah’s more interior perception can see that Ishmael is not the one, that Isaac will be the inheritor, and that leaving Ishmael to hang around will threaten Isaac’s God given mission. If Abraham is going to advance to his inner rational state he must disregard his own inclination and external reasoning, and submit to his wife’s more interior perception and spiritual understanding which she has from the Lord. This exchange in the Old Testament represents the Doctrine of the Wife, which is summarized by the Divine commandment to husbands: “Hearken unto her voice.”

 

And behold Isaac was laughing with Rebekah his woman. That this signifies that Divine good was present in Divine truth, or that Divine good was adjoined to Divine truth, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Divine good of the Lord's rational (n. 3012, 3194, 3210); from the signification of "laughing," as being the love or affection of truth (n. 2072, 2216); and from the representation of Rebekah, as being the Divine truth of the Lord's rational (n. 3012, 3013, 3077). Hence it is evident that "Isaac laughing with Rebekah his woman" signifies that Divine good was present with Divine truth. (AC 3392) (italics added for emphasis)

 

The reason for the apparent contradictions as to the intelligence and wisdom of men and women has to do with the fact that the internal and external mind is in an inverse relationship. Intelligence of the external kind is a lower form of intelligence, less spiritual and celestial, in comparison to the intelligence of the interior mind. Conjugial union is the joining of the internal mind in which the intelligence of women is more internal than the intelligence of men. This allows men to escape their inherited lower state of masculine independence and evolve into a new higher state of conjoint dependence. This is the angelic state of life.

 

A sermon by Rev. Geoffrey H. Howard titled "The Transformation of a Man into a Husband and a Woman into a Wife through Marriage" appeared in New Church Life, June 2001 issue, pages 243-248. We will use this article to illustrate some doctrinal issues in relation to the Doctrine of the Wife. The literal of the Writings can lead to misconceptions unless contextualized in relation to the Doctrine of the Wife or other passages in the Writings. In other words, articulating the Doctrine of the Wife and applying it to interpret the literal of the Writings avoids the heresy of believing that men’s intelligence in forensics and in spiritual instruction is superior to women due to men's wisdom, which women cannot attain. It is difficult to avoid this heresy without the Doctrine of the Wife.

 

It is customary to make a statement of denial in relation to the heresy of the superiority of men over women. Rev. Howard states it this way:

 

It is important to take teachings such as these in their proper context. Some have read into such teachings in Conjugial Love the erroneous notion that masculine virtues are extolled over those of the feminine. Nothing could be further from the truth

(NCL, June 2001, p.244).

 

Every New Church person needs to struggle with an apparent paradox in the Writings. Certain passages appear to suggest that men are superior to women with respect to wisdom. Rev. Howard refers to one of these from Conjugial Love:

 

“We say that masculinity cannot be converted into femininity, nor femininity into masculinity, and that after death a male is consequently still a male, and a female still a female. (…) The difference essentially consists in this, that the inmost quality in masculinity is love, and its veil wisdom, or in other words, it is love veiled over with wisdom, while the inmost quality in femininity is that same wisdom, the wisdom of masculinity, and its veil the love resulting from it. This second love, however, is a feminine love, and it is given by the Lord to a wife through the wisdom of her husband, whereas that first love is a masculine love, which is a love of becoming wise, and it is given by the Lord to a husband according to his reception of wisdom.” (CL 32)

 

Rev. Howard concludes:

 

From this we can see that the reception of masculine wisdom depends upon a man's willingness to look to the Lord and shun as sins against the Lord the evils that may tempt him. Thus we can see that a man does not automatically receive wisdom because he is a male. He receives it only by honoring the Lord through living according to His commandments.

 

Following The Lord's Commandments Through One’s Wife

 

How does a man live according to the Lord's commandments? One might think at first that the husband has that power from the Lord independently of his wife. Can a husband live according to the Lord's commandments from his efforts apart from the wife or can he do this only through his wife? Could it be that the husband cannot follow the Lord's commandments unless he does so through his wife? How else can the mind of each grow into reciprocal form that can fit into a unity of mind or spirit? This conjoint growth process was described above as a four-step interaction repeatedly made with each other on a daily living basis. What would happen if the heart said to the lungs, “I’m superior,” while the lungs, speaking in unison, retort, “We are superior.” One angel in heaven is made of a husband and wife interacting continuously as a conjoint unity. Swedenborg was witnessed this phenomenon while speaking to an angel husband in heaven who had invited him in to discuss the subject of wisdom:

 

I saw inside that the building was divided into two sections, and yet the two were still one.  It was divided into two sections by a transparent partition, but it looked like one room because of the partition's transparency, which was like the transparency of the purest crystal. I asked why it was arranged like that.

 

The receptionist said, "I am not alone. My wife is with me, and though we are two, yet we are not two but one flesh."

 

To which I replied, "I know you are wise, but what does a wise man or wisdom have to do with a woman?"

 

At this, with some feeling of annoyance, the receptionist's expression changed, and he stretched out his hand, and suddenly, then, other wise men were present from the neighboring buildings. To them he said with amusement, "Our visitor here says he wants to know what a wise man or wisdom has to do with a woman!"

 

They all laughed at this and said, "What is a wise man or wisdom apart from a woman or apart from love? A wife is the love of a wise man's wisdom." (CL 56)

 

Rev. Howard recognizes that women’s wisdom is more interior, therefore, higher, than a man’s:

 

Feminine wisdom, or perception, does not easily lend itself to description because it is of a more interior nature than is the wisdom given to a man (...) They are entirely different in quality and nature, yet complementary to each other.

(NCL, June 2001, p.245)

 

From the perspective of the Doctrine of the Wife it is not enough to say

 

(a) that masculine and feminine wisdom are different; and

(b) that they are complementary.

A conclusion must follow:

(c) Therefore the husband should elevate the wife's judgment above his own.

Another way of saying this is Rule 1 for conjugial husbands, as discussed frequently throughout this volume:

 

RULE 1:

The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.

 

(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)

 

Without this conclusion, the literal of the Writings may be misinterpreted. The husband's wisdom may indeed be elevated even to the highest heaven, but he cannot appropriate it to himself. His wisdom falls back quickly to the level of his love or affections, which are in hell for all who are unregenerate. The Writings make this comparison referring to the natural man before he is regenerated:

 

He is also like an adulterer who hides a harlot in a room below, and in turn ascends to the highest story of his house, and there in the presence of his wife talks wisely with visitors about chastity, and again steals away from the company and satiates his lust with the harlot below (TCR 590).

 

This comparison is said about every husband whose internal spiritual mind has not yet been opened through regeneration. Husbands can elevate their intellect into doctrinal things of the Writings while they are studying and applying themselves piously. Then they descend from the lofty heights of studies and interact with their wife, abusing them mentally, discounting their intellect, holding the wife's judgment as nothing in comparison to their own, and other such indignities, which they think nothing of. And this is done repeatedly, daily. There is no regeneration possible for them so long as this pattern in their life continues to rule their interactions with the wife.

 

Rev. Howard cautions that the wife’s love of her husband’s wisdom does not mean that she also loves his evils:

 

No wife can love a proud or conceited husband. (...) The attraction he feels [as he is drawn to her by love] has the effect of subduing his proprial pride. (...) Through the influence of her love his mind becomes elevated and aspires to a new idealism that no longer looks inward. He feels an incentive to live in a manner worthy of her love and respect. Through her influence he is withdrawn from his fallen proprium. By living a principled life of service to his wife, family and others, he begins to receive a degree of wisdom which will draw the affections of his wife

(NCL, June 2001, p.247).

 

The husband must make progress in his regeneration or character reformation, for without this there is no wisdom in him that the wife can love. According to the Doctrine of the Wife the only way a husband can improve his wisdom is by elevating his wife's judgment above his own. This is “living a principled life of service to his wife.” Unless this is the case the husband is drawn away by his proprium or inborn egotism and cleaves to his idols rather than his wife. It’s not enough to respect the wife and consult her in matters of importance, though these external rituals are required. If there is no commitment to the Doctrine of the Wife the husband can be drawn away by his masculine proprium and decide to exercise a veto power over the “joint” decision making process.

 

Consulting the wife in matters of importance still allows the husband to override her point of view or desire in the matter. And he will exercise this power when he is tempted, which means he cannot loose himself, cannot change his character, cannot regenerate, cannot form a union with the wife, cannot become an angel.

 

But if he commits to the Doctrine of the Wife he cannot permit himself to exercise veto power or override his wife’s affections in any matter whenever he is inclined to do so for whatever reason or rationale. He can only compel himself to be obedient to the Heavenly Doctrine for this is the Lord’s Two Great Commandments rolled into one. By loving the wife above himself, the husband loves his closest neighbor, and he thereby simultaneously loves the Lord because this love for his wife and her love for him is conjugial love, the love in which angels are in heaven. The Writings teach that it is the Lord’s most passionate desire that He be able to create as many angel couples as we let Him, for this is the purpose for which He created the universe and maintains it in order to perpetuity.

 

It is believed that if the husband applies himself to following the commandments, his wisdom will grow from the Lord, and the wife will be able to love his wisdom even more, and thus the couple is conjoined. But this contains a dubious assumption, namely, that the husband gains wisdom from the Lord apart from his wife, through his own independent effort and striving to follow the Lord's commandments, and then the wife can love this new wisdom in him. But the Writings specify that a husband receives new wisdom from the Lord only in proportion to his love. Striving to improve in itself is not sufficient for the husband to receive more interior truths from the Lord. This is because the striving is from his proprium. His only salvation is to love the wife's judgment and perception above his own, to love the wife's wisdom above his own. Then his love will be elevated because her wisdom is more interior than his. This higher love can now receive more interior wisdom from the Lord. This is the genuine new wisdom, which the wife takes into her inmost and from which she brings out a feminine veil of love that covers her.

 

There are, in consequence, two loves in a man, one of which is the love of growing wise, which comes first, and the second of which is the love of wisdom, which comes afterwards. But if this second love continues on in a man, it is an evil love, and is called conceit or love of his own intelligence. It will be established later that to keep this love from destroying man, it was provided from creation that this love be taken from him and transferred into woman, so that it might become conjugial love, which makes him whole again. (CL 88).

 

8. Feminine Love Within Which Is Masculine Wisdom

 

It is this feminine love within which is masculine wisdom that makes the atmosphere of heaven in which the angels live in blissful splendor to eternity. Couples here on earth in which the husband is committed to the Doctrine of the Wife and lives it, are internally in this heavenly atmosphere. Their conjoint spirit is actually in heaven.

 

I have often asked myself this question: What does it mean when the wives of New Church men feel themselves inadequate with respect to Doctrine, do not write articles about it, do not participate actively in doctrinal debates, receive the doctrinal lessons from men, and have the attitude that creating and interpreting Doctrine is for the men. What does such a state of affairs in a religious community tell us about gender relations and conjugial love in that community?

 

There are two types of explanations. One type takes the position that Doctrine is for men, primarily, especially formulating Doctrine and interpreting the Writings as Doctrine. The other type takes up the position that Doctrine is separate from priesthood. For instance, an evil or insincere priest can perform sacraments but can’t create genuine doctrine (AC 9180). An evil man can create only false doctrine because he creates it from his self-intelligence. He is no motivated to understand the Writings for the sake of truth, but for the sake of dominion. Therefore the Lord can reveal not a single genuine Doctrine to his mind. He will teach only false and adulterated doctrine.

 

This proves that being a priest and performing the sacraments for the community does not necessarily go with being good and, therefore, having truth in the doctrine they formulate.

 

It stands to reason therefore that a priest has no special authority to create Doctrine for the Church. The Writings say that priests ought to teach the Word in sermons and classes (NJHD 315). It doesn’t say that that what they therefore teach will be genuine Doctrine. This depends entirely on his state of regeneration (LIFE 39). A priest has no special inspiration to formulate genuine Doctrine when he is in evil, for falsity goes with evil, not truth. Since we never know whether an individual is internally in good or evil (CL 523), we cannot automatically assume that any priest’s teachings of doctrine are genuine or false—it could be either. If we merely accepted what a priest teaches out of authority for his position, we are precipitated into persuasive faith, and this is deadly for it leads to no belief at all when we arrive in the afterlife with that kind of faith (NJHD 117)

 

So priests ought to encourage people to study the Writings and accumulate their Doctrine from it. This is the only protection the sheep have from the wolves—their own reformation, that is, their acquisition of knowledge from the Writings and the use of this Doctrine in their daily willing and thinking. This is the only way to develop genuine Doctrine for each New Church mind. The motivation to “save souls” that attracts many priests to religious service is not to be interpreted as the ability to save souls, for only the Lord has this ability. Neither does the Lord give this ability by proxy to the priest (AE 206). The priest does not have the ability to save anyone. Therefore the motivation to save souls is in reality the motivation to help others in accepting the process of reformation, then helping them in undergoing the process of regeneration. This is when priests are motivated to save souls (xx). And since reformation and regeneration depends on forming genuine spiritual Doctrine in our mind, this is what the priest is to teach. Not: saving souls by teaching them Doctrine, but: teaching them the means by which they are to form Doctrine for themselves.

 

He who loves the ends also loves the means (AE 1144). Since the end in view is reformation and regeneration through forming Doctrine and living it, therefore teaching how to form Doctrine is the priest’s primary work of saving souls. Primary, because no one is saved by sacraments, but only by regeneration (LJP 216). And no one is regenerated without willing and thinking Doctrine from one’s as-of self comprehension (AC 47, 233, 1712, 2877, 5664, 10299; NJHD 148; DP 102; CL 82; SE 5958; LJ 299; AE 864). Clearly therefore, the New Church mind cannot be formed unless we form Doctrine for ourselves (AC 6822). And this Divine commandment applies equally to men and women.

 

I come back to the question I posed above: Why are we not seeing more doctrinal activity and involvement by women in the New Church? The fact that there is some such activity proves that women can be involved in doctrinal formations and are capable of doing it by studying the Writings on their own, just like any male man. Doctrinals articles appear from time to time in the General Church publications (e.g., New Church Life, Alpha Theta, and elsewhere). Men must become aware of the way they discourage women to be active in formulating the Doctrine of the Church. We must distinguish two separate issues and not mix them up: one is the issue of “women priests” and the other is the issue raised here: women’s contributions to Doctrine equally with men of the Church, whether priests or lay. These two issues must be separated because they are different and different considerations are involved. To mix them up is to play politics with the Word.

 

The priesthood may discourage or prevent women from becoming priests in the full sense. This is one issue. But the priesthood may not discourage women from actively being interested in doctrine and contributing to it. Regardless of the Church’s official position on the issue of “women priests,” the priesthood must always teach men and women how to formulate Doctrine for themselves out of the Writings. They must teach that there is no power of salvation in the sacraments they provide or in the doctrinal things they teach. They must teach that the only method of salvation is reformation and regeneration, and that this can be performed only by means of Doctrine each individual forms from the Writings in their own individual mind.

 

The attitude that Doctrine is primarily for men is present in all religions. Where I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family it was required that all boys start attending “cheder” (religious classes) at age four or five. But the girls were kept with the mothers learning domestic duties. This is clearly detrimental in the light of the preceding discussion. Other religions, both Western and Eastern, similarly keep women from active involvement with formulating Doctrine for the Church. There is thus a long standing generational bias to deny women what they need for their own salvation. What can motivate this except the hatred for conjugial love? This is a hatred all men have from inheritance and confirmation in life (see the following Sections below).

 

Of course we know from the Writings that the Lord protects all innocent people from being denied spiritual freedom. The women who are deprived by the dragons (AR 565) of their doctrinal rights and privileges are protected inwardly by the Lord so that their spiritual choices in life are protected. Outwardly, that is, socially and politically, women can be denied knowledge and legitimacy of forming Doctrine, and this results in great harm to the community. But inwardly, every woman is given by the Lord other secret means of reformation and regeneration. Women receive special perception from the Lord so that they have Doctrine written in their hearts, like we all do when we become angels in heaven (HH 25). This inward perception gives them wisdom, or the ability to perceive that a spiritual proposition is true or false. Men do not have this perception from the Lord so they must study as-of self and struggle with learning the Writings and applying it to their willing and thinking. In this less direct and more elaborated way, men too can form Doctrine.

 

The New Church mind is unlike any other mind in the history of the human race. It is the highest possible form of being a genuine human, as intended by the Lord in His New Creation. The proof is this: that the New Heavens based on the Writings are at the center of the heavenly geography or spiritual position in relation to the Lord (LJ 48). They are the closest to the Lord, hence are able to receive a higher life than any other angelic society. All other angelic heavens, regardless of religion, are further from the center and at a greater distance (SS 105; CLJ 68). They retain less of what they receive from the Lord because they have a more distance perception and understanding of Him. The love and closeness to the Lord is proportional to the type of truths we have about Him. Those who have more interior truths from Him receive in these truths a higher form of life. But those who have acquired less interior truths can receive a lower level of life that can live within these less interior truths. These differences are not to be considered with invidious comparisons since everyone who is in a heaven is in their fullness of being. No one in heaven can support greater bliss than they already have (xx). The differences are to be seen in terms of the endless variety of the human genius that is continuously being gathered from the endless earths in the universe. Variety is an image of the Lord’s Infinite Love and Wisdom, and also, it contributes to the perfection of the evolving humanity (for more discussion see Chapter 2 Section 7 and Chapter 3 Section 2).

 

And we are to remember this: that the level of life of the highest angels of the entire human race, now and into the future, is as nothing in comparison to the Lord’s Life, His Love and Wisdom (HH 273).

 

9. The Role Of The Wife In The Husband's Wisdom

 

One of the many biological facts revealed in the Writings is that the spiritual constitution of men and women is inside out and outside in relative to each other. This organic difference results in reciprocal roles for unition. Unition would not be possible unless the spiritual organic parts of men and women were reciprocal. Wherever the word "spiritual" is used, you can also think "mental" because the mind is the spirit-body that continues its immortal life in the spiritual world. At birth, the mind or spirit is born along with the physical body and is formed through social and natural experiences on earth.

 

Man was created by God so as to have his internal in the spiritual world and his external in the natural world. Thus he was created a denizen of either world in order that the spiritual, which is heavenly, should be planted in the natural, which is worldly, just as a seed is planted in the ground, and he might thus become steadfast and enduring to eternity. (TCR 14)

 

We are thus dual citizens, the physical body on earth and the mind or spirit in the spiritual world.

 

Man was created by God so as to have his internal in the spiritual world and his external in the natural world. Thus he was created a denizen of either world in order that the spiritual, which is heavenly, should be planted in the natural, which is worldly, just as a seed is planted in the ground, and he might thus become steadfast and enduring to eternity. (TCR 14)

 

When the spirit is disconnected from the physical body at the time of passing on, the spirit is then visible in its full form and beauty. Swedenborg has encountered thousands of individuals in heaven and they all are in the “flower of youth and beauty” or around seventeen or eighteen. The spirit-body is organically and functionally far superior to the physical body, even the body of a top fashion model or athlete that our society admires. Men and women appear in their ideal form in heaven, but in hell they appear deformed.

 

In order to be soul mates in heaven a wife and a husband must develop a character and personality other than what each was born with on earth. One of the startling revelations in the Writings is that the character of every child contains the cumulative evils of all its ancestors. It is also taught that no one goes to hell for the evils of another. We inherit the tendency and preference towards innumerable evils attached to egotism and irrationality (CL 202). But simultaneously we also inherit the power to oppose our evil tendencies and to reject the false philosophies within which these evils are immersed. The Lord in regeneration gives us this power. First, the Lord makes spiritual truths available to us in our external mind through education and instruction. Second, he gives us the power to live up to these truths, as we are tempted over and over again in daily living. As we struggle with our temptations and win victories over them, the Lord is able to open up our internal spiritual mind, which is in heaven. This internal mind then descends into the external mind where we become conscious of it. This is our tangible reward.

 

The process by which husbands are regenerated is not the same as what happens with single men. The wife plays a required role. This makes sense since the couple’s life in heaven is only through a conjoint mind. This must be developed on earth because regeneration is possible only while we are in the physical body. Once the spirit-body is liberated, its life then continues such as it developed while tied to the physical body. There is no “changing your mind” after you pass on. A regenerating couple on earth must therefore evolve and develop a conjoint mind through daily interactions. This is why it is required that the wife be involved in the husband’s regeneration. The wife’s role in the husband’s regeneration is determined by the biological necessity of their respective spiritual form. The Doctrine of the Wife specifies the kind of interactions that correspond to this form.

 

It has now been revealed that husbands are born conjugial unwillingnesses and feel the urge to rebel, to resist, to protest, to complain, and to withdraw. But the wife, strengthened by the knowledge of spiritual truth and reality, will remind him thus:

 

My husband, you know you cannot save yourself by yourself. You know the Lord has appointed me to lead you to heaven. To assist me in this task, the Lord gives me perception to see your inmost inclinations or affections, and the Lord gives me wisdom to defeat the pack of delusions and lies that you've surrounded yourself with and to which you continue to hold on. You have no choice. I'm waiting. The Lord and heaven are waiting. Get with it. Give up your pride and arrogance and listen to me. Do as I ask.  Etc.

 

This is the Doctrine of the Wife--talking sense into men that they may enjoy eternal conjugial bliss. It contains the idea that marriage is social, legal, and religious on the outside but spiritual on the inside. The external aspects of marriage may be called by the usual word "conjugal" but the internal spiritual aspects are called "conjugial." The extra “i” represents the elevation of the natural marriage into spiritual marriage. The Lord intends that we first form, build, develop the outside conjugal aspects of marriage and then, when this is solidly established, that we form, build, and develop the inside conjugial aspects.

 

Unity is to be achieved in both outside and inside aspects. Then the marriage is truly conjugial, blessed, and eternal. But the fact is that external unity can be achieved and then never go on to internal unity. Spiritually this is a disaster. Husband and wife are then on their own in regeneration, like single men and women. This is important to remember when a woman feels discouragement because her husband resists the work it takes to achieve inner unity. All is not lost for her, and though it's not possible to know this fully in advance, she can trust that the Lord will provide her with her true soul mate in the afterlife. A wife ceaselessly and courageously continues her efforts to unite herself to her husband, externally and internally, despite all his efforts to discourage and resist her. By doing this she makes it possible for the Lord to unconsciously prepare her conjugial mind from within in such a way that she in the afterlife can conjoin with a suitable man also prepared for her by the Lord.

 

10. Inventory Of Confessions For Husbands

 

To shun evils is to do goods (AE 803)

 

The Writings teach that “All of us are born with a tendency to every kind of evil, and if we do not partially remove evils by repentance, we remain subject to them, and if so cannot be saved.” (TCR 520) The Writings also teach "A mere verbal confession that one is a sinner is not repentance." (TCR 516). In order to repent and reform we must become conscious of each evil trait in our character in a specific way. This is the purpose of the inventory of evils inspired by the Doctrine of the Wife. The inventory is something we need to keep track of for ourselves. A public confession to anyone but one’s wife is not a requirement for repentance and regeneration. But because we don’t want to publicly discuss our evils of daily life is not a reason for not becoming aware of them ourselves in an objective way by self-witnessing and monitoring our moment by moment willing and thinking all day long. This kind of self-awareness takes practice to perform effectively just like any other discipline or task that you learn to do well. First, can you see yourself making this kind of confession to the Lord, to yourself, and to your spouse?

 

I husband, will circle the items that constitute my confession, which is that I have been engaging in these lowly acts on a regular basis and that now I wish to stop, by first, recognizing my brutishness, and second, holding it in aversion for the sake of the Lord and a heavenly life with my wife. One way I can show my honest intention is to print out the list with the circled items and to ask my wife to help me fill in what I have left out.

 

I also realize that it's not up to me to tell her to fill out a similar list for herself because our situations are not parallel, and for me to ask her to do that would be insulting her and thus contrary to the intent of this confession.

 

I also dedicate myself to maintaining these lists up to date so that I will write all those additional items that do not yet appear, but of which I'm guilty and become aware of.

 

In all this I realize that though I must do this as-of self, the power for my success is solely the Lord’s. I acknowledge that the removal of these evils is not something I do on my own and alone. Angles and spirits are present and intimately involved in every detail. The Lord manages and supervises this process in its every detail.

 

Now take a look at the list. It can be considered a behavioral Inventory of Confessions for husbands. You might like to adjust the style and particular content to fit your actuality. These items are for the most part the things I have noticed in myself, after much help and insistence from my wife. A few were added from other husbands who wrote to me. I numbered them for easy reference but I have not tried to order them or group them—though that might be a beneficial task as it increases consciousness of the inner affections that maintain these outward behaviors of conjugial evil, both inherited and acquired.

 

1.        I upset her by raising a topic at the wrong time

2.        In our conversations, I initiate most of the topics

3.        When we talk, I pursue my perspective on the topic rather than hers

4.        When I get upset in our exchanges, I raise my voice and put on a stern face

5.        When I'm under stress, I don't mind taking it out on her

6.        When I'm very angry, my body assumes a threatening posture towards her

7.        When I feel that she is driving me nuts, I stay away from her

8.        When I think she is not paying attention, I punish her by making her feel bad

9.        When I feel nagged, I think it's OK not to answer her

10.      If in a discussion, I feel that she is getting irrational, I put her down in my mind

11.      If I get annoyed at her, I don't mind showing it

12.      I refuse to take responsibility for her bad feelings

13.      I criticize her when I feel she deserves it

14.      I hate it when she pouts because of something insignificant I did to her

15.      I hate it the way she keeps bugging me when I won't do something her way

16.      Sometimes I think she is a bit lazy

17.      I think she tends to deliberately exaggerate our difficulties

18.      I often think it's unfair the way she mostly wants things her way

19.      When things get impossible with her, I just walk off

20.      When she leaves or comes home, she wants me to make a big fuss over her, and I hate it

21.      When she has PMS, I try to stay out of her way

22.      I don't mind embarrassing her in public if she gets on my nerves

23.      When I drive, I don't tolerate her telling me what to do

24.      I put my loyalty for our children ahead of my loyalty for her

25.      I show my impatience when I am shopping with her and thinking she is taking too long

26.      When I get mad at her, I stay mad longer than a few minutes

27.      When I make her cry, I wait more than five minutes to come to her rescue

28.      I let weeks go by without making her dance with me even though I know she wants to

29.      I let days go by without giving her a shoulder and neck rub even though she would want one

30.      I let a whole day go by without giving her at least one kiss or hug

31.      I often change topics without satisfying her

32.      I frequently conveniently forget something I agreed to do

33.      I neglect her and exploit her in many different ways

34.      I betray her in my mind by ridiculing her, belittling her, saying No to her

35.      I try to keep certain information about myself from her so she won't be able to get to me by using it to pressure or fight me

36.      I retaliate when she's just doing her conjugial job pointing to my resistances and lack of cooperation in conjugial unity

37.      I flatulate at my pleasure without consideration for her feelings or sensibilities

38.      I belch aloud in her presence without excusing myself, acting like a savage

39.      I expose her to my bad breath

40.      I expose her to my body’s unpleasant acrid odors from sweating and not washing

41.      I often present my scratchy unshaven face and irritate her skin and her sense of grace

42.      I touch her with dirty finger nails

43.      I let my nose and ear hair grow until they show despite her protest

44.      I walk around the house in dirty shorts and sneakers, not caring about what it looks to her

45.      I leave my clothes lying around for her to pick up

46.      I never pick up after her, expecting her to do that

47.      I don't launder my dirty clothes and often don't bother thanking her for doing it for me

48.      I am mostly oblivious to washing dirty dishes, leaving the kitchen chores to her

49.      I expect her to take care of the bills and then criticize her if she makes a mistake or is late

50.      I don't call her when I'm late coming home, ignoring her fears and insecurity

51.      I neglect to express my appreciation for a thousand little kindnesses she does for me all day long

52.      I don't mind staring at other women when she is with me, and I don't hide it from her (or else: and I hide from her).

53.      I stare at other women when she is not with me, without trying to remind myself that my wife wouldn’t like that

54.      I'm not upset if I forget to do something I promised her, and I don't try to own up to my mistake and make her feel better about it

55.      I fail to give her dependable and regular sexual satisfaction due to my incompetence

56.      I fail to massage her body every day, though she likes it, needs it, and feels it as closeness

57.      I sometimes criticize her body parts

58.      I fail to play with her hair, though she told me many times she likes that and makes her feel secure

59.      I often fail to comment appropriately on her appearance, clothes, jewelry

60.      I sometimes criticize her looks

61.      I make her wait when she calls me to the meal table

62.      I make her late when she's anxious to get there on time

63.      I often enter a room where she is and do not first acknowledge her presence

64.      I often show insufficient enthusiasm for her proposals, hints, plans

65.      I lie to her when I decide it's OK to do that

66.      I let her believe a lie sometimes to avoid an argument

67.      I don't laugh at her jokes or sense of humor

68.      I have not bothered to learn how to walk with her without bumping into her

69.      I have not bothered to learn how to drive without making her anxious about my driving

70.      I have not bothered to learn how to find something at home without asking her (e.g., a light bulb, a battery, a clean bed sheet, a tax record, etc.)

71.      I have not bothered to learn how to buy her tampons without having to ask her the size

72.      I have not bothered to remember what her doctor's name is and what medicines she takes

73.      I don't feel responsible for running out of things at house parties--that's her problem

74.      I don't feel responsible for getting us to a social engagement on time

75.      I don't feel responsible for keeping up appropriate social appearances and do all the expected rituals fro family and friends, like birthdays etc.--that's her job

76.      I don't feel responsible for planning and preparing for a party we throw--that's her job

77.      I don't feel responsible for taking care of Christmas gifts--that's her job

78.      I don't feel responsible for taking the cats to the vets for their shots, but I complain when she doesn't

79.      I make her responsible for overdrawing our checking account

80.      I don't feel responsible for taking our clothes to the cleaners

81.      I sometimes forget our anniversary date

82.      I often discount what she says and perceives, even though I know from the Doctrine of the Wife that she speaks and perceives from the Lord

83.      I raise my voice above hers to force her to relinquish her demand

84.      I am task-involved in discussing something with her, and pay little attention to how she feels during the discussion, simply ignoring her frustration and suffering

85.      I often ignore where a discussion was left off, so she gets the feeling it's hopeless because there is no cumulative progress--so she has to start from scratch each time

86.      I often forget things that are important to her that she doesn't want me to forget. Further, I don't act like my forgetting is a big deal and I act like she is a stickler or nag because she insists on remembering that stuff

87.      I don't try to find out what she thinks about many things because I don't make the effort to find out, so that she is left with the injurious feeling that I don't care about her and that I'm not interested in her

88.      I raise my voice at her and intimidate her physically (like throwing something, banging on something, or grabbing her with force, etc.) so that she feels fear from me as if I were her father or a stranger

89.      I criticize her, which makes her feel that I do not like her

90.      I don't always help her when she needs help, thus letting her figure it out for herself--which gives her the feeling of not having a friend

91.      I have sex with her without making up for my prior insults or quarrels--this makes her feel like a slut, but I act like it's not a big deal

92.      I use my male prerogatives to satisfy myself in sex without wanting to know or making the effort to find out, whether she has been satisfied

93.      I rebel against her desire to know my every move, and don't tell her details about my schedule, so she has to wonder where I am and when I'm coming home. And worse: sometimes lying about what I do or covering it up because I want to retain my independence, or because I decided it's not her role to keep tabs on my comings and goings.

94.      I resent her for wanting to micro-manage my time or activities and, going along with that resentment instead of fighting it as illegitimate and evil

95.      I involve myself with activities that exclude her automatically so she feels like her connection to me is broken, e.g., having a long conversation with an ex-girl friend; going to a bar with the boys and spending time there, instead of coming home to her; spending a lot of time at some hobby in which she cannot participate or in which I don't want her to participate; etc. etc.

96.      I embarrass her in public, or to her friends or company, or to the children; making a scene and spoiling the decorum and mood she wants to set or maintain

97.      I keep away from her at parties and gatherings, sticking with the men, avoiding the women's talk as disinteresting; or, if participating, then taking over and dominating the conversation or focus

98.      I don't mind letting a whole day go by without complementing her or her appearance or her work; taking her for granted, and making her feel that I'm taking her for granted instead of treating her like I think she is special, which is what she wants and needs

99.      I relentlessly pursue my topic, insisting on my opinion or judgment, suffocating her with my dominating power and rigidity and selfishness

100.   Sometimes I act like I don't want to have sex when she hints at it

101.   I refuse to give her veto power over what I want to wear, then embarrassing her by what I wear as if that decision is mine entirely

102.   I act disinterested in her aesthetic side so she ends up feeling neglected and needing friends who will give her attention

103.   I leave wet towels in the bathroom for her to pick up, like she were my slave, and then not acknowledging her charitable deed on my behalf

104.   I jab my fingers into my wife's ribs, and claim I'm just tickling, when really it's to make her flinch and struggle to pull away—a kind of obnoxious game violence

105.   I procrastinate in self-destructive ways (e.g. not getting forms filled out by a deadline, not taking care of needed repairs), then act like she's responsible for the remedies to the situation (like rushing to the post office for me, or making the phone calls to service people)

106.   (add your own)

 

You can see from the inventory of evils that the items are pretty universal and apply to every husband. You can also see that they are very specific and recur many times in the course of a single day. You can also see that there are thousands more that have not been written down. Many additional items are mentioned or described in Section 1 above and in the sections on disciplines below.

 

11. Six-Step Process For Removing Our Evils

 

The sequence of our moment to moment behaviors is made of three parallel or “simultaneous” levels integrated into a smooth flow: the motive, the reasoning, and the body’s actions. The motive is affective and resides in the will. The reasoning is cognitive and resides in the understanding. The body’s actions is sensorimotor and physical. Every single sensorimotor act is the effect, while the cause is the reasoning that is selected and driven by the motive. This threefold integration of the natural mind is like the threefold integration of the body, which corresponds to it: the heart and the circulation of the blood (affective; the will); the lungs and the respiratory system (cognitive; the understanding); and, the nervous system (sensory and motor activities). Clearly then, as we perform one of the behaviors on the inventory of evils, it is a threefold integration that allows us to perform it: our anti-conjugial motive or affection selects and drives the negative thinking about our wife, and the two acting to trigger the outward nasty, hurtful, and insensitive behavior. When we think of this integration we cannot dismiss these behaviors as relatively unimportant, due to family or cultural habits, and other such excuses.

 

Many believe that man is purified from evils by merely believing what the Church teaches; some, that man is purified by doing good; others, that it is by knowing, speaking and teaching such things as pertain to the Church; others, by reading the Word and books of piety; others, by attending churches, listening to sermons, and especially by approaching the Holy Supper; others, by renouncing the world and devoting oneself to piety; and others, by confessing oneself guilty of sins of all kinds; and so on.

 

Nevertheless, man is in no wise purified by all these works unless he examines himself, recognizes his sins, acknowledges them, condemns himself for them and does the work of repentance by desisting from them; and unless he does all these things as of himself but still in acknowledgment from the heart that he does them from the Lord.

 

[2] Until he does these things, the actions just mentioned avail nothing, for they are merit-seeking or hypocritical; and those who do them appear in heaven in the sight of angels like beautiful courtesans giving forth the offensive odor of their defilement; or like ill-favored women made to appear handsome by the application of paint; or like clowns and actors wearing masks on the stage; or like apes in human clothing.

 

When, however, men have removed their evils then the actions mentioned above are acts of their love, and they appear as beautiful men in heaven in the sight of angels and as their associates and companions. (DP 121)

 

Note well what the Lord is telling us here. Our evils cannot be removed unless we go through this sequence:

 

Examining the sequence of our daily willing and thinking

Identifying the evil behaviors at all three levels—what we will as our affections, what we think in our understanding, and what we execute in our outward acts

Acknowledging that if we don’t stop doing them, we go to hell (“condemning” oneself)

Repenting so that we can rationally see that they are selfish and evil

Desisting so that we no longer do them—in our willing, in our understanding, and in our outward acts

Knowing that the power to desist is from the Lord but that nevertheless we must struggle as-of self to bring it about

 

This six-step process must consciously be practiced as a daily and hourly discipline. If this seems exaggerated to you, ask yourself, what then is going to get rid of these evils in you? Are you relying on what the first paragraph says in the quoted passage above? Which lists these things:

 

Being purified from evils by merely believing what the Church teaches

Being purified by doing good things (as long as the good things outweigh the bad things)

Being purified by knowing, speaking and teaching things that pertain to the Church

Being purified by reading the Writings and books of piety

Being purified by worship in the Church (listening to sermons and approaching the Holy Supper)

Being purified by confessing oneself guilty of sins of all kinds

 

These are not going to get rid of your evils or neutralize them somehow. Only cooperation as-of self in getting rid of them will achieve the process, and without undergoing this process there can be no salvation and life in heaven. There are no exceptions! And how can the process go on if you don’t begin it and get it going? And is it not a most dangerous evil to postpone the beginning of it? Clearly then, you must make the decision to begin today, now at this hour!

 

He who leads a life of piety, and not at the same time a life of charity, does not worship God. It is true, he thinks of God, yet he does not think from God, but from himself; for he constantly thinks of himself, and not at all of the neighbour (NJHD 124)

 

Believing that you do not need to rid yourself of these evils in relation to your wife is called here a life of piety that is not at the same time in a life of charity. For charity to your neighbor refers to conjugial love to your wife, since this is the love that is to be placed above all other loves (xx).

 

God is loved when a man lives according to His commandments; and the neighbour is loved, when a man performs uses. In order therefore that a man may receive the life of heaven it is absolutely necessary that he live in the world, and engage in its various duties and vocations. (NJHD 126)

 

I did not struggle with my daily evils for many years. When my wife brought them forward I told her no one is perfect. When she asked me whether I think I can go to heaven with them, I replied that eventually I will get rid of them. When she pointed out that I do not know how long I have on this earth, I became anxious, but I still wanted to postpone getting rid of them. It was too much work, too soon, I felt. I can take it little by little, with more comfort, so the process doesn’t interfere with my pious activities studying the Writings and writing about it. But the passage above, and many others like it, should have told me that I do not love the Lord unless I obey His Commandments, and He commanded that we as-of self get rid of our evils so that we may be regenerated. And neither did I love my wife who is my neighbor in the house because I was willing to subject her to continued hurt from my evils. And neither did I love uses because loving self, willing to live with one’s evil affections, is not a use but contrary to use.

 

Hereditary evil derives its origin from everyone's parents and parents' parents, or from grandparents and ancestors successively. Every evil which they have acquired by actual life, even so that by frequent use or habit it has become like a nature, is derived into the children, and becomes hereditary to them, together with that which had been implanted in the parents from grandparents and ancestors. The hereditary evil from the father is more inward, and the hereditary evil from the mother is more outward. The former cannot be easily rooted out, but the latter can. When man is being regenerated, the hereditary evil enrooted from his nearest parents is plucked up by the roots; but with those who are not being regenerated, or who cannot be regenerated, it remains. (AC 4317)

 

We cannot be regenerated in the abstract or in the general. Only in the particular. And if we are regenerated in the particular, then we will have been regenerated in the general. Every particular evil in our affections is a spiritual fiber that lives on forever, unless rooted out by the Lord. And this rooting out or purification process is performed by the Lord—but only to the extent we cooperate, that is, we make lists of our evils, monitor their occurrence, and make a conscious effort to desist from it because it is contrary to the heavenly mind we must have to live in heaven. We have numerous such evils that we inherit and many more that we add prior to our reformation when we lead life in spiritual unconsciousness. Since there are these many thousands of evil affections we hold on to and enjoy, it takes years and years to go through them one by one. Clearly we cannot afford to postpone the process for one more day. And it is begun, we cannot afford to waste a single day in which we do not identify a bunch of them, and struggle consciously against them, thanking the Lord for supplying the power. And He is always willing, if only we are.

 

But what hereditary evil is, few know; it is believed to consist in doing evil; but it consists in willing and hence thinking evil; hereditary evil being in the will itself and in the thought thence derived; and being the very conatus or endeavor that is therein, and which adjoins itself even when the man is doing what is good. It is known by the delight that is felt when evil befalls another. This root lies deeply hidden, for the very inward form that receives from heaven (that is, through heaven from the Lord) what is good and true, is depraved, and so to speak, distorted; so that when good and truth flow in from the Lord, they are either reflected, or perverted, or suffocated. (AC 4317:[5])

 

Once again you can see from this passage that doing evil is the resultant effect of willing evil and the thinking derived from it. And willing evil is a love of the infernal or lust. It is something delightful to us. And note this very important statement: that the evil love in our willing “adjoins itself” to the good we are also willing, and therefore, corrupts it. The good we are doing, and the uses we are engaged in, are not genuine good because the evil we are also permitting in us, remains and corrupts unconsciously. Therefore we have no choice but to monitor our willing and thinking hour by hour and to go through the sex-step process outlined above.

 

12. The Marriage Of Good And Truth

 

Regeneration is the psychobiological activity of the Lord in our mind by which He conjoins His good to the truth we take in from His Word. When good is conjoined to truth in our mind, it is called a “marriage,” as in this passage:

 

There is, however, a marriage of good and truth in the cause, and there is a marriage of good and truth from the cause in the effect. The marriage of good and truth in the cause is a marriage of the will and the understanding, that is, of love and wisdom.

 

There is such a marriage in everything that a man wills and thinks, and in his consequent conclusions and purposes.

 

This marriage enters into the effect and, indeed, produces it; but in the process good and truth appear to be distinct, because what is simultaneous then produces what is successive. For instance, when a man wills and thinks about being fed, clothed, having a dwelling place, conducting any business, performing any work, or engaging in social intercourse, he first wills and thinks about these things, or forms his conclusions and purposes, simultaneously; but when he has reduced into effects what he has willed and thought, the one follows after the other; nevertheless, they continue to make one in his will and thought.

 

In these effects, uses pertain to love or good, while the means employed to furnish the uses pertain to the understanding or to truth. Anyone may confirm these general truths by particular illustrations, provided he clearly perceives what has relation to the good of love and what to the truth of wisdom, and also how these are related in the cause and also in the effect. (DP 12)

 

This says that the threefold integration of our behavior is called by the Lord a “marriage.” The outward act involving the physical body is nothing but an automatic effect of the marriage of our will with the understanding. In other words, every act, at both the macro and micro levels, is the child or offspring of our willing and thinking. This is the marriage the Lord is talking about to us. The Lord’s intent is to create a celestial marriage in our mind in order that we may become angels—for this is His utmost desire, as He often reveals it in all Three Testaments of His Word. But in the Third Testament of His Second Coming He can at last reveal the rational principles by which He governs the universe and our regeneration. And so it has been amply shown in many places in the Writings that affections in our will remain forever because they are spiritual fibers, and as such immortal and indestructible. And yet the Lord has provided that He can uproot them, lay them aside so they can have no influence on the new will He gives us. But this requires our active and willing cooperation, and He has explained in the Writings what this cooperation must consist of.

 

We have been discussing this cooperation process throughout this book, and especially in Volume 2. The Lord calls it a marriage between the good He gives us in our new will and the truth we acquire in our understanding from His Word, in the First Education of the letter, and then in the Second Education of the spirit, when we undergo reformation in adult life (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]). Now we can understand this process at first in the general only, and then after regeneration is on its way, we can understand it in a particular way. And this particular understanding refers to the thousands of acts of willing and thinking we do in an hour and in a day. These particular acts must be witnessed and condemned, ad discussed above. The self-witnessing of our willing and thinking is our reformation and our regeneration, therefore our enlightenment and salvation, but only when put up the inner struggle to inhibit them, to desist from willing and thinking all the old things that must be uprooted by the Lord. And He does it to the extent that we cooperate willingly and effectively, that is, sincerely.

 

The inventory of evils in our willing and thinking can only be identified and built up when we monitor our willing and thinking all day long, hour by hour. In the Lord’s providence, to which I can testify, it is a task that is most arduous at first, but after just a few years of practice, or three to four thousand days, it no longer feels arduous, and then we bask in the bliss of understanding the Lord’s Word that His Yoke is easy (xx). And we continue our struggle until the end, but we have our love in it.

 

… the Lord continually flows in with man with good, and in good with truth; but man either receives or does not receive; if he receives, it is well with him; but if he does not receive, it is ill with him. If when he does not receive he feels some anxiety (here meant by "distress of soul"), there is hope that be may be reformed; but if he has no feeling of anxiety the hope vanishes.

 

With every man there are two spirits from hell, and two angels from heaven; for man being born in sins cannot possibly live unless on one side he communicates with hell, and on the other with heaven; all his life is thence.

 

When man is grown up and begins to rule himself from himself, that is, when he seems to himself to will and to act from his own judgment, and to think and to conclude concerning the things of faith from his own understanding, if he then betakes himself to evils, the two spirits from hell draw near, and the two angels from heaven withdraw a little; but if he betakes himself to good, the two angels from heaven draw near, and the two spirits from hell are removed.

 

[2] If therefore when a man betakes himself to evils, as is the case with many in youth, he feels any anxiety when he reflects upon his having done what is evil, it is a sign that he will still receive influx through the angels from heaven, and it is also a sign that he will afterward suffer himself to be reformed; but if when he reflects upon his having done what is evil, he has no anxious feeling, it is a sign that he is no longer willing to receive influx through the angels from heaven, and it is also a sign that he will not afterward suffer himself to be reformed.

 

… for with those who are then in anxiety there is an internal acknowledgment of evil, which when recalled by the Lord becomes confession, and finally repentance. (AC 5470)

 

You can clearly see from this passage that reformation occurs only in adult life, and only if all along, in our youth, we allowed our conscience to survive. For there are many who squelch, subdue, and eventually silence all conscience within them from the Lord. This is the anxiety we feel when we observe our evil willing and thinking. The anxiety is the consequence of allowing the angels to stay near us in our decisions and reflections. In this way we avoid giving ourselves totally over to the evil spirits and creating a permanent association with hell that later remains.  The passage also shows that reformation in adult life depends on “the things of faith in the understanding,” which means, the Doctrine we take up from the literal of the Writings. This Doctrine in the understanding then is made spiritual by the Lord who opens our spiritual mind to the extent that we cooperate. The passage also shows how important it is to maintain a good education and social atmosphere for the youth who are in our charge. This means teaching them about how to resist the nonduality of culture and science in their social environment.

 

It is known that faith from love is the essential means of salvation, and thus is the principle of the doctrine of the church; but since it is important to know how a man can be in such enlightenment as to learn the truths that must constitute his faith and in such affection as to do the goods that must constitute his love, and thus can know whether his faith is a belief in truth and his love a love of good, this shall be told in its proper order, as follows: (AE 803)

 

This passage (more is quoted below) outlines the details of how we can cooperate in our regeneration by the Lord, for without this cooperation the Lord cannot regenerate. Note that we cannot be regenerated without knowing spiritual truths by enlightenment from the Lord. We cannot obtain spiritual truths from self or from the literal of the Writings, as shown in several places above. Spiritual truths only come to us by means of enlightenment from the Lord when we read the Writings and apply its Doctrine to our willing and thinking. Note also that we cannot cooperate in our regeneration by means of the spiritual truths we acquire but only by means of the affections we have for them. When we have an affection or love for the spiritual truths that we receive by enlightenment, then and only then, do we have the motive “to do the goods that must constitute our love.”

 

13. Shunning Sins, Doing Good, And Performing Uses

 

How do we know whether the affection we have for doing good is genuine, that is from the Lord and not from self? For both are possible! We can have a love for doing good to others and for performing uses that is from self, not from the Lord. That is, we can love to do good and perform uses for selfish reasons such as reputation, gain, or merit. This is not from the Lord, hence its is not doing good actually, and it is not performing uses actually. Hence the Lord is giving us methods by which to know ourselves, whether we do good and perform uses form self or from Him. Several are outlined in the continuation of the passage (AE 803). The numbers are in the original.

 

(1) Let him read the Word every day, one or two chapters, and learn from a master and from preachings the dogmas of his religion … and that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, … that the Word is holy, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death. (AE 803)

 

For the New Church mind this means that it is a Divine Commandment that we read the Writings every day. Also, that we receive our First Education in the literal of the Writings, called its scientifics (xx), from teachers and preachers, as well as from self-study. Throughout this education it must be believed that the Writings are holy and that all its dualities or spiritual truths, are the Divine Truth.

 

(2) Let him learn from the Word, from a master, and from preachings, what works are sins, and that they are especially adulteries, thefts, murders, false witness, and the others mentioned in the Decalogue; likewise that lascivious and obscene thoughts are also adulteries, that frauds and illicit gains are also thefts, that hatred and revenge are also murders, and that lies and blasphemies are also false witness; and so on. Let him learn all these things from childhood to youth. (AE 803)

 

This specifies what we are to learn in our First Education about the literal of the Writings: namely: which of our loves and deeds are sins. They include outward acts (“thefts, murders, false witness”), acts of thinking something (“lascivious and obscene thoughts”), and acts of loving something (“hatred and revenge”). Sins are therefore in our willing, in our thinking, and in our outward acts.

 

(3) When man begins to think for himself, which is the case after he has grown up, it must be to him the first and chief thing to refrain from doing evils for the reason that they are sins against the Word, thus against God, and for the reason that if he does them he will gain, not life eternal, but hell; and afterwards as he grows up and becomes old he must shun them as damned, and must turn away from them in thought and intention. (AE 803)

 

Note that we don’t begin to think from ourself until young adulthood when we are considered “grown up”—in today’s times and culture this means in our late twenties and early thirties. Even if you are born in the New Church religion, you do not begin your reformation until that time of adulthood. Until then our religion, worship, and understanding of the Writings are purely natural and do not yet have a spiritual internal. Internal worship is the only worship that saves (xx) and is the sole means by which we can be regenerated. Internal worship is by means of spiritual truths revealed by the Lord to an individual, to the extent that he is ready for it, that is, to the extent he is ready to cooperate with the Lord by fighting his sins. Those who pass into the spiritual world before the age of reformation must undergo this process in the world of spirits (xx).

 

But in order to so refrain from them and shun and turn away from them, he must pray to the Lord for help. The sins he must refrain from and must shun and turn away from are chiefly adulteries, frauds, illicit gains, hatreds, revenges, lies, blasphemies, and elation of mind. (AE 803)

 

Note that we must acknowledge that it is the Lord who is withholding us from evils but that we are to struggle as-of self to do this. The Lord cannot remove our evils unless we struggle as-of self to do this. Note also that these evils are in our behaviors and acts at all three levels, outward and inward. To will evil is an act. To think something obscene is an act. These inward acts are just as necessary to remove as the outward act. Generally in society, from a social and legal point of view, outward acts are more important to regulate, while inward acts are left to one’s freedom. But spiritually, the reverse is true. Inward acts are more important because the rule over the outward acts. “Hatreds” are acts of hating; blasphemies can be outward or inward acts, or both. Adulteries can be merely cognitive acts, like enjoying watching obscene movies or enjoying daydreaming about sexual acts that are forbidden or scandalous when performed outwardly. Illicit gains include the thought of cheating but not doing it out of fear of repercussions. Note that it is not the occurrence of these thoughts or feelings that is the sin, but our approving of them, that is, not shunning them.

 

(4) So far as man detests these evils because they are opposed to the Word, and thence opposed to God, so far there is granted him communication with the Lord, and conjunction is effected with heaven. (AE 803)

 

Conjunction with heaven and the Lord opens our spiritual mind by which we are regenerated. Note that this conjunction or communication only takes place when we detest our evils of willing and thinking. And further, to detest them because they are against the Writings, therefore against the Lord Himself.

 

For the Lord enters, and with the Lord heaven enters, as sins are removed; since these and their falsities are the sole hindrances. The reason is because man has been placed in the midst between heaven and hell, wherefore hell acts from the one side, and heaven from the other; therefore so far as evils that are from hell are removed, so far goods from heaven enter; for the Lord says:

Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hear and open the door, I will come in to him (Rev. 3:20). 

(AE 803)

 

The Lord desires nothing more than to grant us conjunction with Himself and heaven. But it says that sins hinder. He cannot enter until He removes our sins, and He cannot remove our sins until we allow it, for this is given to us by creation. Without this freedom we have of not allowing the Lord to remove our sins, we could never be regenerated and saved (xx). And so the Lord guarantees that we retain this spiritual freedom forever. Our spiritual freedom is achieved not from ourselves, but solely from being in balance between good forces from the angels and evil forces from the devils with which everyone is associated by the Lord so that they may have freedom of choice. And when sins are removed, “goods from heaven enter.” This refers to our new willing and thinking after reformation.

 

But if man refrains from doing these evils for any other reason than because they are sins, and are opposed to the Word and because thence to God, no conjunction of heaven with him is effected, because his refraining is from self, and not from the Lord. The Lord is in the Word, even so that He is called the Word (John 1:1-4), because the Word is from Him; consequently the conjunction of heaven with the man of the church is by means of the Word, as may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell ... (AE 803)

 

By means of the Writings we have conjunction with the Lord because He is His Own Word and Divine Truth. This conjunction is only in proportion to sins being removed by means of the spiritual truths of doctrine from the Writings. If we only have the literal truths of the Writings, the Lord cannot enter, cannot remove sins, cannot regenerate us and save us. And the Lord gives us the spiritual truths within the letter to the extent that we detest our sins because they are contrary to the literal of the Writings.

 

(5) So far, then, as man detests these sins so far good affections enter. Then so far as he detests adulteries so far chastity enters; so far as he detests frauds and unlawful gains so far sincerity and justice enter; so far as he detests hatred and revenge so far charity enters; so far as he detests lies and blasphemies so far truth enters; and so far as he detests elation of mind so far humility before God and love of the neighbor as oneself enter; and so on. From this it follows that to shun evils is to do goods. (AE 803)

 

14. To Detest Evils And Sins

 

To shun the evils within our willing and thinking is to detest them. To detest our evils is to do good from the Lord. To do good from the Lord is to be saved. Everything about our regeneration depends therefore on our willingness to detest our evils. This willingness is at first extremely difficult to muster because we love our sins and we are unwilling to detest them. Hence we experience spiritual temptations which are states of despair and inward suffering and dread. The inward pain is felt on account of our realization that we must give up our delights of sin because they are contrary to heaven. It appears to us in those states that we are going to lose all the value of living that makes it worthwhile. But after the temptation process is over, the Lord gives us inward peace (xx) and the strength to detest our sins. Nor can this be accomplished generally, once and for all initiation or baptism, but gradually over time, after many many temptations in everyday situations over and over again, each time with a slight but significant variation. This is what we must be willing to go through.

 

(6) So far as a man is in these good affections he is led by the Lord and not by self; and so far as he acts from them so far he does what is good, because he does this from the Lord and not from self; and then he acts from chastity, from sincerity and justice, from charity, from truth, in humility before God; and from these no one can act from self. (AE 803)

 

Our goal in regeneration is to lose self and gain the Lord! And when we have gained the Lord we have immeasurable improved our condition of life, our happiness, our fulfillment, as well as the happiness of others who benefit from our love of uses, and especially our wife, for the greatest of all uses and all happinesses is the use of conjugial union. Such are we from creation, that we complete ourselves as perfect human beings in our heaven, in the conjugial union, while all else is meager in comparison to this human state.

 

(7) The spiritual affections that are granted by the Lord to him who is in them and who acts from them, are the affection of knowing and understanding the truths and goods of heaven and the church, together with the affection of willing and doing them; also the affection of combating with zeal against falsities and evils and dispersing them, both with himself and with others. From this man has faith and love, and from this he has intelligence and wisdom. (AE 803)

 

Where do we get intelligence and wisdom, the two things men long for and in which they feel their fullness of being? This passage tells us that it is from faith and love that we get intelligence and wisdom. If we pursue intelligence and wisdom from our self-intelligence and self-motivation, we only get stupidity and foolishness, no matter how learned and famous we become in our generation. But if we pursue faith and love, then we get intelligence and wisdom. And what is faith and love that we are to pursue? How do we pursue them? It says in the passage that we get faith and love by doing these two things: (1) “combating with zeal” the many evil affections in our will; (2) acquiring Doctrine from the Writings in our understanding (“truths and goods of heaven”) to guide and direct our combats against our evil affections. From these two actions we have faith and love that gives us the intelligence and wisdom that is the fullness of our being as a man.

 

(8) Thus and in no other way is man reformed; and so far as he knows and believes truths, and wills and does them, so far is he regenerated, and from natural becomes spiritual. The like is true of his faith and his love. (AE 803)

 

The faith and love we have from our willingness to undergo reformation and regeneration, is a spiritual faith and a spiritual love. These two things cannot exist in the natural mind. The spiritual mind must first be opened by the Lord so that spiritual faith and love can exist within us, within our natural mind that is otherwise empty and infernal. We become spiritual when our spiritual mind is opened by the Lord. This is a psychobiological process of growing spiritual fibers that coil in a special way and form our spiritual-body which we need to live in heaven (xx). There is no other way that the Lord has provided for our regeneration. He uproots the old evil affections in proportion to how much new spiritual fiber we allow Him to grow in us (xx). If the Lord should implant spiritual fibers at a greater rate than He uproots the old depraved fibers, what do you think would happen? We would suffer the agony of death and be destroyed forever. Therefore it says that we are regenerated “so far as we know and believe truths.” To “know truths” refers to our study of the Writings and extracting Doctrine for ourselves. To “believe truths” refers to compelling ourselves in our willing and thinking all day long, to conform to the Doctrine in our understanding.

 

[3] If evils have not been removed because they are sins nothing that a man thinks, speaks, wills, and does, is good or true before God, however it may appear as if good and true before the world. The reason is that they are not from the Lord but from man, since it is the love of the man and of the world from which they are, and which is in them. Most people at this day believe that they will come into heaven if they have faith, live piously, and do goods; and yet they do not turn away from evils because they are sins, consequently they either do them or believe them to be allowable; and those who believe them to be allowable do them when opportunity is given. (AE 803)

 

This passage refers to a most dangerous and pernicious nonduality that can destroy our regeneration and spiritual life. It is the equity model of good and evil. It is the belief that our good traits can outweigh our bad traits, and since no one is perfect, everybody has flaws which must hen be balanced as against their good. In relationships this belief expresses itself variously as “I am the way I am. Don’t try to change me. Take me as I am if you love me. Ignore my weaknesses, focus on my strengths. Nobody is perfect. Who can be the one to throw the first stone. Who is blameless? Who doesn’t have faults? It’s human. Etc.” (See the discussion on Unconditional love in Chapter 6, Section 7.) But this and many other passages teach the contrary, that there is no compromise or equity or balance between good and evil loves. They are in a discrete duality.

 

Every single evil affection must be uprooted and not a single one can be taken with us into heaven. This can only be done when we shun our evils as sins. Why? Because, as it says, if we shun them for reasons of reputation, gain, or merit we shun them from self, and not from the Lord, all things from self are infernal (xx). But when we shun our evil affections and delights because they are sins, we shun them from the Lord since sin is an idea that is connected directly to the Lord: we sin against Him when we love our evil delights! And this makes His goods unavailable to us, as a result of which we enter the life of misery from which we can never escape to eternity.

 

But let them know that their faith is not faith, that their pious things are not pious, and that their goods are not goods; for they flow from the impurities that lie inwardly concealed with man; and externals derive everything that they are from internals. For the Lord says:

 

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside may become clean also (Matt. 22:26).  (AE 803)

 

There is no equity in spiritual things, no continuum between evil and good, no compromise, but only absolute truth and absolute good distinct from all evil and falsity. Religious worship and piety are nothing when we fail to undergo reformation and then regeneration. The “inside of the cup” refers to our evil delights and their many false beliefs. The “outside of the cup” refers to our religious and pious behaviors, thoughts, and prayers. It says that these are not pious and not good unless we are sincerely struggling against our evil delights and false beliefs. “Sincerely” struggling against them means acquiring effective techniques to combat them rather than leave it up to circumstance, hope, promise, or wish fulfillment. It requires a conscious focus and discipline on a daily and hourly basis to be effective and real. Do you not agree? The shunning of our evil affections as sins against the Lord must be a forefront activity for our day, every day, don’t you think? How else can we get rid of each particular and specific delight and belief or idea? There is no general forgiveness and dispensation or propitiation of our evil attachments (xx). It’s a matter of a psychobiological gardening—the uprooting of each bad plant and the implanting of a new plant in its place. No other method has been provided by the Lord from creation! This He repeats to us man times in all Three Testaments.

 

From this it can now be seen that if a man were able to fulfill all things of the law, if he should give much to the poor, if he should do good to the fatherless and the widow, and if he should also give bread to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, take in the strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and go to them that are bound in prison, if he should earnestly preach the Gospel, convert the Gentiles, frequent temples, listen devoutly to preachings, observe the sacrament of the Supper often every year, spend his time in prayer, and other things; and his internal has not been purified from hatred and revenge, from craftiness and malice, from insincerity and injustice, from the filthy delight of adultery, from the love of self and the consequent love of rule, and the pride of self-intelligence, from contempt of others in comparison with oneself, and from the other evils and their falsities; still all these works would be hypocritical and from the man himself, and not from the Lord. (AE 803)

 

The Lord makes a wonderfully helpful list of our evil delights—the spiritual fibers He must uproot for us, if only we Let Him. The first grouping is about religious, pious, humanitarian, and “spiritual” behaviors that are internally hypocritical because they depend and live from equity theory, or the cherished idea that our good traits and deeds outweigh our bad, so that we don’t have to struggle so hard against some of the evil delights we are unwilling to give up. This is the first grouping of our evil affections and thoughts that lead to damnation. The second grouping refers to the evil affections that we are unwilling to give up, that we are willing to keep: “hatred and revenge, craftiness and malice, insincerity and injustice, the filthy delight of adultery, the love of self and the consequent love of rule, and the pride of self-intelligence, from contempt of others in comparison with oneself.” Keep a list of these things and use it to organize the inventory of evils discussed above. These are the chief enemies of reformation and regeneration.

 

And yet these same works, when the internal has been purified, are all good, because they are from the Lord with man, and since the man is in the faith and in the love of doing these works he will do them as a matter of course. (AE 803)

 

There is no merit in doing good from the Lord. Doing good is to detest our evil affections, as discussed above. But note that it is not possible to do good except from the Lord, which for the New Church mind means that there is no doing good apart from the Writings, since it is the Lord in His Divine Truth. To do good from the Lord means that we compel our willing and thinking all day long to be in accord with the Doctrine from the Writings which is in our understanding.

 

This has been proved to me by a thousand examples in the spiritual world. I have there heard that it has been granted to many to recall the actions of their life in the world, and to enumerate the goods they had done; but when their internal was opened it was found to be full of every evil and the falsity therefrom; and it was then disclosed to them that the goods they had enumerated had been done from self, because for the sake of self and the world, and that they were full of evils from their interiors; and on this account they appeared either as if scorched with fire, or as if sooty. (AE 803)

 

The Lord has provided through the Writings all that the New Church mind needs to become a celestial mind capable of living in conjugial love in the New Heavens of the Divine Human. He is waiting for us to take the initiative to get there. He has provided only one way, which is, to undergo reformation and regeneration. He has explained how we are to do this, and if we obey, it will be well with us, but if we do not obey, it will be miserable with us to an unimaginable extent. Therefore the time to act is now! And the place to begin is with the wife, for she is the sine qua non of our success. She is the indispensable spiritual helpmate the Lord has created for our regeneration.

 

Chapter 2, Section 4

 

4. The surrendered wife vs. the surrendered husband

 

The Doctrine of the Wife is a religious and spiritual discipline for husbands. The wife has no actual power to control her husband. The main principle in the doctrine of the Wife is Rule 1:

 

RULE 1:

The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.

 

(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)

 

The initiative here is in the husband. It his voluntary decision to learn a new thing: to learn to love acting from his wife more than from himself. What happens when he does not take this initiative and actually opposes it ferociously? After all, this is the most common scenario with husbands: they oppose their own reformation, and by this, they oppose their wife’s desires and requests regarding his conduct and personality. If the wife then continues to take the initiative, the husband knocks her down, and the marriage turns into a hell. This is the theme of a new movement among wives started by Laura Doyle through her book known as “The Surrendered Wife.”

 

Here are excerpts from the Introduction of the book:

 

Why Would a Woman Surrender?

When I was newly married at 22, I had no idea I would ever call myself a surrendered wife. At that time, I would have been repulsed by the whole idea.

(…)

At first I treated him with respect and kindness because I was so impressed with him. Then, as his imperfections grew more familiar and glaring, I began correcting him as a way of trying to help him improve. From my point of view, if he would just be more ambitious at work, more romantic at home and clean up after himself, everything would be fine. I told him as much.

 

Needless to say, he didn't respond well to this. In fact, the more I tried to control him, the more strained things got. While my intentions were good, I was clearly on the road to marital hell.

(…)

None of us feels good about ourselves when we're nagging, critical or controlling. I certainly didn't. The tone of my voice alone would make me cringe with self-recrimination. Through surrendering, you will find the courage to gradually stop indulging in these unpleasant behaviors and replace them with dignified ones.

(…)

There was no single moment when the surrendered light bulb went off in my head. Instead, I changed little by little. I experimented, first by keeping my mouth shut and sometimes even my eyes when John drove. When we arrived in one piece, I decided that I would always trust him behind the wheel, no matter how strong my urge to control.

(…)

We were intimate again. Instead of keeping a running list of complaints about how childish and irresponsible he was, I felt genuine gratitude and affection for John. We were sharing our responsibilities without blame or resentment. Instead of bickering all the time, we were laughing together, holding hands, dancing in the kitchen and enjoying an electrifying closeness that we hadn't had for years.

(…)

The basic principles of a surrendered wife are that she:

Relinquishes inappropriate control of her husband

Respects her husband's thinking

Receives his gifts graciously and expresses gratitude for him

Expresses what she wants without trying to control him

(…)

If you're a wife who feels overwhelmed, lonely and responsible for everything, this book is perfect for you. If you can admit that you frequently or sometimes control, nag, or criticize your husband, then it is up to you and you alone to take the actions described here to restore intimacy to your marriage and dignity and peace to yourself. … The point of my journey was to give up controlling behavior, and to look inward instead of outward.

(…)

1. Do not surrender to a man who is physically abusive to you.

2. Do not surrender to a man who is physically abusive to your children

3. Do not surrender to a man who has an active addiction.

4. Do not surrender to a man who is chronically unfaithful.

(…)

If your husband doesn't fall into one of the categories above, then you are married to one of the good guys. Not a perfect husband, but one who is capable of loving you and cherishing you one who has the potential to help you feel great about yourself and your marriage.

(…)

I know what I'm suggesting is difficult. I know it doesn't seem fair. It didn't seem fair to me that I had to work so hard to change while my husband continued to sit around watching television, but your husband will have to make big changes too. … He will have to listen to his own inner voice of conviction instead of relying on yours to tell him when he's not doing something right. He will need to use his own mind to figure out what's best for his family rather than reluctantly carrying out your subtle or not-so-subtle orders.

(Laura Doyle. “The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide to finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace with a Man” 2001 on the Web at

www.surrenderedwife.com/chapterone.html  Accessed June 2002)

 

This new philosophy is being acclaimed by many wives whose marriage became more satisfactory when they stopped trying to “control” their husbands and learned to act like a “surrendered wife.” The lesson I see in this is that a man has more power to make his wife miserable than the other way round. The “surrendered” wife gives up two things. One is her participation in negative interactions that are used by the husband to create a hell for her. This is no doubt a good thing for her and for their relationship. The other thing she gives up is her participation in initiating his reformation. This is not a good thing.

 

The wife has an essential role to play in her husband reformation. He is dependent on his wife for undergoing reformation and he is rarely able to do it on his own. The examples Laura Doyle gives about her “control” attempts include all the things that he should be listening to her, but refuses. It is his refusal, attitude, and punishing reaction that turns her interventions into “nagging” and “controlling.” She is only courageously insisting that he change his irresponsible, bad behaviors that are abusive, rejecting, and non-cooperative. The wife’s motive is not “control.” This is a basic misunderstanding of the surrendered wife proposal. This notion assumes that what the wife is trying to do is to control her husband. This is a misconception that men have foisted on women so that the men won’t have to change. Anytime a man thinks that his wife is “nagging” him or trying to “control” him, it is most likely not so. This may happen, but it is rare with the vast majority of cases. Wives are more honest and more skilled in relationships. They are given perception about what conduct in their husbands is injurious to their intimacy and love.

 

This motivation ought to be honored by the husband. And when it is, the husband does not feel “nagged” or “controlled” but helped along the way of reformation and regeneration. If the “surrendered wife” surrenders her role in his reformation, the external marriage may improve, as Doyle testifies, and others who have followed her. But the inner union is made impossible. For that union to develop, the husband must accept his wife’s role in changing him.

 

1. The Surrendered Husband is The Ideal Elevated Man

 

Men are unwilling to give up the male prerogatives or perks that society bestows upon them as a right and privilege for being a male man. I received this idea from childhood culture. My parents said it was better to have boys than girls. Boys carry the name and the blood line. Boys grow up to be men with power, fame, and riches. Girls were nice, but they were weak and you had to spend more effort at keeping them unspoiled so a man would want them. They also cost you a lot of money when you give them in marriage. Boys can protect you and take care of you. Yes, boys are trouble sometimes, but you have to give them a lot of slack. Etc. As a result, I was instructed by my parents before marrying that I be sure to “train” my bride right from the start to be subservient to me. She has to follow your word. A man must wear the pants and make the decisions. She has to serve you, cook for you, wash your clothes, look after you properly, like you deserve. And you have to let her know you’re expecting her to look fresh and nice for your, when you come home, anytime. She shouldn’t let herself go. You have to demand respect from her. Then she’ll love you and she’ll be happy, and she’ll take care of your children too. How astonishing to me now, as I list these factual realities of cultural gender arrogance.

 

The truth in the Writings has now been revealed: It is the opposite! It is the feminine perception and the feminine intelligence and the feminine beauty that is superior relative to men (xx). And so it is the feminization of marriage that sanctifies it and makes it a spiritual and whole (see Chapter 9 Section 1 above). One might wonder: Does this mean that it is the man who has to surrender to the wife—THE SURRENDERED HUSBAND? This would not be far from the truth, as long as you make sure to include the idea that it is another way of saying Rule 1:

 

RULE 1:

The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.

 

(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)

 

This is what makes the difference between subjugation, servitude, and dominion. Only love can fend away these inherited enemies. Rule 1 doesn’t say “Husbands must obey their wives.” Neither does it say “Husbands should listen to their wives.” It says: “Husbands are to love acting from the wife more than from self.”

 

If a husband behaves in a way that is pleasing to his wife, he is pleasing her, even if internally he feels emotional conflict and stress. This is the first step of learning to live by Rule 1. It is loving your wife more than loving yourself. This type of love is called celestial, and is the highest human love (xx). If this love is elevated by the husband to the highest position in his hierarchy of loves, he will behave to please her, and this always means firstly, to avoid displeasing her. Eventually he will no longer feel the inner conflict of rebellion when he is pleasing her. He will then act to please her, and love it. From then on he lives by Rule 1, the celestial life on earth. He is conjoined as one from within with his wife. Of the two, they make a one—the conjoint self (see Chapter 9 Section 4 below).

 

This is the “surrendered husband”—the elevated true man of creation, who loves the feminine sphere of his wife’s affections more than the masculine sphere of his own affections.

 

The “surrendered wife” is the man’s exploitation of the woman, as a result of which he fails to attain his true self, the self into whose perfection he was created. A man can reach his perfection in the state of being an elevated husband, which is defined as a husband who has learned to love acting from his wife’s affections more than from his own. The man is then a celestial mind, conjoint to the wife from within. Her life is his life because affections is nothing else than life itself in human beings. He then acts from his wife within him. Note how different this is from acting from the wife from without!

 

If a man acts from his wife from without, he is not a man but a zombie under the woman’s control. She thereby becomes infernal, and he as well, because only voluntary submission can create the zombie relationship with someone. The Lord guarantees freedom of choice moment by moment for every individual in the universe. If a husband becomes a zombie, he maintains himself in that state voluntarily, by his own falsifications of truth or reality. This is acting from the wife from without—she is standing there, with her hands on the hips, staring him down, and giving him orders to prove to herself that she can dominate him. This is an infernal couple. But it’s altogether different when the husband acts from the wife from within.

 

The expression “to act from the wife from within” means that the husband loves her affections and appropriates them to himself. Now the wife’s affections are within him. Now he acts from the wife’s affections from within. This kind of action is possible only from love of her affections. And what is loved, one chooses freely and voluntarily, in freedom (xx).

 

2. The Self-Entrapment of Male Intelligence

 

I agree on this with Laura Doyle and the many enthusiasts she seems to have among married women: It’s far better to be treated in a civilized way by one’s husband than in an abusive way.

 

What a relief these women feel when their man suddenly stops the heavy handed punishing treatments and abuses, verbal and physical, social and psychological. But he still holds it on top of his wife’s head, like a sword of Damocles, ready to fall on her head if she should step over a line that he defines.

 

This is an external improvement, like what the citizens experience when a dictator of a country passes away and is replaced by a democracy. Yes, being treated with due human rights is a start. Look what it took for the man to stop making a hell for his wife: Her surrender! He is now back with his male privileges and prerogatives! She is now treated a little better, but at what ultimate cost?

 

The wife’s surrender in order to achieve peace, romance, and respect is similar to the psychology and politics of blackmail, family style. The man says to his wife: “I will stop abusing you and neglecting you if you turn yourself into a surrendered wife.” And she has no choice but to accept, or else see no end to the abuse. She has no recourse because the man she is tied to by external marriage bonds, has closed off the interior relationship between them. Yet the interior marriage relationship is the wife’s life roots, the wellspring of her happiness and fullness of being. This is why she is married: To unite herself from within—feelings, thoughts, futures. She is the genuine married partner while he is the bogus husband, one who does not treat her lovingly, but tortures her instead. She feels like a lamb chained to a wolf who at any moment he wishes, can pounce on her and annihilate her lifeline.

 

The husband sees himself adjoined to her in the exterior physical and social domains. She sees herself conjoined to his interior psychological and emotional self, his hopes and aspirations, his dreams and perfectionism, his intelligence and power of reasoning. She loves all of these because they are his, and unites herself to them, which means, she takes these things within herself as she takes his semen into her birth canal. But the husband in contrast spews out his wife’s affections and walls himself off to be sure they don’t get to him. He will not appropriate them. His wife’s affections are his pet peeves, the bane of his marriage. It is on account of her affections that he denigrates her, calling his wife a nag, the moment her affections touch him. He acts like he wants to shake them off, like so many worms clinging to his body. He hates conjugial love because he is born with hell within him.

 

And hell hates nothing more fiercely an insanely than the idea of conjugial love. When an infernal sees a an angel couple, and receive a whiff of their conjugial sphere, they fly into a maniacal frenzy in an attempt to tear apart and squash the couple. But as they approach nearer to the angel couple, the infernals are seized with such anxiety and terror, that they cast themselves back down into hell. This was witnessed by Swedenborg in the spiritual world where the angel couple had descended (xx).

 

Such is the husband’s inherited opposition to internal unity with his wife. Such an internal unity with the wife REQUIRES that he love her affections!

 

But he hates her affections and finds them obnoxious and unpleasant, grating and nagging on his nerves. This hatred of her affections is what his lower outward self expresses as abusive behavior, emotional coldness, uncaring, and independent. She desires to tie him to her, for this is the internal unity. He is revolted by the idea and makes him suffocate. He feels all the joy of his life squeezed out of him when her affections touch him. He then feels like he’s been burned and denigrated. He lashes out against this hated foe called his wife’s affections. And she wonders “Why? And how can he be such a beast, such a hypocrite, so self-destructive of his own elevated happiness, who he was created to be, whom I fell in love with? O, O Where is my true husband who has been hijacked by this rude and gross man pretending to be my husband. How long Lord?”

 

So now that she is a surrendered wife she sees her inner striving for conjunction with him closed off. The door has shut!

 

How could it be otherwise? He still wants her to obey him! This is the death of the conjoint couple, the celestial ideal creation that makes up one celestial angel. As long as the husband wants his wife to obey him, the interior door is shut tight. She is excluded in an absolute way. It feels to her like death. Now it’s her husband and God, forming an alliance against her. She is the third person. First comes himself. Then comes his God. Then comes her. This is the hierarchy in his mind, the idol he worships, or claims to, for convenience and perks. By the wife “obeying him,” he means that he wants her to act against her own wishes, her own best sense of what their relationship needs! She is the expert who can see the relationship in a rational way since conjugial love imparts the perception to the wife (xx). Her inner desire for conjugial love is the source of her perception form the Lord. The Lord gives her conjugial love, and then he can have it to the extent that he loves her affections (xx). When he doesn’t love her affections, she is powerless like a fish before a steamboat, or like a tomato on the road before a truck.

 

She feels disjointed, rejected, abandoned for the sake of an external politically motivated physical and social intimacy, but not a spiritual intimacy. What she craves for is a spiritual unity, which means that he loves her affections, appropriates them as his own, then acts from her, now within him. It’s a process that continues and repeats itself endlessly so that she is in the fullness of perfection of her being as a woman. A woman and a man are created reciprocals, in general and in every particular so that they may be united into one conjoint self.

 

Consider the wife who got into an accident on her way over to visiting her husband in the hospital, where he was waiting for a suitable donor to replace his worn out heart. The take her to emergency and before she dies she wills her heart to her husband. They perform the heart transplant and now he sits at home thinking about her. He lives because her heart is in him.

 

This story is parallel to the conjugial union which is established when a man adopts the Doctrine of the Wife and Rule 1 as a regeneration discipline. The wife dying represents his hatred for her affections. The wife’s heart that is now transplanted in him, represents her affections within him, because he now loves them. That she is no longer around physically because she has died, represents that she has resurrected in his mind as the conjugial wife. Since this is a spiritual unity, it doesn’t appear in the outside natural appearances.

 

Perhaps it is necessary for a woman to become a “surrendered wife” for awhile, as a phase in the marriage relationship. This may be imposed on her by the husband’s relationship blackmail mentioned above. But if there is going to be a heavenly marriage with these two, the man must become a “surrendered husband” as discussed above, since this is the state of perfection into which a man is created. This is his “elevated state.” This is the second phase, when the marriage turns into an inner unity between the willing and thinking of the man and the willing and thinking of the woman.

 

It has been revealed that a woman’s intelligence, wisdom, compassion, and grace is more abundant and inspired than a man’s (xx). A woman’s intelligence is celestial or the highest and inmost of human possibility (xx). A man’s intelligence is spiritual, which is a discrete degree below that of the celestial. A woman’s intelligence can therefore be compared to the noonday sun in the summer, while a man’s intelligence is like the light of the moon on a bright night (xx).

 

Since this is the created reality, it is rational and spiritual for man to love to act from his wife more than he loves to act from himself.

 

This means that the highest wisdom and intelligence of a man is that which he acquires for himself from his wife’s affections which he has taken up within himself.

 

Affections always determine the quality of wisdom and intelligence:

 

Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man. (DLW 362)

 

The affections in the will are called “love.” The unregenerate husband acquires all his wisdom and intelligence from his own affections. This intelligence opposes itself to the intelligence of his wife, which she acquired from her affections. In other words he loves himself and is sealed and isolated in himself. There is no entry point. His wife receives from the Lord conjugial love in her affections (xx). Her affections regarding him and the marriage are therefore heavenly. She now has to wait. At some unpredictable point he will decide to stop opposing and hating her heavenly affections. He undergoes reformation by means of the Letter of the Writings which he applies to his mind, bringing order out of disorder. Now he officially acknowledges to her that he is struggling to learn to love her affections so that he could act from her, rather than from himself. His Doctrine now confirms this process and he is officially ready to participate, to submit, to die, for the sake of being reborn an angel man.

 

He begins regeneration. He fights against his nature. He has to simulate friendship and enthusiasm as he painfully makes himself swallow her affections, like bitter medicine. As he persists in this struggle, the Lord enlightens him. He builds Spiritual Doctrine for himself whose power is so great that he sees himself a new creation. He loves to love his wife’s affections! He has been healed. He is now the elevated husband in training. He is happy. She is ecstatic. Soon they are both ecstatic. Ecstasy becomes the bliss of their life here on earth. They are forerunners of the new human race. The Alpha Couple. The angels are in bliss for they actively participate in this awesome makeover. Angels love nothing more than to assist in the birthing of conjugial love in a couple on earth (xx).

 

Now the new husband would not be able to support displeasing his wife, an idea that devastates him as if all his happiness were suddenly gone. He would always act from her affections, which means from her perceptions and perspectives, not his own. In this way he can be conjoined to her form within and be happy and wise to eternity.

 

But if the wife surrenders to him, he is once again entrapped in his own male intelligence and externality. It’s as if God had not created Eve as an help mate to Adam.

 

The husband cannot save himself and he cannot be saved by his wife, as intended by the Lord.

 

The future of this man is sorry and miserable. This fate is not something she contributed to. He is the one who forced her into the subservient status of a “surrendered wife.” He forced her by systematically wearing her down over years of strenuous effort. He made her feel scared, made her doubt herself, threatened her, ignored her, did not value her judgment or opinion. So she had no choice but to give up her most central role and task in life: To unite herself to her husband and thus to make him happy and alive from herself, from what she has in herself from the Lord. This is how the Lord intended it from the beginning and this is what the Lord once again will re-create, as conjugial love is to return to this earth through the Heavenly Doctrines (CL 130).

 

When the man acts from his wife’s affections which he has internalized (Rule 1), her life is in him like the organ transplant the husband received of his wife’s heart. Her life is within him because her life is nothing else than her affections (xx). His intelligence is now reformed by the new affections in his will. Her higher affections, which are from love and good, shape his new intelligence which are from truth and faith. He receives truth from the Lord as before, but the truth he now receives is far more interior and higher than before because he now has his wife’s affections in the will, and these celestial affections conjoin themselves with a more interior truth form the Lord.

 

The more the man loves his wife’s affections, the more he has got the celestial love within him, and the more interiorly he can receive Divine Truth from the Lord. When he has only his own affections in his will, the man also receives Divine Truth, but in a more external way. The Lord longs to be conjoined with the man more and more interiorly, as He is already conjoined to the woman through conjugial love.

 

3. Who Is Going To Do The Bills?

 

Recall again that “surrendered husband” doesn’t mean that she must now do the finances, the military service, and the paycheck! Equity is not what it refers to (see Chapter 9 Section 5). Rather, to be a surrendered husband means that he prefers to act from her more than from himself. If she says, “Honey, would you explain to me our finances?” he then strives to satisfy her. He explains as much as she wants to know and tries to respond to her inner emotions and intentions so she can feel that he is with her and for her. That’s what she wants, that’s what the surrendered husband gives. Or, if she says, “Honey, I think we should do x, not y” he then strives to value this request, to honor it, so that she feels that he cares and he likes her. If she says to him,

 

Do this. Don’t do that.

Do it this way. Don’t do it that way.

Start now. Stop now.

Keep up with me.

Lower your voice. Stop frowning.

And other things like these,

 

and he doesn’t do any of these things, what will happen?

 

What will happen to her conjugial? She will be feeling a process of breaking off, a growing incapacity to feel conjoined to him from within. This is because he refuses to meet with her in the interior mind. That’s where they are united, each giving something and living by what the other has. He—the cognitive reception from heaven by means of her celestial affections which he has internalized as-if his own. These are the interior truths that her conjugial love craves from within to unite with. Her inmost being or consciousness wants to unite to this Divine truth he receives from the Lord by means of her affections in him.

 

This is the achieving of the conjoint self. (See Chapter 9 Section 1 above.)

 

4. The Spiritual Physiology Of Marriage

 

One expression of men’s distaste of the feminine sphere is the grouping of the people at family gatherings. The men group together and bask in the masculine sphere of each other. Their wives are forced therefore to group with each other. They rather be together with their husbands, but when they try, the husbands abuse them. So the only peace the women can find is in each other’s sphere. This changes completely when a husband is surrendered to his elevated creation, which is that he act from his wife’s affections within him. When he does this, his intelligence tells him that his wife wants to be together with him. He is entertained by her feminine sphere far more than he cares for the masculine sphere. The feminine sphere of his wife is now his life. This is because her life is in her affections, and when he appropriate her affections to himself, her life is now within him. Now he is a complete man, a true human, a celestial mind, a conjugial husband.

 

The reason husbands hate the affectional sphere of women is that it breathes out conjugial unity, spiritual conjoining in willing and thinking. The man feels this as a process of being shackled or restricted. He feels that the woman wants to encroach on his territory of independence and freedom. He experiences the mother, the sister, the girlfriend, or the wife as constant nagging to do this or to do that, to be this way or that way, never to be who you really feel like being. So men prefer the permissive company of other men who respect the brotherhood rule of not trying to pressure or coerce one another.

 

The woman’s sphere of affections is animated and domestic, because it is celestial. Domestic uses are celestial while forensic uses such as business, science, and politics, are spiritual and natural uses. The reason domestic uses are higher is because they have to do with the home, with conjugial love, and with raising children. These are celestial uses because the purpose of the earths in the universe is to be a seminary for a heaven out of the human race (xx). Domestic uses are therefore higher. Women are in charge of domestic uses because the affections of women is celestial by birth, while the affections of men is spiritual by birth. Celestial uses are far more elevated and human than spiritual uses.

 

A man can transcend his lower creation by conjoining with a wife who is created into a higher creation. This is the meaning of the surrendered husband. He is surrendering the masculine idea that his essence is masculine.

 

For in fact the Lord has revealed the physiology of the masculine and feminine. The man as a whole, and in his every part and particle, is love in his inmost, and this love is covered over with truth, which forms his exterior. The reciprocal is the case for what women are made of. Woman as a whole, and in her every part and particle, is truth in her inmost, and this truth is covered over with love, which forms her exterior.

 

You can picture this to yourself as a diagram:

 

 

What an amazing scientific revelation! How beneficial it would be for society if this revelation were understood rationally. Since man and woman are reciprocals of each other in general they must also be in particular, which means not a single thing in a woman can be like a thing in a man, and vice versa. (xx)

 

This can be understood rationally if you think of marriage in a physiological sense, which it is. Marriage is something sanctified and Divine since it is the vehicle of the seminary for heaven, and this is the highest purpose or use for creation. Unity is the conjoint operation of two things together so that the result is a new conjoint object that is superior to the composing parts. Man as an individual and woman as an individual are not human units, but only potential human units. A human unit is the conjugial pair that from a distance is seen as one angel (xx). The closest maximum unity is achieved between two distinct individuals. Since not one thing in a man overlaps with one thing in a woman, they remain most distinct. Therefore, when they unite, their unity will be more perfect (xx).

 

Conjugial unity is so perfect that it demands that not a single thing in a man can be like a single thing in a woman. An exception would reduce the perfection.

 

This applies to the body and the mind. Not a single fiber in a man can be like a fiber in a woman. Not a single thought a man has can be like any thought a woman has. Not a single affection a man has can be like an affection a woman has.

 

You can see the perfection of conjugial love when you consider from the Writings, what happens when a man meets a woman and they fall in love and get married. The woman takes within herself the man’s thinking style and reasoning process. This is the same way as she takes his seed through her birth canal and gives it life in her womb. That child born of her represents the husband’s intelligence in the wife. She is now no longer an individual woman but a married woman, which means that she has within her, his seed, his intelligence, his ideas, his manner of thinking. She has a replica of her husband’s mind within herself so that she always know what he is thinking!

 

Now it’s the man’s turn. His job is to take his wife’s affections within himself just as she took his cognitions within herself. As a conjoint self, the couple has become just one. She acts from his thinking within her and he acts from her affections within him.

 

Thus they form a superior human being called the celestial mind or conjugial couple. This is the plan of creation, now revealed!

 

Consider the second diagram of the spiritual physiology of marriage:

 

 

The marriage on earth of a regenerating couple is called Phase 1, while their marriage once they get to heaven, is called Phase 2. Conjunction in Phase 1 is external, also called spiritual. Internal conjunction in Phase 2 is celestial. In the external conjunction while regenerating on earth, the husband’s intelligence (“truth, wisdom) is conjoined to the wife’s affections (“love, good”). The wife’s affections are within him as a result of loving them more than his own affections. This gives the surrendered husband a new will from the wife. And it gives the conjugial wife a new understanding from the husband. In this mode they grow more and more into a spiritual unity while on earth. After they are reunited in heaven, they begin the conjunction of Phase 2. Now they are both interior people having cast off whatever was not part of their love and affections. The external truth and wisdom of the husband, are gone. The external love and good of the wife, are gone. What remains in the spirit-body of the angel couple is the interior—his celestial love and her celestial truth. As these unite, they become one angel more and more to eternity (xx).

 

Unity is only possible between truth and good, which is the same thing as saying, between wisdom and love (xx). This unity is called “the marriage of good and truth” (xx). For the celestial couple, the husband is the good and the wife is the truth (xx). Their conjugial unity is the result of the universal unity between good and truth in the Lord. Marriage is holy because it is an image of the marriage of good and truth in the Lord (xx). Marriage on earth is holy only when the husband’s truth unites with the wife’s love, which is nothing else than her affections. In other words, when the husband loves to act from her affections more than from his own.

 

The surrendered husband loves to meet his wife’s requests because that’s how he reciprocates in conjoining himself with her, as she is conjoining herself with him. The man who rebels and hates the feminine sphere perceives her wishes and instructions as demands, as nagging, as taking away his freedom, as going too far, as power hungry, as misguided, etc. I have felt all these feelings and they are general to men, because biological and cultural.

 

A Christian, because he knows the Lord, has the Word, and since the Lord places the church in him through its means, it is obvious that he is more able than the non-Christian to be reborn, so becoming spiritual, and to achieve truly conjugial love, since these go together. (CL 339)

 

A husband is a form of truth, and his wife a form of good, and that good cannot love any other truth than its own truth, nor can truth love any other good in return than its own good.  If it were to love another, the inner marriage that forms the church would die, and the marriage would become merely external - the kind of marriage that idolatry corresponds to, not the church. (CL 76)

 

Here it is revealed how the “inner marriage” or internal unity, can be achieved. The husband loves his wife as his own good attached to his truth. Not his own good attached to his own truth—for this is the life of an unregenerate single man, or an unregenerate married man who avoids internal unity with his wife. To take his wife’s good as his own means to love to act from what is in her will more than what is in his own will. This is Rule 1 as discussed throughout this chapter.

 

[3] Take as another example conjugial love. The good which comes first and is introductory is good looks, or good manners, or outward compatibility, or similarity of social class, or aspiration. These forms of good are the first intermediate ones of conjugial love.

 

After this comes the joining together of minds (animus) in which one wills as the other does and finds delight in doing that which is pleasing to the other. This is the second state, and although those initial forms of good are still present they are no longer kept in view.

 

Finally there follows a uniting involving celestial good and spiritual truth. That is to say, one believes as the other believes, and one is moved by an affection for good as the other is moved. When this state is reached both together experience the heavenly marriage, which is a marriage of good and truth, and so experience conjugial love since conjugial love is nothing else.

 

At the same time the Lord is flowing into the affections of them both as into a single affection. This is a good which flows in down a direct line, whereas the previous kind of good which had flowed in down an indirect line had served as the means of introduction to this good. (AC 4145)

 

Note the statement: “At the same time the Lord is flowing into the affections of them both as into a single affection.” The expression “into the affections of them both as into a single affection” refers to what might be called the conjoint self.

 

Why must the husband surrender to his wife before he can achieve the conjoint self? Because:

 

He hates giving up his prerogatives and superiority status

He loves to have dominion over her

He has justified his superiority by philosophy or religion

He doesn’t trust women’s abilities

He hates the sphere of conjugial love she has within her

He ridicules or gets enraged at the idea he should act from her will

He justifies the falsity in his mind that it should be a kind of equity arrangement—he has his roles and his places assigned by society and religion, and she has hers.

 

What about the idea that the wife often doesn’t know as much as he does about many things, and so it wouldn’t be prudent or rational to let her make the decisions instead of him.

 

You will see that this is not a real danger, only an imagined one. It’s a doubt about women being able to be reasonable and practical. It’s the generalized gender bias that men have about women from inheritance and from culture. This biased reasoning says, How can you trust women to make the right decisions about so many things where men are used to making the decisions—etc. These are the doubts that come from not valuing women. The external philosophy of equity that men try to impose on women is nothing but a ploy. And unless men awake from this subconscious acquiescence, they will be men no longer, for the unregenerate man turns into a sub-human worse than any beast (TCR 564). Man’s salvation is regeneration of character, for which the wife is a Divinely appointed and essential instrument. This has been justified by many quotations from the Writings in Section 1 above.

 

Many intelligent men will admit to this: that the wife is essential in their life. And yet they do not ordinarily mean essential for their inner life, but essential for their outer life. By their outer life they mean their intellectual and economic power and their achievements and awards, including successful children. Many men admit that without their woman they would not have achieved what they did. And also, that they could not be content in life without being in love with this woman. These are noble legends. He may have convinced himself easily enough that he believes them sincerely. If indeed it had been the truth, his woman would have been in the fullness of her being, conjoint to him from within. But instead, she has been offered a fake marriage life, one that has the trappings of external propriety, success, and happiness, but not the real life and animation that is supposed to be within these outward achievements and enactments.

 

The outward married life remains an enactment until it grows a spiritual reality within. This is the spiritual union held together by each being the other’s all in all in their willing and thinking. Can she achieve this without his reciprocation? No, not in the least, for spiritual love requires reciprocation to become alive and real.

 

He is satisfied with the outer success, but she languishes from within. He is content to wait and let time pass, endless years and decades to her, waiting for her real man to enter her.

 

And so what is to be done?

 

The surrendered husband is a practical proposal. It is just another way of saying the Doctrine of the Wife, which is discussed at length in the preceding section. Women are intelligent and wise from within from heaven from the Lord. They will not do anything that is contrary to conjugial love. This is their highest love and all other loves are placed below and subdued under its command and absolute rule. This is woman’s wisdom: the certitude they feel from within as to whether something is this way or that way in relation to her husband. This is a Divine perception women receive from the Lord regarding their husband (CL 166). It is a perception of seeing the husband’s spiritual mind and content, his inner affections, loves, and reasoning through them. She knows this thoroughly, fully. More than he ever will—until he knows it from her, when he is united to her.

 

The wife will know when to make a decision, and when to let him make it. She would never override him except for one reason: she can see the danger he cannot see. So it makes total sense that he should listen to her and really believe from within that she has this perception from the Lord. This is the religion of the New Church mind for it is conjugial love, and this union between husband and wife is the purpose and basis of the universe and of heaven (HH 382).

 

But, but what if she makes mistakes? What if she is uneducated? What if she’s got weaknesses, blindnesses, even neuroses and addictions? The answer is: And what if he has these things? Husbands make many many mistakes, do they not? Is there somebody there to remove him from the office of decision maker and over rider of her opinions when events prove her to have been right and he to have been wrong? No of course not. He makes mistakes as he goes along and the family lives with it. The point is that if he’s willing to live with the consequences of her mistakes she will gradually improve and be at least as good as he used to be—with his help. This is the point. Perhaps he needs to educate her views when ignorant, just as she does that for him. After all, he is free to do as he wants at any time whatsoever. His acting from her will is purely voluntary. He has the exercise that power at any time. Again the point is this: is he after dominion over her or after internal union? This he must answer for himself moment by moment.

 

It makes sense to think that the Lord is managing this process as closely as any other in the universe. The Lord longs for the husband to want to be united to the wife. The Lord calls the two together, “One flesh,” and “His Church.” (CL 178) The husband-wife conjoint self makes the one angel that is the Church to which the Lord is married.(CL 62). Not the husband by himself, ever, even if he comes to the gates of heaven in Aaron’s robes. The only admittance to heaven for a male man is as a conjugial husband (CL 50). The only.

 

And so is this not the most important work a man has—to prepare his mind to be a conjugial husband? Which is why a religious discipline is needed, as discussed throughout this chapter.

 

5. Her Heaven, Not His

 

The natural world tends to be male dominated, but not because of men’s superior intelligence to women. It is a “man’s world” because the unregenerated natural mind operates by the corporeal principle of “might makes right.” The feeling from which this idea issues is at the level of animals and men’s affections are at the animal level of operation in the unregenerate state. But when they begin to be regenerated their internal mind is opened and receives feminine intelligence through his wife from the Lord. This softening and humanizing of the man shows that man on his own is only a half-man:

 

And when they become one, then taken together they are man in his fullest sense. But without that conjunction they are two, and each is like a person divided or half a person. (CL 37)

 

(For more on the spiritual psychobiology of gender see Note 16 at end).

 

For years now I’ve made it a habit to keep notepads all around the house and write down many of my wife’s observations. I can accurately state that her perceptions and insights form the starting point of the many rational and spiritual ideas I elaborate in this and related articles. I’m especially stimulated by the way her observations contain nonobvious connections to other things, revealing to my sight relationships that raise the level of my understanding and explanations. This cross-gender intellectual borrowing and sharing process creates a more interior spiritual dimension in our relationship. The wife’s interior wisdom from the Lord descends into the natural-rational intelligence of the husband where he builds it into an outward shape that has many new uses.

 

In this way it has become true that I think from my wife, which is Rule 1 in conjugial development (see Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1). If you ask her she would tell you that this is the ideal to which I am officially committed, but that my actual adherence to it is variable. Therefore I continue to struggle, turning to the Lord for strength to persist. And He always gives it, if only I would take it from Him.

 

The New Church mind today is only the sixth generation of the new civilization of the Second Coming (1771 onward). We are part of the early generations that are building the great transition of the human race from the temporary external bonds of marriages to eternal interior union. The future of this transition depends on how we today are dealing with the struggles in our mind against the opposing forces of the natural mind. The power of the entire hells is in this resistance and there is no way of winning except through the pathway the Lord laid down in His Second Coming. This pathway is the rule of life for husbands that they must act from their wife and not from self. This is explained in Sections xx and xx). The retain full independence of thinking and willing. They must learn to compel themselves voluntarily in all freedom to love acting from the wife more than from self. In this way their independent understanding—how they think and reason—is gradually realigned into the rational alignment of conjugial love as defined in the Writings. They are unable to do anything without this grounding and intentionality in their daily study of the Writings.

 

Husbands would do well to explain this to their wife. They need to show them how their conjugial efforts are grounded in the Writings and that this is the cornerstone of their salvation. Only through religion can the New Church husband obtain sufficient power to overcome himself, that is, the forces of hell in him through his hereditary and acquired evil loves. He needs to have an ally in his wife who can remind him when he is down and rebellious:

 

Now my husband, remember what struggle you are in. This is your life, our eternity. Come now, gather your spiritual strength and your religious motives and go forth in victory over your ego and arrogance. Compel yourself to act from me, my standards, my guidance, my will. For only this is from the Lord in our marriage and what is from you is hell itself. I will help you if only you will help yourself. Give up your rebellion and act like I say to you. Etc.

 

I’m sure you can understand the intended meaning in this representation and apply it to the particulars of your unique life situation. The wife is to fight for you with all that the Lord gives her, and you are to fight yourself by compelling yourself voluntarily to act from her. This is the spiritual discipline for conjugial husbands.

 

For many years I’ve been keeping track of my interactions with my wife and my behavior as a husband. This has helped me greatly to become actually aware of attitudes, opinions, and behaviors that I have developed from socialization and culture that are opposed to the development of conjugial love (see Note 16 at end). I noted the many unexamined ways that I insisted on my male prerogatives which a “man’s world” bestows upon men. Husbands interrupt when wives talk and instead of listening they give premature advice. Husbands determine the majority of topics being transacted by refusing to address issues raised by the wives. Husbands raise their voices and make scary faces when they disagree or are angry about this or that. These are maladaptive methods men use to intimidate women whose sensitivities are threatened and injured by this manly harshness. A crucial mental discipline for New Church husbands is to systematically and regularly keep track of how we fail to honor our wife. It requires that we enlist our wife’s help in providing us with information about our behaviors, habits, and traits that are contrary to conjugial love. Wives receive from the Lord special perception into the unconscious traits of their husbands (CL 156). Relying on our own perceptions is insufficient and misleading.

 

Making lists is very helpful. Keeping cumulative records is what makes into a discipline. What makes it into a spiritual discipline is being motivated to use the records for self-change efforts in conjugial cooperation. Whatever the husband does consciously for the sake of preparing himself for conjugial love is a spiritual discipline.

 

Those who enjoy truly conjugial love have eternity in view in their marriage; but the reverse is true of those who do not.

 

The reason why those who enjoy truly conjugial love have eternity in view is that eternity is contained within this love. This is because this love increases for ever in the case of the wife, and wisdom increases for ever in the case of the husband; and as these increase and develop, the couple plunges deeper and deeper into the blessings of heaven, which lie hidden in their wisdom and also the love for it. So if the notion of eternity were torn away, or by any accident slipped from their minds, it would be as if they were cast down from heaven.

(…)

It is much the same with marriages on earth. When couples there love each other dearly, they think of their partnership as eternal, and pay no attention to its being ended by death. But if they do think of this, it upsets them; though they are revived by hope, when they think of it continuing after death. (CL 216)

 

Keeping self-witnessing records conscientiously is a discipline. Consulting the wife’s perceptions about the records for the sake of conjoining their perspective, makes it into a spiritual discipline. It is painful due to our inborn pride and runs against the grain of our culturally received male chauvinism and male prerogatives. Resistance to the process is strong and motivation falters. Overcoming these constantly opposing forces is the discipline. The results are very beneficial and promote conjugial friendship and unity. This makes it into a spiritual discipline.

 

6. Divine Truth Within Which Is Divine Love

 

Married and pre-married men can practice many conjugial disciplines that relate to their relationship to a wife. Pre-married men can practice by viewing every girl or woman as someone’s wife. In addition, Christian women have conjugial love implanted and imprinted by nativity (CL 216, 457). The reason only Christian women have this is that conjugial love is only from the Lord and so He alone must be acknowledged in order to receive it (CL 71). Nevertheless the women who are not Christian can also be in conjugial love in the afterlife, when they are instructed regarding the Lord and are willing to receive it (HH 512[3]). The New Church mind exists as a duality: male and female, as determined by birth. No part of the male New Church Mind can be similar or overlap with the female New Church Mind inasmuch as in marriage they are united into a perfect one, and this is only possible with absolute distinctiveness of each unique element.

 

The Lord’s perfection lies in this: that in Him infinite things that are distinct make a one (DLW 223). The New Church couple is a celestial unit made of two elements that are distinctly different. If things are distinctly different in general they are also distinctly different in every particular (AC 1040[2]). Hence it is that nothing in a husband can be similar to anything in a wife.

 

This unity cannot be understood outside the intellectual sphere of the Writings. To understand it rationally one needs to apply several things to it: the law of discrete degrees (DLW 186), the Lord’s Proprium that angels use for themselves (AC 8409), the organic composition of the will and understanding (DLW 373), the perfection of unity from discrete elements (DLW 201), the character of temptations (natural, spiritual, celestial) (NJHD 196), the gradual character of regeneration (CL 146), conjugial simulation (CL 282), what chastity is and is not (CL 138), the wife’s interior perception of their husbands which husbands do not have on themselves (CL 166), and other things besides. In the context of these ideas from the Writings physical and mental disciplines can serve to strengthen a man’s suitability for conjugial union.

 

The focus is on the husband because conjugial love is not inscribed on men from birth as it is on women. It is revealed that men are promiscuous from birth like animals (CL 48) and if they are going to enter heaven they must regenerate into a celestial human being. Only this interior human can unite in perfection with a wife who has conjugial love implanted in her soul.

 

Conjugial love is lodged with chaste wives, but their love still depends upon their husbands.

 

The reason is that wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands, and by keeping this thought in their will they constantly nurture their love. So abandoning the effort to unite themselves with their husbands would be abandoning their own nature. But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives, the more readily they receive it, the more readily do their wives come in with their love. But if they fail to receive it, their wives equally stay outside with their love and wait.

 

This happens in the case of chaste wives, but it is different with the unchaste. These considerations will establish that conjugial love is lodged with wives, but their love depends upon their husbands. (216bis) (see also CL 457)

 

Physical and mental disciplines by men performed for the purpose of conjugial motives, as defined in the Writings, are spiritual disciplines. But not otherwise.

 

From what is implanted in them, wives wish to be wives and to be called wives. To them, this is a name of beauty and honor and for that reason they love the bonds of marriage. Moreover, chaste wives wish to be wives not in name only but actually, and because this is effected by an ever closer tie with their husbands, therefore they love the bonds of marriage by reason of the stability of its covenant; and this the more, as they in turn are loved by their husbands or, what is the same thing, as the men love those bonds. (CL 217.) (See also CL 457)

 

Self-witnessing is at the basis of these disciplines. (See Note 20 for more on self-witnessing techniques).

 

The New Church mind contains the idea that the evolution of the universe towards its perfection is gradual change back from exteriorization (=creation from Firsts to lasts) to interiorization (=return to the Creator from lasts to Firsts). Creation is a process of distancing from the spiritual Sun which is uncreate, infinite and closest to the Lord. This is the inmost of existence and being. The substance from the spiritual Sun proceeds to a greater and greater “distance” from Itself, going through discrete degrees of transformation, each more externalized than the preceding, until at last it reaches the inert stage of the physical universe, starting with energy and space or ether, and more and more externalized until the various minerals and compounds of planets is reached.

 

The distance or externalization is a process of becoming more and more inert, that is, less and less life which is the inmost substance of every object. This inmost of every object and particle is the life of existence in a created reality. The word “distance” in this context must be taken as a correspondence for the exteriorization process of creation by substance and intermediaries (xx). The originating substance in sequential order becomes the inmost substance in simultaneous order (xx). The originating substance of created objects is the substance that emanates from the spiritual Sun. This substance is called “Divine Truth within which is Divine Love” (xx).Therefore the inmost of every object or particle in the universe is “Divine Truth within which is Divine Love.”

 

This inmost substance called “Divine Truth within which is Divine Love,” is living in itself, or life in itself. It is an uncreate substance that belongs to the Lord, and is infinite, since infinite distinct things are contained in it as one. You can see that this substance is be source of infinite distinct or unique things in the created universe. This momentous scientific revelation gives the human race a far higher consciousness of reality than was possible before.

 

The level of thinking, reasoning, and understanding the workings of the universe is immeasurably increased by this revelation. One important implication is that the universe is rational. The universe is rational since it is created from truth, within which is good. Truth is the inmost substance out of which a thing exists! What an amazing revelation of reality! For instance, a rock, the brain, and a feeling are all created out of truth as a substance of love. Truth creates not from itself but from love or good. Still, it is not love that creates but truth from love. This is what makes the universe rational, and what is rational is both human and alive. Rational defines the human (xx) because the human mind is created an organ for the reception of rational truths from the Divine. When these rational truths are appropriated, loved, and lived, they become our heaven in eternity. But without rational truths appropriated to ourselves by loving them, there can be no heavenly life in us, but only infernal, for all life in human beings is either heavenly or infernal (xx). This is the result of the fact that all things of truth are heavenly, while all things of hell are falsifications or distortions of truth.

 

This is the same as saying that the living function or quality is hidden more and more within, and doesn’t show in its effects. Animals are less externalized and the life within is visible and obvious. Human minds are the least externalized of the created things, especially the consciousness or rationality of human beings. The minds of women are more interiorized than the minds of men. The male human is more externalized than the female human.

 

Every man is created that he may live for ever. In the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, Parts Third and Fifth, it is shown that in man there are three degrees of life, called the natural, the spiritual and the celestial, and that these degrees are actually in every man; while in beasts there is only one degree of life, which is similar to the lowest degree in man called the natural. From this it follows that man by the elevation of his life to the Lord is in such a state above the beasts that he is able to understand what pertains to the Divine Wisdom and to will what pertains to the Divine Love, and in this way to receive the Divine; and he who can receive the Divine so as to see and perceive it in himself cannot be otherwise than conjoined to the Lord, and through this conjunction cannot but live for ever.

(…)

In order that every man may live for ever, what is mortal with him is taken away. His mortal part is the material body which is taken away by his death. His immortal part, which is his mind, is thus unveiled and he then becomes a spirit in human form, his mind being that spirit.

(…)

As it has been granted me to speak with angels I will also say something from my own experience. I have talked with some who lived many ages ago, with some who lived before the Flood and with some who lived after it, with some who lived in the time of the Lord, with one of His Apostles, and with many who lived in later times. They all appeared like men of middle age, and they said they did not know what death is, but only that there is condemnation. Moreover, all who have lived well, when they enter heaven, come into the state of early manhood they reached in the world and continue in it to eternity, even those who had been old and decrepit men in the world. Women, too, although they had been shrunken and aged, return to the flowering period of their age and beauty.

(…)

Thus every man is created that he may enter heaven. This is the end of creation; but all do not enter heaven because they become imbued with the delights of hell which are opposite to the happiness of heaven; and those who are not in the happiness of heaven cannot enter heaven, for they cannot endure it. To no one who enters the spiritual world is it denied to ascend to heaven; but when one who is in the delight of hell enters heaven his heart palpitates, his breathing is labored, his life begins to fail, he is in anguish, distress and torment, and he writhes like a serpent placed close to a fire. This is so because opposites act against each other.

(…)

Nevertheless, they cannot die, as they were born men and thereby with the faculty of thinking and willing, and consequently of speaking and acting. However, as they can live only with those who are in a similar delight of life they are sent to them; thus those who are in the delights of evil and those who are in the delights of good are sent to their own appropriate companions. It is indeed granted everyone to experience the delight of his own evil provided he does not molest any who are in the delight of good; but as evil cannot do otherwise than molest good, for there is inherent in evil hatred against good, therefore lest the wicked should inflict injury they are removed and cast down to their own place in hell, where their delight is turned to what is the reverse of delightful.

(DP 324)

 

7. Is The Surrendered Husband Feminized?

 

In earlier drafts and articles I used the term “feminization,” as in “the feminization of marriage” or “the feminization of the husband” and, “the feminization of the universe” and also, “the feminization of the Church.” I have a note to myself to go back to my earlier articles and edit out the word “feminization” from the sub-titles as this might be a kind of red flag to some people. While discussing the matter with my wife I suddenly got the sense that it might be an unnecessary stumbling block. Some men might not be able initially to shake the negative implications of this word when applied to a man.

 

Yet the underlying idea in the feminization of marriage, husband, universe, or Church, is that conjugial love is returning to earth (xx). Conjugial love is feminine. When the husband is feminized it means nothing else than that he has acquired conjugial love, which is now part of him. It cannot mean that his traits have become feminine since it is a Divine Law by creation that not a single thing in a man can be like a single think in a woman (xx). The man before being feminized by conjugial love is the same man as afterwards, except that he now has conjugial love as part of him whereas he did not before that.

 

8. The Conjoint Mind Is Both Masculine And Feminine

 

The Lord has now revealed the scientific fact that a man by himself is an incomplete creation and is still to develop to maturity. The mature man is created into perfection when he is no longer an individual man, but a structural or organic part of his wife, so that the two together are one angel (xx). Only as an angel-husband is a man in his created perfection. It is just like the surgical reintegration and attachment of a man and a woman in which her lungs are removed and her heart is attached to his lungs. And his heart is removed and his lungs are attached to her heart. This integrated new body corresponds to the conjoint mind of an angel-couple, which therefore has both masculine and feminine characteristics.

 

The Doctrine of the Wife, through Rule 1, creates the conjoint mind. Through Rule 1 the husband’s will, which corresponds to his heart, is removed, and it is replaced by the wife’s heart to which he keeps himself cleaving by conjugial love and the motive to acquire it. From the perspective of the husband, thinking and acting from his wife’s will, which corresponds to her heart, is to lay aside his individual independent will, which was entirely masculine. Henceforth his masculine understanding is to operate from a feminine will, just as his masculine lungs would be purified of impurities and poisons by the feminine heart to which he is now joined. To be a conjoint mind means that the husband thinks from his wife’s will or affections, and the wife thinks from her husband’s understanding or thoughts. He is feminized while she is masculinized, even though they each retain their full gender, gaining everything, losing nothing.

 

What does it mean specifically to say that the husband loves to think and act from the wife’s willing more than from his own willing?

 

Consider how you might describe your daily behavior. You act in accordance with your thinking, which is from your willing. In other words, the motives and affections in your will select and direct those thoughts that serve its affections and motives. The thinking is therefore from the willing, and the acting is from both of them together. This is the way we operate prior to being a conjugial husband.

 

As we are reformed by the Doctrine of the Wife, and struggle daily and hourly to follow Rule 1, we begin gradually to change from the operation just described. Now we inhibit and weaken and suppress our own affections and motives in interacting with our wife. Instead, we begin to compel our thinking to fit the wife’s requests and needs. This is gradual because we do not hear her requests except in a weak sense at first, gradually gaining strength until we can actually hear the request she had been making for years. Then we sometimes compel ourselves to think in accordance with the request, but sometimes we choose not to, and then we slide back, to the chagrin and suffering of the poor wife. But eventually we get better at it, more honest in our attempts, and at last our wife begins to say new things about us, things that a conjugial wife says to her conjugial husband who has become her bosom friend.

 

The more we think from the wife’s willing, the more our mind is conjoined to her mind. When our thinking is done from her willing, our doing will be called the works of conjugial love. This is what the Lord has Commanded by saying that the man shall leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife (xx). “Father and mother” refers to the man’s own willing and thinking, since willing relates to good, and “father” represents good, while thinking relates to truth, and “mother” represents truth or the Church in us. We leave our own “father and  mother” by laying aside our own willing, and the independent masculine thinking that goes with that willing. And in its stead, we hook ourselves into our wife’s willing by knowing her affections and hearing her requests. This is the meaning of the promise to “honor” her which we solemnly make at our sacred wedding. “To cleave to the wife” signifies to honor her by reforming our thinking to fit her willing, and then acting by the new thinking from her willing. In this way we act agreeably to her and she can conjoin herself to our new mind even more than before. this is a continuous process over the years. Happy is the couple on this earth that is immersed in this process.

 

Conjugial love is the highest of all loves and uses in the universe (xx), for which all other loves exist, for which all created objects exist. Conjugial love is called a celestial love (xx). This highest of all loves is received from the Lord in the inmost of the wife, and conjugial love in the wife becomes the source of conjugial love for the husband (xx). It is in the husband only to the extent that her heart is in his, that is, to the extent that he has appropriated to himself her affections and now thinks and acts from them. Thus, he is in the state described by Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife. This is meant by the elevated husband.

 

Conjugial love in the man is therefore the exchanging of his old masculine will and affections for her feminine affections, which are her will, her love. Her love is now in him and he thinks and acts from her love.

 

All thinking and acting is from love (xx), and he either acts from his own love or from her love in him.

 

To be able to act and think form her love requires that he appropriate her love, that is, make her affections to be in his will. This appropriation, or interiorization, is achieved solely by loving them, for only loving something can be appropriated to a human being. Once appropriated, it remains forever. Now he is a new man, for the man is his intelligence, and this is such as his love is (DLW xx). Now he acts from a higher love than before because woman’s love is higher than man’s, her love being celestial, while his love being spiritual, and the two are as far apart as the noonday sun light is from the midnight moon light (xx).

 

Man was created into a perfect order. He arrives in this perfect order when he becomes the elevated husband. He achieves this higher existence by exchanging the hereditary and acquired masculine affections in his will with the feminine affections of his conjugial life. Her affections are higher because she is the only one that receives conjugial love directly from the Lord (xx). The Lord provides that the husband also has conjugial love, but not directly from Him, but directly from his wife. This appropriation to himself of the Lord’s conjugial love in her, effects his elevation. And this appropriation of her love as his own makes him hers, for he now is what his love is, purely hers. His new thoughts are now created by this new will, which is his wife’s in him. These new thoughts are higher than his thoughts before the makeover of his will. Now the wife takes these new thoughts into herself as she does his seed through the thighs (xx). This is her delight of unity that is indescribable according to the celestial wives who talked to Swedenborg about it in a rose garden (xx).

 

 

 

Chapter 2, Section 5

 

5. Rule 1: The Regeneration Discipline Of Acting From The Wife

 

The Doctrine of the Wife is a Spiritual Doctrine that can be summarized in the form of a correspondence expressed in the natural-rational expression called Rule 1:

 

RULE 1:

The first and only rule is that husbands are to learn to love acting from the wife, more than from self.

 

(See Chapter 9, Sections 3 and 4 for more discussion on Rule 1)

 

Every man always acts and thinks from his love. The understanding thinks form the will (xx), and such as the love is in the will, such is the intelligence in the understanding (DLW xx). Prior to regeneration, the husband acts and thinks from his own loves in the will. As he undergoes regeneration he learns more and more to act and thin from his wife’s loves which originate in her will, but which he has appropriated to himself by loving them more than he loves his own affections. Clearly, the consistent application of Rule 1 will guarantee that the husband acquires a new will. This is what it means to say that the Lord created Eve as an help mate to Adam. Were Adam to continue thinking and acting from his own love, he has no choice but to fall into self-love. Loving one’s own intelligence is the serpent of hell (xx). So the Lord provides that the wife take the husband’s intelligence into herself as she takes his seed through the thighs (xx). And the Lord provides that the husband take the wife’s affections into himself by cleaving to them, which is to love them and to do them. Now they can each love their reciprocal in the other, which is the conjugial unity from within, namely a unity of minds or spirit.

 

Note that Rule 1 eliminates all elements of dominion from the couple. At first the male mind abhors this notion. All sorts of oppositions arise to make this a hard rule for him. Its felt hardness or pain comes from its opposition to the numerous male prerogatives that we receive from culture and which we like and don’t want to give up. The corporeal self is not about to give them up without a fight to the death. This is the death of the unregenerate corporeal self we have from birth. This animal mind is turned against the interior rational or human (TCR 564[2]). It must die (AC 1408). And in its place the Lord creates a new corporeal that is obedient to the interior human and suitable for conjugial union.

 

Consider what the Lord is saying to us about conjugial unity:

 

Marriage in heaven is a conjunction of two into one mind. It must first be explained what this conjunction is. The mind consists of two parts, one called the understanding and the other the will. When these two parts act as one they are called one mind. In heaven the husband acts the part called the understanding and the wife acts the part called the will. When this conjunction, which belongs to man's interiors, descends into the lower parts pertaining to the body, it is perceived and felt as love, and this love is marriage love. This shows that marriage love has its origin in the conjunction of two into one mind. This in heaven is called cohabitation; and the two are not called two but one. So in heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel. (HH 367)

 

As husbands, our eternal life in heaven depends on learning to love to be conjoined to our wife in an internal union, not external. How do you figure you’re going to acquire this love? None of us men have it from birth and all our upbringing and culture has led us to oppose this kind of union and to fight against it, yeah, to desire to destroy any vestige of it that we can see in our wife. Women are born with conjugial love, implanted by the Lord from nativity (CL 223). But men must acquire it through the wife—there is no other source.

 

So it stands to reason we’re not going to heaven if we do not suffer ourselves to acquire this love from the wife. Rule 1 is the regeneration discipline that can get us there! The Lord has Commanded that we do everything in our power to get there! The celestial husband is called the elevated husband. This is the Lord’s purpose an intent in creating him. The elevated husband has reached into the creation of his perfection and is a true image of the Lord. His wife’s heart is in him and directs his thoughts and drives his acts. The Lord’s conjugial love enters her will and by making her will his own, the husband is appropriating conjugial love. There is no other salvation for man but through his wife. The man cannot approach the Lord directly to obtain this love and therefore he remains at a distance from the Lord without this love in him.

 

And since this love can be in the husband only by his interiorizing her affections, you can see that Rule 1 of the Doctrine of the Wife becomes the only means of salvation the Lord has provided for the husband who is forming the New Church mind in himself.

 

You can see from the passage above that “In heaven the husband acts the part called the understanding and the wife acts the part called the will” (HH 367). It is said that the wife acts the part of the will because it is her will in the husband that animates his acts and thoughts. It is said that the husband acts the part of the understanding because it is the understanding that acts, but it acts not from itself but from the will (xx).

 

1. Achieving Internal Union

 

Husband and wife in heaven make one angel—I call this the conjoint self. The angel couple is a husband and wife, two distinct individuals, each with their own mind and spirit-body, each with their own daily duties and activities with others in their angelic society (xx). Outwardly it appears that the elevated husband acts from his own will as he goes about his daily activities with other husbands, making decisions, dealing with visitors, etc. (xx) But this outward appearance does not make apparent what is going on in the interior mind of the angel husband.

 

The following Number gives a description of conjugial love by means of the correspondences expressed as a Memorable Relation in CL 75. I will add some comments after each segment regarding its correspondences. The purpose of figuring out the correspondences is to apply the Letter to one’s regeneration. If we merely read the Memorable Relations, remaining in its literal meaning, and not considering its correspondences, we do not know how to apply the Number to oneself. Yet the Word is given for our regeneration. By figuring out the correspondences we can gain a clearer understanding of what the Number is discussing from a spiritual perspective rather than natural-rational. On the surface it appears that this Memorable Relations is about a visit Swedenborg made to the heaven of the people from the Most Ancient Church on earth. And indeed Swedenborg did make such a visit, as he reports it in detail and sincerity. Nevertheless there was a Divine purpose in his making this trip, and this purpose was that he be able to record the events, and that this record be the Word of the Second Coming in its internal series.

 

The Spiritual Doctrine we extract according to this internal series, is the means by which we are to be regenerated. Therefore we need to see each expression as a correspondence, and that constitutes the first step of extracting the Spiritual Doctrine (see Volume 2 for more details on this process).

 

The first experience.

I was once meditating about conjugial love, when my mind was seized with a desire to know what this love had been like in the case of those who lived in the Golden Age, and also in the following ages, which were named after silver, copper and iron. (…) At once I found an angel beside me, who said: 'I have been sent by the Lord to be your guide and companion. First I shall guide and accompany you to those who lived in the first era or age, known as golden. (…) I was in the spirit, so I prepared myself for traveling, and we set our faces towards the east. As we went I saw a mountain, the top of which was higher than the level of the clouds. ... (CL 75)

 

Swedenborg represents the New Church mind since he is the first of the new human race which began with the Lord’s Second Coming, completed on June 19, 1771 (xx). “I was meditating” signifies the New Church mind when it is enlightened by the Lord during regeneration. “To be seized with a desire to know conjugial love” signifies that the New Church mind is regenerated by means of this love. The four ages “Golden, silver, copper, and iron” represent the phases we undergo when being regenerated by means of conjugial love. The inmost phase is simultaneous order is the first phase in successive order. Hence Golden is visited before silver, and this before copper, and last is iron. This means that the last is also the outermost phase. The apparent order is the reverse of the actual order (xx). So we enter the iron phase first, then the copper, then the silver, and at last the Golden.

 

To “be in the spirit” means that we are being regenerated by the Spiritual Doctrine, not the Letter. To “set the face to the east” signifies to obtain the Spiritual Doctrine, for this is the Lord (xx), and the “east” in the human mind refers to the Spiritual Doctrine we have acquired from the Letter. “To see a mountain” in the east signifies the Lord’s presence in the Spiritual Doctrine, for He is called a Mountain. That the top of the mountain “was higher than the level of the clouds” signifies that the Spiritual Doctrine is from the spiritual sense within the Letter. It is the Letter that is called a cloud (xx). Above also means within (xx) and therefore the expression “higher than the level of the clouds” means the spiritual sense within the Letter.

 

Continuing with the Number:

 

We went across this plain and saw tents upon tents to the number of many thousand extending as far as the eye could see before us and to the sides in all directions … When these men saw us, they hurried up to us and said: 'Where do you come from, and how have you come here? Your faces are not those of the people of our mountain ... (CL 75)

 

The expression “to go across a plain” signifies a change of state. The expression “to see tents upon tents” signifies to be conjoined to “holy things of love, namely, the walking uprightly, and working righteousness” (AC 414). The expression “to the number of many thousand extending as far as the eye could see before us and to the sides in all directions” represents the universal presence of conjugial love in all creation. It is said that Swedenborg’s “face is not the face of the people of the mountain” by which is signified that the New Church mind does not have conjugial love in it until it is regenerated.

 

Since I was thinking that I wanted to know about marriage among the most ancient people, I looked in turn from husband to wife and back again, and observed that their faces showed how they were almost of one soul. So I said: 'You two are one.' The man replied: 'We are one. Her life is in me and mine is in her, so we are two bodies, but one soul. The union between us is like that of the two cavities in the chest, called the heart and lungs. She is my heart and I am her lungs. But since by heart we understand here love and by lungs wisdom, she is the love of my wisdom, and I am the wisdom of her love. Her love therefore forms the outer covering of my wisdom and my wisdom is inwardly inside her love. As a result, as you said, the unity of our souls is to be seen in the look of our faces ... (CL 75)

 

The expression “wanting to know about marriage among the most ancient people” signifies readiness to be regenerated for the sake of conjugial love. Conjugial love in its interior is the unity between the husband’s understanding and the wife’s will. “Her life” refers to the wife’s will (“she is my heart”), while the husband’s life in the wife refers to his understanding (“I am her lungs”) which she appropriates as belonging to her love (“she is the love of my wisdom”).

 

This organic unity between husband and wife is the celestial state in which conjugial couples are.

 

The second account:

One time, while speaking with angels in the spiritual world, I was filled with a pleasant wish to see the Temple of Wisdom, which I had seen once before. (…) In the company of two angels I then went in the direction that the light grew brighter, and I ascended by a steep path to the top of a certain hill which was in the southern zone, where I found a magnificent gate. (…) As I looked around in the garden, I saw some smaller buildings, replicas of the temple, with wise men in them. (…)

 

The expression “while speaking with angels in the spiritual world” signifies that the New Church mind is celestial. The “Temple of Wisdom” represents the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind which is of Divine origin. The expression to “ascend by a steep path to the top of a certain hill “ signifies to struggle against what opposes the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind, and to overcome it. “In the company of two angels” signifies that we overcome what in us resists regeneration by appealing to the Lord who gives strength through heaven. The “Southern zone” represents enlightenment when perceiving the spiritual sense within the Letter of the Writings, which is called “wisdom in a state of light.” Seeing a garden with buildings and wise men represents the Spiritual Doctrine seen in its internal series.

 

I saw inside that the building was divided into two sections, and yet the two were still one.  It was divided into two sections by a transparent partition, but it looked like one room because of the partition's transparency, which was like the transparency of the purest crystal.  I asked why it was arranged like that.

 

The building represents the truths of Doctrine arranged in their order. The two sections represent the Letter and its spiritual sense. That “the two were one” signifies the spiritual sense within the Letter makes a one. That they are separated by a transparent partition means that those who are enlightened by the Lord when reading the Letter can perceive the spiritual sense within it. The Letter in the understanding represents reformation, while the spiritual sense represents regeneration.

 

The receptionist said, "I am not alone.  My wife is with me, and though we are two, yet we are not two but one flesh."

 

“My wife is with me” signifies that the affections in the will are regenerated by means of the truths in the understanding. When the understanding is reformed and the will is regenerated, they form a marriage or union, so that they act together, as one.

 

To which I replied, "I know you are wise, but what does a wise man or wisdom have to do with a woman?"

 

This signifies the desire to know how the will and the understanding make a unity.

 

At this, with some feeling of annoyance, the receptionist's expression changed, and he stretched out his hand, and suddenly, then, other wise men were present from the neighboring buildings.  To them he said with amusement, "Our visitor here says he wants to know what a wise man or wisdom has to do with a woman!"

 

They all laughed at this and said, "What is a wise man or wisdom apart from a woman or apart from love?  A wife is the love of a wise man's wisdom.