1. Awakening to Spiritual Life: Introduction

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The question may well be asked as to what a person might expect to have happen should they choose to work with the Texts of Divine revelation (the Word) using the Logopraxis method as the basis for an intentional spiritual practice. While it is true that no two paths along the road to awakening to spiritual life can be the same, it is our experience that, in working with the Word, every unique path unfolds within a common broader general framework. This is detailed in the Word and offers an orderly pattern of spiritual development for people as they undergo the processes involved in the reformation and regeneration of their minds.

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The foundational truth that underpins all else in Logopraxis is that the Word is the Lord, where, by the Word, is understood those Texts, both Biblical and Doctrinal, that are identified as being from the Lord to serve in the reformation and regeneration of the human mind. One of those Texts is a work the Lord delivered through His servant Emanuel Swedenborg in 1758 that carries the shortened title of Heaven and Hell. This work describes the structure of the spiritual world and details the lives of those who inhabit it.

What we find in that world is that the Lord, as the spiritual Sun governs all things down to the most minute detail, exerting His influence by means of that Sun’s heat and light which is His Divine Love and Wisdom going forth creating all and imparting a sense of life to all. One of the most striking things about the descriptions of the spiritual world offered in the work Heaven and Hell is how similar things are in that world to those found in the natural world. This is because these two worlds are intimately related in that, the natural world is an effect of the spiritual world having been brought into being by means of it.

Yet we are also told that this similarity is superficial. That the natural and spiritual worlds are as dissimilar in substance as a thought is from the organs of speech or an affection or emotion is from the musculature of the face that gives it expression. The first set of phenomena pertains to the mind or states of consciousness as something inwardly experienced while the second set of phenomena pertains to the physical structures of the body which manifests in the external world of the senses. The former, in belonging to the mind, belong to a person’s spiritual or mental world, while the latter, being of the body, belongs to a person’s natural or physical world. Yet as different as these two worlds are in substance, the mind and body are clearly intimately related to each other.

So while it is the case that the descriptions of spiritual phenomena in the work Heaven and Hell are presented in what is fairly natural and thus familiar terms, this is done for the benefit of those who live in the natural world and who struggle to elevate their thought above the senses. But whether the thought can be elevated or not it needs to always be held in mind that these descriptions are first and foremost descriptions of spiritual or mental phenomena. In short this work, along with all the works of Divine revelation, deals with the objects and processes of consciousness that are active within each and every human mind whether they happen to be living in this world or in the other world.

It was mentioned earlier that the Lord appears in the other world as a Sun around which all that exists is centred. Like the sun of the natural world, so the Sun of the spiritual world is the source of its world’s heat and light. Unlike the heat and light of the natural sun, the spiritual Sun’s heat and light is not natural but spiritual or is of such a quality as to provide what warms and lights the inner world of human and angelic consciousness. It is by means of the heat (love) and light (wisdom) of this Sun that the Lord creates and gives life to all.

Now if by the other world we mean the world of spirit or human consciousness, i.e. our mental world, then we can ask the question; What is it that is able to provide that world with heat and light or love and wisdom? Is it not the Word? Where else is spiritual heat (heavenly affections) and spiritual light (heavenly truths) made available if not through the Word? And isn’t it the Word by means of its truths that reforms and creates (regenerates) the mind and in this way bring into being a new heaven and earth? It is the Word or Texts of Divine revelation that constitutes the Sun of our spiritual world.

The Sun of the spiritual world and the Texts of Divine revelation are one and the same thing for both is the Lord present with finite beings. The only difference between what is experienced by angels and those of us in the world is that angels see the Word (Lord) apart from its letter and therefore in the splendour of its internal meaning, thus it appears as a Sun, whereas those in the world struggle to see beyond the sense of the letter, meaning that the Sun of heaven within the letter is encased in natural ideas of space and time, dulling perception and appreciation of what it is we actually are in possession of in the form of Sacred Texts.

So in describing the spiritual world and how those who inhabit it experience it, the work Heaven and Hell depicts in natural imagery, inner realities, including the laws or principles that govern the life of the mind. The key image that the Sun of the spiritual world is creating and organising everything in that world reflects how the Texts of Divine revelation or the Word, out of the formless void of the natural mind, recreates and reorganises that mind into a heavenly form for those who look to the Lord as the Word. Viewed in this way it can be seen how essential the Texts of Divine revelation are to the regeneration of the human mind. For they not only speak of the life to come but they speak of that life in terms of its manifestation in the here and now, that is, its manifestation within the minds of those who seek to live a spiritual life in the light of their understanding of the Word while living in the natural world.

This knowledge has profound implications that can direct our thinking as to the design of support structures to assist people to live an effective spiritual life while living in the natural world. If it is accepted that the descriptions found in the Word concerning the “other life” can also be applied to the world of the human mind and its regeneration, thus providing an understanding of the structure and nature of human consciousness then it is to the Texts we must go as the principal source of inspiration as to what external forms might best serve the unfolding of these internal realities as the mind undergoes the regenerative process.

In other words, because the Texts of Divine revelation reveal how the beliefs and affections of the mind are organised and react to the influence of spiritual heat and light emanating from within the Word the insights they provide can be used to consciously foster the conditions most conducive to supporting the regeneration of the human mind.

It is the aim of this series of presentations to show how the structure of Logopraxis has been directly influenced by the descriptions found in the work Heaven and Hell, and in particular, the section that deals with a person’s awakening from the death of the natural body (HH 491-520). Only, from a Logopraxis perspective, we are interested in seeing how the description of the experience of awakening in the other life unfolds universal principles that also mirrors what’s involved for those awakening to spiritual life within themselves while still living in the natural world.

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Max Blair
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Max Blair

Gray, thank you for your encouraging comments. I recently wrote in my loose leaf journal: this work makes it possible to become the person and man that I need to become to achieve what I have not been able to accomplish. I start with acknowledging both spiritual and natural worlds which I appreciate with my readings of the Writings. And reading further that while my mind is simultaneously in these worlds, my mind is not these worlds. I have to run to school now. I believe this is where David is leading his message – its feeling good. I’ll workinng… Read more »

Gray Glenn
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Gray Glenn

I found that every sentence of this video offers at least one launching point to further thought. Indirectly, it offers particular help for the question of how to use Swedenborg’s science (such as is presented in DLW) as a doorway rather than an obstacle to spiritual understanding. If anyone else is interested in using this talk as a focus for a discussion group, please let me know. Gray

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