What is life like in a spirit world?

spirit_world_meadowEmanuel Swedenborg writes about his inner consciousness of what he calls the  World of Spirits – described as a realm for meeting people who we know, and getting used to a body that is ours and familiar but possibly more capable and better functioning than the one we left fairly recently.

However, according to this view, a big change means having left that body behind we have also lost one of the rather handy functions which we used a lot on earth. At the moment I can say one thing and feel another. My ‘heart’ as the place for love, emotion and feeling, may be feeling a bit down. Yet when someone says ‘how are you’ I put on a cheery smile and say ‘fine thanks’. And that works – people think I’m fine because I can carry it off convincingly.

Similarly we make the socially acceptable phrases of ‘pleased to see you’ when inwardly we long to escape that person’s company – there is often a difference between the ‘heart’ feeling in a situation and the ‘head’ – logical and thoughtful reaction in the situation.

Swedenborg reports that as a new spirit you wouldn’t be deprived of that ability instantly, but gradually as you lose the capacity to pretend and to have a difference between the ‘head’ and the ‘heart’ aspects. In other words what you really feel becomes more obvious and it’s not about being polite and kind to those you don’t really like – your true feelings display themselves and so do everyone else’s too.

In some ways this is a really uncomfortable concept – after all it would be scary exposing things you are used to keeping private. In other ways it would be very liberating to be just as you really are, to not have to occupy the mind with working out the appropriate response to situations and to just be able to completely ‘be yourself’.

Some people are said to very quickly peel away their outer layer and freely enjoy the openness – they are the ones who are already closely aligned inwardly and outwardly and have lived in ways that suit their innermost desires. And for some people who’ve been drawn to very bad conduct and enjoyed it – this process exposes what they really love. The good news is the love of doing good in many, many forms leads towards heaven and it isn’t as hard to lead a life that will lead to heaven as some make out.

Usually, each life on earth gives each person the scope to love others, to not be selfish, to seek the best way in situations and to see for themselves the spiritual good or evil around them. Given the variety of experiences and lives that’s quite a thought, but we are told everyone has the life they need: our life gives us the place for our deepest intentions to be formed and it is what we want which makes us who we are, the unique individual and ultimately leads us to our place in the spiritual world.

Furthermore we are told that those who don’t have full lives here, who have some diminished capacity to think freely, who are perhaps never able to mature fully as well as those who die in childhood or even before birth are treated differently. Just as the old who die enter the spiritual world with their age upon them so the young enter that world as the babies and children they are. Their life is still there in the spirit; again the grief and loss is all felt on this earth.

Swedenborg makes the point that those who need to grow are welcomed into a heavenly culture where what is evils cannot flourish and they are protected and taught as they grow into young adulthood. This is because angels with a deep love of children are said to care for them as mothers and teachers so that these children grow to become beautiful and handsome women and men who can take their places in the heavens.

Copyright 2014 Christine Bank

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