The Development of an Inner Sanctuary: Interpretation of Psalm 23

December 4th, 2019

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. The Lord Jesus is our guide and inner teacher, we are meant to be led by Him. He is the living Word and teaches us through the Word and by the Holy spirit, which is His presence. He teaches those who genuinely yearn for good in their life, church and country. The Lord and the life He gives restores our wholeness in spite of circumstances. The inner life He offers us is the greatest treasure, but we have to fight for it. The more we allow ourself to be led by the Lord the more we become our true self.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. The 23 Psalm is a lot about having an inner sanctuary. In love and faith to the Lord we can have a sense of inner peace. This is an inward resource that provides direction, and self-agency in spite of what problems may come. I am a hospice chaplain and hope to help others find this inner pasture as they pass the days in bed. One can see the kind of inner resources people have and I help them to develop their inner life as best I can. Green pastures represents spiritual nourishment; and the whole phrase means peace that comes after trials. In John in regard to pasture the Lord says, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.

He leads me beside quiet waters. This also refers to inner sanctuary and the mercy the Lord gives to all who go through trails.

 He refreshes my soul. My sense of this is that for those who yearn for God, they receive an intimate love for Him, and with that the light of wisdom. I have often experienced that when I read the Word and seek to understand the scriptures, I feel a palpable light enter into my my mind and body and brings a sense of joy and purpose and relief from stress and anxiety. My soul feels refreshed in a spiritual way, very much like our mind and body does at the sight of a calm body of water, or at the sight of a flowing river in a green valley. God can be seen in nature, the innate moral yearnings of man, and in the Word.

Our psyche lets go and receives the Lord when we come into humility. True humility never remains unknown like a spring flower hidden within grass that releases its fragrance far and wide. Humility is the soul’s true beauty because beauty is the form of love. It makes it possible to find strength and rest unlike pride which is wearisome to the soul

He guides me along the right paths. In the spiritual world there are paths that lead to heaven or hell. In the world of spirits one is being constantly vastated either toward heaven or hell according to one’s own loves and inclinations. The Lord and his angels also walk with us in this world in the sense they are constantly trying to guide us to the heavenly path. Swedenborg writes that the ‘stone along the path’ spoken of in the Bible is a real place along the path that leads out of the world of spirits to heaven or to hell. Those who cannot see the stone in the path stumble on it and fall the wrong way. Those who can see and accept the guidance of the angels from their inner love are guided to their place in heaven. 

       This phrase also has to do with the way ‘paths’ are built in our psyche. Paths our built in our mind by the union of exercising our love and intelligence in union for a useful life accomplishment, whether that be big or small. The path is formed by exercising our skills and inner gifts from the love of being useful, and becomes a bond with God particularly when we realize the good we do comes from God. The path is laid when action is taken.

 For His name’s sake. By the word “Name” (including Jehovah, the Lord, and Jesus Christ), is not meant just the name of one person, but the whole infinite Kaleidoscope of truths and loves of which Jesus Christ is the source, and for which He is worshiped. The power in the Name of Jesus Christ is not in the mere name but in loving and understanding who He is and what he did for us. He redeemed everything by His supreme acts of love. The resurrection can be compared to the dynamics of Supernovas, where all the elements on the periodic table are produced in the moments before and during the explosion, and where immeasurable heat and light are produced and distributed to the universe. In the resurrection Jesus renewed all things, He distributed spiritual gifts to the souls of man, He paved the paths to heaven that had been lost in the psyche and soul of man. In Him are all the infinite and interconnected truths and loves of life. He is the source and He is the way, and we have the opportunity to know the way by the gifts he gave us to use.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Jesus gives us the eternal promise that He is closest when we are lowest, undergoing trials and temptation, and most in need of him. Trials will always come in this world, but we can always trust in the Lord that He will be with us, and that he is just. There is no greater power than divine truth from Him.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. In correspondences the table is a container of celestial truths, because good food means spiritual nourishment, and the table holds these in abundance. Our soul is made to be a receptacle of wisdom from the Lord, as a plant receives light from the sun and converts it to life energy. The anointing of the head with oil also corresponds to the taking-in of spiritual nourishment. This verse is reminiscent of Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus. She was so filled with love for Him and the revelation that He is God that her ‘cup overflowed with Joy’. Love elevates perception, and perception elevates love so she was on fire with the union of love and awareness. In spite of the difficulties of the circumstance Mary seized the moment and anointed Jesus while he was alive. For her incredible act of love – being the first to understand that He is God – Jesus memorialized her action for all time.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord gave us life from the moment of conception. From His infinite wisdom He made us to fill a unique need in the universe at the time of our conception. We have to live into it from our own will. Everyone ever born is meant for heaven (chosen), but because we are free many choose poorly. (Freedom is both the means of salvation and the cause of hell). Nevertheless, all life is sacred, and all are meant for heaven where God wants nothing more than to prepare a place of us at the table.

The Form of our soul at death is determined by the concordance between our external and internal self. What this means is there is a union formed between faith and charity when we act on them together, but not so if we make them separate. From the union of love and intelligence (charity and faith) springs forth renewed life like water from a fountain (as it did in Mary). At the same time, in this process, we also bond with God (to the degree we developed it) for He is the source of the good we are expressing.  The constellation of this union at the time of death does not change. This is the meaning of ‘As the tree falleth, so it lies”. Bringing our internal and external into harmony by the way we lived is a spiritual practice. Our internal and external being in harmony speaks to being genuine, honest, humble and strong. If they are separated we have been dishonest, avoidant, lukewarm and cannot be in the light of heaven. The practice of union is the source of all genuine spirituality. The constellation of this union at death is like a seed which, when exposed to heavenly light, will grow in magnificent ways we cannot conceive of now, and it does so for eternity. (In my house I will build you many mansions.) He is with us always. 

Trump and the People are Fighting to Build a Foundation for America that Will Help us Prosper Long into the Future

May 19th, 2019
Trump is building a very strong foundation for America to prosper long into the future. He knows what he is doing, who the real enemy is, and how to defeat them. He is gradually winning huge in the courts with appointments of constitutional Judges at all levels. No accident we are winning cases at the state and national level now. Barr is poised to bring justice to the deep state. Trump is successfully in the process of fighting-off challenges from economic adversaries like China, and from violent threats to the USA and the world from the likes of ISIS, Korea, Iran, Islam.
At the same time he is building up allies based on the right principles, a huge part of which is to focus on being fair and not forcing democracy on others, but respecting their ways. The laser focus of his foreign policy is to defeat terrorism and free the people. The genius of this is that it actually organically causes the people to fight for freedom and desire democracy. He also makes countries we help, and the UN, pay their share. He is equalizing unbalanced tariffs with everyone around the world. Slowly but surely he is dealing with the huge border problem with Mexico, and he is bringing a free market based health care system that works. All of these are essential fronts that must be addressed as building blocks for our long-term spiritual and economic health.
Meanwhile the left shows a picture of people who are disingenuous and dissociated from reality and are moving head long into having no foundation whatsoever. They have spent two years fiercely obstructing, and when they do articulate a vision it is the Green Deal, which is utterly impractical and not taken seriously. The democrats are dedicated to making America a socialistic nation which would be its destruction. Defeating the left is Trump’s greatest achievement. They are our greatest threat.
The winning he and conservatives (and their supporters) are achieving is incredibly important for the psyche of America and the world because it is of integrity, brings safety, and upholds God. Like a child that fights its parent tooth and nail, (but inwardly is glad his or her parent disciplines them), I think those on the left know what Trump is doing is right, but they have decided that they are going to fight it even if they are wrong. The difference is a child has innocence and this quality causes them to relent. An adult can do this too, but can also loss their innocence, which means to lose one’s conscience, and stand on pride alone. The power brokers on the left believe that ‘the New World Order’ was inevitable, and would wash over the will of the people to be free. This movement is from the same old dark forces, the machinations of evil that repeat the same mind numbing techniques over and over, promising utopia that is really a hellish, controlled state.
But the Trump movement is standing up and taking responsibility!
 
Luke 6:48 – “They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”
 
Luke 6:49 – “But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

The Spirituality of Remembering and Its Role in Vastation and Salvation

November 4th, 2018

The act of remembering is a natural image of spiritual experience and is very much part of actual spiritual experience. Deep memory arises from searching our feelings and their meaning. This is an inner need that is one with an intense desire to understand the cause of things. It leads to knowing ourself and God much better. It is a reciprocal process between us and God; on our part it requires desire, and adjusting our attitude to sincerity and humility so that we can receive from God. Painful feelings, (and joyful) compel us to interpret their cause, and as we remember them with sincerity God provides compassion and wisdom like a parent watching over us, and this brings healing and relief to our soul.

When I wrote my first book on the cult people who were part of the experience and read the book found it remarkable how I remembered so many details and long dialogues. In short it was by the process I described above. It starts by searching deep painful feelings and then the cause of the feelings opens up and leads to visual, auditory and verbal memories.

To improve our psychological health it’s important to observe our inner thinking pattern for this can be very revealing. There are useful Memories, and there are those that are not useful, or are destructive. Memories of the past can act like a burden in our life consuming our vital energy with negative emotions. These can be reframed and released, but we have to be intentional about doing it and making the change. The memories have energy around them that resist change, but we can change them like wiping streaks off a windshield that obscures our view. If we make the effort and wipe them off we feel a strong sense of satisfaction and self agency. Stuck emotions from trauma insulate and protect the memories, and they are attached to compensation strategies that we repeat as patterns and sometimes negative behaviors. This is why we have to intentionally observe our thought patterns, explore their cause and change them to what we desire from our core self that is connected to God. The thoughts and exiled self behind the pattern try to convince us they can’t be changed; but if we see them we can change the way we think, live, work and process them. Once we experience changing them we can become more fluid in changing them the next time. I actually practice wiping them away as if I were cleaning a window that has a smudge with a cloth. The Bible speaks of this with these words: “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”  (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is just a sketch of how it works. To actually do this for most people requires therapy. I practice a therapy called ‘Yoga Therapy’, which is not about physical yoga but about bringing exiled parts of the self back into relationship with the core from which love and wisdom from God is fluid. Nevertheless, simply beginning by observing the pattern of our thoughts is very motivating, and gives one a chance to reject the negative thoughts and reframe them toward a healthy way.

Another important aspect of memory that can have a negative effect is the external accumulation of knowledge. For myself I study the Bible not to be an egghead but for the need to heal and grow (which is more of an internal accumulation). I have come to to see that accumulating knowledge is not good for my soul and spirit; it is much better for understanding to flow in the spirit. I think this is part of what Jesus means when he says: “…do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13: 11). The memory is meant to be fluid. It is ideal that there is a fluid interaction between the natural and spiritual memory so that knowledge and inspiration comes up in the moment as we need it. The mere accumulation of knowledge becomes a callosity in the mind and soul, especially when attached to pride. The understanding of things is not meant to be hoarded but shared. The desire to give and share from love and humility is the elixir that lets memory flow in the moment. Love elevates perception because contained in it is all the wisdom to manifest its purpose. Those who love to accumulate knowledge and take pride in a great breadth of knowledge can create a callosity in their mind that is a block to the spiritual and possibly to heaven. Swedenborg writes:

“The nature of the memories is sometimes presented to view in the other life. The exterior memory is thus presented to view as a callosity; the interior memory as a medullary substance such as is in the human brain. From this circumstance it is possible to know of what quality the spirits (persons) are. With those who in the life of the body have fostered the memory alone, and so have not cultivated their rational, the callosity appears hard, and striated within. With those who have filled the memory with falsities, it appears as if made of hair and shaggy, and this from the disorderly mass of things. With those who have fostered the memory for the sake of the love of self and of the world, it appears conglutinated and indurated. With those who have desired to penetrate into Divine arcana by things scientific, and especially by things philosophical, and who would not believe until persuaded by means of these things, it appears dark, and of such a nature as to absorb the rays of light, and turn them into darkness. With those who have been deceitful and hypocrites, it appears as if bony and of ebony, reflecting the rays of light. But with those who have been in the good of love and the truth of faith, such a callosity does not appear; because their interior memory transmits the rays of light into the exterior memory, in the objects or ideas of which – as in their basis or as in their ground – the rays are terminated, and find there delightful receptacles. For the exterior memory is the ultimate of order, in which spiritual and heavenly things are softly terminated and reside when there are goods and truths therein” (Arcana Celestia, 2494).

It is very enlightening to see that in heaven we have a capacity to remember the past, but mostly the past is completely released and let go of.  This is not from any kind of denial, but the heavenly mind has been vastated of evil things – traumas, and attachments to negative strategies that formerly served a purpose. Because these have been released the memories are out of mind. And the mind is free to be filled with excitement and love in the moment; it moves into a wondrous life where the past is simply not useful. Swedenborg describes how this takes place:

“Man enjoys a twofold memory, the natural and the spiritual, and in the spiritual world natural memory gradually perishes. The memory which man properly calls the memory, is the natural memory, because it is of the natural mind, and is the memory of particulars, or of material ideas which correspond to words; this memory perishes when man dies. His soul retains the faculty of reasoning and of understanding from a certain spiritual memory, or the memory of ideas rational or immaterial, as they are called. It is his memory that causes a man after death to know no otherwise than that he is still in the life of the body. But because this memory is born from the natural memory it is replete with fallacies, and it still disturbs, obscures, and, if left to itself, perverts truths; wherefore this memory also successively vanishes, insomuch that even the rational born therefrom perishes. But this memory is nevertheless retained for some time, and is imbued with the cognitions of truth, even until it can be obliterated. At length the true man remains, which is the part remaining together with new abilities acquired, which is the good soil in which heavenly seed is sown. From this there arises a new man, that is, a heavenly paradise within man, with all heavenly felicity, peace and innocence” (Spiritual Diary, 1747, Dec. 15).

The most important element in remembering has to do with innocence stored in the soul. In the Bible this is called remains. (I have written about remains extensively in another post where you can read more about it). Remains are the loves from childhood that are stored in the soul. These are the first loves for parents and playmates, they are the pure enthusiasm of play that we experienced with innocence, and that formed a bond in our heat. Remains develop in our heart before we had a conscience aware of good and evil. It is for this reason that the innocence of childhood is an external innocence and only become internal when we incorporate with intelligence and our adult conscience from our own free will. The only way to receive God is by approaching Him with humility which requires feeling (internally remembering) the innocence from remains in our soul. To remember these feelings and to incorporate them into our adult consciousness forms a bond, a bond that remains because it forms the very quality of our soul. This union of innocence and intelligence is the essence of spiritual growth and developing an internal relationship with God.

Seeing all this one can understand how important it is to begin now to identify negative memories and take the emotional charge off of them. This is the beginning of the process of vastation. In the spiritual world we will go through vastation in order to prepare for heaven; it is necessary for almost everyone in order to enter heaven. Evils must be removed from us to be in the light of heaven and the society of angels.  And for those that refuse to and can’t there is hell. The reason they can’t is that they have learned to delight in hate and evil things, and this love is the primary bond in their soul, which is not with God.

The angels that help new spirits undergo vastation are under the guidance of the Lord, and are master spiritual/psychologists, so to speak. The angels see and do what is necessary to have the evil removed if at all possible. When I think of the spiritual world and death now, vastation is the thing that makes me most anxious; what is it that is going to have to be removed from me? How can I help prepare for it now? Swedenborg writes that for sum this process is severe, difficult and painful, and for others it is not very difficult.

The Bible speaks of all this in this way: ““I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.”” (Isaiah 43:25)

CS Lewis writes: If we find ourself with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.