Innocence Never Goes Away: The Meaning and Consequences of the Principle ‘You Are Either For Or Against Me’

June 29th, 2020

 

The Lord said ‘you are either for me or against me’. Our relationship with Him is reciprocal. People have to inwardly choose of their own will to make themself vulnerable and open to receiving God, and some are not willing. People know how to look good on the outside sometimes, while shut down, closed, or have ill-will on the inside. Entertaining evil, Chronic pride and denial eventually closes the internals of a person. Swedenborg says people can refuse God to the point their internals become closed, and such a person can not receive heaven.

Choosing to not accept God is at the same time actively rejecting God at some point, which is another way of saying we are ‘either for or against God’. No one can presume to be neutral to God. Acknowledging God makes him present, by denying Him we, at some point, lose the presence and protection of his angels (to the degree we reject) because reception is reciprocal, that is, God receives us to the degree we reach and open to Him from our will (for he is always turned to us). On earth people have an internal and external self and we can hide in the external. We can ‘put on a face’ with our body and do good and moral things for the sake of business and appearance, while being selfish and entertain evil inside. Remains (innocence stored in our soul) are always there, but become dormant and closed when we chronically reject God. As long as we are on earth, as I understand it, it is possible to reform, although it requires cognition to willingly submit to him, so it often becomes more difficult as we get old because of habit, fixation and loss of cognition.

Once in the spiritual world a person cannot change the basic constellation that has formed in their soul. The constellation is determined by the degree of correspondence between our internal and external self at the time of death. The more they are in harmony the more heavenly, the less in harmony the more hellish. The constellation then is like a seed from which we grow. The constellation itself can’t change anymore because we no longer have the material component of our body from which it was formed in conjunction with the soul. In the spiritual world we only have the spiritual body. The spiritual body has refined abilities that are many times greater than the physical body. If the constellation is receptive to heavenly light it grows and increases in joy for eternity. If not it is in a hell according to its types of evil loves.

In truth there is great pain in rejecting God, and this is because of the presence of remains. The remains are urging us to not be hard hearted but to receive him. Remains soften our heart so we become humbled and see and cry out to God. Those who persist in rejecting him have to keep doubling down over and over to stifle the pain from the presence of remains until the remains are silenced, and closed. But they never go away.

    Integration of Psychology and Religion: A Description of the Psychology of Childhood Omnipotence and Transferring Omnipotence to God: and How God’s Spiritual Principles Are Used in Marketing as Powerful Motivators

April 1st, 2020
    
      Earl Biddle’s description of childhood anxiety, imagination, and omnipotence offers deep insight into the inner life of a child, and into adult psychological development. Biddle describes the inner life of the child and the importance of the child’s phantasies. ‘Phantasy’ emphasizes creative imagination, whereas, ‘fantasy’, implies more an element of illusory day dreaming:
 
         “Childhood is usually regarded as a period of life which is normally happy and carefree…But it is difficult to appreciate the extremes of anxiety and joy which the small child experiences throughout his everyday life. The small child dies a thousand deaths. Equally often he reaches the pinnacle of bliss…(These experiences) are very real to the child, but the adult says they are imaginary (Biddle, p. 32). The small child under the age of three views his parents and other adults as gigantic, all-powerful people. They can do infinite good or infinite harm to him. But according to the logic of the child, a good person cannot do any bad, and a bad person can do no good… The child does not regard the gratifying father and the frustrating father as the same person. The same is true with the mother. Besides being real people the parents represent phantastic, illusory, or imaginary persons. The small child, then, has, in addition to his real parents, a phantastic father and mother who are preposterously good, and a phantastic father and mother who are preposterously bad.
       Emotionally the child under age three experiences only extremes. When someone pleases him he does not simply like that person, but loves him with every fiber of his being. When someone displeases him he does not dislike him, but hates with murderous intensity”.
 
         These feelings remain latent within us throughout life, but are worked out, and refined and gradually become unconscious as we mature. When we react to people and circumstances we tend to regress to these feelings. Biddle describes how the child learns to process and work out these feelings in his or her imagination:
 
        “The child cannot physically handle the parents. He cannot defend himself against them when they appear to threaten him. The problem is worked out by a natural process whereby the child makes inanimate objects, which he can handle, represent symbols of the parent. A match stick may become an imaginary bad father who can be chewed, broken into bits, and thrown away…By this process of imagination the child “really’ gets rid of the bad parents because he destroys a real object which symbolizes a parent to him. The child can also change his inanimate objects from bad to good, and thereby improve the phantastic parents, which the objects represent. The imaginary threats are thereby relieved. The child never attacks the phantastic parent with the intention of doing harm. He may do so simply to assure himself that he is not really causing harm. He may in imagination harm the parent he has clothed in destructive phantasies only to find the real parent does something good. When this happens the child must in imagination repair the phantastic damage he has done.
     The child uses the functions inherent in his own body as the means by which he exercises his imaginary omnipotence. In imagination he can annihilate the world by simply closing his eyes. Then he can recreate the world by opening them…His words have magic power. By calling Mama he can make his mother appear from ‘nowhere’. His tears, saliva, and bodily excrement are given phantastic destructive and creative power.
       The child’s omnipotent phantasies are of tremendous importance in his psychic development. One need not fear that the child will continue to believe himself omnipotent if his phantasies are not disputed. A brutal assault upon the phantasies of the child renders him helpless and insecure in a gigantic real world with which he cannot cope…The entire life of every individual is shaped by the impact which the real world makes upon the imaginary world of the child. The adult helps the child to distinguish between reality and phantasy, but the phantasies cannot be eliminated. Strangely enough, the desire for omnipotence, which caused man to lose paradise, is essential to him in early childhood if he is to regain heaven. Only the genius of the creator could change what appears to be intrinsically evil desire into an essential good.
        The phantasies of omnipotence do not continuously sustain the child. The child constantly fluctuates between feeling omnipotent and annihilated. There are many times too, when he is afraid of his omnipotent destructiveness. For instance if he ‘blows up the world’ he will have no place to stand”.

     In the child ‘omnipotence’ is appropriate, because she is innocent and helpless. Objectively the child is born in ignorance, knowing nothing, can do nothing for her self, and must learn gradually. In addition, all humans at birth have hereditary evil; this is latent in the baby and gradually comes into play. Evil is latent because a baby has not developed a conscience, the ability to discern between good and evil. The creator clothes the child in innocence so that it is adored and taken care of; and the child’s experiences of love and loving are stored as remains in her soul. These remains of love connect her to God, and temper the hereditary evil in her as she grows. These remains are an essential means of reception of good from the Lord through life, but the major work of life is to incorporate them into the adult self so we keep our connection to God and the ability to competent and care and give. 

      As adults we sometimes act out, otherwise known as regressing. When we regress, it is because we inwardly feel powerless, fear, or rage, so we reflexively return back to the feelings of childhood omnipotence for protection. These feelings are un-resourced, and so we act out. Childhood ‘omnipotence’ in the adult is by nature selfish, blind to others, and driven by survival. It is an automatic default setting inside for the sake of self-interest and protection. In any given episode as adults we may or may not have sophisticated ways of justifying it, but the quality and import of it is self-serving.
       There is in regression, also, if we remain self aware, an opportunity. Regression points directly to the wounds within us that need development. If we react the same as in the past then there is no movement, but if we act with some measure of composure, we can learn and change the phantasy within our self to a good one in some measure.
       Regression is also an opportunity because beneath the feelings of childhood omnipotence are remains – the stored feelings of innocence and love from childhood. These feelings are often felt as a sense of personal ‘specialness’, because deep down we want and feel a core of good about our selves that is seeking expression; ‘remains’ are in potential and need development and incorporation to the adult self. If felt and opened, remains can help us receive and submit to God as the true source of ‘specialness’. And in yielding to Him we feel joy, more our self. This provides the inner security to care for others as much or more than our selves (which is the cornerstone of society and religion).

       Remains are in potential and need to be spiritually mined and thus incorporated into our will. This is spiritual remembering and imagining. God provides that remains are inside everyone, as a means of connecting with His will for our life. Every time we regress there is an opportunity to renew the unresolved issue in our self that cries out for attention and healing. God can only be approached in humility, and remains (‘like a child’) help us do this.Advertisers use the motivating energy of our need to sort out our omnipotent phantasies, and to believe in the good father and mother all the time. A good advertising campaign attempts to tap the primal spot where we live inside; this way they influence us to image satisfying our deepest drives with their product. Where advertisers put their money is a good litmus test of something’s veracity: by study and process of elimination they do what produces. They are acting from very practical motivation – the bottom line, maximum results, making money.One of the psychological means Advertisers use is to portray animals and objects talking and acting like humans. There is certain magic and delight kindled within us in seeing these absurd and exaggerated images. There are hundreds of examples of this on TV commercials and kids shows. We see talking animals, sponges, fruit, vegetables, and trees, constantly, and it never ceases to be funny! Recently, there has been a commercial of a humorous, straight-talking cow that tells the mom of a family what everyone is thinking when the mother shows up asking about her goofy clothes. The family is too afraid to say anything about it, but the sassy cow tells her like it is – that she has fallen into wearing ‘mom pants’. It is hilarious for many reasons. It portrays a way that we can feel safe to hear and express what is underneath and real. The cow represents the ‘phantastic’ mother being real, good, and refreshingly truthful to us; teaching us it is ok to express our most keen perceptions. The modeling of truth-speaking helps us move through a barrier of anxiety, which is a deeply satisfying inner achievement. This is joyful to us because it develops inner skill, and growth movement. We move from being subject-to our anxieties, to a creative agent.
       Significantly, psychologists and Swedenborg write that all children up to a certain age believe that their play-animals and dolls are alive. This is part of what makes the above marketing strategy so powerful.
An example in pop culture of transferring omnipotence to God that appealed to millions of people was Tebowmania. You probably remember ‘Tebowing’ is the pose Tebow struck at important moments. After a great play, or after winning, or after losing, Tebow kneels on the ground with his head down, his knuckles to his forehead, closes his eyes, and prays. This is a potent image of transferring omnipotence to the good father. In this pose, after the mighty struggle to achieve, he submits to God, and thanks God. The act of kneeling itself is a bold, demonstrative act of humility and honor. It is like the knights of old who kneeled before the King.

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.

Swedenborg’s Description of those who Use Ideology for the Sake of Hate and their Spiritual State

January 26th, 2017

(In the statement below by Swedenborg the word ‘remains’ refers to innocence stored in the soul from childhood that allows a person to receive God).

Those who persuade themselves in regard to any subject,
confirm themselves in such persuasion
by everything which they imagine to be true,
even by what they find contained in the Word of the Lord;
for while they cling to principles which they have received,
and have become persuaded of,
they make everything favor and assent to them.
And the more anyone is under the influence of self-love,
the more firmly he holds them.

When a man is of such a character
that he immerses the truths of faith in his insane desires,
he then profanes the truths,
and deprives himself of remains,
which although they remain cannot be brought forth,
for as soon as they are brought forth
they are again profaned by things that are profane
for profanations of the Word produce as it were a callosity,
which causes an obstruction,
and absorbs the goods and truths of remains.
Therefore let man beware
of the profanation of the Word of the Lord,
which contains the eternal truths wherein is life,
although one who is in false principles
does not believe that they are truths.