Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dealing with Fear (part 1 of ???)

Fear can be one of the most debilitating emotions that we deal with. And whether your fears are akin to what kind of toothpaste to buy based on the fluoride content, or relating more to the protection of your family in a scary neighborhood, all fears stem from one thing... LOVE. "Every love carries with it a fear and anguish—a fear of its perishing, and an anguish if it does" (Swedenborg, Marriage Love 371). And this principle holds true whether the love is rational or irrational, good or evil, central or peripheral.     Now if we accept the premise that fear is not something that we can truly get rid of, because if there is no fear than there is no love, and if no love than there is no life, what can we do with fear that makes it more manageable or possibly even productive? 

For today, let's just begin by looking at the result of our fears on a spectrum. On the one side fear can be paralyzing and debilitating. On the other side fear can be motivating and driving.
So for example, I think we have all gone through times when we've felt incapable of asking that cute girl or guy out on a date because we love the feeling of not being rejected. That is a silly example of being paralyzed by fear. An example for the other side is like soldier who is willing to put themselves in harms way because the fear of harm being done to their family and country ranks higher than the fear of losing their own life. 

That's all for now. Next time I'll try to demonstrate how our fears actually help us to understand what is truly important to us. Any thoughts?      

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Does it matter what other people think of you?

    I have been struggling with this question for a long time, and I have come to the conclusion that it really depends on how other peoples opinions affects you personally. To explain this I'll guide you through the only experience that I really know, which is my own.
    I have always been very aware of what I think other people think of me. I generally think on the positive side, but negative ideas seep in, and sometimes they can upset me. But how much of those negative thoughts are in my head? For instance, ever since I started theological school, I have noticed that even people that I have known for a long time, have changed their mind on who they think I am. A small example would be general reluctance to using foul language around me. Before a person might have sworn up a storm not thinking twice, but now they are more reserved, and curb the use of bad words.
    This is a good thing in some ways. We should try not to use offensive language. But my brain comes to a different conclusion... What, do they think that I'm a prude now or something? Why do they think they need to act differently around me? I am still the same person they knew last year!
    But maybe it is not a response to me, maybe it is a respect for the representation of my future profession. I don't really know.

So why is it important?
    Ok, so there are two different ways that I could react to other peoples opinions of me. I can obsess over them, allow what I think, they think of me, to dictate who I am, and only look interiorly at myself. Or, I can use my perception of what I think they think, to look outside of myself, to see how I can become a better friend to them, a better neighbor, a person that they can confide in. Both circumstances, use the same set of mental statistics. But one is selfish, while the other is loving.  

    So, does it matter what other people think of you? I think that like all things, it is the way that we react to the cards we are given. They can be used productively or destructively.

Any thoughts?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day and the Neighbor

To "Love thy neighbor" is a very broad concept. We can do this in many ways, but the way I would like to single out for todays thought is loving ones country. Memorial Day is a great time to remember the love that all of our men and women in uniform express to the neighbor by putting our country above themselves. To love ones country is a greater love than loving ones own friends and family. It is an expression of love for Gods creation, and thus connects loving the neighbor and love to the Lord. Our two great commandments. In True Christian Religion, Swedenborg discusses love of ones country.

414. One's country is more a neighbor than a single community, because it consists of many communities, and consequently love towards the country is a broader and higher love. Moreover, loving one's country is loving the public welfare. One's country is the neighbor, because it is like a parent; for one is born in it, and it has nourished him and continues to nourish him, and has protected and continues to protect him from injury. Men ought to do good to their country from a love for it, according to its needs, some of which are natural and some spiritual. Natural needs relate to civil life and order, and spiritual needs to spiritual life and order. That one's country should be loved, not as one loves himself, but more than himself, is a law inscribed on the human heart; from which has come the well-known principle, which every true man endorses, that if the country is threatened with ruin from an enemy or any other source, it is noble to die for it, and glorious for a soldier to shed his blood for it. This is said because so great should be one's love for it. It should be known that those who love their country and render good service to it from good will, after death love the Lord's kingdom, for then that is their country; and those who love the Lord's kingdom love the Lord Himself, because the Lord is the all in all things of His kingdom

Thank you to all of those who serve, or have served, their countries. God bless.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


     Earlier today I took the dogs for a long walk and near the end of it I went through the graveyard where my brother Levi was buried nearly ten years ago. I never thought that I would get to a state of peace after such a loss, but I think I finally have. 
     Standing there, and looking at the stone all I could do was smile, while I read what is engraved on the head stone. 

"Love consists in this; to feel another's joy as joy in oneself, this is to love." (Divine Love and Wisdom 47) 

       I was smiling because I know the joy that he is experiencing in heaven. It has taken me a decade to get past my own temporary loss, to realize the joy that he must be experiencing. And this truly makes me happy. 

     Along these same thoughts, I would just like to remember a few other people who have passed into the other world, and send my love to them; and to the people who may be feeling the loss of their loved ones, I hope that you may feel the heavenly joys being felt by our friends, and family in heaven. 

     Levi, Isabelle, Justin, Max, Jason, Eva, We miss you all! 


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Waiting... still waiting!

Time is such an interesting thing. It always seems that we are waiting because of it. We think, oh life will be so much better when this thing happens. Or, if I can only get through the next year everything is going to change. For me, I keep on thinking, "In two more years I'll be done school, and I'll actually get to do what I love." And I still believe that things will change... and they will. But when I get there, I probably won't be satisfied, because I'll be waiting for something else.

Why do we always feel this way? Why are our goals always just out of reach? 

This is one of the ways that the Lord is able to get us to progress. We set goals for ourselves, or we see that there will be something good to come from our struggles in life. When we reach those goals though, we don't get a permanent feeling of satisfaction. This is because with our new found self, we can see that we can be better, can do more, and we set new goals, even if we don't notice that we are doing it. 

There is a great part in the Arcana #4145 that talks about this process in life. 

"Every man who is being regenerated is first in mediate good, in order that it may serve for introducing genuine goods and truths; but after it has served this use, this good is separated, and the man is brought to good which flows in more directly. Thus the man who is being regenerated is perfected by degrees.... Take as an example married love: the good which precedes and initiates is beauty, or agreement of manners, or an outward adaptation of the one to the other, or equality of condition, or a desired condition. These goods are the first mediate goods of married love. Afterwards comes conjunction of minds, wherein the one wills as the other, and perceives delight in doing that which pleases the other. This is the second state; and then the former things, though still present, are no longer regarded. Finally there follows a unition in respect to celestial good and spiritual truth, in that the one believes as the other, and the one is affected by the same good as the other."

** Application ** Work harder to achieve your goals! Every step we take toward "genuine good" the better life will feel. One way to do this is to really define your goal, and make sure that it is achievable. You will get relief and satisfaction along the way, and with each achievement life will get even better.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last Judgement

With all of the hoopla about tomorrow (May 21st) being the day of the rapture, and in regards to all predictions of the "end of times," I thought it would be fit for me to post on this subject.

The first thing that I would like to consider, is the thought of how could a loving God, who creates, and continually creates, to maintain his creation, take any action to destroy or even impede that creation?

(Divine Love and Wisdom 4) - on the nature of the Lord and love.

Secondly, I believe that the Lord is Love in essence. Love by it's nature needs to have others outside of ones self to express that love. And considering that the Lord is infinite in His Love, would He not desire to continually create others to reciprocate his Love?
Finally, the "last judgement" is meant "particularly" as an individual thing which happens to each of us after we pass from this world to the next.
       "In particular there is a last judgement for everyone immediately after he has died, for at this point he passes over into the next life, in which, once he has entered into the life that was his in the body, he undergoes a judgement that points either to death or to life. This last judgement involves every detail of the person. With him whose judgement is to death every single detail condemns him, for there is nothing in his thought and will, not the smallest thing, that does not show the same as his individual last judgement or draw him towards death. But with him whose judgement is to life, every single detail of his thought or will in a similar way possesses the image of his individual last judgement and bears him towards life. For as is the person in general, so is he in every detail of his thought and affection. These are the things meant by the Last Judgement." (Arcana Coelestia 1850)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


     When we think of conscience, we often think of that voice that tells us not to do something bad. This is only a part of conscience.

"[People] who have conscience, speak from the heart the things which they speak, and do from the heart the things which they do. They have also an undivided mind, for they act according to that which they understand and believe to be true and good." (Heavenly Doctrines #131)

But it is only a true conscience if the things in your heart are in accordance with the Lord's truth. If one speaks and does from the heart things that are against that truth they have what is called a spurious conscience.

*Suggested action for the week*
       Take note of all of the times you hear that inner voice and what it tells you to do or not do. Afterwards, look in the Word to see how your conscience compares to the Lord's truth.