Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

Almost all the people who arrive in the other life think that hell is the same for everyone and that heaven is the same for everyone, when in fact there are infinite variations and differences in each. Hell is never the same for any two people, nor is heaven. In the same way, no one of us, no spirit, and no angel is ever exactly like any other, even facially. When I even thought about two identical or equal beings, the angels were aghast. They said that every unity is formed by a harmonious agreement of many constituents and that the nature of the unity depends on the nature of the agreement. This is how every community of heaven forms a unity and how all the communities form a single heaven, which is accomplished solely by the Lord, by means of love.

Useful activities in the heavens occur in similar variety and diversity. The function of one individual is never exactly the same as that of any other, so the delight of one is never the same as another’s. Not only that, the delights of each function are countless, and these countless delights are equally varied, yet they are united in a design that enables them to focus on each other as do the functions of the individual members and organs and viscera in the human body; or even more, like the functions of every vessel and fiber in those members and organs and viscera. These are all interconnected in such a way that they focus on what they can contribute to the other and therefore to all, with all mindful of the individual members. They act as one because of this regard for the whole and for the individual.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 405

We Each Have Two Sides: Intellect and Will

We each have two sides: intellect and will. The will is the first part; the intellect comes second. The kind of life we have after death depends on our volitional side, not our intellectual side. From infancy through adolescence the Lord forms our will by instilling innocence in us and goodwill toward our parents, caretakers, and playmates, and by other means that we are unaware of. These are heavenly attributes. If these heavenly attributes were not first instilled in us as babies, children, and youths, we could never become human. That is how the first level is formed.

We are not human, however, unless also equipped with an intellect. The will alone does not make us human, but intellect together with will. Moreover, we cannot develop an intellect without both secular and religious knowledge. As a result, we need to absorb this knowledge by degrees, beginning in childhood. That is how the second level is formed.

When the intellectual side has received an education in both kinds of knowledge, especially the knowledge of truth and goodness, then we can first be reborn. And when we are being reborn, the Lord uses that knowledge to graft true ideas and good impulses onto the heavenly gifts we have received from him since infancy. In this way our intellectual abilities fuse with our heavenly gifts. When the Lord has united the two in this way, we receive the gift of love for others—a product of conscience—and start to act on it. This is how we first receive new life, which comes gradually. The light we enjoy in this new life is called wisdom, which now plays the leading role and overshadows any mere ability to understand. That is how the third level is formed.

If we become this kind of person during bodily life, in the next life we are constantly being perfected.

This indicates what the light of understanding is and what the light of wisdom is.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1555

Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

Some spirits who thought themselves better informed than others claimed that in the world they had held to the belief that heavenly joy consisted solely in praising and glorifying God, and that this was an active life. They have been told, though, that praising and glorifying God is not an appropriate kind of active life, since God has no need of praise and glorification. Rather, God wants us to be useful to each other, to do the worthwhile things that are called works of charity. However, they could not connect any notion of heavenly joy with thoughtful good deeds, only a notion of slavery. The angels, though, bore witness that it was the freest life of all because it stemmed from a deep affection and was invariably accompanied by an indescribable pleasure.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 404

Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

On the basis of an opinion formed in the world, some spirits have believed that heavenly happiness consisted of a life of leisure, being waited on by others; but they were informed that there is never any happiness in idling around in order to be content. This would mean wanting the happiness of others for oneself, in which case no one would have any at all. This kind of life would be idle, not active, a life that would lead to atrophy. They might in fact have known that apart from an active life, a life has no happiness, and that idleness serves that life only for refreshment, in order to return them to the active life with more energy. Then they were shown in many ways that angelic life consists of worthwhile, thoughtful actions, actions that are useful to others, and that all the happiness angels have is found in service, derives from service, and is proportional to service.

So that these people might feel shame (people who have had the notion that heavenly joy consists of a life of leisure, inhaling eternal bliss) they are enabled to perceive what kind of life this would be. They see that it is thoroughly miserable; and once all their delight therefore dies away, they are very soon disgusted and nauseated.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 403

Heanly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

All the pleasures of heaven are united to forms of service and dwell within them, because forms of service are the good effects of the love and thoughtfulness that angels are immersed in. Consequently, the nature of each individual’s pleasures depends on the nature of that individual’s service, and its intensity depends on the intensity of the affection for service.

We can be assured that heaven’s pleasures are pleasures of service by comparing them with our own five physical senses. Each sense has its own pleasure in accord with the service it performs. Sight has its pleasure, hearing its own, smell its own, taste its own, and touch its own. The pleasure of sight derives from beauty and forms, that of hearing from harmonies, of smell from fragrances, of taste from flavors. Anyone who reflects knows what services the individual senses perform, and people familiar with correspondences know this even more fully. The reason sight has the kind of pleasure it does lies in the service it performs for our discernment, which is an inner sight. The reason hearing has the kind of pleasure it does lies in the service it performs for our discernment and our volition by its attentiveness. The reason smell has the kind of pleasure it does lies in the service it performs for the brain and for the lungs. The reason taste has the kind of pleasure it does lies in the service it performs for the stomach and indirectly for the whole body by nourishing it. Marital pleasure, which is a purer and more delicate pleasure of touch, surpasses all others because of its service, the procreation of the human race and thus of the angelic heaven.

These pleasures are inherent in the senses because of the inflow of heaven, where all pleasure belongs to service and depends on service.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 402

Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

As long as people who are caught up in the love for themselves and the world are living in the body, they feel the pleasure that stems from those loves and the pleasure of the gratifications that result from those loves. As long as people who are focused on love for God and love for their neighbor are living in the body, though, they have no obvious sense of the pleasure that stems from those loves and from the good affections that arise from them. All they feel is a sense of well-being that is barely perceptible because it is hidden away in their deeper natures, veiled by the outer sensations of their bodies and dulled by the cares of this world. Our state changes completely after death, however. Then the pleasures of love for ourselves and the world turn into painful and fearful sensations because within them is what we call hellfire, and also into foul and unclean things that answer to their filthy gratifications—all of which, remarkably enough, are now quite delightful to them.

In contrast, the faint sense of pleasure, the almost imperceptible sense of well-being that was found in people who were focused on love for God and love for their neighbor in the world, turns into the pleasure of heaven, perceptible and palpable in countless ways. That sense of well-being that had been lying hidden in their deeper natures while they lived in the world is now unveiled and released into open sensation, because now they are in the spirit, and this was the delight of their spirit.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 401

My Brother’s Last Days

On January 12, 2017, I got a message from Korea that my oldest brother died. I was in the plane on the 13th and arrived at the funeral home at Jeonpuk University hospital in Jeonju on the 14th.

On the 15th of January, they brought my brother’s body for cremation. I saw the casket go into a cubical oven and they shut door. We could see the process on the screen. Two hours later, they informed us that cremation was done. They bought his bones out in a pail before they ground them into powdery. My nephew (my brother’s son) selected an urn from among many and they brought the urn with my brother’s ashes.

My nephew’s car carried the ashes and all the family members and relatives and guests rode the bus following the car to the family mountain where my great grandfather, grandfather and my parents are buried. The funeral workers already prepared the burial ground for my brother. My nephew placed the urn into a hole which was prepared and each person covered the urn with a fistful soil.
All the learning I have gotten through Swedenborg has made me very peaceful and calm through the process of sending off my brother to the spiritual world. I was reassured that I should continue sharing what Swedenborg left us with this blog, Secrets of Heaven.

During last 12 days I have rested from my blogging, Secrets of Heaven, and I will continue tomorrow.


Heavenly Joy and Happiness

HARDLY anyone nowadays knows what heaven is or what heavenly joy is. People who think about either subject come up with such pedestrian and crude notions that they scarcely amount to anything at all. I have had a wonderful opportunity to learn from spirits who were coming from this world into the other life what kind of idea they had about heaven and heavenly joy, for when they are left on their own, as they were in the world, they still think the same way.

The reason they do not know about heavenly joy is that people who think about it at all base their judgments on the external joys of the natural person. They do not know what the inner or spiritual person is, so they do not know what that person’s pleasure and blessedness are. So even if they were told by people involved in spiritual or inner joy what heavenly joy is and how it feels, they would not be able to grasp it. It would have descended into an unfamiliar concept and therefore not into their perception, so it would have become one of those things that the natural person casts aside.

Everyone is capable of knowing that when we leave our outer or natural person we enter our inner or spiritual one; so we can also know that heavenly pleasure is an inner and spiritual pleasure and not an outer or natural one. Since it is inner and spiritual, it is purer and finer and moves our deeper levels, the levels of our soul or spirit.

We may also conclude from this that the quality of our pleasure follows from the quality of the pleasure of our spirit, and that the pleasures of our bodies, called “the pleasures of the flesh,” have nothing to do with heaven by comparison. Whatever is in our spirit when we leave the body remains with us after death, for we then live as human spirits.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 395

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued)

Until my eyes were opened, I almost inevitably cherished the same idea as others about the countless wonders that appear in the next world. I thought that neither light nor the kind of phenomena light creates—to say nothing of sensory powers—could possibly exist in the next world. This thinking grew out of a delusion that the well-educated adopt concerning immateriality, which they ascribe so broadly to spirits and to everything in a spirit’s life. Such a delusion could yield only one way to conceive of anything spiritual: that because it lacked matter, either it was too vague to be grasped in any way or it was nothing at all. That is what “immaterial” means, of course. The reality is diametrically opposed. If spirits were not organic—and if angels were not organic substances—they would not be able to speak or see or think.

In the other life, the most miraculous things present themselves to the eyesight of spirits and angels, thanks to light radiating from its heavenly and spiritual origin in the Lord. These sights include parks, cities, palaces, houses, the most beautiful kinds of atmosphere, and much else besides.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1533, 1534

The Light in Which Angels Live (Continued)

For proof to me that he appears before heavenly angels as a sun and before spiritual angels as a moon, the Lord in his divine mercy opened my inner eyes to look all the way into heaven. There I saw clearly a radiant moon ringed by many smaller moonlets, whose combined light was almost as strong as the sun’s. As Isaiah said, “The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun” (Isaiah 30:26). But a sight of the sun was not given to me. The moon appeared out in front, toward the right.

Amazing sights can be seen by the Lord’s light in heaven—so many of them that they could never be listed. These sights consist of one scene after another representing the Lord and his kingdom, resembling scenes described by the prophets and by John in the Book of Revelation. There are other symbolic objects as well. We cannot possibly see them with our physical eyes, but as soon as the Lord opens our inner eyes—the eyes of our spirit—similar sights can immediately present themselves to view. The visions of the prophets were nothing more than the opening of their inner eyes. This is what happened when John saw the golden lampstands (Revelation 1:12, 13), the holy city as pure gold, and its light source like a very precious stone (Revelation 21:2, 10, [11, 18]), not to mention much in the prophets. These considerations teach not only that angels live in the highest light but also that heaven contains countless marvels that no one could ever believe.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1531, 1532