There Are Two Kinds of Levels, Vertical Levels and Horizontal Levels (Continued)

We can tell from this sample that people who know nothing about distinct or vertical levels cannot know anything about our state when it comes to reformation and regeneration, processes that are effected by our acceptance of love and wisdom from the Lord and a consequent opening of the deeper levels of our minds in due sequence. They cannot know, either, about the inflow through the heavens from the Lord or about the design into which they themselves were created. Anyone who ponders these subjects on the basis of gradual or horizontal levels rather than distinct or vertical ones can see them only in terms of effects and not at all in terms of causes. Seeing things solely in terms of effects is basing thought on illusions, which leads to one errors after another. By inductive reasoning we can multiply these errors so much that ultimately grotesque distortions are labeled truths.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 187

There Are Two Kinds of Levels, Vertical Levels and Horizontal Levels (Continued)

The angelic heavens may serve as an example for better comprehension of the reality and nature of distinct levels and how they differ from gradual levels. There are three heavens marked off by vertical levels so that one is underneath another. The only way they communicate is by an inflow that comes from the Lord through the heavens in sequence down to the lowest, and not the other way around.

Each heaven on its own, though, is marked off not by vertical levels but by horizontal ones. The people in the middle or center are in the light and wisdom, while those around them all the way to the borders are in the shadow of wisdom. That is, wisdom wanes all the way to ignorance as the light declines into shadow, which happens gradually.

It is the same with us. The inner realms of our minds are marked off into as many levels as are the angelic heavens, with one level over another. So the inner realms of out minds are marked off in distinct or vertical levels. This is why we can be engaged in the lowest level, a higher level, or the highest level depending on the level of our wisdom. It is why the highest level is closed when we are exclusively engaged in the lowest one, and why the highest one is opened as we accept wisdom from the Lord. There are also gradual or horizontal levels in us just as there are in heaven.

The reason we resemble the heavens is that we are miniature heavens as to the deeper realms of our minds when we are engaged in love and wisdom from the Lord. (On our being miniature heavens as to the deeper realms of our minds, see Heaven and Hell, Sections 51-58.)

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 186


Sections 51-58 of Heaven and Hell: Published 6/11/2019-6/13/2019

There Are Two Kinds of Levels, Vertical Levels and Horizontal Levels (Continued)

Absolutely everything that happens in the spiritual world and in the physical world results from a confluence of distinct and gradual levels, or of vertical and horizontal levels. We call the dimension constituted by distinct levels “height” and the dimension constituted by gradual levels “width.” Their position relative to our eyesight does not change their labels.

Without recognition of these levels, nothing can be known about the differences between the three heavens or about the differences of the love and wisdom of angels there, nothing about the differences of the warmth and light that surround them, nothing about differences of the atmospheres that encompass and envelop them. Without a recognition of these levels, nothing can be known about differences of the inner abilities of our own minds, which means that nothing can be known about our states of reformation and regeneration, nothing about the differences of the outer, bodily abilities of both us and angels, nothing whatever about the difference between what is spiritual and what is physical and nothing therefore about correspondences, nothing about any difference between the life of humans and that of animals or between higher and lower animals, nothing about differences in the forms of the plant kingdom or the substances of the mineral kingdom.

We can tell from this that people who do not know about these levels do not see causes clearly and fairly. They see only effects and form judgments about causes on that basis–usually by tracing a string of effects. Yet causes produce effects not by simple continuity but by a distinct step. The cause is one thing and the effect another, and the difference between them is like the difference between antecedent event and a subsequent one, or like the difference between what forms and what is formed.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 185

There Are Two Kinds of Levels, Vertical Levels and Horizontal Levels

Knowing about levels is a kind of key to unlocking the causes of things and proving into them. In the absence of this knowledge, hardly anything can be known about causes. In the absence of this knowledge, the objects and subjects of both worlds look so simple that there seems to be nothing within them beyond what meets the eye. Actually, though, in comparison to what lies hidden within, this surface is like one feature compared to a thousand or ten thousand.

There is no way to uncover these deeper, invisible features without a knowledge of levels. We move from outer to inner and then to inmost by levels, and not by gradual levels but by distinct ones. “Gredual levels” is the name we give to declines or decreases from coarser to finer or denser to rarer, or better, to gains or increases from finer to coarser or from rarer to denser. They are just like going from light to darkness or from warmth to cold.

In contrast, distinct levels are totally different. They are like antecedent, subsequent, and final vents, or like the purpose, the means, and the result. We refer to them as “distinct” because the antecedent event exists in its own right, the subsequent event in its own right, and the final event in it own right; and yet taken together they constitute a single whole.

Out atmospheres from top to bottom, from sun to earth, the atmospheres called ethers and airs, are marked off in levels of this kind. They are like the elements, compounds, and compounds of compounds that, taken all together, constitute a complex entity. These levels are distinct because they arise separately. They are what we mean by “Vertical levels.” The other levels, though, are gradual because they increase evenly. These are what we mean by “horizontal levels.”

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 184

Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven (Continued)

There were some spirits who while they were in the world had thought their way into the conviction that they would get into heaven and would be accepted before anyone else because they were well educated and knew a lot about the Word and the doctrine of the churches. They believed that they were wise, that they were the people meant by the prophecy in Daniel 12:3 that “they will shine like the glory of the firmament and like the stars.” However, they were examined to see whether their learning was lodged in their memories or in their life. The ones who had a real affection for truth—that is, for the sake of constructive acts apart from merely physical and worldly motives, acts that were essentially spiritual—once they had been instructed, were accepted into heaven. They were then granted knowledge of what does shine in heaven. It is the divine truth (which is heaven’s light there) in constructive living, this being the facet that receives that light and turns it into various kinds of radiance.

For others, though, the learning was lodged only in their memories. They had thereby acquired an ability to reason about truths and to prove the ones they accepted as fundamental, notions that looked true once they were proved, even though they were false. These people were not in heaven’s light at all, but were wrapped up in a faith based on the pride that characterizes so many people of like intelligence, a pride in being especially erudite and therefore destined for heaven where they will be waited on by angels. Because of all this, to extract them from their conceited faith, they were taken up to the first or outmost heaven to be admitted into one particular angelic community. Even as they were entering it, though, their sight began to darken at the inflow of heaven’s light. Then their intellects began to be confused, and eventually they began to labor for breath as though they were dying. Not only that, when they began to feel heaven’s warmth, which is heavenly love, they began to feel profound agonies. So they were expelled, and then were taught that knowledge does not make an angel, only the actual life that people have gained through their knowledge. This is because in and of itself, knowledge is outside of heaven; but a life gained through knowledge is inside heaven.

After spirits have been prepared for heaven in these learning sites (which does not take long, because they are surrounded by spiritual concepts that comprehend a great deal at once), they are dressed in angelic clothing, usually white as linen, taken to a path that leads up toward heaven, and turned over to guardian angels there. Then they are accepted by other angels and put in touch with their communities and with a host of blessings. The Lord then takes each angel to her or his community. This happens in various ways, sometimes with detours. No angel knows the paths along which they are taken, only the Lord. When they arrive at their own communities, their inner natures are opened, and since they are in harmony with the inner natures of the angels who are members of that community, they are recognized instantly and accepted with joy.

I should like to add here something remarkable about the paths that lead from these sites to heaven, the paths by which newly arrived angels are admitted. There are eight paths, two from each teaching site. One leads up toward the east and the other toward the west. People who are entering the Lord’s heavenly kingdom are admitted by the eastern path, while people who are entering the Lord’s spiritual kingdom are admitted by the western path.

The four paths that lead to the Lord’s heavenly kingdom are graced by olive trees and various fruit trees, while the ones that lead to the Lord’s spiritual kingdom are graced by grapevines and laurel. This is because of correspondence, since vines and laurel correspond to an affection for truth and its uses, while olive and fruit trees correspond to an affection for what is good and its uses.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 518-520


Previously Cited: 9/8/2018

Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven (Continued)

All the teaching there is from doctrine drawn from the Word, and not from the Word apart from doctrine. Christians are taught on the basis of a heavenly doctrine that is in complete agreement with the inner meaning of the Word. The others, like the Muslims and non-Christians, are taught on the basis of doctrines suited to their grasp. These differ from heavenly doctrine only in that spiritual life is taught through a moral life in accord with the good tenets of their own religion, which was the basis of their life in the world.

Teaching in the heavens differs from teaching on earth in that [there] information is not consigned to memory but to life, since spirits’ memory is in their life. They actually accept and absorb whatever agrees with their life and do not accept, much less absorb, what does not agree. This is because spirits are affections, and therefore have a human form that resembles their affections.

Since this is their nature, they are constantly breathing in a desire to know what is true, for the sake of constructive living. The Lord in fact sees to it that we love the constructive activities that suit our gifts. This love is intensified by our hope of becoming angels. Further, since all the activities of heaven focus on a common use, which is the welfare of the Lord’s kingdom (which now is our country), and since we fulfill our distinctive individual functions to the extent that they focus directly and intimately on that common use, all the countless distinctive and individual functions are good and heavenly. This means that for each of us an affection for what is true is united to an affection for usefulness to the point that they act as one. A true understanding of use is sown in this way, so that the truths we learn are true perceptions of what is useful. This is how angelic spirits are taught and prepared for heaven.

There are various ways in which an affection for the truth suited to usefulness is instilled, many of them unknown in the world, primarily by depictions of useful activities. These can be presented in thousands of ways in the spiritual world, with such grace and charm that they permeate spirits all the way from the deeper levels of their minds to the outer levels of their bodies and therefore affect the whole person. As a result, spirits virtually become their constructive lives; so when they arrive in the communities their instruction has prepared them for, they are in their own life when they are engaged in their useful activities.

We may gather from this that awareness, which is an outward form of truth, does not get anyone into heaven. Rather, what gets us in is the useful life that is granted through knowledge.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 516-517


Previously Cited: 9/7/2018

Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven (Continued)

The people who are at these instructional sites live in different places. As individuals, they are inwardly in touch with the communities of heaven they are headed for; so since heaven’s communities are arranged in a heavenly form (see Sections 200–212), so too are the places where the teaching takes place. As a result, when you look at these sites from heaven, they look like a heaven in lesser form. In length they stretch from east to west, and in breadth from south to north; but the breadth seems to be less than the length.

The general arrangement is like this. Toward the front are people who have died in childhood and are being educated in heaven up to the age of early adolescence. After having spent their infancy with women educators, they are brought to this location by the Lord and taught.

Behind them are the places where people are taught who died as adults and who in the world were drawn to truth because of the goodness of their lives.

Behind these again are people who were devoted to Islam and had led a moral life in the world, acknowledged one God, and recognized the Lord as the essential prophet. When they let go of Muhammad because he cannot do anything for them, they turn to the Lord and worship him, recognizing his divine nature; and then they receive instruction in the Christian religion.

Behind these, and farther to the north, there are sites for the instruction of various non-Christian people who in the world lived good lives in accord with their own religion, acquired a kind of conscience, and behaved fairly and honestly not because of the laws of their nation but because of the laws of their religion, believing these laws to be holy and not to be violated by their actions in any way. All of them are readily led to recognize the Lord when they have been taught, because at heart they have held that God is not invisible but visible in human form. There are more of these than of any other kind, and the best of them are from Africa.

Not everyone is taught in the same way or by the same communities of heaven. People who have been raised in heaven from infancy are taught by angels of the inner heavens because they have not absorbed false notions from distortions of religion or befouled their spiritual life with impurities drawn from rank and wealth in the world.

Most people who have died as adults are taught by angels of the outmost heaven because these angels are better adapted to them than are angels of the more inward heavens. These latter focus on a deeper wisdom that the deceased cannot yet accept.

Muslims, though, are taught by angels who once adhered to that religion but have turned to Christianity. Other non-Christians too are taught by their own angels.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 514-515


Previously Cited: 9/6/2018

Sections 200-212: Published 4/30/2019-5/5/2019

Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven (Continued)

The teaching is done by angels from a number of communities, mainly ones in the northern and southern regions, because these angelic communities are focused on intelligence and wisdom based on firsthand knowledge of what is good and true. The teaching sites are in the north; and there are different ones, differentiated and arranged according to the genera and species of heavenly virtues so that everyone can be taught there in a manner suited to his or her character and receptivity. The sites are spread out over a large area there.

Good spirits who need to be taught are taken there by the Lord after their time in the world of spirits has been fulfilled. This does not apply to everyone, though, since people who have been taught in the world have already been prepared for heaven by the Lord and are taken up into heaven by a different route. For some, this happens immediately after death. For others, it happens after a short stay with good spirits for the removal of the cruder elements of their thoughts and affections (acquired because of concerns for rank and wealth in the world), and their consequent purification. Some people are shattered first, which happens in sites under the soles of the feet called the lower earth, where they suffer harsh treatment. These are people who have convinced themselves of false principles but still have lived good lives. False convictions cling hard, and until they are dispelled, truths cannot be seen and therefore cannot be accepted. These shattering experiences and the different ways they happen have been treated in Secrets of Heaven, though, and some references to that work are appended in the note.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 513


Previously Cited: 9/5/2018

Our Third State after Death, Which Is a State of Instruction for People Who Are Entering Heaven

OUR third state after death, or the third state of our spirits, is one of instruction. This state is for people who are entering heaven and becoming angels, but not for people who are entering hell, because these latter cannot be taught. As a result, their second state is also their third, and ends in their turning straight toward their own love and therefore toward the hellish community that is engaged in a love like their own. Once this has happened, their intentions and thinking flow from that love; and since it is a hellish love, they intend only what is evil and think only what is false. These are their pleasures because they are matters of their love. Further, this results in their rejecting everything that is good and true that had served their love as means.

Good people, though, are brought from the second state into a third, which is a state of preparation for heaven by means of instruction. In fact, no one can be prepared for heaven except by knowing at first hand what is good and true, and therefore only by being taught. This is because without being taught, no one can know what spiritual good and truth are and what the evil and falsity that oppose them are. We can know in the world what civil and moral good and truth are, what is called fair and honest, because there are civil laws there that teach what is fair, and there are also social situations where we learn to live by moral laws, which all deal with what is honest and equitable. Spiritual good and truth, however, are not learned from the world but from heaven. We can in fact know them from the Word and from the church’s doctrine from the Word, but this still cannot flow into life unless we are in heaven in regard to the deeper levels of our minds. We are in heaven when we acknowledge the Divine Being and at the same time act fairly and honestly, recognizing that we should because it is commanded us in the Word. In this way we live fairly and honestly for the sake of the Divine and not for the sake of ourselves and the world as our primary goals.

However, no one can behave like this without first having been taught things like the fact that God exists, that heaven and hell exist, that there is a life after death, that God is to be loved above all and our neighbor as ourselves, and that we are to believe what it says in the Word because the Word is divine. Without recognizing and admitting these principles we cannot think spiritually, and without thought about such matters we cannot intend them; for what we do not know we cannot think, and what we do not think we cannot intend. However, when we do intend such things, heaven flows in—that is, the Lord flows into our lives through heaven, for he flows into the will and through that into the thought, and through both of these into the life, since they are where our whole life comes from. We can see from this that spiritual good and truth are not learned from the world but from heaven, and that no one can be prepared for heaven except by instruction.

Then too, to the extent that the Lord flows into our life he does teach us, since to that same extent he kindles our intentions with a love of learning what is true and enlightens our thought so that we know what is true. To the extent that this happens, our deeper reaches are opened and heaven is sown in them. Even beyond this, to that same extent what is divine and heavenly flows into the honest deeds of our moral life and the fair deeds of our civic life and makes them spiritual, since then we are doing them from the Divine because we are doing them for the sake of the Divine. The honest and fair deeds of our moral and civic life that we do from this source are actual effects of spiritual life; and an effect derives all its being from its efficient cause, because the quality of the cause determines the quality of the effect.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 512


Previously Cited: 9/4/2018

Our First State after Death: Published 3/9/2020-3/12/2020

Our Second State of Death: Published 3/13/2020-3/25/2020

Our Second State after Death (Continued)

Every individual comes to the community where her or his spirit was in the world. Each of us, as to spirit, is actually united to some community, either heavenly or hellish, evil people to hellish communities and good people to heavenly ones. (See Section 438 on the fact that we are brought to our own communities after death.) Spirits are brought there gradually, and ultimately get in. When evil spirits are in the state of their deeper concerns, they gradually turn toward their own communities and eventually face them directly, before this state is completed. When the state is completed, then the evil spirits themselves plunge into a hell where there are people of like mind. To the eye, this plunge looks like someone falling backward headfirst. The reason it looks like this is that such people are in an inverted order. They have loved hellish things and spurned heavenly ones. During this second state, some evil people go in and out of various hells; but they do not seem then to go headlong the way people do when they have been completely undone.

The actual community where their spirits were in the world is shown to them, too, while they are in the state of their outer concerns, so that they know from this that they were in hell during their physical life; but still they are not in the same state as the people who are in hell itself. Rather, they are in a state like that of people in the world of spirits. I will explain later what this state is like compared to that of people in hell.

The separation of evil spirits from good spirits takes place in this second state, since in the first state they were all together. The reason is that as long as spirits are focused on their outward concerns it is like the situation in the world—evil people together with good ones and good ones with evil ones. It is different when people have been brought into their inner natures and are left to their own nature or intentions.

There are various means used for this separation of good people from evil ones. Often it is by having them led around to the communities they had been in touch with through their good thoughts and affections during the first state. This brings them to communities they had misled by outward appearance into believing that they were not evil. Often they are led around through a great arc, and their intrinsic quality is displayed to good spirits everywhere. The good spirits turn away as soon as they see them; and as they turn away, so the evil spirits who are being led around turn away as well, facing the hellish community that is their destination. I forbear to mention other modes of separation; there are many of them.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 510-511


Previously Cited: 8/25/2017

Section 438: Published 5/10/2018