Our Mind (Continued)

We gain a fuller undersranding of these two commandments when we realize that in the Greek of the New Testament there are two words for love: one means “to be fond of” and the other means “to consider the welfare of.” The second word is used in both commandments, and elsewhere whenever we are commanded to love. The Lord can certainly command us to consider the welfare of others: that is real love, an outgoing love. But no one, not even the Lord, can command us “to be fond ” of another. That happens spontaneously or it does not happen at all. We are either fond of a person or we are not fond. It is a personal matter. Consequently, the Lord is not commanding us to be fond of everyone; but he is commanding us to consider the welfare of others– Whether we like them or not. Verses that mention our love for the Lord have a similar meaning. Our salavation does not depend on our being “fond” of the Lord, but on considering his welfare and that of his kingdom. That is why he said: “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me” (John14:21).

The two higher levels of the mind, the celestial and the spiritual, constitute what Swedenborg calls the internal mind. We can also think of it as the supra-conscious mind, as opposed to the conscious mind and the subconscious mind that Sigmund Freud wrote about. While the subconscious mind exists below our conscious awareness and houses our less-than perfect impulses, the supra-conscious mind exists above our conscious awareness and can lift us up above the influences of the subconscious. This internal mind is in contrast to the external or natural mind, which we will discuss below.

Spiritually speaking, the internal mind obviously belongs to heaven, since its ruling or predominant love is either love for the Lord or charity toward the neighbor. In fact, it could also be called the heavenly mind. This is where the Lord dwells with us.

It is important to realize that everyone, no matter what his or her heredity or environment, has that internal mind. There are no exceptions. As we read in Swedenborg’s Secrets of Heaven, “In the internal mind are nothing else than goods and truths that are the Lord’s … In every person [there is] a celestial and a spiritual level that corresponds to the angelic heaven” (Sections 978, 1594).

from The Hidden Levels of the Mind, Swedenborg’s Theory of Consciousness by Matthew Barnes

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