Anyone may recognize that thoughts tend to follow where intentions lead, or to go where we aim them. Thought is actually our inner sight and behaves like our outward sight. It turns and dwells where it is directed and aimed. If our inner sight or thought is turned toward the world and dwells there, it follows that our thought becomes worldly. If it is turned toward self and our prestige, it becomes carnal. However, if it is turned toward heaven, it becomes heavenly. So if it is turned toward heaven, it is raised up; if it is turned toward self, it is pulled away from heaven and immersed in the physical; if it is turned toward the world, it is also turned away from heaven and spread out among whatever items meet our eyes.
It is our love that creates our intentions and that focuses our inner sight or our thought on its objects. So love for ourselves directs our thought toward ourselves and what we claim as our own, love of the world directs it toward worldly matters, and love of heaven directs it toward heavenly matters. This can enable us to know what state the inner reaches of our minds are in once we identify our love. That is, if we love heaven, the inner reaches are raised up toward heaven and open upward. If we love the world and ourselves, our inner reaches are closed upward and open outward. So we may gather that if the higher reaches of our minds are closed to what is above them, we can no longer see the objects that pertain to heaven and the church. These are in darkness for us, and whatever is in darkness we either deny or do not understand. This is why people who love themselves and the world above all, since the higher levels of their minds are closed, deny divine truths at heart; and if they do say anything about them from their memory, they still do not understand it. They have the same attitude toward these matters as toward worldly and physical interests; and since they are like this, they cannot think about anything except what comes in through their physical senses, which are their sole delight. Their sensory experience also includes much that is foul, obscene, irreligious, and criminal. They cannot be distracted from these obsessions because there is no inflow from heaven into their minds, since as already noted their minds are closed to what is above them.
The purpose that focuses our inner sight or thought is our volition, since our intentions determine our aims and our aims determine our thoughts. So if we aim for heaven, we focus our thinking on it, and with our thinking, our whole mind, which is therefore in heaven. This means it looks at the concerns of the world as below itself, like someone on the roof of a house. This is why people in whom the deeper levels of the mind are open can see the evil and false elements in themselves, since these are below their spiritual mind. Conversely, if people’s inner reaches are not open, they cannot see their evil and false elements because they are in them and not above them. We may gather from this where our wisdom comes from and where our insanity comes from, and what we will be like after death when we are left to intend and think and then to act and speak in keeping with our inner nature.
Again, this has been presented to show what we are like inwardly, no matter how much alike we may seem outwardly.
from Heaven and Hell, Section 532