The Hidden Levels of the Mind
Swedenborg’s Theory of Consciousness
By Douglas Taylor
Essay by Reuben P. Bell
Taylor’s straightforward commentary gives readers a rare insight into Swedenborg’s philosophy of the mind and how it relates to spiritual growth. Read more
Paperback or e-book, 124 pages
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At the core of Swedenborg’s thought is the understanding that our purpose in this life is to progress spiritually—to learn, to grow, to do good works, and, ultimately, to allow as much of God’s love as possible to enter into us and manifest through us.
Scattered throughout his works are descriptions of our mind and how it relates to both the physical and spiritual worlds. In this book, Taylor pulls these loose threads together and weaves them into a simple, coherent whole, presenting Swedenborg’s teachings as a system that anyone can understand. Taylor describes the external or natural mind as primarily concerned with material things, and the inner mind, in its essence, as love. As we elevate our thoughts toward higher and higher types of love and wisdom, we draw closer to God and begin the process of regeneration, or rebirth as spiritual beings.
This is the first time in many decades that a book has been published on Swedenborg’s philosophy of the mind. Taylor’s straightforward commentary gives readers a rare insight into this crucial aspect of Swedenborg’s theology.
“Those confounded by the writings of 18th-century theologian Emanuel Swedenborg will find an able guide in Taylor (Spirituality That Makes Sense). In this slim volume, the author explains the many facets of what could be called Swedenborg’s philosophy of mind. With remarkable clarity, Taylor presents the Swedish mystic’s conception of body, mind, and soul, which were believed to exist on a spectrum of awareness beginning with sensory information and culminating in unconditional love of the Lord. The goal is regeneration, a process of raising consciousness to “allow the influence of the Lord to enter us and transform our being.”
Just as Swedenborg blended Enlightenment rationality with unshakable faith, Taylor fits an esoteric belief system into a concise mapping of spiritual evolution. Readers expecting tales of Swedenborg’s heavenly travels may want to look elsewhere; Taylor sticks to his subject without getting sidetracked, and it is interesting enough without delving into the afterlife or angels. In neatly relating how Swedenborg believed a spiritual life should be lived, Taylor affirms the scientist-mystics continued relevance.”