Watch full episode here!
Our expert panel convenes once again to answer some hard-hitting questions—with just a little help from eighteenth-century spiritual teacher Emanuel Swedenborg.
The panel members are:
- Curtis Childs, host of Swedenborg & Life
- Chris Dunn, community manager for Swedenborg & Life
- Karin Childs, writer for Swedenborg & Life
Questions and answers are summarized below; please follow the links for the full discussion.
Everything—every thought, every idea, every word—comes from a spiritual source. So if something feels good and loving and helps you move forward, then it’s almost definitely from heaven. Darker thoughts are just distortions of higher truths.
Eyesight in general is about understanding and faith. The right eye corresponds to what you care about, while the left eye corresponds to what you know. Think about the right eye as how we understand love and the left eye as how we understand wisdom. One is nothing without the other. If you just know things but don’t care to work on them, it’s as useless as working on things you don’t understand.
Swedenborg does describe heaven as being really similar to earth, but there’s a clarity there that removes so much of the ambiguity and struggle that we experience here. Life in heaven is simply less complicated. Here on earth and even in the world of spirits, we are constantly bombarded with distractions and noise that block or obscure heaven’s light. In heaven, though, there’s just a lot less in the way.
Swedenborg actually addresses this directly—the book of Revelation is symbolic language. The lake of fire symbolizes destructive passions and burning hatred, which people have the freedom to throw themselves into. It’s hard to imagine wanting to be in these states, but for those who truly love evil, it seems like the best choice.
The ego can feel like a liability, but it also seems like a good thing to have a confident sense of self. We are given a selfhood for a reason, so we don’t need to destroy it completely; it’s just not meant to be in charge. In this life and on into the afterlife, we are in a process of aligning our lower self (negative ego) with our higher self (God’s purposes). We talk about this in more detail in our episode “The Infinite in You.”
It’s a big question—why don’t people we love who have passed away talk to us more? Knowing that the afterlife is real makes it difficult for us to understand the silence, but people who have passed aren’t going to speak the same language we do. They have more subtle ways of communication. Sometimes our loved ones relate to us through thoughts, feelings, or overall sensations rather than through more concrete and easily recognizable language.
The pop understanding of karma is that life or the universe will return the positive or negative energy you put into it. Analogously, when we choose to embrace the thoughts and feelings that flow into us from either heaven or hell, we situate ourselves in closer proximity with those heavenly or hellish communities. This direct relationship, however, only operates in the spiritual world, not in the physical world. In the spiritual world, you always know the repercussions of your actions. For more on these ideas, check out our episode “Is the Law of Attraction Real?”.
There isn’t a time limit on repentance and regeneration; it’s a lifelong process. So any time we open ourselves to becoming better and look toward developing a conscience, we can find our way to a higher heaven. It’s just a matter of making a start while we’re here on earth.