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In last week’s episode, we heard the tragic story of Nicolas Leslie—and how eighteenth-century philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg helped Nicolas’s parents through an impossible experience. In this episode, hosts Curtis Childs and Jonathan Rose go live to dig in deeper.
Presence and Union
In the spiritual world, distance is just a matter of state of mind. If you think about someone else, or share thoughts and feelings with someone else, you and that person are together spiritually.
In the spiritual world, all union takes place by means of attentiveness. When anyone there is thinking about someone else because of a desire to talk with her or him, that other person is immediately present. They see each other face to face. The same thing happens when someone is thinking about someone else because of a loving affection, but in this case the result is a union, while in the former case it is only presence. (Divine Providence §29)
According to Swedenborg:
Appearing to someone . . . in an inner sense . . . means being seen in thought, not with the eyes. Thought does bring presence, too, because when you think about someone, that person stands present before your inner eye. In the other life this happens in a very real way, because when people there think intensely about another, that other appears in their presence. That is how friends come together there. (Secrets of Heaven §6893)
As mentioned in our episode on “How to Travel in the Afterlife,” this is how entire communities are formed. It can work both ways though—even if you really disagree with someone, thinking about them draws them close to you.
Uniting with God
So if we want to be near to God, how do we do that? Well, angels have a very specific way of going about it. Swedenborg wrote in detail about the mechanics of it, but the most important thing to know is that God turns angels toward him through their perceptions and thoughts—even here, God is doing the work.
God is love, so spending time focusing on love and thinking about love helps us to draw closer to him. To focus on God and be with God, focus on how you can help others and spread love in the world.
While this show wasn’t exactly live, viewers have chatted in enough questions that Curtis and Jonathan have plenty to talk about. Just click a question to see the answer:
- Does everyone have the tunnel experience before they enter the Light? If so, at what point are we met by the 2 angels?
- Swedenborg talks about us being in heaven and earth at the same time. Does this mean that my wife who has passed is able to interact with my spirit in heaven?
- What happens to a person after death who has a mental illness that prevents them from developing rationality?
- Did Swedenborg mention anything about the angels’ finite development in heaven? They undergo refinement and perfection but up to what extent, or is it forever?
For our guest interview, we return to Conrad and Paola Leslie to hear more about how they found Swedenborg. After Nicolas’s death, Paola started to study spirituality while Conrad started to get more into science. Whether he was learning about quantum entanglement or black hole theories, he was seeing reflections of Swedenborg.
Paola found a lot of solace both in support groups and in Swedenborg’s writings. The more she learned about his philosophy, the more peace she felt.
Thanks for joining us—we’ll see you next week!
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About Swedenborg & Life
In a lighthearted and interactive webcast format, host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore topics from Swedenborg’s eighteenth-century writings about his spiritual experiences and afterlife explorations and discuss how they relate to modern-day life and death.
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When we wake up in heaven, Swedenborg tells us, angels roll a covering from off of our left eye so that we can see everything in a spiritual light. The offTheLeftEye YouTube channel uses an array of educational and entertaining video formats to look at life and death through an uplifting spiritual lens.
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