It's all right here.
That's how most of us will feel on
awaking to "the life beyond" - which is really the life inside us now.
We'll feel still ourselves, among similar people and surroundings.
Indeed we may think we've come into a heaven that is just like earth. We'll want food, rest, human contact, and so on, and assume we need to
seek them in the usual ways. (Emanuel Swedenborg calls this the first state
after death, experienced in the world of spirits.) But quite
soon we'll get a big surprise:
Help, they know what I'm thinking!
We'll wake up to the fact that in this
inner dimension of life we can't hide behind the masks which we have
assumed on earth. People will know the thoughts and motives that govern
our outward behaviour. Hypocrisy will be impossible, and so will any
shyness about kind feelings and good ideas.
No longer will life be about putting on
appearances. (This is the second state after death.) Now we
really have to face up to the big questions:
What kind of life do I really want?
Am I after an easy time? Plentiful
possessions? Control over people? Unlimited sexual contacts? (Do I
expect these as my "reward in heaven"?) Or do I want true friendship?
Adventure and discovery? Higher knowledge? Useful achievements? To
show appreciation? We may feel confused as to which of these matters
most to us, but we will come to realise that one motive lies at the
centre, organising all the others. (Swedenborg sometimes calls this the
ruling love.) Basically it's a question of putting self or
others first, but for either of these many variations are possible.
This opening up of our character is
described in the Bible by scenes of judgment. It may be hurtful
and frightening. But God is not judging us and will not punish us but
we are judged by the light of Divine Truth. He lets us sort ourselves
out in the light of the spiritual world, and in the end it's liberating.
At last we can be ourselves without pretence or half-heartedness,
and find fulfilment in truly expressing ourselves, in showing people how
much we love them - or maybe don't. We will have embarked on a
journey of self discovery in which our true spirituality will be fully
Where do I belong?
Other people around us will be
likewise discovering themselves. As a result, our relationships
are likely to change, perhaps painfully. Some friends we have felt
close to will move away from us, while we recognise new depth and beauty
in former strangers, and feel drawn to them. We may feel that we
have moved to a new place and yet we will have truly come home – the
home where our
heart really is!
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