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New Church Zen

New Church Zen is a phrase I coined to refer to the elevation of consciousness through daily practice of self-witnessing or self-observation. I use the expression metanoia to indicate the objective perspective available to us when we look down upon our thoughts and emotions from a higher vantage point within the mind. The following quotes from Swedenborg discuss two important concepts: our two minds -- internal and external and influx as spiritual enlightenment

Quoting from Swedenborg:


We are so created as to be in the spiritual world and in the natural world at the same time. In the spiritual world we are called angels (or spirits), and in the natural world we call ourselves people. We have been so created as to have an internal self and an external self. Through the internal self we exist in the spiritual world, and through the external self we exist in the natural world. In the Word, the internal self is also called the internal person, and the external self is called the external person.


The interiors of the mind, when we are in love and charity, are actually elevated by the Divine, otherwise they would look downwards (n. 6952, 6954, 10330). Influx and enlightenment from heaven with us, is an actual elevation of the interiors by the Divine (n. 7816, 10330). We are elevated when we advance to spiritual things (n. 9922). As far as we are elevated from externals towards interiors, so far we come into light, consequently into intelligence; and this is what is meant by being withdrawn from sensual things, according to the saying of the ancients (n. 6183, 6313). Elevation from the external to the interiors, is like that from mist into light (n. 4598).

AC 7816

To look above one's self is to be uplifted by the Divine; for no one can look above oneself, unless one is uplifted by God who is above. But to look below one's self is of human beings, because then we do not suffer ourselves to be uplifted.

AC 7814

We have been so created that we can look upward, or above our self; and can also look downward, or below the self. To look above the self is to look to the neighbor, to the country, to the church, to heaven, especially to the Divine; but to look below one's self is to look to the earth, to the world, and especially to oneself.

AC 7816

To look above one's self is to be uplifted by the Divine; for no one can look above himself, unless he is uplifted by Him who is above. But to look below himself is of man, because then he does not suffer himself to be uplifted.

AC 7817

They who are in the good of charity and of faith look above themselves, because they are uplifted by the Divine; but they who are not in the good of charity and of faith look below themselves, because they are not uplifted by the Divine. WE look below our self when we turn the influx of truth and good from the Divine to ourselves. Wehn we turn to ourselves the good and truth flowing in from the Divine, we see oursevles and the world before us, and do not see the Divine with the good and truth, because they are behind us, and therefore come into such obscurity that we care nothing for them, and at last we deny them.

AC 7818

By looking above self and below self, is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things. Thus by looking above self is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things, what is of the Divine and heaven; and by looking below self is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things, what is of self and the world. The interiors of the mind also actually turn themselves to where the love turns itself.

AC 7819

When we are in the good of charity and faith we love also our self and the world, but no otherwise than as the means to an end are loved. The love of self with us looks to the love of the Divine, for we love ourselves as a means to the end that we may serve the Divine; and the love of the world with us looks to the love of the neighbor, for we love the world as a means for the sake of the end that we may be of service to the neighbor. When therefore the means is loved for the sake of the end, it is not the means that is loved, but the end.

AC 2490

As regards the interior memory the case is this: There are retained in it not only all and each of the things we from our infancy have ever seen and heard, and those we have thought, spoken, and done; but also those which we see and hear, and which we think, speak, and do, in the other life. But this takes place with a difference. When we are in the persuasion of falsity and the cupidity of evil we imbibe and retain all things that are in agreement therewith, for they enter in as water does into a sponge. All other things do indeed also flow thereto, but are retained so slightly that we scarcely know that they are anything. But when we are in the faith of truth and the affection of good we retain all things which are true and good, and we are thereby being continually perfected. Hence it is that we can be instructed, and that we are instructed in the other life.


[2] As few know how the case is with the influx of Divine truth and with the consequent enlightenment with human beings, something may here be said about this. People know from religion that good-of-love and truth-of-reason are not from human beings, but are with them from heaven from the Divine there; and also that those are in enlightenment who receive this. But the influx and enlightenment are effected in the following way. Human beings are of such a nature that in respect to their interiors which are of thought and will, they can look downward, and they can look upward. To look downward is to look outward into the world and to self, and to look upward is to look inward to heaven and to God.

We look outward from self, which is called looking downward, because when we do so from ourselves we look to hell. But we look inward not from ourselves, but from the Divine; and this is called looking upward, because in respect to our interiors which are of the will and understanding, we are then raised by the Divine to heaven, and thus to God.

Moreover the interiors are actually raised, and are then actually withdrawn from the body and from the world. When this is done, our interiors come actually into heaven, and into its light and heat. From this we have influx and enlightenment, for the light of heaven illumines his understanding, because this light is the Divine truth which proceeds from the Divine as a Sun; and the heat of heaven enkindles the will, because this heat is the good of love which at the same time proceeds from the Divine as a Sun As we are then spiritually among the inhabitants of heaven, there is communicated to us from them the understanding of truth and the affection of good. This communication is through them from the Divine, and is called influx and enlightenment.

[3] But be it known that influx and enlightenment take place according to the capability of reception on the part of each of us, and the capability of reception is according to the love of what is good and true. Therefore we are raised when we are in the love of what is good and true for the sake of what is good and true as goals in life. But when we are not in the love of what is good and true for the sake of what is good and true, but for the sake of self and the world, we cannot be raised, because we then continually look and gravitate downward; thus we cannot receive the Divine influx from heaven, and be enlightened. The intelligence which we then have appears like the intelligence of truth, but is from a deceptive light which, whether it is false or true, shines before our eyes from things confirmed and consequently persuasive. But this brightness becomes mere thick darkness when light from heaven flows in, as has been shown me (Swedenborg) by living experience. From all this it can be seen why it is that so many heresies arise in the world, namely, because leaders and guides have looked to themselves and have had their own glory as their goal, and accordingly the things of God and of heaven as means to this end.

AC 2588

Whatever is thought of is seen by an interior sight, by some more clearly, by others more obscurely.

AC 2718

[8] From these examples we may see what it is to enter into the things of reason and memory-knowledge from truths, and what it is to enter into truths from the things of reason and memory-knowledge; and that the former is according to order, but the latter contrary to order; and that when we do that which is according to order we are enlightened; but when we do that which is contrary to order, we are made blind. All of which shows of how great concern it is that truths should be known and believed; for we are enlightened by truths, but are made blind by falsities. By truths there is opened to the rational an immense and almost unbounded field; but by falsities comparatively none at all, although this does not appear to be so. It is because we are in truths when in the angelic state of mind, that we enjoy wisdom so great; for truth is the very light of our heavenly mind.

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