Let Him become one. Whole. Let Him be awakened. (Part 2 of 3)

 

This is Part 2 in a 3 part series. You can read Part 1 here: Let Him become one. Whole. Let Him be awakened. (Part 1 of 3)


 

So let’s now look more closely at these three areas in the inner court as it relates to the natural degree and the work required in the state of exteriors…

 

The natural degree or mind has an external, middle and an internal level.

AC 10236

 ….The external level of the natural degree is that which comes in contact with the world and is called the external level of the senses;

 the internal level of the natural degree is that which comes in contact with the internal man residing in heaven;

 and the middle level of the natural degree links the two together,

 for where an external and an internal exist there must be a middle linking them together. The human mind has a natural degree containing external, middle, and internal levels

  Only the priests are permitted to enter into the House of the Lord and its inner court.  The court outside is referred to as the court of the peoples or the outer court. We can draw parallels with this to the life before we awaken to the Word or before we awaken in the spiritual world.  The priest-like state can be thought of as the state in which we are ready to work with the Word and are coming into it willingly in the belief that what it says is true, as it is the Word of the Lord. And so we enter the inner court and start to wake up.

The priests, upon entering the inner court, are required to wash their hands and feet in the sea of cast iron, also referred to as the sea of bronze.  Washing in general pertains to spiritual purification and washing of the hands and feet is specifically a recognition that what is exterior and interior or natural and spiritual needs to be cleansed.

AC 10241

Their hands and their feet. That this signifies the interiors and exteriors of man, is evident from the signification of “hands,” as being the interiors of man and from the signification of “feet,” as being the exteriors of man, thus his natural things, for these are exterior…… But when both the “hands” and the “feet” are mentioned, then there is signified whatever is in the internal and also in the external man, or both spiritual and natural things.

 

We also see this need for the exteriors and interiors to be cleansed in the first state of awakening:

HH 498

This first state of man after death continues with some for days, with some for months, and with some for a year; but seldom with any one beyond a year; for a shorter or longer time with each one according to the agreement or disagreement of his interiors with his exteriors.

For with everyone the exteriors and interior must make one and correspond.

In the spiritual world no one is permitted to think and will in one way and speak and act in another. Everyone there must be an image of his own affection or his own love, and therefore such as he is inwardly such he must be outwardly;  and for this reason a spirit’s exteriors are first disclosed and reduced to order that they may serve the interiors as a corresponding plane.

As we begin to engage with the Word, we start to awaken into the spiritual life. Inherent in this effort to engage, is an acknowledgment or a desire for more awareness of what is interior and of how it may become part of our day-to-day life. Of how we may nurture a deeper relationship with the Lord, and the truths that offer the promise to guide us in this.

 

The water in the sea of cast iron represents the memory knowledges.   These are the truths of faith from the Word that we have built up and carried with us over time and have thus committed into our memory as facts.  In this sense they are like the friends or marriage relationships that the spirits are greeted with in the state of exteriors upon awakening. We have always held them as truths that we are connected with but once we start deeply engaging with the Word, these things of the history of our faith start to get tested.  They get tested to see if they are true and if so, to then see how they are true.

AE 790 (5)

That the spiritual mind may be opened and formed it must have a storehouse from which it may draw its supplies; since unless man has such a storehouse he is empty, and in emptiness there can be no Divine operation.

This storehouse is in the natural man and it is its memory, in which everything knowable can be stored up and can be drawn forth from it. In this storehouse for the formation of the spiritual man there must be truths that are to be believed and goods that are to be done, both of them from the Word and from doctrine and preaching from the Word.

These man must learn even from infancy. But all these things, however abundant they may be, although they are from the Word, are natural until the spiritual mind is opened; for they are mere knowledge.

In order for this testing to occur, the affections or loves that have been married or bonded with to these truths of faith or memory knowledges, have to be examined.  These we can liken to the animals that the priests are required to bring as sacrificial offerings, as animals in the Word represent affections.  The priests bring the animals to the north side of the altar where they are ritually slaughtered.  The blood is then washed off in the lavers that stand either side of the temple, five on the north and five on the south.

 

If we consider that as we start to engage in the Word more deeply, whether it be that we are new to spiritual life or we are just entering into a truth more deeply than before, then the layers of the things we have held to be true start to get stripped away or unpeeled so that what lies deeper within can be seen.  Coming deeper into a truth is a state of coming deeper into the good within it and so coming deeper into seeing the Lord within it and indeed seeing it as the Lord Himself.  As this process unfolds, ideas around this good might actually start to be now seen as falsities.  They were knowledges that served as truths for us up until this point but now perhaps they are no longer seen to be true or have elements of it that aren’t.  What falls away then are falsities and would relate to the ideas we have held onto that we now identify as having an element of self-love in them. These we can liken to the blood being washed off in the holy water within the lavers. Those in the north being truths of faith that offer a state of cleansing.  Those in the south that offer a clearer insight or state of light yet again, as north represents an obscure state of enlightenment and south a state of clarity or greater clarity in comparison with the north.

AC 3147

…. The unclean things of the natural man are all those things which are of the love of self and of the love of the world; and when these unclean things have been washed away, then goods and truths flow in, for it is solely these unclean things that hinder the influx of good and truth from the Lord.

 

Once the animals are washed they are then sacrificed and burnt.  Interestingly the skin of the animals is first removed and given to the priests, except those of birds which were flayed and burnt whole, perhaps indicating that the affections that are of a higher nature and can ‘fly’, have externals that are able to be offered to the Lord as well, perhaps less stripping is required of these truths.

The complete consummation by fire of these animals speaks of the complete need to let go of ownership of these affections and hence associated thoughts that we have carried with us, with the fire being the Lord’s divine heat and light and hence love and wisdom and hence the Lord Himself.  The fire appropriately burns these affections until they become ash which is then removed by the priests out of the temple area altogether.  This consummation by fire portrays the difficult states that the spirits in the state of exteriors experience as they struggle to let go of exterior images they have held about themselves and their relationships.   And hence reflects what people experience as they awaken to the spiritual life of working with the texts of Divine Revelation from a process orientation, as opposed to a historical facts based faith.  Just as described in the awakening series, people can experience states of lament that they had not come to the texts this way earlier and therefore of having wasted time.  This can often lead to states of anger that they have been taught the incorrect ideas, or that what they have held as true for so long will no longer mean that they measure up as good enough to ‘get into heaven’.

 HH 495

Therefore their friends tell them about the conditions of eternal life, and take them about to various places and into various companies, and sometimes into cities, and into gardens and parks, showing them chiefly such magnificent things as delight the externals in which they are. They are then brought in turn into those notions about the state of their soul after death, and about heaven and hell, that they had entertained in the life of the body,

even until they feel indignant at their total ignorance of such things, and at the ignorance of the church also. Nearly all are anxious to know whether they will get to heaven.

 

However, even this latter idea of not being good enough for heaven, is still based in an outcomes orientated approach where merit is a measure of one’s worthiness of heaven rather than seeing that it is not about what one does or doesn’t do or even what affections and thoughts one owns or doesn’t own.  The sacrificial offering is about giving up ownership altogether and that includes ownership of what belongs to the Lord and also what belongs to the opposite which are the hells or the self that is based in the hells, so the hellish proprium.  And so the altar of sacrifice can be likened to the internal degree of the natural mind  as  “that which comes in contact with the internal man residing in heaven” . 

The work here is about moving from a state of ownership to a state of being able to see more clearly what is present. Once this movement starts to occur then we are then able to pass between the two great pillars of the Lord’s House and enter into the state of interiors, into the Holy place.

 

The two pillars are named as Jachin on the right meaning  “he establishes” and Boaz on the left meaning “in him is strength”. They can be held as the igniting of charity and faith beginning to work together as the new faith that is emerging is complemented by a willingness to begin to shun what is not of the Lord because it is not of the Lord.  This deeper acknowledgment of the Lord is actually what defines the second state of awakening, as the state of interiors and also as the spiritual degree or mind that is awakening:

AE 790 (6)

The spiritual mind is primarily opened by man’s abstaining from doing evils because they are contrary to the Divine commandments in the Word. If man abstains from evils from any other fear than this the spiritual mind is not opened.

The following are the reasons why this is what opens the spiritual mind:

First, that the evils with man must be removed before communication and conjunction with heaven can be granted him; since evils, which are all in the natural man, keep heaven closed, and yet heaven must be opened, for otherwise man remains natural.

The second reason is that the Word is from the Lord, and consequently the Lord is in the Word, even so that He is the Word; for the Word is Divine truth all of which is from the Lord. From this it follows that he who abstains from doing evils because they are contrary to the Divine commandments in the Word abstains from them from the Lord.

 

We see the importance of the Word as Divine truth also emphasised in the descriptions in the second state of interiors

HH 506

All that have lived a good life in the world and have acted from conscience, who are such as have acknowledged the Divine and have loved Divine truths, especially such as have applied those truths to life, seem to themselves, when let into the state of their interiors, like one aroused from sleep into full wakefulness, or like one passing from darkness into light

… They then acknowledge the Lord and worship Him from their very life, for being in the state of their interiors they are in their proper life; and as freedom pertains to interior affection they then acknowledge and worship the Lord from freedom.

 Thus, too, they withdraw from external sanctity and come into that internal sanctity in which worship itself truly consists.

 

And thus we move from the outside inner court area into the Holy place, into the house of the Lord itself.  In here we find cedar walls and ceilings that are lined with gold and embossed images of the trinity of the Divine Human as the blossoms(love), palm trees(wisdom) and cherubims(use).  There is table upon which lies the bread of presence and the five lampstands on either side of the walls lighting up the space.  Both these images again bring to mind the Word’s interior good as the bread and the Word’s truth as the light that shines.  There is also an altar of incense burning its sweet smell to remind us of the ability of the perception of the Lord’s love that is present for us, if we allow ourselves to breathe it in.  These images and objects all beautifully portray the concept that our spiritual interiors and thus the self that rests in the Lord, is merely a vessel through which His life flows.

AC 1999(4)

These internals of men have no life in themselves, but are forms recipient of the Lord’s life. Insofar therefore as a man is in evil, whether actual or hereditary, so far has he been as it were separated from this internal which is the Lord’s and with the Lord, and thereby so far has he been separated from the Lord;

 for although this internal has been adjoined to man, and is inseparable from him, nevertheless insofar as he recedes from the Lord, so far he as it were separates himself from it.  

 But the separation is not an absolute sundering from it, for then the man could no longer live after death;

 but it is a dissent and disagreement on the part of those faculties of his which are below, that is, of his rational and of his external man.

 Insofar as there is dissent and disagreement, there is disjunction from the Lord; but insofar as there is not dissent and disagreement, the man is conjoined with the Lord through the internal, which takes place insofar as the man is in love and charity, for love and charity conjoin. Such is the case with man.

 

 And again we see the concept described here reflected in the structure of the Lord’s House as contrasted with the outside area of the inner court.  The inner court is an essential part that supports and prepares our entry into the Holy place, so it is something that needs to be present as a place that allows entry into what is more interior.  And this also is supported in the images of the work of the first state of awakening in exteriors. The exterior or natural plane in our mind must be ordered and become something that supports the spiritual mind to open up and thus then to flow down into.  So the natural or exterior plane is not something that we must separate from as an ‘absolute sundering’ but it is instead something that must be brought into agreement with what is in the interior spiritual mind.

 AE 790 (6)

So much respecting the opening of the spiritual mind. Something shall now be said about its formation. The spiritual mind is formed from those things that are in man’s memory from the Word; for the memory is the storehouse

 … those things that are from the Word in man’s storehouse mentioned above, are drawn forth and purified by the Lord, and genuine truths are there discriminated and separated from falsities; for man’s spiritual mind can be formed only out of genuine truths, since heaven is in no other.

…. those truths are elevated by the Lord in a wonderful manner, and become spiritual;

… the truths that are elevated into the spiritual mind are not in a natural but in a spiritual form. Truths in a spiritual form are such as are in the spiritual sense of the Word, but truths in a natural form are such as are in the natural sense of the Word; that these are distinct, and yet make one by correspondences,

… For this reason, when man after death becomes a spirit and his spiritual mind is opened, he no longer thinks and speaks naturally, but spiritually.

 

The spiritual mind begins to open up as the natural exterior truths from the Word in our mind are taken and worked with and applied to see how they are true in one’s life.  As the work in the state of exteriors of the natural mind strips away falsities, there is a movement into a deeper understanding of truth that forms the spiritual sense of the Word for us.  This deeper understanding allows clearer distinctions yet again.  Thus it enables us to be able to identify what is not of the Lord, that is, what is evil and belongs to the hellish proprium and therefore are either ‘actual’ as falsities we have lived or ‘hereditary’ as falsities we have carried as truths of faith that no longer appear to be true.

And of course, just as in the state of exteriors, there is great difficulty in seeing more deeply into the things that oppose the Lord’s love.

 HH 506(2)

When such in the other life enter into the state of their interiors, and are heard speaking and seen acting, they appear foolish; for from their evil lusts they burst forth into all sorts of abominations, into contempt of others, ridicule and blasphemy, hatred and revenge; they plot intrigues, some with a cunning and malice that can scarcely be believed to be possible in any man).

 

Seeing the hellish proprium for what it really is, is what truths from the Word allow us to see but we so often fall into identifying with it as our own self, as something belonging to us and hence we find ourselves being lead into temptation.  It’s the perception that life is not our own that truly frees us; that we don’t own good but nor do we own evil.  This perception connects with the altar of incense creating it’s sweet smell from the burning of the coals that are taken from the altar of burnt offerings in the inner court.  It is a deeper recognition still of the need to give up ownership to our life and to acknowledge that all life flows into us and that it is a gift from the Lord.  We are released from the state of temptation once we are able to move into this acknowledgment. Thus we move from the natural mind or the exterior state ruling, where truths of faith are held as facts that belong to us, and move instead into thinking from the spiritual mind or state of interiors in which the truths are seen as that which belong to the Word as the Lord.   Then the falsities belonging to the hellish self or proprium no longer have a hold over us as they are seen for what they are and the prevailing truths are likewise seen in clarity.   This revisiting of the truths and their affections and the separating from those that are not of the Lord, is conveyed in the image of the spirits revisiting the societies they first visited in the state of exteriors.

HH 511

The separation of evil spirits from good spirits is effected by various means; in general by their being taken about to those societies with which in their first state they had communication by means of their good thoughts and affections, thus to those societies that they had induced to believe by outward appearances that they were not evil. Usually they are led about through a wide circle, and everywhere what they really are is made manifest to good spirits.

 At the sight of them the good spirits turn away; and at the same time the evil spirits who are being led about turn their faces away from the good towards that quarter where their infernal society is, into which they are about to come.

 

 Click on this link to Read : Let Him become one. Whole.   Let Him be awakened. (Part 3 of 3)

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