This is Part 3 in a 3 part series. You can read Part 1 here: Let Him become one. Whole. Let Him be awakened. (Part 1 of 3)
The state of interiors in the awakening series builds on the work that was undertaken in the state of exteriors, just as the spiritual mind is opened by the work in the natural mind, and just as entrance to the Holy place is only permitted once the activities have been performed in the inner court. The truths are taken and elevated into a higher spiritual light as they come to be seen to be applicable to the life of our affections and thoughts. As this insight opens up, so too does the realisation that the Word is actually the Lord Himself and that the truths therefore are also the Word as the Lord, restructuring and reforming our mind.
So whether we say the mind or the Word as the Lord as we experience it in our mind, it amounts to the same thing because that which is real and alive is only so because it is from the Lord and therefore is the Lord. What applies when we talk about the natural, spiritual and celestial sense of the Word is the same as saying the experience of these levels of the Word in the life of our mind. Without the ultimate exteriors of the words of the book and the knowledges we first learn through them, there is no vessel in which these natural truths can be elevated into the spiritual mind.
Where the Lord is meant, there also is meant the Word, for the Lord is the Word.
Now as the interior things of the Temple represented interior things of heaven and the church (and therefore of the Word), its exterior things represented and signified exterior things of heaven and the church, and therefore exterior things of the Word, which belong to the sense of its letter.
Furthermore, that without the sense of the letter the Word would be like a temple containing many holy things, and in its midst a sanctuary, but without roof and walls, which are its containers,
and in the absence or loss of which its holy things would be plundered by thieves, or invaded by beasts of earth and birds of heaven, and thus be dispersed.
Or it would be like the Tabernacle (in the inmost of which was the ark of the covenant, and in its middle the golden lampstand, the golden altar for incense, and the table on which were the loaves of faces, which were its holy things)
without its ultimates, which were the curtains and veils.
Nay, without the sense of the letter, the Word
would be like a human body without its coverings which are called skins, and without its supports which are called bones;
lacking which supports and coverings all the interior things of the body would fall asunder.
So again, whether you say the exterior sense of the letter or the exteriors of our mind, they are not separated from entirely as to “an absolute sundering from it, for then the man could no longer live after death”. The historical exteriors in the text and hence in our mind in relation to what we have carried as knowledges, are what supports the internal sense of the Word and hence support the interior mind. The awakening to this reality is aptly expressed in the idea of ‘metanoia’, which means ‘to change one’s mind or a transformative change of the heart’ and is actually a Greek word, which translates as ‘repentance’. Once we begin to see that what we live from and what offers us life is the interior sense of the Word as experienced in our mind, then we are then ready to be instructed like the spirits in the third state of awakening, the state of instruction. We have perceived the sweet smell from the altar of incense and we are ready to cross over the threshold into the innermost sanctuary of the Holy of Holies, where the two cherubim stands guard over the Ark of the Covenant. This is the celestial mind.
Those spirits that are able to move into a state of instruction are described as good spirits;
this state is for those who come into heaven and become angels. It is not for those who come into hell, because such are incapable of being taught, and therefore their second state is also their third, ending in this, that they are wholly turned to their own love, thus to that infernal society which is in a like love
The state of interiors in the spiritual mind allows for distinction of what is and isn’t of the Lord. It is then only the things that are of the Lord that are instructed and prepared for heavenly life, which is for a life in which the truth may come into its inner good and be expressed as use. This is the celestial mind where the human form of love, wisdom and use is made known. It is a state in which the Word that is the truth that is loved and lived in one’s life, is known as the Lord Himself, and the things that aren’t of the Word as the Lord, are shunned. Both of these actions of living and shunning are undertaken because the Word as the Lord is what rules in this state. All is done because the life of the Word as the Lord is seen and known as the only reality.
For one can be prepared for heaven only by means of knowledges of good and truth, that is, only by means of instruction, since one can know what spiritual good and truth are, and what evil and falsity are, which are their opposites, only by being taught.
…. But spiritual good and truth are learned from heaven, not from the world. They can be learned from the Word and from the doctrine of the church that is drawn from the Word and yet unless man in respect to his interiors which belong to his mind is in heaven spiritual good and truth cannot flow into his life;
and man is in heaven when he both acknowledges the Divine and acts justly and honestly for the reason that he ought so to act because it is commanded in the Word.
This is also what we read earlier about the opening of the celestial mind in DLW 237:
Yet not even by these is the third degree, which is called celestial, opened. But it is opened by the celestial love of uses, which is love to the Lord. And love to the Lord is nothing else than committing to life the precepts of the Word, which in all, are to shun evils because they are hellish and devilish, and to do good because it is heavenly and Divine.
The celestial mind or state of instruction or if you like a celestial state, is a state when we think from the Word, where the Word is what filters and colours all that we see. And of course we see this so stunningly represented in the innermost sanctuary of the Holy of Holies with the two golden cherubim standing protectively with their wings spanning over the Ark of the Covenant, in which is contained the ten commandments, the Law. The view we are offered as we stand before the ark and turn and look out is from the perspective of the House in its fullness, the Word in its glory or glorification as we experience it as such: gold all around us, the cherubim either side of us, the blossom, palm tree and cherubim embossed on every cedar, gold lined wall, the bread and the lampstands, the sweet smell of the incense wafts into our senses, the two tall columns at the entry to the Holy place, the altar of sacrifice in the inner courtyard with the five lavers either side of the walls of the House and the sea of cast iron to the right of the altar.
From this perspective it is clear that all of the structures leading into and around the Ark, which is the innermost of the Word or the Divine Itself, are what provide support and the body for the Word as it lives in us. They give expression and allow the Word to exist as something substantial and living.
The Divine Itself is in the supreme sense of the Word, because therein is the Lord;
the Divine is also in the internal sense, because therein is the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens, and hence this sense is called celestial and spiritual;
the Divine is also in the literal sense of the Word, because therein is the Lord’s kingdom in the earths; hence this sense is called the external, and also the natural, sense, for in it are gross appearances more remote from the Divine; and yet the things therein are each and all Divine.
With these three senses the case is as with the tabernacle:
its inmost, or what was within the veil, where was the ark containing the testimony, was most holy, or the holy of holies;
its internal, or what was immediately without the veil, where were the golden table and candlestick, was holy;
and the external, where the court was, was also holy; in it the congregation assembled, and hence it was called the tent of the assembly.
Whether we say the Divine Itself is the soul of the Word or the soul of our mind, it is the same thing. It is the soul of our mind and what goes forth from it is our body. The awakening to this reality brings us into the life of instruction and the truth in our life into its use. We see now that the truth we have worked with is it’s inner good in expression and given form in our life. The Word as that truth is seen as the Lord because we see it’s form in our life as good and useful. The state of exteriors of the natural mind of the inner court is now seen as something that faithfully expresses the interior state of the spiritual mind in the Holy place because the celestial mind is in a state of instruction from the Lord Himself, where the Word as the Lord is the perspective from which all is seen and known.
We see here that celestial man or the celestial mind as represented by those of the Ancient Church, lives from this innermost perspective and understands that his soul is the Word in its innermost.
The Word of the Lord is living by virtue of the internal sense. This is as the soul, of which the external sense is as the body. And just as with man when his body dies the soul lives, and when the soul lives he no longer knows the things that pertain to the body, so when he comes among angels he does not know what the Word is in the sense of the letter, but only what it is in its soul.
Such was the man of the Most Ancient Church; who, if he were living and read the Word at the present day, would not cleave at all to the sense of the letter; but would be as if he did not see it, but only the internal sense abstractly from the letter; and indeed as if the letter had no existence.
Thus he would be in the life or soul of the Word.
The process described in Heaven and Hell of dying and putting off our corporeal natural body; waking up in the spiritual world; then the transition from the state of exteriors, to interiors to a state of instruction, can be viewed as a description of the process of the Word as the Lord Himself waking us up to the inner reality of what life truly is. The life that is based solely in the exterior body, where what is of the natural world is the perspective from which everything is viewed …. needs to die. These are the corporeal things of our mind, of the letter of the text in the historical knowledges. That life needs to die so that the life of the soul of the Word Himself can become manifest and give form to the spiritual and celestial mind.
The Word of the Lord is like a body that contains within it a living soul; the things belonging to the soul do not appear while the mind is so fixed in corporeal things that it scarcely believes that there is a soul, still less that it will live after death; but as soon as the mind withdraws from corporeal things, those which are of the soul and life become manifest.
And this also is the reason, not only why corporeal things must die before man can be born anew, or be regenerated, but also why the body itself must die so that he may come into heaven and see heavenly things.
This spiritual and celestial mind will also have an exterior ultimate plane in the natural mind but it will be one that supports and is in agreement with the interior self that senses and lives in the Word and from the Word as the Lord – as the Divine Itself. The House as the mind of the Word in us is then seen to be the self that we live from and what is real. It thus becomes the life that is perpetually coming into a heavenly community in the Word. The process of movement in and out of the inner court, the Holy place and the innermost sanctuary is the commune with the Word becoming known and unknown over and over.
The following from Idries Shah: Tales of the Dervishes: a “Sarmouni recital” seems to capture the essence of this process …
He who knows and does not know that he knows: he is asleep. Let him become
one, whole. Let him be awakened.
He who has known but does not know: let him see once more the beginning of all.
He who does not wish to know, and yet says that he needs to know: let him be guided to safety and to light.
He who does not know, and knows that he does not know: let him, through this knowledge, know”.