The Third State: The State of Instruction (HH 512-520)
As we have seen, the initial stages of spiritual awakening involve two states: the state of exteriors and the state of interiors. These first two general states serve the purpose of familiarising spirits with their inner and outer levels of consciousness. The intention behind this is to encourage them to contemplate their thoughts and affections, allowing them to evaluate the quality of their loves and subsequently examine the basis from which they think and act.
Dispositions towards evils are gradually exposed through a process of stripping back inner states of self-denial and concealment. As a result, there comes a realisation and acceptance that these states, which are associated with the hellish proprium, are exactly as the Word describes them. It also becomes clear that these states, being hellish in nature, cannot be improved, converted into good, or reformed. This acceptance has a profound effect on the spirits involved, leading to a decreased motivation to maintain false appearances that mask their true nature.
Consequently, these spirits or spiritual states proceed unhindered towards their destined place in hell, residing on the outskirts of the mind. They willingly embrace and descend into a life that reflects the core essence of their evil and falsehood. Thus, for those states or spirits that can’t be elevated into the life of heaven, this progression constitutes both the second and third stage of awakening.
The third state of man after death, that is, of his spirit, is a state of instruction. 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. (HH 512)
On the other hand, the good spirits, which can also be thought of as states of consciousness, are those that acknowledge the Word as the Lord and recognise Him as the source of all goodness and truth. They understand that salvation from the hellish states, or the negative aspects belonging to the proprium, can only be attained through the Word. These spirits, or states of mind, are receptive of goods and truths from the Word and as such, are marked by an openness that allows them to receive and integrate specific teachings and insights from it. This receptiveness serves to enrich and deepen the expression of goodness through uses that flow in constantly from the Lord as the Word.
So, the function of the first and second states of spiritual awakening is to equip spirits with the self-knowledge about what the nature of hell and heaven are in relation to their own states of life and of the Divinity of the Word as the Lord Himself.
… no one can so act until he has been taught, for example, that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, that there is a life after death, that God ought to be loved above all things, and the neighbour as oneself, and that the things in the Word ought to be believed because the Word is Divine. Without a knowledge and acknowledgment of these things man is unable to think spiritually (HH 512)
These foundational knowledges enable the examination and then removal of incompatible states of mind and prepares them for entrance into the third state whereby they are ready to receive the necessary instruction on how to live a heavenly life.
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. (HH 512)
Instruction Is From Heaven, Not From The World
… spiritual good and truth are learned, not from the world but from heaven. 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 of his interiors which belong to his mind is in heaven, spiritual good and truth cannot flow into his life; and man is then 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. (HH 512)
This third state of awakening involves gaining a direct experiential understanding of what constitutes spiritual good and truth, as well as what stands in opposition to them. It goes beyond simply acquiring information about the nature of good and truth from the teachings of the Word. Instead, it entails a process of learning and observing how these principles manifest in one’s own states of consciousness and daily life. In the context of Logopraxis, this is why practitioners are encouraged to formulate tasks. By carefully observing and listening, these tasks serve as a focal point for exploration, shedding light on the truth or principle that has been chosen and revealing what forces or influences work against it.
For a spirit can only receive what is of heaven to the degree that heaven is formed within the deeper levels of their mind, “and man is then 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 emphasizes the importance of leading a life that acknowledges the Word through practicing self-examination and repentance in accordance with its teachings. This is the only way to orientate a person’s deeper nature towards heaven.
This practice not only builds a desire within for the heavenly life, but also enables us to receive the necessary tools and resources for it. Without such a desire, it’s impossible to reach this third state of instruction about heavenly life, not because we’re shut out, but because we lack the desire or motivation for it. By practicing truths from the Word with a focus on self-examination and repentance, we develop a conviction that the spiritual life is just as the Word describes it. This conviction enables us to trust in the Word and that it is Divine, that it is the Lord Himself present with us.
Without a knowledge and acknowledgment of these things man is unable to think spiritually; and if he has no thought about them he does not will them; for what a man does not know he cannot think, and what he does not think he cannot will. (HH 512)
While spiritual principles are initially learnt externally and stored in one’s memory, their true integration happens through practice. By experiencing these principles in action within one’s own life, what was once merely memory knowledge evolves into a deep conviction of the heart. This process of transferring knowledge from memory to a deeper level occurs when we seek guidance from the Lord and strive to live a spiritual life with integrity, based on our understanding of the Word. This process of having the internal level of our mind formed into the pattern of heaven is described as follows….
So it is that when man wills these things then heaven flows into his life, that is, the Lord through heaven into the life of man; for the Lord flows into the will and through the will into the thought, and through both into the life, for the whole life of man is from these. (HH 512)
This is living justly and honestly for the sake of the Divine, and not for the sake of self and the world, as ends. (HH 512)
Instruction Is Relevant To One’s Life
Instruction in the heavens differs from instruction on earth in that cognitions are not committed to memory, but to life; for the memory of spirits is in their life, for they receive and imbibe everything that is in harmony with their life, and do not receive, still less imbibe, what is not in harmony with it. (HH 517)
The understandings of spiritual good and truth that spirits acquire in this third state of instruction are not mere intellectual knowledges but are integrated into the core of each spirit’s life or will, making one with the form of heaven. This integration serves as guidance for living a heavenly life. Since a spirit’s love is their essence and vitality, this instruction is rooted in the realm of living experience rather than mere memory. The teaching in this third state therefore is executed with careful consideration and is tailored to the spirit’s background and way of life. Angels, who are in the delight of offering guidance to those preparing for their entry into the heavenly life, are specifically matched to the newcomers’ needs.
Instruction is given by the angels of many societies, … The places of instruction are … various, arranged and distinguished according to the kinds and varieties of heavenly goods, that all and each may be instructed there according to their disposition and faculty of reception. (HH 513)
All who are in places of instruction dwell separately from one another; for individuals are connected as to their interiors with that society of heaven into which they are about to come (HH 514)
This tailoring of teacher and learner is enlarged on further for…
But all are not instructed in the same way, nor by the same societies of heaven. Those who have been brought up from childhood in heaven… receive instruction from the angels of the interior heavens.
Those who have died in adult age receive instruction mainly from angels of the lowest heaven…
But the Mohammedans receive instruction from angels who had been previously in the same religion and had been converted to Christianity.
The heathen, too, are taught by their angels. (HH 515)
So, each spirit is guided in a gentle and unique manner by the angels, taking into account their distinct form of love and how this is to find expression within the heavenly community they are gradually led into. And even this process of being guided into their society varies, as spirits enter the spiritual world in different states of readiness. There are states of mind that can enter heaven almost immediately, while for others there are things which need removing…
…The good spirits who are to be instructed are brought by the Lord to these places when they have completed their second state in the world of spirits, and yet not all. For those who have been instructed in the world, have been prepared there by the Lord for heaven, and also are taken up into heaven by another way-some immediately after death, some after a short stay with good spirits, where the grosser things of their thoughts and affections, which they had contracted from honours and riches in the world, are removed, and in that way they are purified. Some first are vastated, which is effected in places under the soles of the feet, called the lower earth, where some suffer severely. These are such as had confirmed themselves in falsities and yet had led good lives, for when falsities have been confirmed they inhere with much force, and until they have been dispersed, truths cannot be seen, and thus cannot be received. (HH 513)
As we have seen previously, the first two states of a spiritual awakening primarily involve gaining awareness of our self-images. This is achieved through deep reflection using truths from the Word, allowing individuals to better comprehend their own mental states. When there is a strong attachment to a false principle that opposes heavenly life, the only way to loosen it may be through a process of “vastation.” False principles are intertwined with everyone’s sense of self, and their destructive potential only becomes evident when a self-image is shattered through experiences of being “vastated.” This, in turn, creates a humble and receptive attitude towards the guidance that is specific to the third state of instruction.
In our practice of the Word in Logopraxis, we allow ourselves to undergo these same processes that prepare spirits for life in the spiritual world, as the Word provides us with an experiential understanding of the processes that govern spiritual life in the here and now. Just as each spirit’s instruction is uniquely tailored to their core love and way of life, so too are the insights that emerge from practicing or living by spiritual principles, unique to each practitioner. Each of us is given doctrine from the Word that is individualised to our life and specific to the purposes for which our minds are being formed, so that we may serve a unique use for the common good of all in the Lord’s kingdom.