Spiritual Literacy Skills

Working to give the Word authority in our life through a conscious effort to apply its spiritual principles to the life of our mind, leads to the development of what, in Logopraxis work, are called “spiritual literacy skills”. Spiritual literacy involves using truths from the Word as a basis for examining the quality of the thoughts and affections that make up our state of mind. By engaging in this practice, the Word provides a way of thinking where what is exterior becomes reframed as spiritual states or states of mind. This is the true meaning of repentance or “metaonia’ that was discussed in the previous section in the state of interiors and refers to  the “new mind” that the Word offers us.

The growth of spiritual literacy involves developing essential skills such as, being able to divide our attention, reflect on our internal chatter, and examine the motives behind our responses. With regular practise, these skills can become second nature allowing us to live more consciously from the Word. They can help us lead more meaningful lives by supporting our spiritual development and allowing us to be more aware of the Word when reflecting on our states when alone and when in contact with others. They provide the basis for developing greater insight into the nature of the proprium, opening the way to experiencing the boundless mercy of the Lord as He works to free us from it. Developing spiritual literacy also means that we are better able to draw distinctions between levels of existence and so become clearer about boundaries and what belongs where.

The ability to draw cognitive boundaries between our inner, mental world and the outer, material world is crucial for maintaining psychological balance. These cognitive boundaries help us to distinguish between our internal world of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and the external world of people, events, and circumstances. Without these boundaries we can become overwhelmed by external influences causing confusion, anxiety, and stress. This is because without the clear distinctions between levels that the practice of the Word provides, we are prone to give power to external influences as causal. To do this is to fall into the false belief that the external conditions of life are the cause of our inner psychological states which is contrary to what the Word teaches.

It appears to man that the objects of the world enter through his bodily or external senses, and affect the interiors; and thus that there is an entrance from the ultimate of order into what is within; but that this is a mere appearance and fallacy is manifest from the general rule that posterior things cannot flow into prior; or what is the same, lower things into higher; or what is the same, exterior things into interior; or what is still the same, the things which are of the world and of nature into those which are of heaven and of spirit; for the former are of a grosser nature, and the latter of a purer one; and those grosser things which are of the external or natural man come forth and subsist from those which are of the internal or rational man; and they cannot affect the purer things, but are affected by the purer things. (AC 3721{2})​

To be spiritually literate allows us to step back from what’s presenting so that we become aware of the spiritual principles that we can employ to govern our perceptions and responses in any given situation and circumstance in our daily life. We can then make distinctions between the outer, material world manifestations and the inner world of our thoughts and feelings that constitute the life of the spirit. Again, this is the doctrine for life that the practice of the Word offers.

So, the first two states of exterior and interior concerns of a spiritual awakening occur as we are exposed to the Lord’s truths.  These two states of awakening guide individuals through transformative processes that enable them to develop a deeper understanding of the distinction between their interior and exterior aspects of life. Specifically, they facilitate the discernment of what pertains to the interior and exterior states of existence, which in turn reflects the distinction between the interior and exterior levels of their natural mind. It is essential to recognise that what manifests in the external realm is fundamentally rooted in its internal counterpart, serving as its underlying cause and origin. Thus, these states of awakening not only foster an individual’s awareness of the interplay between the spiritual and natural aspects of their being but also offer insights into the intricate dynamics that shape their spiritual and natural minds. This is because, as we have seen, “a life in accordance with doctrine drawn from the Word opens the spiritual mind, and light from heaven flows into the mind, enlightening it and giving it the ability to see” (AR 320).  It is the practice of truths from the Word that offer a new capacity to discern the source of our thoughts and emotions so that we can develop the ability to detach from them as something coming from us. These cognitive boundaries therefore offer us new ways to manage our reactions to external stimuli, resulting in a more stable, centred state of mind.

Being willing to let go of negative and harmful thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and embracing those that are in harmony with the Word’s teachings forms the foundation for the expansion of spiritual literacy skills. As the individual becomes accustomed to the work of detaching from proprial states concerned with self, the Lord by means of the Word implants a love to serve the Lord’s desire for the regeneration of all. This shift brings a change in focus in how the spiritual literacy skills are directed to support the spiritual well-being of others and the spiritual community as a whole.

… so far as the Lord flows into the life of any one He instructs him, for so far He kindles the will with the love of knowing truths and enlightens the thought to know them; and so far as this is done, the interiors of man are opened and heaven is implanted in them and furthermore, what is Divine and heavenly flows into the honest things pertaining to moral life and into the just things pertaining to civil life with man, and makes them spiritual, since man then does these things from the Divine, since they are done for the sake of the Divine. (HH 512).

So, what the three states of awakening show is that spiritual development involves a progressive movement from working with the Word, where the main focus is on our own personal regeneration, to a focus on the Lord’s ultimate end, which is the salvation of the human race. This third state of instruction is therefore a time when individuals learn to align their lives with the Divine will and purpose. For entering into the life of heaven involves engaging in activities that promote the regeneration of the human mind, as heaven is the Lord’s kingdom, and its essence is the performance of uses that support the Lord’s love for the salvation of all.


Spiritual Community

We can see then that developing spiritual literacy skills is crucial for both our personal regeneration and our ability to support others in their process. And that the acquisition of these skills means that we are able to participate more fully in the life of a spiritual community. For everyone who seeks to live a spiritual life is in a practice of self-examination and repentance, in an effort to shun evils as sins against the Lord as the Word and while this can only ever be an individual practice, it isn’t something that is done in isolation.  Heaven is a kingdom of uses that are organised by the Lord in support of His desire for a heaven from the human race.  He coordinates all spiritual uses into an orderly form, both individually and collectively, so that His end is achieved. Everything that is ordered to achieve this end can be said to be in the human form which is good and truth working together as one in life, in use. A spiritual community therefore is a community of interdependent functions or uses that work together in support of the regeneration of the human mind.

One way of understanding this process is that a regenerating mind is a mind that is becoming more fully human in its form. Such a mind is being inwardly formed or in-formed through the type of instruction described in the third state of awakening, which as we have seen, is instruction that is provided from the application of truths to one’s life. The instillation of truths into good transforms the mind into a living expression of charity or a spiritual use. Of the angelic form of mind we read…

…the whole angel, and especially the face, is as it were charity, the charity both plainly appearing to the view and being perceived by the mind. When this form is beheld, it is unutterable beauty that affects with charity the very inmost life of the beholder’s mind. Through the beauty of this form the truths of faith are presented to view in an image, and are even perceived from it. Such forms, or such beauties, do those become in the other life who have lived in faith in the Lord, that is, in the faith of charity. All the angels are such forms, with countless variety, and of such is heaven. (AC 553)

In Logopraxis, we seek to engage in the conscious application of truths from the Word through actively seeking to discern and think from the principles it teaches. To practice truths to shun evils is what it means to acknowledge the Divinity of the Word. For if the Word is to have authority in our life, then its acknowledgment can’t just be merely theoretical but must be lived out in our actions. This acknowledgment, in the activity of shunning evils as sins through the use of its truths, serves as a testament to the life of charity and constitutes a vibrant embodiment of what it truly means to be a church.

There are three essentials of the church, an acknowledgment of the Divine of the Lord, an acknowledgment of the holiness of the Word, and the life that is called charity. According to the life which is charity is every one’s faith; from the Word comes the knowledge of what the life must be, and from the Lord are reformation and salvation. (Divine Providence 259)

In Logopraxis we share our experience related to our engagement with the Word within our Life Group on a two-weekly cycle. When we do this with an intention to benefit the group and the Logopraxis community more generally, so as to support the Lord’s purpose of universal salvation, a remarkable opportunity unfolds. It is an opportunity to witness the emergence of the collective human form or the expression of the church as that within which the Lord is made visible. This concept entails the realisation and recognition of heaven manifested on earth, where the state of heavenly existence is tangibly felt and acknowledged as a psychological state that is grounded in the natural mind’s level of awareness. As such, this profound experience is firmly anchored in the developing collective awareness of the group as those present share their insights of the Word working in their lives.

In practice then, the Logopraxis approach provides a container where each member’s experiences of the Word can be exchanged with others to support this possibility of becoming more of a church, both on an individual and collective level. The process of sharing our personal reflections and insights, as well as discussing how the Word has impacted our lives often leads to a deeper understanding of the Word and its transformative power. This can result in an opening of the Word, which transforms the meaning of the Text, shining a light on the spiritual processes involved in the regeneration of the human mind. In Logopraxis this is the activity of the Word as the Lord at work in our midst. It is the Divine Human made visible. It is what it means to be instructed by the Word alone and what each receives is doctrine uniquely tailored to support their spiritual life. …truth is so implanted in use that the truths they learn to know are truths of use. (HH 5172)

Therefore, the collective experience not only fosters the spiritual development of individuals but also nurtures the growth of the community as a whole. In this dynamic, individuals actively contribute to the collective’s development while simultaneously benefiting from the support and shared wisdom of the community. As a result, a deep sense of spiritual fellowship that is centered around the lived experience of the Word as the embodiment of the Lord, emerges. So we can see, as previously discussed, that this intricate interplay and interdependence between individual contributions and the collective endeavour form the fundamental essence of spiritual community.

…there is not the least of difference that is not disposed in most perfect order, so as to conspire most harmoniously to a common unity, and the common unity to unanimity of individuals, and thereby to the happiness of all from each, and of each from all. Each angel and each society is therefore an image of the universal heaven, and is as it were a little heaven. (AC 684)

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