What You Can't Hear Enough - Courtesy of Vaishali
Whenever I share the life and wisdom of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) with my radio show listeners, the people who read my books and magazine articles, or with those who attend my many classes and lectures, I always start out by introducing him as “my boyfriend.” That introduction accomplishes a couple things.
First and foremost, it makes an 18th century scientist/mystic more approachable to a 21st century audience. In our current paradigm, scientists can’t relate to mystics, and mystics don’t relate well to scientists. How could he be both? Through a technique of controlled breathing, Swedenborg could enter a state of concentrated focus. This trance-like state enabled him to literally master every known science in his life, and later gave him access to the Angelic community. This is a difficult concept for most people to grasp, so who would not feel slightly alienated by that? Who would not be intimidated by a man Stanford University voted the most brilliant person to have ever lived on the planet!? Swedenborg left us with an enormous canon of scientific work. Merely reading these volumes would be a daunting undertaking. Not to mention his achievements as a profound mystic discoursing with people who have died, with Angels and with... well let’s just say beings we would not call Angels. When you add in the over four and half million words he wrote about the nature of the Spiritual Worlds, how they are organized and why we, as Spiritual beings, benefit from having a human experience, you do not exactly have a man the average person feels they can immediately relate to on a personal level. As you can see, a definite overachiever.
The second thing that introduction does is bring the context of his writings down to a level uncomplicated and relevant to one’s everyday life. The heart and soul of his wisdom is, after all, about examining what we are doing with our attention. Let’s face it. There is nothing more germane to everyday life than what are we are choosing to give our attention to, and thereby what we tell ourselves inwardly, as we move through our day.
Now let’s start with the Swedenborg basics. Most people find it absolutely astonishing to discover that Swedenborg defines our Divinity as inseparable from our attention. The idea being that our awareness and our Spiritual Identity as Divine Love and Wisdom are in fact one and the same. I have to massage in to my audiences’ psyches Swedenborg’s perspective that we do not have Divine Love and Wisdom. It is not a possession; it is not of matter of being deserving or worthy enough. We are Divine Love and Wisdom right now, just the way we presently are, and the way that Spiritual reality manifests in the physical word is as consciousness itself. Once people understand that their awareness is Love, so whatever they are giving their attention to, they are also giving their Love to, we can move on to the next vital piece of information.
There are core ideas that run throughout the thirty some volumes of Swedenborg’s work that describe the Spiritual Realms: how what we give our attention to in our everyday human experience instantly affects our Spiritual evolution. I find that these dominant core ideas create an internal infrastructure for the deepest most empowered “know thyself” investigation possible. In laying the groundwork for this inner “know thyself” path, people cannot hear, read, or give enough of their attention to these liberating, self-empowering cores ideas. Swedenborg articulates a Truth that sets us free. How often do we need to set ourselves free? How many seconds, minutes, hours are in a lifetime? And it is so easy to forget them, or allow the material world to eclipse them, that we just cannot hear these core ideas enough.
All of Swedenborg’s writings centralize on a single Law that all of the physical and non-physical worlds revolve around. That Law is: you are what you love and you love whatever you give your attention to. This Law permeates every aspect of life: psychological, emotional, physiological, relationships, financial and Spiritual. Even after you die, according to Swedenborg, you are still subject to this Law. So remembering it throughout your day is unconditionally paramount. What it breaks down to on a practical level is this:
- Look at what you are giving your attention to
- Be aware of how it makes you feel.
- If you are focusing on something that makes you feel limited, stop! - Put it down and re-focus on something that is unlimited in nature.
When you give your attention to what is limited, you love living a hellishly limited existence. When you give your attention to what is unlimited, you love living in an unlimited realm. Why? Because of this Law: you are what you love and you love whatever you give your attention to.
When we examine this Law from the viewpoint of what limited things you might be giving your attention to, the answer is most likely all too familiar. “I don’t have enough time.” “I don’t have enough money.” “Why does everything in life have to be so hard?” “Everyone else has someone to love them and is happy except me.” “Why is it that I never get the winning lottery ticket, but some worthless idiot who is probably going to spend it all on cars and drugs in the next three weeks always does!?” The reason all these limited things we could potentially give our attention to come so easily to us, is because we loyally practice focusing on “the limited” so frequently. It has become a habit.
Now let’s explore what is unlimited that we could be giving our attention and therefore our Love to. For nearly all, this is also the most unfamiliar. It just so happens that the unlimited Truths that set us free are also the same core ideas running throughout Swedenborg’s writings. The principal and most important one is to remember your true nature and separate your attention from toxic self-defined illusions. This means seeing, relating, identifying and speaking to yourself as Divine Love and Wisdom and nothing less. It is understanding that you, as Divine Love and Wisdom, are the most powerful force in the Universe:
1. You have more power than any challenge you are presently going through.
2. Everything that touches your life is working for you. Because everything serves the most powerful force in the Universe: Divine Love and Wisdom.
3. As the most powerful force in the Universe you can only create learning experiences that work for your highest good, no matter what it may look or feel like. Furthermore, you do not have the power to create those self-expanding learning experiences before or after you needed them.
4. You have free will. You determine what gets your attention… what you want to love. You choose if you want to sign up to learn more about limitation or unconditional Love and abundance. You are not a victim or without power.
5. You are treasured and adored. Speak to yourself that way. Treat yourself that way. Feed, care for, be patient and love yourself with that quality of integrity.
In order to align your attention with these unlimited things you must be willing to grow beyond the concept, the self-identified restriction that you “do not have enough.” You must be willing to no longer see yourself as the person who is a day late and a dollar short. You must be willing to see whatever touches your life, be it an overdue bill, an I.R.S. audit, a medical diagnosis, or the loss of a relationship or job, as providing your life with the seeds of a greater growth. In order to be in right relationship with these unlimited ideas you must also be willing to take your power back from the outer world. You must be willing to no longer allow your value, power and worth to be determined by how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, how much weight you have gained, what level of education you have received, what your marital status is, or what job level you have achieved. These things no longer have the ability to define you. You must exclusively know that your value, power and worth is that you are Divine Love and Wisdom, and no one and no thing has the power to change that.
Another primary idea Swedenborg explains is that all suffering has a single point of origin. The genesis occurs whenever you think, define or relate to yourself as something less than Divine Love and Wisdom. When that happens you put a rippled energy wave of misery into motion. There is only one possible result that can come from loving something untruthful about yourself ~ and that is unhappiness. This transpires when you tell yourself that you are not good enough, you don’t measure up and you will never get it right. Who has not experienced first hand the reductionist quality of life that ensues when you give your attention to things like, “Why am I so stupid?” “Can’t I ever do anything right?” “I am so unlovable.” “I don’t deserve better.” “I will never amount to anything.”
When Swedenborg was alive many people came to him and asked him to contact loved ones who had died, taking sensitive information to their graves with them. He was tested hundreds if not thousands of times. Every time he gave an answer he was proven to be 100% accurate. Many people witnessed these events and wrote about them. These first hand recorded accounts became known as Swedenborg’s “minor miracles.” Just to cite a few of the well documented things that he shared:
- Who would be the next one in a room to die?
- His own day and time of death.
- The exact day and hour a sailing ship would arrive from an ocean voyage.
- He was able to describe events happening hundreds or thousands of miles away from his physical location long before mass communication.
All these things astounded the people of his time, and the people who read about them now. Only Swedenborg did not write a single word about them himself. Certainly the man had the time, energy and means to have written about these things in great detail, but he chose not to give it his love. Why? Because he did not feel they were important.
What he did feel was of critical importance was to write over thirty volumes and over four and half million words about this Law: you are what you love and you love whatever you give your attention to. He did spend the last 27 years of his life emphasizing the supreme importance of taking your Love back from any and all limitation, aligning your inner dialogue and self-perception with the reality that you are Divine Love and Wisdom, and realizing there is no pay off, unequivocally nothing in it for you to identify with anything else.
When people asked Swedenborg, “How do you do that? How do you focus on what sets you free and nothing else?” He had two pieces of advice. The first is whenever you find yourself giving your attention to things that take your life to a limited place, stop. Put it down and focus on the truth of who and what you are. The second bit of advice was what he called “forgetting and remembering.” Remember to give your attention to what takes your life to an unlimited place and simply forget everything else. Or as I like to say it, “How do you get to live unconditionally in an unlimited place? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall... practice, practice.”
If you have something more worthwhile to do with your Love than transform all limitation into unlimited Truth that sets you free, you have my undivided attention.