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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Being Helpful

 According to Swedenborg:

Faith apart from good works is just this kind of airy nothing or image, and so are faith and goodwill apart from their practice...

Helpful acts are the good that love does, deriving their essence from the union of what is good and what is true.

It seems to me that my faith almost compels me to act in accordance to its nature. What I hold dear and true directs how I show up in life. Since I strive to live attuned to The Presence and to walk The Way, my actions need to be in harmony with the spiritual realm. When they are not, I see quickly that I have stepped off the path, and adjust myself to what I know to be spiritually so. I seem to live in this dance of on and off the path, with on being more prevalent as I mature.

So, we must evaluate our good deeds. Are they done in love? Are they in tune with God? Do they come from actual goodness? Or are they from ego, from self-glory, a manipulation, or some such darker and less pure place?

It is good to examine ourselves and continue to refine our lives to bring them more and more into spiritual harmony.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

A New Thought About Our Bodies

This morning, in that in between time of sleep and wakefulness, I had some musings about my body. 

I saw my body something like a small child or even a pet dog. The "I" that is living in this body has to take care of its body, or it will not be able to stay vital and useful. "I" have to bathe, brush and comb, feed, protect, and be in charge of the body. The body is a vehicle for my soul to be able to be here and learn and grow and contribute. In a similar way to taking care of my car so it can transport my body. I must take care of my body to transport my soul.

Some people do not take very good care of their bodies. They do destructive things like eating way too much so they carry huge amounts of fat wherever they go, or they feed it drugs to numb it, or do all number of things that are opposite of tenderly taking care of the vehicle of their soul.

There are also those who harm the bodies of other people. I wonder if we could clearly see what the body is, if violence against self or others would cease???

It seems to me, it would be wise to care for our bodies so that our souls can get the full experience of human life on earth and learn what our lessons are here in this life. Maybe we could see the sacred job our bodies have as the vehicles of our souls, of everyone's souls. 

Bless the amazing human body, bless our particular human bodies, bless all bodies. Thank You God for this awareness. Help me be a better steward of the body You gave me.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Goodwill Might Not Always Be Good

I'm reading a Swedenborg book this morning, "Regeneration." The section where I am is about who is our neighbor. It is very interesting.

He says our closest and highest neighbor is the Lord. To me, thinking of the Lord as my neighbor is a new way to look at our relationship. He is in me, along side of me and my constant companion, yes I've known that. The neighbor, the most wonderful neighbor, puts a new spin on my thinking. I will contemplate that.

He basically says my neighbors are those in my life, my church my country - at least all who are of goodwill. All of goodwill deserve my love and support, but not those of ill will, not the self-serving, the greedy, the evil behaving people. It is not good to support the darkness. Refrain from supporting those who engage in harm.

He makes sense, in that whatever we support grows stronger. At first it seems in conflict with Jesus's idea of loving our enemies and praying for those who spitefully use you. But on further thought it is not in conflict. It is loving to support the highest and best in ourselves and others. And, conversely, it is not loving to support the lowest and ugliest in ourselves and others. It is, however, to my mind, that being a neighbor of goodwill to those who are in darkness includes praying for them and also not encouraging their darkness.

Looking at all of this from Swedenborg's point, my charity and goodwill are to be focused on those of goodwill. They aren't to be focused on those of ill will, as that encourages more ill will. Here are some of his words:

 Goodwill, then, is an inner motivation that makes us want to do what is good and to do this without reward. Doing this is the joy of our life...

If people have love for themselves and the world as their goal, there is no way they can be focused on goodwill. They do not even know what goodwill is; and they completely fail to grasp the fact that intending and doing good for their neighbor without looking for payment is a heaven inside them—that inherent in this impulse there is just as much happiness as heaven’s angels have: more than words can convey.

  --- Swedenborg