The Second Half of Swedenborg’s Life Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences did not begin suddenly but came gradually It was not as if he were thrust one day into his new life. His encounters accumulated one after the other, finally giving rise to the determination to abandon his former intellectual life. Until then, he was, of course, filled with considerable anguish and struggle. At any rate, one of his first encounters occurred in 1745.
He was in London, at the height of his mental engagement with various metaphysical works, when one evening, as always, he sat down to dinner. Taking now from what Swedenborg himself [purportedly] said:
I was hungry, and ate with a good appetite. Towards the close of the meal I noticed a sort of dimness before my eyes…and I then saw the floor covered with the most horrid crawling reptiles, such as snakes, frogs, and similar creatures…. At last the darkness increased still more; but it disappeared all at once, and I then saw a man sitting in a corner of the room; as I was then alone, I was very much frightened at his words, for he said: “Eat not so much.” All became black again before my eyes, but immediately it cleared away, and I found myself alone in the room.
Such an unexpected terror hastened my return home; I did not let the landlord notice anything; but I considered well what had happened, and could not look upon it as a mere matter of chance, or as if it had been produced by a physical cause.
I went home; during the night, the same man revealed himself to me again, but I was not frightened now. He then said that he was the Lord God, the Creator of the world, and the Redeemer, and that He had chosen me to explain to men the spiritual sense of the Scripture, and that He Himself would explain to me what I should write on this subject; that same night also were opened to me, so that I became thoroughly convinced of their reality, the worlds of spirits, heaven, and hell, and I recognized there many acquaintances of every condition in life. From that day I gave up the study of all worldly science, and laboured in spiritual things, according as the Lord had commanded me to write. Afterwards the Lord daily opened my soul’s eyes, so that in the middle of the day I could see into the other world, and in a state of perfect wakefulness converse with angels and spirits.
from Swedenborg, Buddha of the North by D.T. Suzuki