The fact that location, change of location, and distance in the world of spirits are appearances was clarified for me in the following way: All souls and spirits whatsoever, from the beginning of creation, appear in their own position at all times and never change place except when conditions inside them change. As conditions inside them change, their relative location and distance alter too. Each spirit has a general, governing state, though, and the particular and the highly specific states still relate to the general one. For this reason, all spirits return to their position after such changes.
I have learned, both by talking with angels and by personal experience, that spirits as spirits are not in the place they appear to be, so far as the organic substances composing the [spiritual] bodies they have are concerned. They can be very far off and still appear in that place. I realize that people who allow illusions to fool them will not believe this, but it is still the fact of the matter.
I illustrated this to spirits who would not believe anything they could not see with their eyes (even if it was merely an illusion) by the fact that something similar happens with human beings in the world. Take the sound in your ear of another person talking. If you did not know better—from practice gained since infancy in learning to tell sounds apart, and from seeing the distance—you would inevitably believe that the speaker was close to your ear. Long-distance vision is similar. If you did not know better because of seeing what intervenes, or calculate the distance on the basis of previous knowledge, you would believe a remote object to be right in front of your eyes. How much more so with spirits’ speech, which is inner speech, and their eyesight, which is inner sight!  Moreover I said that it was no grounds for doubt, still less for denial, to say that such-and-such does not appear that way to your senses and that you cannot perceive it to be so, when manifest experience dictates otherwise. There are many things in the physical world that run contrary to the illusions of the senses but are accepted because of lessons taught by visual experience. An example is the act of sailing around the world. People who allow illusions to mislead them would believe that ship and sailor would both fall off when they reached the opposite side, and that people on the other side of the world could not possibly stand on their feet.
The same is the case with this fact and many others in the next life that contradict sensory illusions and yet are true, such as the notion that we do not have life on our own but only from the Lord, and so on and so on.
With these arguments and others I was able to convince doubting spirits to believe that the situation was as described.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1377, 1378