A great deal of my experience has testified to the fact that we are our love or intention after death. All heaven is differentiated into communities on the basis of differences in the quality of love, and every spirit who is raised up into heaven and becomes an angel is taken to the community where her or his love is. When we arrive there we feel as though we are in our own element, at home, back to our birthplace, so to speak. Angels sense this and associate there with kindred spirits. When they leave and go somewhere else, they feel a constant pull, a longing to go back to their kindred and therefore to their dominant love. This is how people gather together in heaven. The same applies in hell. There too, people associate according to loves that oppose heavenly ones. On the fact that both heaven and hell are made up of communities and that they are all differentiated according to differences of love, see Sections 41–50 and 200–212 above.
We may also gather that we are our love after death from the fact that anything that does not agree with our dominant love is then removed and apparently taken away from us. For good people, what is removed and apparently taken away is everything that disagrees and conflicts, with the result that they are admitted to their love. It is much the same for evil people, except that what is taken away from them is everything true, while for good people everything false is taken away. Either way, the result is that ultimately everyone becomes his or her own love. This happens when we are brought into our third state, which will be discussed below. Once this has happened, we constantly turn our faces toward our love and have it constantly before our eyes no matter which way we face (see above, Sections 123–124).
All spirits can be led wherever you want as long as they are kept in their dominant love. They cannot resist even though they know what is happening and think that they will refuse. Spirits have often tried to do something in opposition, but without success. Their love is like a chain or rope tied around them, with which they can be pulled and which they cannot escape. It is the same for people in this world. Our love leads us as well, and it is through our love that we are led by others. It is even more so when we become spirits, though, because then we are not allowed to present a different love or pretend to a love that is not ours.
It is obvious in every gathering in the other life that our spirit is our dominant love. To the extent that we act and talk in keeping with someone else’s love, that individual looks whole, with a face that is whole, cheerful, and lively. To the extent that we act and talk against someone else’s dominant love, though, that individual’s face begins to change, to dim, and to be hard to see. Eventually it disappears as though it were not even there. I have often been amazed at this because this kind of thing cannot happen in the world. However, I have been told that the same thing happens to the spirit within us, in that when we turn our attention away from someone, that individual is no longer in our sight.
I have also seen that our spirit is our dominant love from the fact that every spirit seizes and claims whatever suits his or her love and rejects and repels whatever does not suit it. Our love is like a spongy, porous wood that absorbs whatever liquids prompt its growth, and repels others. It is like animals of various kinds. They recognize their proper foods, seek out the ones that suit their natures, and avoid the ones that disagree. Every love actually wants to be nourished by what is appropriate to it—an evil love by falsities and a good love by truths. I have occasionally been allowed to see that some particular simple and good people wanted to teach evil people things that were true and good. Faced with this teaching, though, the evil people fled far away; and when they reached their own kind, they seized on whatever falsities suited their love with great delight. I have also been allowed to see good spirits talking with each other about truths, which other good spirits in attendance listened to eagerly, while some evil ones who were there paid no attention, as though they did not hear anything.
In the world of spirits you can see paths, some leading to heaven and some leading to hell, each one leading to some specific community. Good spirits travel only the paths that lead to heaven, and to the community engaged in their own quality of love. They do not see paths that lead anywhere else. On the other hand, evil spirits travel only the paths that lead to hell and to that community there which is engaged in the evil of their own love. They do not see paths that lead anywhere else; and if they do see them, they still do not want to follow them.
Paths like this in the spiritual world are “real appearances” that correspond to true and false [understandings]; so this is what “paths” in the Word mean.
These proofs from experience support what was said above on rational grounds, namely that after death we are our own love and our own intent. I say “intent” because for each of us, our intent is our love.
from Heaven and Hell, Section 479
Sections 41-50: Published 5/7/2017-5/10/2017
Sections 200-212: Heaven’s Form, Which Determines How People Associate
and Communicate: Not yet published
Sections 123-124: 11/20/2016-11/21/2016