After our revived selves—our souls—have been restored to the light, so that we can look around us, the spiritual angels mentioned before perform every service for us that we can possibly desire in our new state. They teach us about the things that exist in the other life, but only so far as we can comprehend. To anyone who had been a believer and has an interest they also show the grand and amazing sights of heaven.
But if the revived person or soul is not the kind who wants to learn, he or she then wants to leave the angels’ company. The angels are quick to perceive this because in the next life all the ideas involved in our thinking are shared generally. When we are eager to part with the angels, they do not leave us but we disconnect from them. Angels love everyone and want nothing more than to be helpful to us, teach us, and take us up into heaven. That is their highest pleasure.
When we as souls break off with them in this way, we are next welcomed by good spirits, and in their company every possible service is again performed for us. However, if our life in the world was such that we cannot stay among the good, once more we want to get away from them. The process repeats continuously until we come into contact with the type of people whose life in the world was in total agreement with ours. Among them we seem to find our own life. Then, surprising to say, we live the same kind of life with them as we had lived in the body.
As we sink back into that life, we experience a new beginning. Some of us move on from there toward hell after a fairly long time and some after a fairly short time. Those of us who had believed in the Lord, however, from the time of that new beginning are gradually led to heaven.
Some reach heaven more slowly and some more quickly. I have even seen some taken up into heaven immediately after death. Allow me to mention just two examples.
A man came and spoke to me who, as certain signs indicated, had recently departed from life. At first he did not realize where he was, supposing himself to be in the world.
I then informed him that he was in the next life and that he no longer had any possessions—house, money, and so on—but was in another realm, where he lacked everything he had owned in the world. Filled with anxiety over this, he did not know what direction to go or where he would live; but I told him that the Lord alone looks out for him and for everyone. Afterward I left him alone to think as he had thought in the world. He started to wonder (everyone’s thoughts can be perceived clearly in the other life) what he should do now, being destitute of everything that had allowed him to stay alive.
Still laboring under this anxiety, he was transferred to the company of spirits with a heavenly nature. They were in the vicinity of the heart and everything he wanted, whatever it was, they helped him with. This done, he was again left alone and, under the inspiration of charity, began to consider how he could repay such great kindness. All this showed that in the life of the body he had possessed the charity that belongs to faith. As a result he was lifted up into heaven instantly.
I also watched another person transferred right into heaven by the angels and saw him received by the Lord and shown heaven’s glory.
Besides all this, I know from much other experience that it takes time for some people to reach heaven.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 314-319