Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

However, we do need to realize that if people are engrossed in love for themselves and love for the world, the pleasure they are feeling when they move toward some heavenly community is the pleasure of their own cravings. So it is diametrically opposed to the pleasure of heaven. They attain the pleasure of their cravings when they succeed in stealing and taking away heavenly pleasure from people who are absorbed in it. It is different when no theft or removal occurs. Then they cannot get nearer because to the extent that they do, they are plunged into pain and torment. This is why they rarely dare to approach. This too I have been shown by an abundance of experience, some of which I should like to present.

There is nothing spirits want more when they are arriving in the other life from this world than to get into heaven. Almost all of them expect to because they believe that heaven is simply a matter of being let in and accepted. Because this is what they want, then, they are taken to some community of the outmost heaven. If they are devoted to love for themselves and the world, then the moment they reach the first border of that heaven they begin to feel pain and to be so tormented within that they feel as though they were in hell rather than in heaven. So they themselves dive down headlong and are not at rest until they are with their own kind in the hells.

It has also often happened that spirits like this have wanted to find out what heavenly joy is, and when they have heard that it is within the deeper nature of angels, they have sought to share in it for themselves. So this too was done, because when spirits are not yet in heaven or in hell, whatever they want is granted if it may do any good. Once communication was established, they began to feel such agony that they did not know how to control their bodies because of the pain. It looked as though they pushed their heads down to their feet and threw themselves on the ground and twisted themselves into loops like snakes, all because of their inner agony. This was the effect that heavenly pleasure had on people whose pleasures stemmed from love for themselves and love for the world. The reason is that these loves are diametrically opposed, and when a love meets its opposite this kind of pain results. Further, since heavenly pleasure comes in by an inner path and flows into an opposing pleasure, it twists the deeper levels that are engrossed in that pleasure backward, in the opposite direction. This results in this kind of agony.

As I have already noted, the reason these loves are contrary to each other is that love for the Lord and love for our neighbor want to share everything with others. This is in fact their delight. But self-love and love for the world want to take things away from others for themselves, and find pleasure to the extent that they can succeed.

This also enables us to realize why hell is separated from heaven. It is because all the people who are in hell, while they lived in the world, were wholly focused on pleasures of the body and the flesh because of their love for themselves and love for the world; while all the people who are in heaven, while they lived in the world, were focused on pleasures of the soul and the spirit because of their love for the Lord and their love for their neighbor. Since these loves are opposed to each other, the hells and the heavens are completely separated, even to the point that spirits who are in hell do not dare stick out a single finger or raise the top of their heads, for the moment they do so, even the slightest bit, they are in torment and agony. This too I have often seen.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 400


Previously Cited: 1/25/2017

Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

We may gather the magnitude of heaven’s pleasure simply from the fact that for everyone there it is delightful to share their pleasure and bliss with someone else; and since everyone in the heavens is like this, we can see how immense heaven’s pleasure is. For as I explained above (Section 268), there is in heaven a sharing by everyone with each individual, and by each individual with everyone.

This kind of sharing flows from the two loves of heaven, which as noted are love for the Lord and love for our neighbor. These loves by nature want to share their pleasures. The reason love for the Lord is like this is that because the Lord’s love is a love of sharing everything it has with everyone, it intends the happiness of everyone. Much the same love exists in individuals who love him, because the Lord is in them. So there is a mutual sharing of angels’ pleasures with each other. We shall see later that love for our neighbor is like this as well. We may gather from all this that these loves by nature want to share their pleasures.

It is different for love for oneself and love for the world. Love for oneself takes away and carries off all the pleasure of others and diverts them to itself because it has only its own welfare in mind. Love of the world wants the possessions of the neighbor to be its own. So these loves by nature want to destroy pleasures for other people. If they have any tendency to share, it is for their own interests and not for others; so in relation to others (except insofar as they can appropriate and embody the pleasures of those others) they do not tend to share but to destroy.

I have very often been shown by vivid experience that this is what love for oneself and love for the world are like when they are in control. Whenever spirits who were engrossed in these loves when they lived as people in the world have come up to me, my own pleasure has waned and vanished. I have also been told that if people like these so much as move toward any heavenly community, the pleasure of the members of that community decreases in direct proportion to their presence. Remarkably, too, the evil people are then delighted. I could see from this what the state of the human spirit in the body is like, for it is much the same as it is after separation from the body. Specifically, they crave and covet the pleasures or assets of others, and to the extent that they acquire them they themselves are pleased. We can see from this that love for oneself and love for the world are destructive of heavenly joy and are therefore diametrically opposed to heavenly loves, whose nature is to share.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 399


Previously Cited: 1/12/2017

Section 268: Published 10/21/2017

Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

By its very nature, heaven is full of pleasures, even to the point that if we see it as it really is, it is nothing but bliss and pleasure. This is because the divine good that emanates from the Lord’s divine love constitutes heaven both overall and in detail for everyone there; and divine love is the intent that everyone should be saved and should be most profoundly and fully happy. This is why it is all the same whether you say “heaven” or “heavenly joy.”

Heaven’s pleasures are both indescribable and innumerable; but no one can realize or believe anything about their multitude who is wholly wrapped up in pleasures of the body or the flesh. This, as I have already said, is because their deeper levels are looking away from heaven toward the world, which is backward. For no one who is wholly involved in pleasures of the body or the flesh (or in love for oneself and the world, which is the same thing) feels any pleasure except in eminence or profit or in physical and sensory gratification. These stifle and smother deeper pleasures of heaven so completely that people do not even believe such pleasures exist. So they would be quite bewildered if they were so much as told that any pleasures remain once the pleasures of eminence and profit have been taken away; and they would be even more bewildered if they were told that the pleasures that take their place are countless and simply defy comparison with pleasures of the body and the flesh, especially pleasures of eminence and profit. We can see, then, why people do not know what heavenly joy is.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 397, 398

Heavenly Joy and Happiness (Continued)

All pleasures flow from love, because what we love we feel as pleasant. There is no other source of any pleasure. It follows, then, that the quality of the love determines the quality of the pleasure. Pleasures of the body or of the flesh flow from love for ourselves and from love of the world, and these are also the source of our urges and their gratifications. The pleasures of the soul or spirit, though, all flow from love for the Lord and love for our neighbor, which are also the source of affections for what is good and true and of our deeper bliss. These loves and their pleasures flow in from the Lord and from heaven by an inner path, from above, and move our deeper natures. The other loves and their pleasures, though, flow in from the flesh and the world by an outer path, from below, and move our outer natures.

To the extent that the two loves of heaven are accepted and affect us, then, our deeper levels—levels of our souls or spirits—are opened; and they look away from the world toward heaven. To the extent that the two loves of the world are accepted and affect us, though, our outer levels—levels of the body or the flesh—are opened; and they look away from heaven toward the world. As loves flow in and are accepted, so their pleasures flow in, pleasures of heaven into our deeper natures and pleasures of the world into our outer natures, because as already noted all pleasure comes from love.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 396

Heavenly Joy and Happiness

HARDLY anyone nowadays knows what heaven is or what heavenly joy is. People who think about either subject come up with such pedestrian and crude notions that they scarcely amount to anything at all. I have had a wonderful opportunity to learn from spirits who were coming from this world into the other life what kind of idea they had about heaven and heavenly joy, for when they are left on their own, as they were in the world, they still think the same way.

The reason they do not know about heavenly joy is that people who think about it at all base their judgments on the external joys of the natural person. They do not know what the inner or spiritual person is, so they do not know what that person’s pleasure and blessedness are. So even if they were told by people involved in spiritual or inner joy what heavenly joy is and how it feels, they would not be able to grasp it. It would have descended into an unfamiliar concept and therefore not into their perception, so it would have become one of those things that the natural person casts aside.

Everyone is capable of knowing that when we leave our outer or natural person we enter our inner or spiritual one; so we can also know that heavenly pleasure is an inner and spiritual pleasure and not an outer or natural one. Since it is inner and spiritual, it is purer and finer and moves our deeper levels, the levels of our soul or spirit.

We may also conclude from this that the quality of our pleasure follows from the quality of the pleasure of our spirit, and that the pleasures of our bodies, called “the pleasures of the flesh,” have nothing to do with heaven by comparison. Whatever is in our spirit when we leave the body remains with us after death, for we then live as human spirits.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 395


Previously Cited: Published 1/9/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

I have been taught in heaven that the earliest people on our planet, who were heavenly people, thought on the basis of actual correspondences, and that the natural phenomena of the world that greeted their eyes served them as means for thinking in this way. Because they were of this character, they were in the company of angels and talked with them; and in this way heaven was united to the world through them. Therefore, that era was called the Golden Age. Classical authors described it as a time when the inhabitants of heaven dwelt with mortals and kept them company as friend with friend.

After their era, though, a people came who did not think from actual correspondences but from a knowledge about correspondences. There was still a union of heaven with humanity, but not such an intimate one. Their era was called the Silver Age.

The people who came next were indeed familiar with correspondences but did not do their thinking on the basis of their knowledge of correspondences. This was because they were engrossed in what is good on the natural level and not, like their ancestors, on the spiritual level. Their era was called the Bronze Age.

I have been taught, lastly, that after that era humanity became more and more externally minded and at last physically minded. Then the knowledge of correspondences was completely lost, and with it any awareness of heaven and of its riches. The names of these ages—Golden, Silver, and Bronze—also come from correspondence, because gold, by reason of correspondence, means the heavenly goodness in which the earliest people lived. Silver, in contrast, means the spiritual goodness in which their successors, the early people, lived; while bronze means the natural goodness characteristic of their immediate followers. Iron, though, which gave its name to the last era, means a harsh truth, devoid of good.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 115


Previously Cited: 6/26/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Just as everything that is in accord with the divine design corresponds to heaven, everything that is contrary to the divine design corresponds to hell. Everything that corresponds to heaven reflects what is good and true, while what corresponds to hell reflects what is evil and false.

We may now say something about the knowledge of correspondences and its use. We have just stated that the spiritual world, which is heaven, is united to the natural world by means of correspondences; so it is through correspondences that we are given communication with heaven. Heaven’s angels do not think in terms of natural phenomena the way we do, so when we are absorbed in the knowledge of correspondences we can be in the company of angels in respect to the thoughts of our minds. So we can be united to them in regard to our spiritual or inner person.

In order that there might be a union of heaven with humanity, the Word was written in pure correspondences. Absolutely everything in it corresponds. So if we were steeped in a knowledge of correspondences, we would understand the Word in its spiritual meaning and be enabled to know hidden treasures in it that we do not see at all in its literal meaning. The Word does in fact have a literal meaning and a spiritual meaning. The literal meaning consists of the kind of things that are in our world, while the spiritual meaning consists of the kind of things that are in heaven; and since the union of heaven with our world is maintained by correspondences, we have been given a Word in which the details correspond, even down to the last jot.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 113-114


Previously Cited: 6/25/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

We may note briefly how the union of heaven with the world occurs by means of correspondences. The Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of purposes that are functions or—which amounts to the same thing—of functions that are purposes. For this reason, the universe has been so created and formed by the Divine that functions can clothe themselves in materials that enable them to present themselves in act or in results, first in heaven and then in this world, and so step by step all the way to the lowest things in nature. We can see from this that the correspondence of natural phenomena with spiritual ones, or of the world with heaven, takes place through functions, and that the functions are what unite them. We can also see that the forms that clothe the functions are correspondences and unions to the extent that they are forms of the functions.

In the three kingdoms of earthly nature, all the things that happen according to the design are [outward] forms of their functions or results formed by function for function. This is why the things that occur there are correspondences.

As for us, though, our acts are services in forms to the extent that we live according to the divine design—that is, in love for the Lord and in thoughtfulness toward our neighbor. To that extent, our acts are correspondences that unite us to heaven. In general terms, loving the Lord and our neighbor is being of service.

We need to know as well that it is humankind through which the natural world is united to the spiritual world, that we are the means of the union. For there is within us a natural world and also a spiritual world (see Section 57); so to the extent that we are spiritual, we are a means of union. However, to the extent that we are natural and not spiritual, we are not a means of union. The Lord’s inflow into the world and into the world’s gifts within us continues even without our aid, but it does not come into our rational functioning.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 112


Previously Cited: 6/24/2017

Section 57: Published 6/13/2019

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

There is a similar correspondence with things in the vegetable kingdom. A garden, in general terms, corresponds to heaven in respect to intelligence and wisdom, which is why heaven is called the garden of God and a paradise,d and why we call it a heavenly paradise.

Trees, species by species, correspond to perceptions and firsthand knowledge of what is good and true, which yield intelligence and wisdom. So the early people, who were absorbed in the knowledge of correspondences, held their holy worship in groves. This is why trees are mentioned so often in the Word and why heaven, the church, and people are compared to them—to the vine, for example, the olive, the cedar, and others—and the good we do is compared to fruit.

Further, the foods we derive from them, especially the ones we get from crops planted in fields, correspond to affections for what is good and true because they nourish our spiritual life the way earthly foods nourish our natural life.

Bread, generally speaking, corresponds to an affection for whatever is good because it is the mainstay of life and because it is used to mean all food. It is because of this correspondence that the Lord calls himself the bread of life; and it is also because of this that bread was put to holy use in the Israelite church—they did in fact place bread on the table in the tabernacle and called it “the bread of presence.” Then too, all divine worship that they performed by sacrifices and burnt offerings was called “bread.” Because of this correspondence too, the most sacred worship in the Christian church is the Holy Supper, in which bread and wine are shared.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 111


Previously Cited: 6/23/2017

There Is a Correspondence of Heaven with Everything Earthly (Continued)

Nowadays, though, no one can know about the spiritual things in heaven to which natural things in the world correspond except from heaven, because the knowledge of correspondence has now been completely lost. I should like to present a few examples to show what the correspondence of spiritual things with natural ones is like.

In general, earth’s living creatures correspond to affections, the mild and useful ones to good affections, the fierce and useless ones to evil affections. Specifically, cattle and calves correspond to affections of the natural mind, sheep and lambs to affections of the spiritual mind. Flying creatures, species by species, correspond to cognitive activities of either level of the mind. This is why various animals such as cattle, calves, rams, sheep, male and female goats, male and female lambs, as well as pigeons and turtle doves were accepted for holy use in the Israelite church, which was a representative church. They used them for their sacrifices and burnt offerings, and in these uses they did in fact correspond to spiritual realities that are understood in heaven in accord with their correspondence.

The reason animals are affections, according to their genera and species, is that they are alive, and the only source of the life of any creature is from affection and is in proportion to it. We humans are like animals as far as our natural person is concerned, which is why we are compared to them in colloquial usage. For example, we call a gentle person a sheep or a lamb, a violent one a bear or a wolf, a crafty one a fox or a snake, and so on.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 110


Previously Cited: 6/22/2017