“But the experience varies according to the person’s state and according to the essence of whatever he is praying for. If his prayer springs from love and faith, and if they are wholly celestial and spiritual things about which and for which he prays, something like a revelation is present within his prayer which manifests itself in the affection of the one praying in the form of hope, comfort, or some inward joy.” – Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelestia §2535
Dear members and friends of the Swedenborgian Church,
“A person’s life is a reflection of who they are inwardly.” “Where the mind goes, the person will follow.” “Ask, and you will receive.” What do these and many other ancient words of wisdom truly mean? Can we pray ourselves to prosperity and abundance, continually asking and praying for everything that we need and want? If we take these words literally, can we expect a carefree and disappointment-free life? If we put all our power and attention into imagining success at all times, will it come to us?
We each wish for an abundant and successful life. But what exactly is our life? Is it all the signposts of a life: our profession, our loves and friendships, our accomplishments, our homes and possessions, our activities, even our bodies, thoughts and feelings? Or are all these really just indicators of the real life, the Life behind our life and lives? And how would we come into greater contact with this “life behind our lives,” this Life that enervates and informs every jot of our living experience, internal and external?
“What am I?” “Who am I?” “What do I really want?” Living questions like these are the beginning of a search that can lead to this Life. Having access to and a conscious relation to this Life is the source of the abundance, the source of the hope, the source of the comfort and inward joy referred to in the opening quote of Swedenborg’s above.
Alas, we can only begin where we are. Though we cannot directly and explicitly cultivate an opening to the abundance and gratitude that would indicate a direct line to this Life, we can intentionally begin to choose and cultivate attitudes and behaviors that do not block it. Things like negativity, expectations, judgement and self-pity, amongst others, can be seen, explored, and minimized. And depending upon what we truly want, this is not that difficult a task. Surprisingly, the hardest part is learning to see these traits in action and to become willing to “not” participate in them. We can sincerely begin to want to see ourselves as we actually are and to know that such traits and behaviors are nothing more than lost energy closing us off to the Life of our lives. What a blessing this would be.
Our abundance is our Life.
Blessings, John Gwynn