I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. –Genesis 3:16
Dear members and friends,
The pain of childbirth is one of the greatest pains that a human can experience. As a male, I can only use my imagination to grasp its intensity. According to Genesis, this is part of the punishment that the woman received as a result of eating the forbidden fruit. The other punishment was to be ruled by her husband. However, as the woman in the story symbolizes the emotional mind, the childbearing and subjugation hold deep spiritual symbolism as well.
According to Swedenborg, the child in this story symbolizes “truth,” thus childbirth means the process through which the truth is acknowledged and accepted in our mind. If you have ever tried to acknowledge and accept the truth while you were emotionally charged, you will understand how challenging it is. That is why birth symbolizes the production of truth. Our mind cannot acknowledge, and therefore accept truth until it is calm and cool, which is the state of being led by the rational mind, symbolized by the husband. Emotions are essential for humans to feel alive, yet at the same time overpowered emotions can easily shut down rationality. That is why spiritual growth must happen in our emotional mind; after all, we are emotional beings!
The spiritual growth emphasized by both Jesus and Swedenborg is a very difficult because, as they both point out, for a human being to unite with God, the very core of one’s being must be changed first. And, what is in the core of one’s being is often the emotions that are untamed and wild. A good portion of the process of spiritual growth means taming and bringing under control those emotions.
Blessings, Rev. Lee