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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in human selfhood (4)


Meditate | Spiritual Amnesia and What's Really Going On

Meditate is a monthly column in which insights gained from meditating on the Word are shared. We welcome your insights, too, in the form of comments, or better yet, your own article. Contact us if you'd like to write a submission for this column. -Editor

“Thus says the Lord:

‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

I long for wisdom, strength, and riches! I want these things, but the passage tells me not to glory in them. Even if I am these things—wise, strong, rich—don’t glory in them. Neither am I to wallow if I find myself their opposites—ignorant, weak, and poor. This passage draws at the weight I’ve given to the way I and my life look outwardly. It spurs my attention to a deeper layer of existence.

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The Death of the Fear of Death

Erica vividly describes the path of her life. She shares a delicate awareness gained firsthand - the resolution to an abiding question - what is death, and must I fear it? -Editor.

As a child, while most little girls were learning how to tie their shoes and walk to school by themselves, I was busy working on a more distressing task: figuring out what happens when we die. I developed the awareness very early that I would not exist forever in my current form. I was young, healthy and growing, without ever knowing anyone who died, so this existential question was slightly unexpected. I cannot identify the exact moment I was hit by this painful and terrorizing realization (and it truly felt like a blow), but I can remember staying up countless nights, trying to determine the answer. What would happen after my body ceased to exist? When the sun blew out, how could I ever come back to life if there was no habitable planet for me? What did infinity and forever look like, and how was it possible that my whole life was just a small blip on the radar screen of eternity?

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Meditate | The Context of our Human Nature

“He chose to be born and in fact to be born into a religion that had sunk all the way down into a hellish, diabolical kind of selfhood, through self-love and materialism. He was born in order to unite his divinely heavenlike selfhood to a human one, in the context of his human nature, by the use of his divine power, so that they could be one inside him. Had he not united them, the world would have ended in total destruction” (Secrets of Heaven 256).

This seems like the quintessential passage for my entire process up until now of learning about the dynamic of the inner and outer self, and how to live from the inner self versus the outer. This passage teaches what the Lord did and it is the task of our lives. This is the reason for being alive—to be sewn to heaven and the Lord the way the Lord did himself. We are that religion, that selfhood built of self-love and materialism, and the Lord uses his divine power to unite a heavenly selfhood to us, to make our human selfhood heavenly. He transforms it.

I love how it says that the Lord’s work occurred in the context of his human nature, which to me means that the Lord can bring about this transformation in me in the very context of my human nature—all of it, all of my evil tendencies, tendencies to be mean, to get frustrated, annoyed, impatient; the context of my everyday living is the stuff, the medium, through which I will and am undergoing transformation.

The Lord didn’t make an exception for himself. He didn’t remove his process, his experience, from the gritty stuff of the context of human nature. That would have made his work pointless and useless. The context is so essential. It is so essential to recognize that transformation happens in your very, current context—in your human nature.   


Meditate | Intense Desire

Good for eating means intense desire. Appealing to the eyes means delusion. Desirable for lending insight means sensual pleasure. These three are properties of our selfhood (or the woman). Her husband’s eating symbolizes the rational mind’s consent” (Secrets of Heaven 207).

“[Human selfhood] is the tendency not to believe in the Lord or his Word but in ourselves and to think that what we do not grasp on a sensory or factual basis is nothing” (Secrets of Heaven 210).

Intense desire, delusion, and sensual pleasure: these are three properties of our selfhood. My mind’s reaction immediately is, “What would get accomplished if I didn’t have intense desire?!” After sitting with it, the answer came: “peace.” My self’s intense desire for things and to know the future is the antithesis of peace—specifically how “peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end” (Arcana Coelestia 8455).

A good end can and will be accomplished if I let go of my intense desire that so often rules, especially when “I’ve” had a good idea. The Lord gives me an idea and then my mind takes credit for it, which is clearly demonstrated by the way my mind generates intense desire for the result. So, instead, I’d like to focus on peace and confidence in the Lord. When I recognize the feeling of intense desire for something through the course of my day, I can use it as a red flag and choose to identify with something deeper than my experience of intense desire, with the truth that there is peace to be had in trusting in the Lord’s leading and provision for my life.