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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 the Lord's power (3)


The Power Of Positive Thinking

God has equipped us with many tools to give us a happy life. This week Mary describes the difference it makes in everyday life when we use our mental tools to choose trust, to work to understand, and to choose to see the peace and beauty in each moment. -Editor

Have you ever noticed that doing the same action can be changed drastically by your own attitude and expectations? For example, let’s say you have to drive 50 miles to get somewhere today. If you are on your way to a job interview, you probably left early, gave yourself lots of extra time, planned your route and spent the drive rehearsing what you will say. If you are on your way to see a loved one that you haven’t seen in a long time, you might be singing happily to yourself, noticing the sunshine or bluebirds and wishing you could just get there faster. But if you are running late to get to a meeting that you are dreading because you don’t feel prepared and you don’t like the people who will be there, you might be feeling very differently. It might seem like everyone is cutting you off in traffic, it is taking a very long time to get there, the sun is glaring in your eyes and you just spilled your coffee on your new outfit.

The Lord has been showing me that often the most important thing I have a part in is my reaction to what is happening. He might still ask me to do something for which I feel terribly unprepared. He might show me some frightening giants that I need to conquer in my spiritual life. I might feel like I’ve been captured and taken away into captivity at times. And I do still have to take responsibility to do the next right thing each day. But what if I had choices that could make all of it better? What if it could actually work out more smoothly and with less suffering because of something that I have been given the power to do?

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Meditate | Burning Bridges

“It is our outer self, or the feelings and memory of our outer self, that the seeds of goodness and truth are planted in. They are not sown in our inner self because the inner self lacks anything of our own; things of our own exist in the outer self.

Our inner being holds good qualities and true thoughts. When they seem to have departed, we are then shallow, body-oriented people. Still, the Lord stores those things up in our inner self without our knowing. They do not come out of hiding until our outer self dies, so to speak, as frequently happens in times of trial, misfortune, grave illness, or imminent death.

The ability to reason also belongs to the outer self. In its true character, that capacity is a kind of bridge between the inner self and the outer, because the inner self directs the outer, body-centered self by means of it. But when the rational mind consents [to self-dependence], it separates the outer self from the inner; so that we no longer know the inner self exists. As a result, we also fail to see what understanding and wisdom are, belonging as they do to the inner realm” (Secrets of Heaven 268).

I can make a practice in awareness out of how I am using my rational mind: whether I am using it to connect to the inner self or to block myself from it. My rational capacity needs to be honest and willing to humbly do the work of clearly stating what the inner self has to say; it needs to serve as a clear bridge and just communicate the message, without commentary, even though my outer self is terrified and just wants my rationality to keep serving it through stoking the fire of its negativity with corroborative thoughts. My rational mind needs to be a bridge and not a fire-stoker.

My rational mind tends quickly toward self-dependence when I don’t make time to read the Word. Over the past seven weeks since our son was born I’ve been predominantly in the experience of seeming detachment from the inner self.  I also haven’t had much time for reading the Word and even less for reflection. My posts before our son’s birth were all about learning about the dynamic between the outer and inner self. These last seven weeks have given me ample opportunity to live those teachings and experience trials that to me are all little “deaths” of the outer self steadily making way for goodness and truth to flow in from the inner realm more freely.

Brewing resentment is a hallmark of my rational mind having consented to self-dependence, blocking the bridge to the inner realm; it’s the best stuff for fire-stoking around. Recently, it was the first of the twelve steps (from the Twelve Steps program) as used for becoming free from resentment that showed me a way out: “I am powerless over my negative thoughts and feelings.” This simple statement was a message of truth making its way across the bridge. It contains within it the premise that I am not my negative thoughts and feelings. If I am not my negative thoughts and feelings, then what am I? I am free, free to choose a different tune to live by. I am powerless over my negative thoughts and feelings—I cannot control their constant din—but with the Lord’s power I can see my resentment for what it is and be free from its grip because I am not it. Using my rational mind to acknowledge this truth, the way to the inner self widens and the binds of resentment are loosed. I’m sure I’ll be given the option to take them on again very soon, but with this brief respite I feel renewed strength and confidence in my ability to handle the confrontation, keeping the way of the bridge clear and remembering the Lord’s Word. 


Meditate | Me, My-self, and My-Self

“Human self-hood is nothing but evil; presented in visual form it is extremely ugly. But when infused by the Lord with charitable love and innocence, it appears virtuous and lovely.

Love for our fellow humans and innocence are what excuse self-centeredness, or a person’s evil and falsity. Not only do they excuse it, they almost eliminate it, as anyone can see in young children. When toddlers show love to each other and to their parents while glowing with childish innocence, what is actually evil and false in them does not seem so and even gives pleasure. This shows that no one can be let into heaven without some innocence” (Secrets of Heaven 164).

So, we are nothing but self-interest. Self-centeredness is what our ‘self’ or outer being consists of, whereas the Lord possesses the will, our true will, in our inner being (see Secrets of Heaven 105). This sense of self really makes for such a dangerous dynamic in our lives. Our self-hood is at once our damnation and the very vehicle through which we come into heavenly marriage with the Lord. This to me is a very powerful example of the amazing feats the Lord’s divine love and wisdom are capable of.