Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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On the Old Coast Road, Big Sur, California




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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jeffrey Cobb Ewing

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JEFFREY COBB'S FIRST DAY AT JUNIOR HIGH

Cobb looked cool leaving in the morning for his first day at Mission Hill in his department store outfit. When he came home that afternoon, he said school was fine, and that he looked like all the other "Mervyn's kids".























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Friday, September 2, 2011

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Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)

Emanuel Swedenborg, an 18th Century scientist, philosopher, Christian mystic and theologian, had a view of the spiritual nature of life which in many ways parallels my own.

Reality of a Spiritual World
(from the Swedenborgian Church's website):

Swedenborg asserts that we live in a world of spirit as well as in the material world, although we are usually unconscious of that dimension of our existence. With death we become conscious in the spiritual world, where our personal identity is retained and we are revealed as the person we inwardly are. The final "judgment" is our own realization of our individual essential nature as we face our real selves, rather than an evaluation and dictate by a power beyond.

We decide our own afterlife, choosing our own heaven or hell as we align ourselves with the loves we have affirmed in the natural world. If our love is solely selfish in this life, we will later abide with others of selfish motives. Just as we choose our own company and values in this life, in the afterlife we choose our destiny. Further, the life in the spiritual world is similar to this one; we pursue activities and work which enable us to continue developing and growing. The spiritual world is a continuation of the inner regenerative process that is life as we know it.

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In the Bahá'i Faith, heaven is nearness to God, which is achieved by conforming our spirit as closely as possible to His Will (as revealed through His Prophets, or Manifestations), and is a condition, not a place. Swedenborg's concept of the 'Final Judgement' (bolded above), suggests that the condition we find ourselves in when we abandon our physical body is the result of our own doing---a concept to which I subscribe. As of this writing, I can say unequivocally that even a brief moment of self-assesment makes me grateful that there's still time!

I do get the sense that Swedenborg felt that advancement in the next world occurs much as it does in the physical plane, i.e., through our efforts. In my Faith, however, such progress is the result of three things:

1. Prayers on our behalf

2. Charitable works done in our name.

3. The grace of God.

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Years ago I ran into a friend soon after I had lost a son, and he pointed out to me that there is no time or place in the spiritual realm, and therefore my son is not 'waiting' for me, for in reality I am already there. Coupling that thought with the concept that our condition in the next world is dependent on our choices in this one (i.e., through free will), I've come to realize that God has created a reality wherein we have eternally existed in the condition we have chosen for ourselves. Still, there's advancement through grace, so it can't be static.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.