Sunday, December 13, 2009

Purification, the Present Moment, and Oneness

We all have shortcomings. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t – and yet, one of the things distinguishing us from other life forms (in my opinion) is our capacity to self-examine. With the effort of spiritual practice we are able to see the things in our mind that cut off our awareness of inflowing Divine energy (or the ‘grace of God’ if you prefer). Someone once said that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’. When we fail to see the truth of our lack of conscious connection to the Divine in all things we are totally unable to cooperate effectively in enhancing or improving that connection.

Whether we call these bliss-busters ‘shortcomings’, ‘defects of character’, ‘maladjustments’, ‘seeds of unhappiness’, or ‘evils’ one thing is certain – the more we can do to disable their influence in our lives the happier we (and everyone around us) will be. Therefore purification is in order.

And when is purification in order? Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Not next Thursday. Purification is in order NOW! Consider these questions; is there any other time available for the experience of life? Is there any other time when our shortcomings retard our awareness of our connection to the Divine? Everything happens in the now. Yesterday is history and tomorrow’s a mystery – and taking care of the now automatically takes care of the future and reduces stress and anxiety. As one of my favorite Buddhist teachers once said, “In taking good care of the present moment we are already taking good care of the future because the future is made of present moments. The present moment and the future inter-are” (Hanh, 2006).

In this YouTube video, Thich Nhat Hanh offers a Dharma Talk on living in the present moment:

My favorite revelator of spiritual wisdom, Emanuel Swedenborg, says much the same thing about the present moment in the following citations:

"… every smallest fraction of a moment of a person's life entails a chain of consequences extending into eternity. Indeed every one is like a new beginning to those that follow, and so every single moment of the life both of his understanding and of his will is a new beginning…." (Swedenborg, 1965, AC 3854:3)

"Every single moment of life is the starting point of consequences in life, and like a single seed from which countless results ensue to eternity."
(Swedenborg, 1998, SE 2714)

"… spiritual purification ought to go on all the time, and so always, as from a new beginning." (Swedenborg, 1965, AC 2044)

In regard to new beginnings, Hanh writes:

“The determination to begin anew is a very powerful energy. It can help begin to heal our wounds right away and relieve our suffering and the suffering of others. We can help many people be liberated from their guilt by offering them this kind of teaching and practice.” (Hanh, 2006, p. 234)

So, the 18th century Swedish “Buddha of the North” (see Suzuki, 1996) and the venerable little Buddhist teacher from Vietnam are in agreement about the present moment, its relationship to the future, the power of new beginnings, and the importance of doing spiritual practice NOW.

I would like you to notice that I am trying to be careful about something. In the above, I am NOT saying that our shortcomings cut us off from inflowing Divine energy. I am saying that they are joy killers that cut us off from being aware of that influx, and, of the internal and external blessings and bliss that accompany it. This is very important because nothing and no one is ever cut off from God. In fact, according to Swedenborg, if a person were ever deprived of influx from the Lord through heaven “he would instantly fall down dead.” (Swedenborg, 1965, AC 3884). The “inseparable fellowship” between the Lord, the spiritual world, and ourselves – our Oneness if you will – is simply imperceptible to us without a life of spiritual practice and awareness (Swedenborg, 1952, AE 1162).

There is a constantly inflowing Divine energy and life – a constant connection - AND, according to Swedenborg, it’s very personal.

"Every change or variation in the state of the [individual] human mind means a change or variation in a series of things present and to come; what then of progress to eternity? The situation is like that of an arrow shot from a bow, which if it deviated from the target in the least on being aimed would deviate widely at a thousand feet or more. The like would happen if the Lord did not lead the states of the human mind every least moment." (Swedenborg, 1949, DP 202.3)

"… when man has made a beginning the Lord quickens all that is good in him, and causes him not only to see evils to be evils, but also to refrain from willing them, and finally to turn away from them. This is meant by the Lord's words, `My yoke is easy and My burden is light' (Matt. 11:30)." (Swedenborg, 1995, HH 533)

Johann Wolfgang Goethe also noticed this phenomenon of ‘quickening’ on the part of Providence.

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred… unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe cited in Dyer, 2004, p. 201)

The lack of awareness of our Oneness with all things and events through the “One who has all power” (W., Bill, 2001, p. 59) is not without its own Divine design. It is a part of the Divine lesson plan established for each of us at our conception. We are designed to FREELY participate in our spiritual development – or not – as we see fit. God leads us in freedom by means of the appearance that we are in charge of ourselves and our lives. This allows for the development of the love of good in our hearts and minds which is the essential of spiritual growth. This cannot be compelled by anything but can only grow in a mental state of free thought and free will. What is love if it is not free?

The appearance that we live from ourselves by ourselves is very strong and pervasive. Mr. Swedenborg explains it here where he writes “that it does not differ at all” from actual self-life:

"Nearly everyone believes that man thinks and wills from himself and consequently speaks and acts from himself. Who from himself can suppose otherwise, since the appearance of it is so strong that it does not differ at all from actually thinking, willing, speaking and acting from himself? And yet this is not possible. (Swedenborg, 1949, DP 308)

Our very ability to physically see objects in the natural world (or experience our other four senses) is constantly caused and made possible by God. Whereas I experience and believe that I am doing the seeing of, for example, you – the truth is that it is God who is seeing you through me – and vice versa. That’s just how personal our relationship with God (and with His leading) actually is. In Swedenborg’s massive work Arcana Coelestia we read:

“Thou God seest me… signifies influx…. Mental view from the higher into the lower… is termed influx, for it takes place by influx; just as in the case of man's interior sight… for it is the interior sight which, through the eye, apprehends the things which the eye sees; and by no means is it the eye, although it so appears…. [I]n fact it is the sight of his spirit, which is the interior sight, that sees through the eye…. [Again] the spirit sees through the eye. The same thing may be seen from dreams, in which a man sometimes sees as in the day. The case is the very same in regard to… [the sight] of the spirit; this again does not see from itself, but from a still more interior sight, or that of man's rational…. [N]either does this see of itself, but does so from a still more internal sight, which is that of the internal man….. And even this does not see of itself, for it is the Lord who sees through the internal man, and He is the Only One who sees because He is the Only One who lives, and He it is who gives man the ability to see, and this in such a manner that it appears to him as if he saw of himself. Such is the case with influx.” (Swedenborg, 1965, AC 1954:1-2, emphasis added)

As I usually do (apparently), I feel as though I have gone on too long with this piece so I will here wrap it up. To summarize, our focus on our own ego concerns which manifests as ‘shortcomings’, ‘defects of character’, etc. is what blocks us from being aware of our connection (our Oneness) to all things via the One God. Self-examination or introspection is the spiritual practice which begins the process of spiritual development and we are led to this practice by the Lord with varying levels of personal awareness over the course of our lives. Purification is a life-span experience. We are gently (and sometimes not so gently) brought to see the harm that is done to ourselves and others by our own self-will – the pain of which motivates us to work to become other-centered and God-centered. All of this occurs in the present moment – never in the past or future which have no reality outside the appearance in our own brains.


"If man believed, as is the truth, that all good and truth originate from the Lord, and all evil and falsity from hell, he would not appropriate good to himself and account it meritorious, nor would he appropriate evil to himself and account himself responsible for it." (Swedenborg, 1949, DP 309)


Dyer, W. W. (2004). The power of intention: Learning to co-create your world your way. New York: Hay House, Inc.

Hanh, T. N. (2006). Understanding our mind. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

Suzuki, D. T. (1996). Swedenborg: Buddha of the north (A. Bernstein Trans.). West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation.

Swedenborg, E. (1949). Divine providence. Wm. Dick & E. J. Pulsford (Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1764) DP

Swedenborg, E. (1952). The apocalypse explained. I. Tansley (Trans.). London: Swedenborg Society. (Original work written c.1757-1759 and first published posthumously in the original Latin in 1870) AE

Swedenborg, E. (1965). Arcana coelestia. J. F. Potts (Trans.). New York: Swedenborg Foundation. (Original work published c. 1749-1756) AC

Swedenborg, E. (1995). Heaven and hell. J. C. Ager (Trans.). West Chester, PA: Swedenborg Foundation. (Original work published 1758) HH

Swedenborg, E. (1998). Spiritual experiences. J. D. Odhner (Trans.). Bryn Athyn, PA: Academy of the New Church. (Original work written c.1747-1765) SE

W., Bill. et. al. (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous. Fourth edition. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. (Original work published 1939)

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I recently came upon a website that gave a modern translation of the Lord’s Prayer from the language in which it was originally taught by Jesus Christ – Aramaic. It was very intriguing, to say the least, because it was quite different from the English I am used to which is derived from the original Greek of the New Testament. I posted the website’s contents in another forum remarking on how Divine things can get changed once we mere mortals get our hands on them.

A good discussion ensued around the reliability of what comes to us from others vs. what comes to us directly from spirit; and, the role Divine providence plays in selecting authors and translators for the dissemination of Divine truth.

It is doubtless true that millions of books and documents containing quality spiritual truths have been written over the course of the history of our human race. All those millions of documents were written in whatever language they were written in for a Divine reason. Swedenborg’s theological writings, written originally in Latin, are a particularly high-octane example. Any reader of Swedenborg knows that “providence is present in the smallest individual things” (Swedenborg, 2007, AC 3854:3). Perhaps the old and new testaments of the Bible, in addition to the reasons usually given, were written in their respective Hebrew and Greek (and usually long after the events actually happened) as a permission – maybe to save the human race from destroying itself on the industrial strength truth of the original experience. The Lord knows and He won't tell! Anyway....

Although the literal sense of the Bible is authoritative to a point, I believe if I based my religion solely on its literal meaning I, and everyone I know well, would be in the deepest of ‘doodoo’ for sure. There are plenty of websites today vigorously noting the various contradictions and ridiculous legalisms contained in the literal sense of the Bible. And yet spiritually-based literature (i.e. literature that has a deeper, spiritual meaning), including large portions of the Bible, provides the possibility of developing in the mind an ever-increasing network of Divine truth that allows the mind to then see additional Divine truth to add to its network – a positive Divine truth feedback loop if you will – which can then be in-filled by the Lord with Divine good - if the mind is cooperative with the process - and voila! Spiritual growth happens! The personal acquisition of Divine truth is an important part of spiritual practice – and my belief (in this “Information Age”) is that one should pursue Divine truth in whatever literature one feels drawn to. As a friend recently remarked, “We should find our own truth and stand in it.”

Swedenborg gives us a cautionary note about literalism and getting stuck in words to the detriment of meaning as follows:

”This is very apparent from man’s thought, which insofar as it regards the words of one speaking, so far it does not regard his meaning; and which insofar as it regards the particular things of the memory, and dwells on them, so far it does not perceive the nature of the real things; and, still more important, insofar as it regards itself in everything, so far it narrows the thoughts and removes itself from viewing a subject in a universal manner. Hence it is that in proportion as anyone loves himself more than others, in the same proportion he is less wise.” (Swedenborg, 2007, AC 5287:2)

Jacob Boehme offers what feels like an accurate description of God’s non-local presence (i.e. His ‘apart from space’ presence – as Swedenborg’s translators would say) with all of us at the following link: where you can also see the following quote:

“… It is in thee. And if thou canst, my Son, for a while but cease from all thy thinking and willing, then thou shalt hear the unspeakable Words of God…” (Boehme, 1624)

Anyway, as someone once told me, the Talmud says, “We don’t see the world the way it is – we see it the way we are.” If we are literalists we will see everything literally, and, not really develop the capacity to experience more of God personally in depth apart from space (and time) and in the realm of personally significant meaning.

Swedenborg explains that the Divine (itself) cannot be heard by anyone (in his Arcana Coelestia number 6982):

“… the Divine cannot be heard by anyone, not even by any angel; for in order to be heard the Divine must first become human; and it becomes human when it passes through the heavens; and when it has passed through the heavens it is presented in human form, and becomes speech, which speech is uttered by spirits, who when they are in this state, are called the “Holy Spirit,” and this is said to proceed from the Divine, because the holy of the spirit, or the holy truth which the spirit then speaks, proceeds from the Lord.” (Swedenborg, 2007, AC 6982)

A companion passage might be Divine Love and Wisdom 404:8.

“… when he is in affection for understanding, and through that comes into perception of truth, he is then in the thought of his spirit, which is meditation. This passes, indeed, into the thought of the body, but into silent thought; for it is above bodily thought, and looks upon what belongs to thought from the memory as below itself, drawing therefrom either conclusions or confirmations. But real affection for truth is perceived only as a pressure of will from something pleasurable which is interiorly in meditation as its life, and is little noticed.” (Swedenborg, 1969, DLW 404:8)

So, perhaps the ‘voice’ of God is experienced only as “a pressure of will from something pleasurable which is interiorly in meditation as its life”. This “silent thought” is the voice of God Melville was referring to when he said, ‘the one only voice of God is silence’.

Rev. Steve Ellis, a Church of the New Jerusalem pastor, wrote:

“Learning to hear the voice of God in the silence is an opportunity for self-revelation. It is an opportunity to see ourselves for who we are–the handiwork of a loving God–and to make a difference in our world. It is the recognition of our greater human prerogative: the right to proclaim and act on our essential goodness as children of the one true God.” (Ellis, 2003)

This teaching by Rev. Ellis is something that ‘resonates’ with me – I feel it contains truth. Similarly, the modern English translation of the language in which the Lord’s prayer was first spoken (Aramaic) also resonates with me – I feel it contains truth.

We are responsible for our part in the maintenance of our own relationship with God as we understand Him/Her/It regardless of what others (even Swedenborg) say is canonical. Either we accept that responsibility now or, I suppose, have it retroactively facilitated when we get to the Other Side.

God works through people, and, we all get to choose how we will use whatever comes to us through others in each of our present moments. I recommend listening for the real meaning in what others say – followed by a humble prayer request for guidance. And then, I recommend consulting in ourselves with that “pressure of will from something pleasurable which is interiorly in meditation as its life” to ‘hear’ the guidance in each questionable moment.

Here are a couple of germane parting thoughts from my favorite revelator to wrap this article up.

“God loves each and every human being, and because He cannot do good to them directly but only indirectly by means of other people, He therefore breathes into people His love.” (Swedenborg, 1988, TCR 457)

“… the Holy Spirit, is not transferred from person to person, but from the Lord through person to person.” (Swedenborg, 1914, Canons 36)


Boehme, J. (1624). The supersensual life (W. Law Trans.). Retrieved February 8, 2007, from

Christ, J. (circa 31 ADish). The Lord’s Prayer: Translations from Aramaic, Origins and History of the Lord’s Prayer. The Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies. Retrieved December 6, 2009 from

Ellis, S. (2003). Hearing the voice of God in the silence. Our Daily Bread. Retrieved December 6, 2009 from

Swedenborg, E. (1914). Canons. J. Whitehead (Trans.). Retrieved August 13, 2009, from (Original work written in 1769) Canons

Swedenborg, E. (1969). Divine love and wisdom. C. & D. H. Harley (Trans.). London : The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1763) DLW

Swedenborg, E. (1988). True Christian religion. J. Chadwick (Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1771) TCR

Swedenborg, E. (2007). Arcana coelestia. J. F. Potts (Trans.). Etext prepared by T. D. Webber 2007) Retrieved August 14, 2009, from (Original work published 1749-56). AC

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SWET 2 Cooking!

I was recently on a weekend retreat for men known as “SWET” which is an acronym for “Spiritual Warfare Effectiveness Training”. There are three different levels of SWET weekends - SWET 1, 2, and 3 – and each is prerequisite to the one following it. There is also a Colorado version of SWET 1 which happens occasionally. This weekend it was “SWET 2”.

These trainings have been happening for over ten years now under the leadership of Rev. Grant Schnarr who is a Swedenborgian minister and author of several books including “The Art of Spiritual Warfare” (Schnarr, 2000) on which the weekend retreats are loosely based (Grant's blog can be found here). Although Rev. Schnarr is a Swedenborgian himself, he insists that all beliefs and all non-beliefs are welcomed and supported at SWET. This is typical of the Swedenborgian belief system which holds that charity (or love to the neighbor) is the essential of all true religion - differences of doctrine notwithstanding.

The nonprofit counseling center for men that I work for, Men’s Initiative, has been a collaborator with SWET for over a year now. Men’s Initiative hosts a two hour group spun off of the SWET model every Wednesday evening. We call this group “SWIG” for “Spiritual Warfare Integration Group.” About ¼ of the men attending SWET 2 this time were also participants in the SWIG group at Men’s Initiative and/or were clients of MI. As an aside, Men’s Initiative also hosts 12 Step recovery meetings and is a strong advocate for community education regarding recovery from substance abuse.

I have participated as a “camper” in SWET and SWET 2, and, have subsequently staffed several of each. Lately, I have been privileged to serve as cook which was my blessing this past weekend. I LOVE TO COOK! There is something very spiritually satisfying about preparing and delivering good food from the good Lord to a large group of good men who are intent on creating “a world of love and integrity, one man at a time, from the inside out.” This is part of the mission statement of SWET which can be found on the SWET homepage. Due to the intensity of the job of food service on a weekend like this, the cook does not usually participate in the processes and activities which are facilitated on a SWET weekend. This allows for a certain amount of observational objectivity as one cracks the eggs or stirs the soup; and I have to say that this weekend seemed to be quite extraordinary energetically. Everything seemed to go so smoothly and the bonding and support experienced by men was very evident.

The concept of “spiritual warfare” perhaps needs a bit of clarification. “Spiritual warfare” refers to the practice of facing and confronting one’s own personal “demons” or troublesome issues. Part of this practice involves calling on a Higher Power for aid (through prayer and meditation). It also involves seeking support from the fellowship or brotherhood of one’s fellow spiritual warriors. Spiritual warfare does not in any way involve the violence of natural warfare; it is rather based on the strategic principles found in the ancient Chinese text of Sun Tzu “The Art of War” as those principles can be applied on the inner battlefield of life. The warfare metaphor is a valid tool in the enhancement of consciousness through spiritual practice as it requires disciplined mental states not normally found in the uninstructed average man. These disciplined mental states are the preparation referred to in the Sun Tzu quote on SWET’s homepage, “The warrior who is prepared for battle, even before taking the field, will have the victory.” —Sun Tzu


Schnarr, G. R. (2000). The art of spiritual warfare: A guide to lasting inner peace based on Sun Tzu’s ‘The art of war’. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Global Water Shortages

While you are waiting for my next piece – on Conscience vs. Ego – I thought I would post this one on water shortages that I published elsewhere on the internet. If it’s not engaged somehow in usefully improving the conditions in which we live right now – it’s not spiritual. Here are a few thoughts on possible useful endeavor in working with the “blood” of our mother the Earth - WATER!!

Global Water Shortages

There was once a time – and not too long ago either – that, if a person were to come across a body of fresh water, he or she could feel quite certain that it was safe to use in the way God intended and designed for humans and other living things to use it. This is no longer true.

And yet every drop of water that was ever created still exists in some form or state somewhere on the planet or in its atmosphere. The water lost by the human body through various avenues must be replaced. One rule of thumb is that 8-10 glasses of water per day will do the trick. But that is just the human hydration part. One source I found says that, “… the average [American] person uses 60 to 70 gallons of water daily for drinking, bathing, washing clothes and dishes and flushing toilets.” Even with that leap in usage amounts (10 glasses to 70 gallons), when you take into account all the water on the planet in all its forms there is still probably plenty to go around. The global population will have to increase to an incomprehensible degree before there is an actual water shortage.

Technically, the water "shortages" aren't really shortages - they are fresh water access problems. And big problems they are! There are four basic fresh water access problems.

The first problem is that fresh water, through industrial, agricultural, or domestic carelessness and apathy, becomes polluted and therefore useless and even toxic until it is purified.

The second is that fresh water all too often becomes salt water and therefore useless to humans until it is desalinated -- either naturally or through some man-made desalinization processes.

The third is the problem of insufficient catchment and delivery systems. Having all this potential fresh water is fine but, if you can’t collect and distribute it efficiently, it might as well just evaporate!

Finally, and related to the delivery aspect of problem number three, is the problem of human greed and the struggle for political power. Even if we solved the first three problems, we would probably find people all over the globe who would want to use the new water abundance as a vehicle for their own monetary gain or upward mobility. This they would do by seizing control of the means of production and delivery and manipulating them to serve their own ends.

These are truly daunting problems. However, we could choose to look at them as a way of boosting the global economy by creating new jobs and new markets. We could use our collective scientific know-how to turn water into a much more renewable resource. Organic farming and/or the development of non-polluting fertilizers would be a good start. Then we could move to regulate industrial polluters. This could be followed by getting creative and knowledgeable people together into think tanks to come up with ways of creating conservation incentives for the average 60 gallons per day American water consumer. We could develop bigger, better, and more efficient ways of treating and purifying polluted water, of desalinating ocean water, and of temporarily holding and ultimately distributing the potable product. All of this would add up to many entirely new jobs that would have to be filled.

The marketing of these systems internationally would boost both the American economy and the global economy. It could also go a long way toward improving diplomatic relations among the various countries of the world, minimize the occurrence wars and conflicts, and maybe even make a contribution to streamlining our international commerce in energy.

Water for oil anyone?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Three Questions on Conjugial Love

As a part of his coursework assignment, I was recently asked by a man in training to become a Swedenborgian minister how I would respond as a layperson to the following three questions:

1.) What impact have the [Swedenborgian] teachings about conjugial [or marriage] love had in your life?
2.) How would you characterize the way you were taught about conjugial love?
3.) How could ministers teach conjugial love better?

Well, first of all, I think it’s great that theological students are being given assignments to consult the laity! It hasn’t always been that way. Maybe we are undergoing a paradigm shift after all. As a related aside, if you are a Facebook member, please feel free to join the Lay Interfaith Leaderless Alliance (LILA) group I recently created there. We are growing!

Before I respond as requested, I would like to bring out of obscurity a little known or utilized piece of esoteric Swedenborgian wisdom regarding marriages. In saying that marriages ‘do not exist elsewhere’ (i.e. other than in heaven), it is in direct contradiction to the traditional irrational Christian teaching that there is NO marriage in heaven - which is based on the cherry-picked biblical verse Matthew 22:30. In his work Conjugial Love Swedenborg writes:

“… a married couple [in heaven] is united in respect to their souls; and one also sees in the two a full expression of what it is to be human. This is the case in heaven, because marriages do not exist elsewhere. Beneath heaven one finds instead only temporary alliances which are formed and broken.” (CL 192:7, emphasis added)

That is a citation from Swedenborg that has NEVER been presented to me in any of my formal Swedenborg-based education. I think it’s important that everyone be familiar with it. So there you have it – now, on to the questions

1.) What impact have the teachings about Conjugial Love had in your life?
On the one hand, these esoteric teachings found only in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg about conjugial (or marriage) love have had an extraordinarily positive impact in my life. On the other hand, they have had a devastatingly destructive one. Positive because they have given me a rational, as well as beautiful, vision for marriage. Destructive because they set me up to believe that conjugial love with a woman on this earth is not just a remote and improbable possibility (which is the truth); but is in fact highly possible and likely; provided that I follow all the rules put forward (and implied) in the classroom. Being psychologically set up that way was a major contributing factor in the serious and severe harm done to me, to the women I married, and to my children now from divorced families. I have since “owned” my own part in my marriage failures and have researched the doctrine of conjugial love for myself and to my own satisfaction. I must hasten to add that I believe it’s not so much the teachings themselves that have done the harm, but instead, the way they were taught to me; which leads me to the next question.

2.) How would you characterize the way you were taught about Conjugial Love?
I was taught about conjugial love too early in life, and, with too much of a pedagogic attitude of ‘compulsion to believe’; and compulsion to believe, mind you, not in divine truth but in what I have come to see as being largely fairy tale. I would refer you to Divine Providence 129 for an understanding of why the practice of compelling others to "believe" is ill-advised as well as decidedly un-Swedenborgian.

3.) How could ministers teach Conjugial Love better?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the State of Pennsylvania alone in 2007, there were 71,094 marriages and 35,268 divorces. I think that’s a statistic which tends to support the commonly held belief that one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. I wonder if Swedenborgian ministers teach this kind of statistical fact in conjugial love courses these days? I can tell you that when I was in high school up until 1972 and again for 4 years in college in the mid-1980s they did not – at least not in any religion course I took. Now maybe it’s not right to teach such statistical facts in a religion course; but what about actual theological doctrine as, for example, Conjugial Love 192:7 (see above)? Especially the part that reads, “…marriages do not exist elsewhere. Beneath heaven one finds instead only temporary alliances which are formed and broken.

If I were teaching a conjugial love course, I would make sure that my students had a very thorough understanding of that bit of doctrine before any other learning was pursued. So what are some of the elements of an education which actually prepares the student for marriage? I would definitely include an elective course on Swedenborg’s conjugial love doctrine but mandatory courses would include the following course titles:

~Introspection, Contemplation, and Altruism for the Individual
~Introspection, Contemplation, and Altruism for Couples
~Couples Communication
~Spiritual Practice in Relationships
~Marriage/Divorce and the Law
~Personal and Family Finance: Budgets and Clear Boundaries
~Reproductive Health and Contraception
~Conscious Parenting
~Addiction in general
~Sex addiction

These are just what briefly come to mind when I ask myself the question. There are more and I’m sure you can think of some if you have ever been married. Being as highly educated as possible in those topics is of vital importance for anyone considering marriage. Looking deeply into his writings reveals that Swedenborg has plenty to say about all of these topics; and a thorough education in them will provide a much more comprehensive preparation for the spiritual practice of marriage than courses in esoteric conjugial theology.

I would appreciate any comments on this post – especially ones that include any course titles you think should be added to the above list. Thanks. ~ CBM

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Me and the Indians

I do believe in eclectic spirituality.

So this tale goes way, way back to when I was, as they say, about knee-high to a grasshopper. It’s a particular thread through my personal spiritual journey that I would like to share. From the time I first learned to read, all I ever really wanted to read about were Indians. You could have called me an “Indian-aholic” and been absolutely right. It was an obsession.

And, since my father was a school teacher, we spent every summer and large parts of every other season in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania doing wonderful things that fewer and fewer kids these days get to do. On our 80 acre tree farm, dad taught us many skills useful in the outdoors and what he didn’t teach us we learned from books and trial and error. This was an excellent environment in which to pursue my wild Indianism and I think I spent at least one entire summer with a Mohawk haircut and nothing on but a “breechclout”. I have a picture somewhere to prove it.

To make a long story a little bit longer, I learned everything there was to know about nature and Indians by the time I was twelve. I was a hunter and a fisherman – and I had paddled the mighty Delaware River from the tip of the north fork in New York State all the way down almost to Trenton (thanks to dad). I was an expert animal stalker and a fairly good tracker with only a little training from the old man and lots of practice on my part. I could name every Indian tribe that ever lived in North America, show you their original territory on a map, describe the theories about how they got there, and give a good account of many aspects of each tribal culture. Hindsight shows me that I had also developed a strong spiritual connection with the Creator’s creation – well, as strong a connection as a kid my age could develop. Even then I felt that I could see God much better in nature than I could in the religion I was brought up in.

I was green with envy when I read Tom Brown Jr.’s account in his book The Tracker of his adventures and education with Stalking Wolf, his friend’s Apache grandfather in the Jersey Pine Barrens. Some people had all the luck! At some point not long after reading The Tracker, I left home to pursue various activities including a tour of duty in the Navy. I put the whole Indians/Nature/Outdoors thing on the shelf for quite a while thinking I better serious up about life and so forth.

Many years later, having travelled the circle that life often leads us in; I found myself back in the Poconos with a new edition of The Tracker. On the back flap this copy had an advertisement for the Wilderness Survival School that Tom had since started and was running at various locations in New Jersey. I inquired, left a deposit for the Standard Class, and ended up taking four of the schools week-long classes and engaging in several other related activities and enterprises. In the process, my tracking, nature and wilderness survival skills were greatly enhanced. So too was my knowledge of Native American spirituality. I learned numerous meditative techniques useful for connecting with the Creator in nature and supercharging my tracking and awareness skills as well.

We were taught all aspects of the use of a Sweat Lodge for both the original purpose of de-scenting before a hunt and the evolutionary practice of prayer, meditation and ceremony. We were taught ceremony as Grandfather had taught Tom but we were also encouraged to create our own Sweat Lodge tradition and practice rather than staying stuck in one way of doing it. I brought the Sweat Lodge back to my home town in Pennsylvania and have poured water in hundreds of Lodges since. I have taught others how to build and use the Lodge and a little Sweat Lodge subculture has sprung up right here in my local “white man’s land.”

Now, I no longer wish I was a wild Indian as I did in my obsessive youth and, in a friendly and knowing way, I refer to those who do as “Windians” (short for Wanna-be-Indians). The life experience I have described above was extremely important in my spiritual development and I am hugely grateful to all those who acted as my teachers.

I want to say one more thing before putting this and myself to rest – which is, there is absolutely no place as powerful as the Sweat Lodge for doing the 5th Step of the 12 Step program. You either know what I’m talking about here or it just sailed right over your head…. Ok, on to other things and thanks for letting me share.

Tracker School Link:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Spinach, Cheese, and Bacon Casserole

By Jeremy K. Finkeldey

One of the best meditations in my world view is the mindful washing of dishes. Another is mindful cooking - and no, it doesn't have to be vegetarian. Did you know that the Buddha was a meat eater? Hmmm... food for thought.

There's just something very deep about getting all those "raw" ingredients and applying heat and mixing and whatever is necessary to create something people love to eat. It's a good practice while cooking to offer a thanksgiving prayer for the ingredients and the cooking skills, and, to reflect on what constitutes spiritual nourishment within your particular sphere of influence.

And, yes - real men DO cook (and do dishes).

So here's a recipe I made up this past weekend. I thought I'd share it and get away from all the studiousness for a minute here.... Enjoy.

Spinach, Cheese, and Bacon Casserole

~Frozen Spinach, 1 6”x5”x1.5” box package
~Green Onions, fresh, sliced in 1/4” slices, 5-6
~Bacon Bits, real, about 4 tbsps (whatever seems right to you)
~Salt and Pepper
~Some fresh herbs you think might be good with the other ingredients (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme? Minced?)
~Cheese, cheddar, extra sharp, grated, enough to cover the spinach when it’s in a small baking dish
~Cheese, parmesan, crumbled (or grated), how much is up to you
~Cheese, feta, crumbled
~Bread Crumbs, seasoned
~Cream, heavy whipping, 4 tbsps
~Oil, olive, 2-3 tbsps (for sautéing green onions)

1) Microwave the spinach per the directions on the box.
2) Heat the oil in a frying pan and saut̩ the sliced green onions until slightly caramelized Рthrow in the bacon bits at the last minute just to heat them up.
3) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
4) Put the spinach, green onions, and bacon bits in a good sized mixing bowl – throw in some of the crumbled (or grated) parmesan, the heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all up. Get creative and add other herbs you think might be good with spinach, cheese, and bacon.
5) Put the mixture into a baking dish small enough that the mix is 1.5-2 inches thick.
6) Cover with a layer of the grated cheddar cheese and crumbled parmesan mixed together.
7) Sprinkle some seasoned bread crumbs on top of that and then some more of the cheddar/parm mix. How much cheese depends on how much of a cheese lover you are.
8) Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
9) Switch oven to “broil” and remove casserole from oven.
10) Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and place under the broiler until the feta is melted and starts to develop browned spots on it.
11) Remove from oven and allow to cool somewhat before serving – it doesn’t have to be 400 degrees hot to eat it.

2 big eaters or 3 smaller ones (It was so good I ate the whole thing myself for lunch AND felt virtuous because it was spinach).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trust – Part Two

When A.A. folks talk about “turning it over” this is what they are referring to.

“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.” (Wilson, 1976, p. 164)

“We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” (Wilson, 1976, p. 59)

“We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.” (Wilson, 1976, p. 63)

“Abandon” has become one of my favorite words. It has so much more oomph! to it than “let go of”. Besides, I left claw marks on anything I ever “let go” of anyway. For me “abandon” conjures up mental images of rusting hulks slowly returning to their true dharma nature – our old, bulldozer-like ways based on self-reliance (that didn’t work) forever left behind to be broken down and turned elemental. I love the clarity of the utter, emphatic, and certain rejection of ways and ideas proven ineffective!

CHANGE! It’s a beautiful thing. And as my Buddhist friends say, “long live impermanence!”

Anyway… I was discussing with a friend recently the subject of fear, specifically, fear of economic insecurity. There is a lot of that particular strain of fear going around these days and, since we can’t all just run off to the clinic for our “fear shots”, I wanted to talk about “trust” and the practice of accepting the things we cannot change and changing the things we can. We are not in charge of change. Change has a mind of its own – have you noticed? I can’t change you. I can’t even change me! And yet the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. Enough with the platitudes already! But I think I’m on to something here.

And I suppose there are SOME things we can change. For example, good material life-skills practices - such as getting up off the couch, being industrious, getting trained, finding work, making money, and managing it well; these go a long way towards relieving financial stress. If done calmly, introspectively, prayerfully, and meditatively they can become spiritual practices in themselves. But sometimes it’s just not enough. Additional spiritual practice is called for. We need to take care of the inside as well as the outside.

Now I don’t know how your financial fear and anxiety goes but for me there is usually a triggering event. It could be getting an unusually large utility, food, legal or medical bill. Or it could be something as apparently harmless as being bludgeoned by the 4,528th negative economic news report in the media.

Or, it could be totally internally generated as, for example, I’m stopped at the railroad crossing waiting for the train to pass when some little, inner cognitive imp decides to get the ball rolling by presenting the thought, “that car insurance bill is getting closer….”

These are triggering events and, well, one thing leads to another and, before you really know it, you have a great big fear-based story going on in your head about money. You’re white-knuckling the steering wheel and the guy behind you is honking his horn and making funny hand signals to you evidently wondering why you’re still sitting there with train already long past. And it’s all a story! And a non-trusting, paralyzing story to boot - in your head and nowhere else! It’s amazing – don’t you think? I mean the things we do, and the stories we tell ourselves, apparently just for the purpose of ruining our ‘present moment’ (since nothing other than that is ever accomplished by them).

So, with this understanding we can consciously work to change the stories we tell ourselves. If we’re going to tell ourselves stories that affect our emotional state (and very little else) why don’t we work at making them positive and optimistic? Anything repeated eventually becomes a habit (to state the obvious) and habits are things that we are increasingly unconscious of whether we think so or not. Simple, right? Actually – yes, maybe a little too simple for the modern materialistic mind. These little, inner, fear-mongering imps can be persistent!

Since most of my hunter-gatherer skills have largely been relegated to storage in my DNA, cash flow issues have become a part of my habit life in a strong way. I need to eat and I don’t really want to become a ‘dumpster-diver’ (some of you know what I mean by that). I heard the other day that someone once asked Mother Theresa how they could help the poor. I don’t know if this is true or not but she supposedly replied, “First of all, don’t become one of them.”

Anyway, to sum it up before moving on, we CAN consciously work towards positive change by doing things like:

1) Turning OFF the TV,
2) Getting up off the couch,
3) Being industrious,
4) Getting trained,
5) Finding work,
6) Making money,
7) Becoming an effective money manager, and
8) Being just a little more self-observational when it comes to the ‘funny’ stories we allow to run in our heads about money – and learning to consciously change them for the better.

In my experience, these were (and are) ALL ‘must do’s’ – but they are not enough. I absolutely had to develop a state of mind that included the ongoing concept that I lived in a friendly – rather than hostile – universe. I am talking about a universe in which I am taken care of by a ‘mystical’ benevolent power greater than myself. Otherwise, I would find myself repeatedly at the mercy ‘mystical’ malignant powers greater than myself. For me, this means trusting God. When I look back and consider the facts of my life, it’s as plain as day that I have been taken care of all of my 53.5 years by a mystical benevolent power greater than myself. I have always been in “the stream of Providence” whether I happened to be cooperating at the time or not (see Swedenborg, 1965, AC 8478 cited below).

Having spent about 15 years of my life as a card-carrying atheist, I empathize with those of you who are now accusing me of indulging in fairy tales. But I know that I am not trying to change your beliefs (no one could have changed mine) - I am only sharing my personal experience. You might want to move on to some other blog - as I definitely would have during my atheist period.

Dear reader (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase), at this point I would ask you to refer back to “Trust – Part One” (as needed) and just refresh the memory on all the tips and pointers contained in the selected citations from both A.A.’s “Big Book”, and, Liz Cronkhite’s work on “Developing Trust” and the “Four Habits For Inner Peace”.

I chose all of those citations because I believe they provide all the basics a person needs as he or she moves more deeply into the practice of trusting God. I like the method of first (at least) getting a general idea of what you’re about to do – and THEN doing it – prepare and execute. As I pointed out in Part One, willingness (even if only a little) is a necessary prerequisite to the process. Hopefully you won’t have to go through the emotional, intellectual, and interpersonal “beating” that I endured in order to scrape up the willingness to really begin trusting God – but you probably will (or already have) - so it won’t hurt to keep that in mind. As the A.A. crowd says, “In every case, pain [was] the price of admission into a new life. But this admission price had purchased more than we expected. It brought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to be a healer of pain. We began to fear pain less, and desire humility more than ever” (Wilson, 1986, p. 75).

The nutshell of my personal process of spiritual development and trust-building looks like this; I had to:
1) Learn to self-examine,
2) Make an effort to stop doing some of the things that were clearly causing trouble,
3) Accept feedback from others,
4) See the need I had to build a relationship with God,
5) Self-examine some more,
6) Clean up my relationships with myself, others, and God,
7) Learn contemplation: i.e. prayer and meditation,
8) Be of service to others, and finally,
9) Practice, practice, practice all of the above….

This nutshell could be rendered even more briefly and concisely as follows. I practiced:
1) Introspection (includes #s 1-5 above),
2) Contemplation (#6),
3) Altruism (#8), and finally,
4) Spiritual habit-formation (#9).

That is as concise as I feel I can be and still cover all the bases.

So what’s left to say? Living in the simple way described above has been an amazing journey of discovery. It has resulted in a state of mind that I will here do my best to describe. First of all, by the practice of this process almost all of the fears, worries, and anxieties have been eliminated from my consciousness. The same is true for the various forms of depression, discouragement, and hopelessness that used to be constant companions. Also, the experience of anger, hostility, and judgment-based irritation toward others has been dramatically reduced. I have become vastly more responsible to others both morally and financially than I once was. The following “promises” (as my A.A. friends describe them) have all come true in my life in varying degrees (with more development still to come). A.A. writes:

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” (Wilson et al., 1976, pp. 83-84)

That last one is actually a most remarkable realization and experience to have! Obviously, the maintenance of our freedom of choice requires that the Divine provide us with a very powerful “appearance” that we are doing everything. Writes Swedenborg:

“Nearly everyone believes that man thinks and wills from himself and consequently speaks and acts from himself. Who from himself can suppose otherwise, since the appearance of it is so strong that it does not differ at all from actually thinking, willing, speaking and acting from himself? And yet this is not possible.” (Swedenborg, 1949, DP 308)

"The appearance is that man is led and taught of himself; but the truth is that he is led and taught by the Lord alone. Those who confirm in themselves the appearance and not at the same time the truth… are all interior idolaters, for they are worshippers of self and the world. If they have no religion they become worshippers of nature, and thus atheists; but if they have a religion they become worshippers of men and also of images… Those, however, who confirm in themselves the appearance and also the truth become worshippers of the Lord; for the Lord raises them up from their proprium [or “self-centered self”] which is in the appearance... and He enables them to perceive interiorly that they are not led and taught of themselves, but by Him.” (Swedenborg, 1949, DP 154:1-2)

The truth of the situation (explained above) is why it can come as quite a shock to realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. The appearance is quite strong - but once that realization is had, the motivation or willingness to improve one’s conscious contact with God can increase exponentially. If this willingness is consistently acted upon as outlined above, the following state of mental, emotional, and spiritual trust described by Swedenborg in the following citation is eventually achieved.

“… those who trust in the Divine… do not think of the morrow with solicitude, still less with anxiety. Unruffled is their spirit whether they obtain the objects of their desire, or not; and they do not grieve over the loss of them, being content with their lot. If they become rich, they do not set their hearts on riches; if they are raised to honors, they do not regard themselves as more worthy than others; if they become poor, they are not made sad; if their circumstances are mean, they are not dejected. They know that … they who are in the stream of Providence are all the time carried along toward everything that is happy, whatever may be the appearance of the means; and that those are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine and attribute all things to Him;… Be it known also that insofar as anyone is in the stream of Providence, so far he is in a state of peace….” (Swedenborg, 1965, AC 8478:3-4)

Worrying about future life outcomes destroys our joy in the present moment. Learning to live mindfully in the present moment is a critical skill in the building of trust in God. The best teachers of present moment living that I have found are the non-theistic Buddhist practitioners. I have benefitted the most from the teachings of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist master of the Mahayana tradition, who is a prolific author that has spent most of his life in exile from his native Vietnam - adapting the teachings of the Buddha to the western mindset. His concept of “engaged Buddhism” turns day to day life into an act of meditation and/or prayer and encourages practitioners to live in a loving, kind, active, and other-centered way (Hanh, 1998). It was from Hanh’s teaching that I finally had the “aha!” experience about the present moment. It is a glaringly self-evident truth that if you take good care of the present moment you are automatically taking good care of the future – because the future is made up of present moments. This is an anxiety reducing notion that in itself creates a much greater degree of functionality in the human mind when consistently practiced.

Since the western religious or spiritual mindset usually includes the notion of a “God”, non-theistic Hanh accommodates to this by explaining his perspective on the Divine as follows:

“In Buddhism… God is Mind, especially the collective mind. Mind is the ground of everything… If we understand God as the ground of being from which everything manifests, then our understanding is not different from the Buddhist vision of mind….” (Hanh, 2006a)

Being experts in meditation, one of the two major components of the spiritual practice of contemplation (the other being prayer), Buddhists can be relied on to provide good examples after which to model our non-Buddhist practice (if we are non-Buddhists). Buddhists also pray. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote an excellent little book entitled “The energy of prayer: How to deepen your spiritual practice” (Hanh, 2006b) which anyone thinking of utilizing these spiritual practices for trust-building purposes would be well-advised to have at hand. His descriptions of the practice of “engaged Buddhism” (mentioned above) answer well to the third major spiritual practice of altruism. Buddhism in general is known for its commitment to ending the suffering of all sentient beings through compassionate action, community-building, and dharma teaching.

From the perspective of A Course In Miracles, Liz Cronkhite offers an elegantly simple four-fold daily practice routine for the purpose of building trust in the Divine and personal inner peace. She calls them “The Four Habits for Inner Peace” (Cronkhite, 2007). Here are the four practices (see Part One for greater detail):

1) Commune With God Daily
2) Practice the Holy Instant Throughout the Day
3) Extend Love to Keep Love in Your Awareness, and
4) Let the Holy Spirit Lead You

This is a beautiful practice. I ‘commune with God’ every morning before even getting out of bed. An important part of these Four Habits for me is memorization; I attempt to recite the four practices to myself as I go through my day. If I can’t remember one of them I look it up to aid my recall. Part of my communing with God in the morning (usually at the beginning before I stop thought) involves asking God to help me remember these practices as the day goes along. When I find myself in a situation where I need or want awareness of God’s presence I stop and practice the second habit - I step into the "holy instant." The same goes for extending love and consciously letting the Holy Spirit lead.

Finally, I want to add that the Swedenborgian theological system exceeds any other I have found in its emphasis on altruistic action. Also known as the doctrine of use, this practice involves focusing on the usefulness in the Divine design of every created thing, and, in all human endeavors. Connecting with God’s creations (especially His human creations) through uses is a major way of connecting with God Himself – which brings us nearer to God and thereby enhances the quality and quantity of trust in the Divine that we experience. In fact, the trine of love, wisdom, and use appear to be the fundamental basis of all reality. Swedenborg writes:

“Love, wisdom and use make an inseparable group of three. If they are separated, none of them is anything. Love is nothing without wisdom, but in wisdom it is formed to some purpose; and the purpose to which it is formed is use. Therefore when love by means of wisdom is put to use, it actually exists, because it is realised in action. These three are exactly like end, cause and effect; the end is nothing unless by means of the cause it is realised in the effect. Take one of the three away, and the whole falls to pieces and becomes as if it had never been.” (Swedenborg, 1988, TCR 387:3)

How this shows up in real, day-to-day life is as follows:

“God loves each and every human being, and because He cannot do good to them directly but only indirectly by means of other people, He therefore breathes into people His love.” (Swedenborg, 1906, TCR 457)

“… the Lord performs uses to man through man….” (Swedenborg, 1911, AE 1226:6)

“Someone who loves the neighbor as himself never experiences the delight of charity except in the exercise of it, or in use. Consequently the life of charity is a life of uses. Such life pervades the whole of heaven, for the Lord's kingdom, being a kingdom of mutual love, is a kingdom of uses….” (AC 997:1)

Good night...


Cronkhite, E. A. (2007). The four habits for inner peace. Retrieved on 17 August 2009 from .

Hanh, T. N. (1998). The heart of the Buddha’s teaching: Transforming suffering into peace, joy, and liberation. New York: Broadway Books.

Hanh, T. N. (Winter/Spring, 2006a). Answers of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh to questions from Publishers Weekly magazine. Retrieved June 25, 2006 from

Hanh, T. N. (2006b). The energy of prayer: How to deepen your spiritual practice. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

Swedenborg, E. (1906). True christian religion. J. Whitehead (Trans.). Retrieved August 14, 2009, from (Original work published in 1771) TCR

Swedenborg, E. (1911). Apocalypse explained. J. Whitehead (Trans.). Retrieved August 14, 2009, from from (Original work written 1757-9) AE

Swedenborg, E. (1949). Divine providence. Wm. Dick & E. J. Pulsford (Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1764) DP

Swedenborg, E. (1965). Arcana coelestia. J. F. Potts (Trans.). New York: Swedenborg Foundation. (Original work published c. 1749-1756) AC

Wilson, W. et. al. (1976). Alcoholics Anonymous. Third edition. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. (Original work published 1939)

Wilson, W. (1986). Twelve steps and twelve traditions. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (Original work published 1952)

Swedenborg, E. (1988). True Christian religion. J. Chadwick (Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1771) TCR

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trust - Part One

Trust in God is something most people have to work on. Obviously it helps to believe that God exists but I know plenty of formerly agnostic people – and even some former atheists (myself included in this latter category) – who have come to believe in a God of their own description. Admittedly, I am decades past my own atheist phase but I definitely had a fairly lengthy one. We (former agnostics and atheists) have all developed a working, trusting relationship with that God and, as a result, have improved the quality of our lives. So what’s not to like?

I have decided to make this blogpost into a two-parter. This first part will consist simply of citations of other people’s writings which I consider to be essential to the understanding and practice of a lifestyle that builds and enhances trust in the Divine. Part two will be more of my own experience with the trust-building process. In both parts, as with my other articles, I will draw on my three currently favorite resources for the lion’s share of the material. Part Two may include other sources here and there.

What follows first is a simple statement from Emanuel Swedenborg (my favorite revelator) regarding an apparent prerequisite to trust-building – willingness. When it comes to willingness for starters – just a little dab’ll do ya (so to speak). As one perseveres and begins to get some results willingness tends to increase – it’s kind of scientific that way. Next, you will find a fairly lengthy piece from A.A.’s “Big Book” drawn mostly from its description of the practice of Step Eleven. I include it because, well, I just love it – but also because of the nuts and bolts practices it suggests. Finally, there are two pieces in full from Liz Cronkhite (my favorite Course In Miracles teacher) – one entitled “Development of Trust” and the other “The Four Habits For Inner Peace”. They both create a relationship with God that is based on trust. So without further ado, please enjoy these selections.

From Swedenborg~

“It is of the Divine omnipotence to lead a person who is willing to be led according to the laws of order every moment and continually to eternity. For every minute there are infinite things to be seen, to be removed, and to be insinuated, that [the] person may be withheld from evils and held in goods, and this continually in connection according to order.”
(Swedenborg, 1911, AE 689.2)

From Alcoholics Anonymous (4th Edition)~

“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. "How can I best serve Thee - Thy will (not mine) be done." These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.

Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn't work. You can easily see why.

If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination which requires a definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one's priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day "Thy will be done." We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works - it really does.

We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.

But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works is dead." The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve.” (Wilson, 2001, p. 85-88)

From Liz Cronkhite's Blog~

“Development of Trust

Since I posted on my website my recognition of my own “Development of Trust” (M-4.I.A) (see Relationship With God at, I’ve received a lot of questions about the six stages of building trust with the Holy Spirit. For example, what does “sorting out” and “valuable and valueless” mean in practical, everyday terms? How do you recognize which stage you are in? Do you need to know which stage you are in? And what is required of you in each stage?

What you are “sorting out” is Truth from illusion, which in everyday terms means: What is the Holy Spirit and what is the ego in your mind? The experiences of Truth (the Holy Spirit) is what is “valuable” and the experience of illusion (ego) is what is “valueless”. It is natural for you to keep what is valuable and to let go of what is valueless, but you can’t do this when you can’t tell them apart, so you have to learn to distinguish them from each other first. The sorting out process begins with you learning to hear and then to listen to what is valuable: The Holy Spirit. As you learn to distinguish the peace of the Holy Spirit from the pain of the ego, you naturally choose to follow the Holy Spirit more and more. Finally, you let go of ego completely and identify only with the Holy Spirit. This is the Course’s “gentle means of awakening”.

It isn’t important to know which stage you are in, but you do need to know what is required of you at each stage. It is the same for each stage: To commune with God daily; to practice the holy instant throughout the day; to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance; and to keep love in your awareness by extending love. This is how you “accept the atonement for yourself”. The Holy Spirit does the rest, working within you to bring about the necessary shifts in your awareness so you can advance to the next stage.

The shift to each stage is experiential, not merely intellectual. Each stage also flows naturally from the preceding stage and cannot be forced. As you shift from one stage to another they overlap and so they can be hard to sort out when you are going through them. For everyone, the particular way these stages unfold and how long it will take will be unique. But pretty much it goes like this:

Stage one, the period of undoing: You have had a shift in your experience that reveals Truth to you in some form. This may be a direct revelation of God or it may be a miracle. It’s profound enough to shake your current belief system. This may happen as you study A Course in Miracles or it may be what leads you to study the Course. It is likely your external circumstances will shift as a reflection of your new point of view. At this stage, the Voice of the Holy Spirit is buried in the constant babble of ego in your mind, so for you, the ego is you and you are very threatened by the idea you have to let it go.

Stage two, the period of sorting out: Though you may have been shaken by your “undoing” experience, you are drawn to Truth and you now know peace is possible. You open your mind to the Holy Spirit. You start slowly, asking for answers or help only in limited circumstances. The Holy Spirit may speak to you through your intuition, through a Voice you hear in your mind, and/or through wordless ideas. The ego uses the same avenues to communicate with you so you will likely take a long time learning to discern when you are hearing the ego and when you are hearing the Holy Spirit. As you do so, you find you value the experience of the Holy Spirit and you ask for help and guidance more and more. You still identify mostly with the ego, and valuing both teachers in your mind leaves you conflicted.

Stage three, the period of relinquishment: The experience of the Holy Spirit has become so valuable to you that you shift to letting the Holy Spirit lead the way completely. Many of your values conflict with your desire to follow the Holy Spirit and you realize you must let them go. You may be resistant at first, but as each old value falls away you feel tremendous relief, making the process easier as you go along. Your identity is shifting toward the Holy Spirit and you still experience a lot of conflict.

Stage four, the period of settling: Following the Holy Spirit has resulted in a profound, unshakeable peace within you. You never feel alone. You hunger for the moments of communion you can carve out of each day. Your life is much simpler as you always have the Answer to any “problem” and a Guide to lead you. You rest at this stage for a while, grateful for the peace you have, but aware you are not completely at peace yet because you still listen to the ego.

Stage five, the period of unsettling: You have sorted out the valuable (the Holy Spirit) from the valueless (ego), but you still value the ego enough for it to stand as an obstacle to your complete peace. The only step to take now is to give up what you have made (ego) to be what you are (the Holy Spirit). This stage is unsettling because you now know complete peace is up to only you. Now you must learn to keep your mind open and follow only the Holy Spirit.

Stage six, the period of achievement: Your peace is complete. You are consistent in following only one Teacher. You see through the ego easily and you let it go. You are just this side of Heaven and you stay in the world only as long as the Holy Spirit needs to work through you.” (Cronkhite, 2007a)

The Four Habits for Inner Peace

A wise teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance. He does not emphasize what you must avoid to escape from harm, but what you need to learn to have joy. Consider the fear and confusion a child would experience if he were told, "Do not do this because it will hurt you and make you unsafe; but if you do that instead, you will escape from harm and be safe, and then you will not be afraid." It is surely better to use only three words: "Do only that!" This simple statement is perfectly clear, easily understood and very easily remembered. (T-6.V.3)

Lately some students have asked for a simplification of what they must do to “accept the atonement” for themselves and to be at peace. A Course in Miracles teaches you certain habits in the Workbook, and emphasizes certain behaviors throughout, and I have distilled these into what I call the “Four Habits for Inner Peace”. These habits are what I developed for myself first by falling back on them during “trying” times, and then by choice all the time because of the peace they brought me. By putting these habits first your life will be simpler and every part of your life will unfold naturally and easily from them.

The goal is to become only these habits. As you develop these habits you will naturally encounter your obstacles to peace. The habits themselves will help you work through the obstacles by motivating you to accept peace instead of fear. All of these habits work together to support the other habits and can be developed simultaneously, though you may wish to emphasize one habit over the others until you feel you begin to “get it”.

Commune With God Daily
Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. (S-1.I.5)

By “commune” I mean to just be with God. This is true prayer. You sit somewhere where you will not be disturbed, you close your eyes and you quiet your mind. You let all thoughts go by and sink into the quiet at the center of your mind. You are not asking for anything; you are not seeking anything. You are just opening yourself to God without conditions. This is the most important thing you do every day. This alone will cause amazing shifts toward peace within you.

Practice the Holy Instant Throughout the Day
I will be still an instant and go home. (W-182)

This is a mini version of communing with God. At various times throughout the day – just as the Workbook teaches you – step out of the world for an instant and remember you are in God. You don’t have to set up a rigid schedule. Just whenever you stop being busy and have a moment. You can even develop this habit of stepping out of the world and remembering your Oneness with God in the midst of busy-ness and noisiness. As this becomes a habit an awareness of God stays with you when you return to the world and you won’t have to make a point to step out so often – you are already “there”.

Extend Love to Keep Love in Your Awareness
Teach only love, for that is what you are. (T-6.I.13)

When you have established a relationship with God and feel that connection throughout the day, you feel whole and complete. Because you are resting in love, you automatically extend love. But until you have that feeling of wholeness, you must consciously choose to overlook your projections of ego and to look on God’s love instead. Extending love is how you keep love in your awareness and remember you are love.

Let the Holy Spirit Lead You
I will step back and let Him lead the way. (W-155)

There is no point in developing a relationship with God if you are going to remain separate from God. You may have moments of peace, but you will still be conflicted most of the time. Developing this habit takes the most time because you will resist this habit the most. You must let go of your personal (ego) goals and leave all judgments and decisions to the Holy Spirit. This requires that you sort out what is ego and what is the Holy Spirit in your mind (see Development of Trust). When you practice the holy instant and remember to let the Holy Spirit lead, you can be certain you are being guided even when you do not seem to feel it.

One of the first obstacles you will encounter as you try to put these habits into play is goals other than God. When you get confused, remember you only have to practice these four habits, and nothing else, no matter what is going on in your life or in which stage of awakening you are. As you experience the peace they bring, you will be motivated more and more to put them in the center of your life. When you become these habits you will truly be an instrument of God.

The full acceptance of salvation as your only function necessarily entails two phases; the recognition of salvation as your function, and the relinquishment of all the other goals you have invented for yourself. (W-65.1)” (Cronkhite, 2007b)

Stay tuned for Part Two….


Cronkhite, E. A. (2007a). Development of trust. Retrieved on 17 August 2009 from .

Cronkhite, E. A. (2007b). The four habits for inner peace. Retrieved on 17 August 2009 from .

Schucman, H. and Thetford, W. (2007). A course in miracles: Combined volume. Third edition. Mill Valley, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace.

Swedenborg, E. (1911). Apocalypse explained (J. Whitehead Trans.). Retrieved on 14 August 2009 from . (Original work written 1757-9) AE

Wilson, W. et. al. (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous. Fourth edition. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. (Original work published 1939)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


“Who can bestow upon another what he does not have? And who can share what he denies himself? (A Course In Miracles, T-27.V.1.8-9)

First, let’s ask Mr. Webster the meaning of “forgive”. He replies that to forgive is, “to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; [to] stop being angry with; [or to] pardon” (Laird, 2002).

Now, let’s take a look at forgiveness from several other points of view. Specifically, from the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous, A Course In Miracles, and Emanuel Swedenborg.

In a 1946 letter, A.A. co-founder Bill W. wrote describing the utilization of self-examination in the practice of forgiving others. The ability to see (in ourselves) the same or similar attributes that we are condemning in others makes the forgiving easier. He says:

“So, nowadays, if anyone talks to me so as to hurt, I first ask myself if there is any truth at all in what they say. If there is none, I try to remember that I too have had my periods of speaking bitterly of others; that hurtful gossip is but a symptom of our remaining emotional illness; and consequently that I must never be angry at the unreasonableness of sick people…. Under very trying conditions I have had, again and again, to forgive others – also myself.” (Wilson, 1967, Bill W.’s 1946 letter)

In the 12 Step process the practice of forgiveness comes heavily into play in Step Five. Admitting the exact nature of our wrongs in an open and honest way makes forgiveness more possible. On Step Five Bill W. writes:

“This vital Step was also the means by which we began to get the feeling that we could be forgiven, no matter what we had thought or done. Often it was while working on this Step with our sponsors or spiritual advisers that we first felt truly able to forgive others, no matter how deeply we felt they had wronged us. Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-round forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we'd be able to receive forgiveness and give it, too.” (Wilson, 1986, pp. 57-58)

Receiving God’s forgiveness is addressed in Step Six as follows:

“If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does He render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to be willing to work toward ourselves. He asks only that we try as best we know how to make progress in the building of character. So Step Six--"Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character"--is A.A.'s way of stating the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job.” (Wilson, 1986, p. 65)

Later on in the 12 Step process (Steps 8 and 9) there will be more working with forgiveness and other people – getting forgiveness from those who have been harmed by our behavior and giving it to those who have harmed us. In making amends to those we have harmed the rule seems to be that we should take a balanced approach devoid of any accusatory spirit of blame. Bill writes:

“In all these situations we need self-restraint, honest analysis of what is involved, a willingness to admit when the fault is ours, and an equal willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere. We need not be discouraged when we fall into the error of our old ways, for these disciplines are not easy. We shall look for progress, not for perfection.” (Wilson, 1986, p. 91)

“If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink. We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience.” (Wilson, 1976, p. 70)

Sometimes, those to whom amends are to be made have been so damaged that they cannot find the peace and resolution of forgiveness in themselves and the relationship cannot be completely mended. If we are sure we have done everything we reasonably could to create a better relationship we can then, as they say, let go and let God. Perhaps the final A.A. word on forgiveness is contained in the following quote.

“When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would.” (Wilson, 1986, p. 116)

So, how does the “Course” see forgiveness? Well, the first thing to know about “forgiveness” from A Course In Miracles’ point of view is that – guess what? – “forgiveness” doesn’t mean what you think it means! That’s right, as with most of the rest of the Course’s terminology, you have to relearn what “forgiveness” means. In case you were wondering, yes, that was a complaint – an “attack thought” (I suppose) – but really, why can’t we all just agree on the meaning of terms anyhow!? We all have had English dictionaries all of our lives, right? Life in this illusory world that doesn’t really exist would be so much simpler if all words meant the same thing to all people. OK, thanks for “letting” me share (as if you could stop me).

Liz Cronkhite, A Course In Miracles mentor, explains it well (my confession is I would be utterly lost without Liz who is a very long-term student of the Course). She says:

“The world’s version of forgiveness is “You have done this to me, but I am going to let it go.” But the Course teaches us that forgiveness recognizes nothing has happened. This requires a shift in perception away from this world as reality to the Oneness of God as Reality. Ultimately, you only forgive once and it is yourself you forgive for your illusions. Until then, you are basically preparing for this step.” (Cronkhite 2006.1.4)

So, as we “prepare for this step”, let’s look at a few more things that the Course says about forgiveness.

“Forgiveness… is an illusion… [which] leads away from error and not towards it” (Schucman, 2007, C-3.1.1, 3 and 4). It “ends all suffering and loss” (Schucman, 2007, W.249.heading). It is… “the bridge to Heaven” (Schucman, 2007, C-3.5.1 and 3). And, it is still, “and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not” (Schucman, 2007, W-pII.1.4.1-3).

As I read these descriptions of “forgiveness” (all of which basically work for me), I still find myself craving the “You have done this to me, but I am going to let it go” worldly version. I have found bigness, love, divinity, and peace in the practice of the worldly version – in both giving it and receiving it. It’s a version which acknowledges the reality of the pain and hurt we often cause each other as well as, dare I say it, the “separateness”. With all this "Course" work being done to achieve “Oneness” may we not be throwing out the baby with the bathwater? What if the natural world IS real - although less real than the spiritual world? What if spiritual ideas cannot be adequately expressed in natural language? What if the sometimes nonsensical and incomprehensible text of the Course is what happens when you try to express real spiritual ideas using natural language? What if the truth is that we never lose our sense of “I-ness” to eternity? What if we will always have an “own” or, as my favorite revelator Swedenborg says, a “proprium” - albeit a heavenly one? What if our “separateness” is part of the very purpose of the Divine design of the creation (a heaven from the human race) rather than a Divine ‘woops I didn’t mean to do that and now let’s have an atonement to undo it’ thing?

What if the natural world is real and the spiritual world (within the natural world and from which it continually springs) is even more real? And what if the Divine itself (both inmostly within and around the natural and the spiritual) is the most real? Once created (conceived), the human mind, although easy to damage, is ultimately indestructible and lives forever. I know, I know – there I go again with a rant....

It is the Divine Human of the Lord (in Course terms “the Son”) which is inmostly in all created things that allows for the possibility of the Oneness we can sense as “real” (Swedenborg, 1969, DLW 285). Other words for “Oneness” could be “connection”, “conscious contact”, “community” and “fellowship”. The God in me sees the God in you to eternity. But why stop there with just our 'two Gods' looking at each other? I too can learn to increasingly see the God in you – if I practice and train my “self” to do so and ask the Lord for help in doing it. The Course says, “To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds” (T-9.IV.1).So, I can overlook the error and as Cronkhite says, “take the situation in [my] mind to [the] Holy Spirit. Be willing to let go of what you think you already know and ask for another way to perceive the situation” (Cronkhite 2006.1.4)

While I love these ideas, I find the Course’s idea that ultimately the only forgiveness that needs to happen is the forgiving of oneself for having illusions is just not entirely satisfying. Is that my ego talking? I suppose eternity will tell….

A cyber word search of Swedenborg’s massive theological writings for the words “forgive” and “forgiveness” yields about 125 hits each – not much considering the size of his works. Swedenborg’s message on the subject can be seen as being relatively simple in comparison to the complexity of his other doctrines.

A fairly comprehensive Swedenborgian idea on the subject of the forgiveness of a person’s “sins” by the Lord will be seen in the next two citations:

“The Divine Energy and Operation, which are meant by the Holy Spirit, are, in general, reformation and regeneration; and in accordance with these, renovation, vivification, sanctification and justification; and in accordance with these latter, purification from evils, forgiveness of sins, and finally salvation. These in their order are the energies made operative by the Lord in those who believe in Him, and who adjust and dispose themselves for His reception and indwelling; and this is done by means of Divine truth, and with Christians by means of the Word....” (Swedenborg, 1988, TCR 142)

“I have heard from heaven that the Lord forgives to everyone his sins, and never takes vengeance nor even imputes sin, because He is love itself and good itself; nevertheless, sins are not thereby washed away, for this can be done only by repentance. For when He told Peter to forgive until seventy times seven, what will not the Lord do?” (Swedenborg, 1988, TCR 409)

If the forgiveness of the Divine is to be enjoyed by the recipient of it there must be a cessation of the harmful behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts. Mind-change or 'metanoia' in the Greek (translated as “repentance” in the Bible) is a prerequisite for experiencing the forgiveness of God. As Swedenborg expressed it, forgiveness and repentance not only go hand-in-hand,
“… repentance precedes forgiveness, and apart from repentance there is no forgiveness” (Swedenborg, 1949, DP 280). If we are in negative states of mind how could we possibly experience the peace and joy of forgiveness? I think that's the point.

When it comes to people forgiving other people, Swedenborg is very clear that forgiveness is a major part of the practice of loving-kindness or ‘charity’. When discussing this forgiveness, he repeatedly refers to that part of the New Testament where Peter asks the Lord how many times he should forgive a person who does harm and the answer is not seven times but seventy times seven. In the following quote Swedenborg explains that seventy times seven doesn’t really mean four hundred and ninety times (which would be silly when you think about it) but in the allegorical language of the Bible the numbers mean ‘that the forgiving should be without end, or… eternal, which is holy.’

“… the Lord said that a man should forgive his brother not until seven times, but until seventy times seven (Matt. 18:22), by which is meant that they should forgive as many times as he sins, so that the forgiving should be without end, or… eternal, which is holy.” (AC 433)

So spiritually, forgiveness is a very big deal. That forgiveness is part of charity or loving kindness can be seen in these straightforward quotes:

“… those who forgive and give to others… are impelled by the goodness of charity.” (DP 334)

“… to forgive one who sins against you is of charity….” (AE 746:15)

“Internal people, as the angels of heaven are, do not wish the retaliation of evil for evil, but from heavenly loving-kindness they forgive freely….” (AE 556:8)

“… it is by command of the church that everyone ought to forgive his brother or neighbor…” (AC 6561)

Finally, to wrap up this little post, I would like to share what I consider to be the best definition of “forgiveness” I have ever seen. Swedenborg writes:

“… to forgive is not to regard anyone from evil but from good….” (AC 7697)

To regard someone “from good” means to see them the way the Lord sees them – for He is Good Itself.


Cronkhite, E. A. (2006.1.4). Forgiveness. Las Vegas, NV: ACIM Mentor. Retrieved on 7.27.2009 from

Cronkhite, E. A. (2007). Understanding a course in miracles. Las Vegas, NV: ACIM Mentor.

Laird, C. et. al. eds. (2002). Webster’s new world dictionary and thesaurus. Second edition. New York: Hungry Minds, Inc.

Schucman, H. and Thetford, W. (2007). A course in miracles: Combined volume. Third edition. Mill Valley, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace.

Swedenborg, E. (1949). Divine providence (Wm. Dick & E. J. Pulsford Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1764) DP

Swedenborg, E. (1960). The apocalypse explained (J. Whitehead Trans.). New York, NY: Swedenborg Foundation. (Original work written c. 1757-1759 and first published posthumously in the original Latin in 1870) AE

Swedenborg, E. (1965). Arcana coelestia (J. F. Potts Trans.). New York, NY: Swedenborg Foundation. (Original work published c. 1749-1756) AC

Swedenborg, E. (1969). Divine love and wisdom (C. & D. H. Harley Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1763) DLW

Swedenborg, E. (1988). True Christian religion (J. Chadwick Trans.). London: The Swedenborg Society. (Original work published 1771) TCR

Wilson, W. (1967). As Bill sees it. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Wilson, W. et. al. (1976). Alcoholics Anonymous. Third edition. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. (Original work published 1939)

Wilson, W. (1986). Twelve steps and twelve traditions. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (Original work published 1952)