Regeneration and Spiritual Growth
One of Swedenborg’s great works was a book titled “REGENERATION: Spiritual Growth and How it Works”. It is now available online as a downloadable PDF for free. Just click on the title above to link to it.
What Swedenborg calls regeneration is also known as rebirth or spiritual awakening. It is what Jesus meant when he said we had to be reborn and what all the mystery schools have been teaching about for ages. In Cosolargy, we usually use “reborn” or “rebirth” although none of these terms are totally accurate. The spirit and soul are not dead when you are living in a material body. They are dormant but very much alive. So awakening them isn’t truly rebirth, but in many cases, it will seem as if you are reborn, for your life will change so much that you will be a completely different person in many ways.
“The Essaei knew that the true communion was one in which the reborn Spirit communes with God by means of the True Bread — the Light of God manifest in His Image and filled with His Word — a sacred and divine act held in trust by the Order and guarded over in secrecy.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
“Man, before he is being regenerated, does not even know that any internal man exists, much less is he acquainted with its nature and quality.” ~Emanuel Swedenborg
I don’t think it is so much an internal and external man as the mental intellect is internal also. I think it is more accurate to say “physical man” and “spiritual man.” Then the quote from Swedenborg makes perfect sense. And when these quotes say “man,” they mean women as well. Think “human beings” when you read “Man” in these old quotes. In the time represented by the allegorical tale of Adam and Eve, Man was pure spirit, but became material when he “fell” due to eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. As Man has become more and more material and materialistic, he has moved further away from his spiritual side and from God. It is as if we have dug ourselves into a deep hole and instead of climbing out, we are trying to escape by digging deeper and deeper.
Before regeneration or spiritual awakening as it is more often called these days, we are either completely absorbed in the physical, or the physical and the mental. Some take an additional step up to the psychic level but usually stop there. They may think that the psychic level is the spiritual, or they may not care. Either way, it is not the spiritual level and it is not wise to stop on the psychic level and go no further. In either the materialistic or psychic state, we are far short of the Glory of God.
“People who have intended and loved what is evil in the world intend and love what is evil in the other life, and then they no longer allow themselves to be led away from it. This is why people who are absorbed in evil are connected to hell and actually are there in spirit; and after death, they crave above all to be where their evil is. So after death, it is we, not the Lord, who cast ourselves into hell.” ~Emanuel Swedenborg
As the quote above indicates, one reason many people don’t attempt to get out of the hole is because they have been tricked into believing it is a wonderful place to be. They engage in Bible study, but interpret literally that which was intended to be allegory. They have material wealth, material possessions, and an important title in the material world. They think they are big fish in a great ocean when they are actually rolling around in the mud of a shallow mud puddle. These people have little incentive to change. They either have to be convinced to change by an awakened person or jolted into it with some disaster in their comfortable life. And as it says in 2 Corinthians 5, “as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord” But some are starting to wake up and have a change of heart.
Once a person is awakened, regenerated, or born again, they see things quite differently. They begin a new life of spiritual truth. They have become a new creature that is as much spirit as matter. They are one with the Spirit of God. Now they see that the titles and glories of the material world are meaningless. It is like a bunch of kids playing a game and giving each other superhero names. The game doesn’t change reality, but it can make you think the illusions of the game are reality. After regeneration, we know that illusion is illusion. We may not immediately know all the truth–in fact, we may never know all the truth–but at least we are not fooled by the Great illusion of the material world. As it says in Colossians 2 in the New Testament, they now live their lives in Christ, which is to say, they become a Christ, not just a worshipper of Christ Jesus.
“Man, when he is reborn, passes through the ages as he who is born; and the preceding state is always as an egg in respect to the subsequent one, thus he is continually conceived and born: and this not only when he lives in the world, but also when he comes into another life to eternity: and still when he cannot be further perfected, then to be as an egg to those things which remain to be manifested, which are indefinite.”
We don’t go from total ignorance to full enlightenment overnight. That would almost certainly drive us insane! Instead, the veil over the illusion is gradually lifted (metaphorically speaking), and the reality hidden by it is slowly revealed so that we can absorb it. This is a process that generally takes many years and is usually not completed in our entire physical life. The process continues after death as our spirit and soul complete the quest. We learn that Jesus Christ isn’t unique in being Christ, but each of us has the potential to be a Christ. The spirit awakened within us is just as much a holy Spirit as is the Holy Ghost.
Spiritual Churches of Regeneration and Truth
“All the ancient churches were churches representative of spiritual things; the rites, and also the statutes, according to which their worship was established, consisted of pure correspondence.” ~Emanuel Swedenborg
The claim among many people today that they are “spiritual but not religious” is understandable, even if it is based on very limited knowledge of religion. The major churches of today do not teach regeneration at all. Spiritual awakening is some nonsensical voodoo to them. Few of them seem to be aware that in ancient times, the churches and spiritual schools were often the same things. The Essenes of Israel and the Therapeuts of Egypt were thought of as religious sects although they taught spiritual awakening rather than blind worship of God. The Gnostics were certainly religious groups, yet they all taught spiritual regeneration as a duty. The Gnostics sought true knowledge through their own experiences. This ultimate knowledge came to be known as Gnosis to them and others. But as governments all over the world began to support the churches that supported them and their secular powers, such churches died out or went into hiding. Now they too are being reborn at the beginning of this new Golden age of Spiritual Enlightenment and regeneration.
Love and Freedom
“Just as all things in the universe (those that agree with the divine design) trace their origin back to goodness and truth, so everything in us traces its origin back to our will and understanding. This is because whatever good we have depends on our will and whatever truth we have depends on our understanding.” ~Emanuel Swedenborg
How do we become regenerated? That is not a question that can be answered in ten words or less, but certainly love is a big part of it. Virtually all spiritual teachers agree on that. We need to love ourselves, our fellow man, and most of all, God. We need to love truth and reality rather than being content with living in a comfortable illusion.
“All freedom is a matter of love, because what we love we do freely. That is also why all freedom is a matter of will because whatever we love we also will do; and since love and will constitute our life, freedom also constitutes it. This can show us what freedom is, namely, that it is whatever belongs to our love and will and therefore to our life. That is why anything we do freely seems to us to have come from ourselves.” ~Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedenborg says that we must have love to have freedom, for we do what we love (unless others are forcing us to do things). So love and freedom go together, and both are important for the kind of self-discovery that leads to awakening and regeneration.
“In order for personal advancement or spiritual evolution to take place, the proper attitude is essential, as is the understanding of what actually occurs or is supposed to occur. A benevolent, tolerant, loving attitude toward all life on all levels is important.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
“God has spoken his Word within the light of the sun so that all ears might hear.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
Achieving regeneration requires more than just being a loving and free person. We have to seek regeneration. We have to want a spiritual awakening more than anything else. When we do, we will be led onto the path that leads to that destination. In Cosolargy, that path involves sun gazing of a spiritual sort. By that, we mean that we look at the sun with a spiritual attitude and see the spiritual sun as well as the physical. Our books contain a number of techniques that help students do this in a safe and effective way. We look forward to more of you joining us in doing these spiritual regeneration techniques.