Hooded Merganser (hood down), Sparkill Pond, NY
—Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell
In order for me to understand exactly what this passage means, the Lord must enter Being.
This takes place when I understand a real Presence—experience a real Presence—which is not my own presence. Only then can I appreciate that it is possible to receive the Lord within Being; and only in the midst of this Presence and the authority with which it inwardly forms Truth within Being can I irrevocably know my place, which is a lower place.
The action of idolatry is the mistaken impression that I occupy a higher place — a higher place relative to others, and to the world.
Of course, it's very possible to understand these questions theoretically. The idea that I occupy a lower place can be appreciated; and the rational understanding of it is within any thinking person's grasp. Yet to rely on thinking of it is never enough, because the actual Presence of the Lord is necessary, else there is no practical action within Being.
I speak of this in this way so that it can become clear that what I think of as myself is a small thing, and unworthy. I inflate it into a huge creature which occupies nearly the whole of the inner landscape; it's a golden calf inside me. The only way for this to truly be corrected is for the Presence of the Lord to enter me; until then, of course, I believe only in myself.
To believe in myself is to at heart deny the Lord; and this is the normal way of being and the normal course of action in human beings, because I so often put my faith in the natural and do not understand the manner in which the spiritual dwells within me and has the power to transform.
I don't speak of these matters lightly, because it is so vital for me to come fully into to the truth of them in this lifetime. There is no life without this truth; instead, I have a cardboard cutout, shadows and images, and not the real substance of life which dwells within and opens the heart to the Lord.
There is no comparable action; and the assault on the senses in this era, which makes an incredible amount of noise but does nothing real whatsoever, takes me away from this Presence, which expresses perfection at once upon its arrival.
This is a practical action. The expression of perfection belongs to the Lord, and takes place within Being; and it ought to be my birthright to live always in this way.
Yet I don't.