Today we discuss beauty, which can be a triggering subject, but stick around because we’re going to transform the stereotypes and by the end you’ll find yourself radiating with the perception of divine love in this week’s NCE Spotlight - your home for fresh insights from the ongoing translation of the New Century Edition of Swedenborg’s Theological Works.
Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:
Only through concepts formed from facts and sense impressions can we corroborate doctrinal truth. Absolutely everything we think about—even the deepest mystery of faith—comes with some earthly, sense-based image, even though we usually have no idea of the true character of that image. In the other life, if we wish, it can be displayed for our minds or even (if we so desire) for our eyes to see. In the other world, such things can be presented to view. This seems unbelievable but is still true.
Those who are not defiant act, talk, seek wealth, and indulge in pleasure in the same ways as those who are—so much so that in external appearance they can hardly be told apart. Only their aims differentiate them; to put it another way, only what they love differentiates them (since what we love is our aim). Yet although they look the same in their outward form, or body, they have nothing in common in their inner form, or spirit. People who are in correspondence—whose outer self harmonizes with their inner self—have a spirit that is radiant and beautiful, as heavenly love is when embodied. People who are in opposition—whose outer self resists their inner self—may look the same on the outside, but their spirit is dark and ugly, as self-love and materialism are, or as contempt and hatred are, when embodied.
The reason very good to look at symbolizes beauty—here, the beauty of a desire for truth . . . —is that all beauty comes from goodness that has innocence within it. When the goodness of the inner self acts on the outer self, it actually creates beauty. That is the source of all human beauty.