Regeneration – re-creation – is not for wimps! Emanuel Swedenborg, who wrote much of our Christian New Church canon, was clear. It is hard work. Many of us find ourselves in what can feel like actual hell, far removed from God, our loved ones, and our fellow human beings. We even feel far removed from ourselves.
That conflict is not without purpose. Important to acknowledge – these are not “tests” that God sends down from on high. These are tests of our own choosing, even though we may well not have chosen the particular circumstances we find our life in. How does that work?
Well, I believe it starts with the candid acknowledgement that if we find ourselves in hell, it is the hell of our own choosing. We can, as a famous saint noted, make our life “heaven all the way to heaven or hell all the way hell.” And there is the source conflict.
Visualize a 12 inch ruler measuring the depth of your life. 11 of those inches are often garbage – the petty parts of our human nature – greed, anger, jealously, revenge, avarice – all there. At the bottom inch is God’s Divine Spark – purely gifted to you, as your own, for you to use as your own. It is already in heaven. It is already connected to God. It is already in God.
Regeneration is about bringing our lives down to that inch, allowing our existence to settle in that place so we can act from that place. From there we look from the light to the darkness and, miracle, the darkness is no longer dark. It no longer holds power. The “11 inches” is nothing – no thing.
It does not happen without conflict. I see in myself often the mistaken belief that the 11 inches was actually created by someone else, that I never chose it. And yet, gulp, I did, and I do. Of course people hurt people – absolutely. Yet, do we see light or darkness? From the 11 inches or the 1? Do we chose heaven all the way to heaven, or hell all the way to hell?