The Primacy of Consciousness
There is no external ‘reality.’ Our entire experience is a construction in our mind (consciousness). Everything we know, including space, time and matter, manifests from consciousness. Other names for consciousness include God, Allah, and the Quantum Vacuum Field. Source: The Primacy of Consciousness, an article by physicist Peter Russell.
The Primacy of Consciousness — physicist Peter Russell (video).
Why Explore Cosmos and Consciousness? — physicist Andrei Linde (video), e.g. “Before you observe, nothing exists. Once you observe, everything looks as if it existed all the time. Consciousness exists without matter.“
Scientific Proof of the Existence of God — an interview with physicist Amit Goswami (article), e.g. “Consciousness is the ground of all being.”
Experiments Show Consciousness Affects Matter — Dean Radin, PhD.
All things are connected at the quantum level
A Quantum View of the World — Dean Radin, PhD (video).
Entangled Minds and Beyond — Dean Radin, PhD (video).
Continuity of Consciousness (Life after Death)
Many people who are resuscitated from clinical death report that they had left their physical body and continued life in another realm. These near-death experiences, or NDEs, are consistent across people. A typical experience is a dying man suddenly finds himself floating above his body and watching what is going on; within moments he travels at great speed through a darkness or a tunnel; he enters a realm of dazzling light and is warmly met by recently deceased friends and relatives; he hears indescribably beautiful music and sees landscapes (rolling meadows, flower-filled valleys, and sparkling streams) more lovely than anything he has seen on earth. In this light-filled world he feels no pain or fear and is pervaded with an overwhelming feeling of joy, love, and peace; he meets a being (or beings) of light who emanates a feeling of enormous compassion, and is prompted by the being(s) to experience a “life review,” a panoramic replay of his life; he becomes so enraptured by his experience of this greater reality that he desires nothing more than to stay; however, the being tells him that it is not his time yet and persuades him to return to his earthly life and re-enter his physical body.
Numerous studies have found evidence of consciousness in patients during clinical death, e.g. the research of cardiologist Pim van Lommel and colleagues, published in the highly respected international medical journal, The Lancet, in 2001. After resuscitation, many patients in van Lommel’s study reported NDEs involving heightened, lucid awareness and logical thought processes while clinically dead (flat EEG). These people felt as though they had taken off their body like an old coat while retaining their identity with the possibility of perception, emotions, and very clear consciousness. They say that in the realm of light and love, time and space do not seem to exist; communication with deceased loved ones there is by thought transfer; they felt home, where they come from; the experience is more real than in this world; and they know that there is a continuity of their consciousness, because they experienced it.
van Lommel et al. (2001), van Lommel (2004, 2006), video interviews of Dr van Lommel by Mel Van Dusen (2010) and Iain McNay (2013). All referenced sources are available on Dr van Lommel’s site.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772)
Swedenborg was the Leonardo da Vinci of his era. He was the leading mathematician in Sweden, spoke nine languages, was a politician, astronomer, wrote books on metallurgy, colour theory, commerce, economics, physics, chemistry, mining, and anatomy, and invented prototypes for the airplane and the submarine. He meditated regularly and as of middle age Swedenborg was able to enter deep trances during which he left his body and visited what appeared to him to be heaven, where he conversed with “angels” and “spirits.” Swedenborg is one of several individuals in history who possessed the ability to make out-of-body journeys to the subtler levels of reality and he wrote numerous volumes about his experiences. Here is a video introduction to Swedenborg, Who was Swedenborg? (Download free ebooks and pdfs of Swedenborg’s books at links in the text beneath this video). Other videos about Swedenborg include Splendors of the Spirit: Swedenborg’s Quest for Insight and Outer Streams, Emanuel Swedenborg.
The Nature of Creation
Swedenborg said creation is made of two separate and yet coexisting “worlds”: the natural world (where we are now) and the spiritual world, comprising heaven, hell, and the world of spirits in between. Reference.
The spiritual world. Here people have bodies; live in houses; enjoy community life; are surrounded by landscapes like those of Earth, with familiar plants and animals (in addition to plants, NDE reports include hearing wonderful birdsong and seeing animals, mostly dogs, e.g. all the dogs of one’s life); particular individuals are only as near or as far away as our thoughts of them, and thinking of a person or place can actually bring us there; and everything is vivid and much more alive than in the natural world. Further, what we see responds to what we are thinking, i.e. it is a realm where the inner state of individuals is reflected in their surroundings. All life is sustained by the love and wisdom of God and originates from the spiritual world. Reference.
Swedenborg said that heaven is: a more fundamental level of reality than our own physical world and the archetypal source from where all earthly forms originate, and to which all forms return; different from physical reality in degree but not in kind — the material world is just a frozen version of the thought-built reality of heaven and “flows in by stages” to the physical reality and “at each new stage it becomes more general and therefore coarser and hazier, and it becomes slower, and therefore more viscous and colder.” Reference.
Similarity to NDE reports. Swedenborg’s accounts of the afterlife match descriptions of modern-day NDEs, e.g. passing through a dark tunnel; being met by welcoming spirits; landscapes more beautiful than any on Earth; a realm where time and space no longer exist; a dazzling light that emits feelings of love; appearing before beings of light; being enveloped by an all-encompassing peace and serenity; seeing the newly deceased in the spiritual world being subjected to a life review during which a person witnesses “everything they had ever been or done;” and angels communicating by “thought balls” — telepathic bursts of knowledge as a picture language so dense with information that each image contains a thousand ideas. Swedenborg also corroborates some of the less commonly reported elements of the NDE, that in the spirit world we no longer need to eat food, as information takes its place as a source of nourishment. Reference.
Although it is not a feature reported by modern NDEers, Swedenborg said that in heaven there are also spirits from other planets. Reference.
The Process of Crossing Over
A person’s experience in the spiritual world depends on what type of life s/he has led. Most people start in the world of spirits.
The World of Spirits
This is the realm we enter immediately after death, an intermediate realm situated between heaven and hell. It is like a “sorting out” zone from which spirits go to either heaven or hell and it has three states.
1. First state. Here we are essentially the same as we were in this world, e.g. we have all our memories, beliefs and attitudes. We often meet friends or relatives who crossed over before us and spouses will be reunited, although not necessarily forever. Here our inner nature becomes the whole of our being. Friends and relatives are our guide to the spiritual world, and, with the help of good spirits, our true inner nature will gradually be revealed. The duration of this state depends on how long it takes for our outer nature (what we outwardly say and do) to harmonize with our inner nature (what we truly feel and believe). Anyone who has become totally transparent in this life, whether transparently loving or transparently hateful, is fully ready for either heaven or hell, and goes straight in.
2. Second state. Here we become aware of the deeper parts of our inner nature. We start saying what we really think and we act according to what we feel without worrying about appearances or making other people happy. We act according to our inner values — the way we might act on Earth when nobody else is watching or when we’re sure we won’t get caught. People who are truly good inside will be kind and generous to others, while people who are inherently evil will be openly selfish and cruel. While we can all be generous or selfish sometimes, inherently good spirits will reject the selfish thoughts and work to rid themselves of those impulses, while inherently evil spirits will justify their bad behaviour and thereby embrace it as part of themselves. At this point, like is drawn to like, so the sorting out begins. No “judge” passes sentences of guilt or innocence — we seek out kindred spirits because that is where we feel at home.
3. Third state
a) For people who are ready for heaven, this is a time of instruction — to learn about heaven and how to lead a life that allows one to experience it. At this point, the person is already in touch with the community in heaven where s/he will ultimately live, but still has a lot to learn about that community — what it does, how the individual can contribute to it, how the community can fill the individual’s needs, and so on.
b) People who have joined a community of evil spirits will continue to descend further and further into hell until they reach those people who are most similar to them. This is not a punishment; it is simply the place where they feel most comfortable. If they have freely chosen a path that is the opposite of love and wisdom, there is nothing more the angels can do for them. The most merciful thing to do is to let them live the life they have chosen.
All people have an equal chance to go to either heaven or hell. That decision is made by the individuals themselves, in the form of every choice they’ve made to act in either a loving way or a selfish way.
Heaven has three levels: the heavenly or celestial, the spiritual, and the natural.
Those in the “highest” heaven are closest to God while those in the “lowest” hell are described as being furthest away. At the top of everything is God, who Swedenborg describes as a living sun radiating divine good and truth throughout creation.
Heaven is in a human form, with individual communities corresponding to the function of the organs in our body, with God being the spiritual “core” of the being, sustaining it just as we are sustained by our souls. Heaven is a place of inexpressible joy and peace.
Heaven is a collective entity made up of good people who perform an important use, much as we ourselves are made up of individual cells and atoms that are essential to the full functioning of our body. The animating force of heaven, as well as of living creatures on earth, is God’s love and wisdom. God is the very essence of life, love, and wisdom itself, the source and sustenance of all that exists. We are only close to God to the extent that we align ourselves with God’s will, thus opening ourselves to the inflow of God’s love and wisdom, i.e. heaven.
People who are not ready to experience a certain level of heaven will feel uncomfortable, even sick, and will be forced to retreat back down to lower levels until they have been properly prepared. This is even truer of spirits who are bound for hell.
Hell is the part of creation that is furthest away from God. If we visualize heaven as being in the form of a human being as described above, hell would be the area beneath that being’s feet.
Swedenborg did not describe hell as a place of fiery torment where God punishes sinners. Rather, it is human beings themselves who choose hell by consistently choosing to act selfishly or cruelly toward others. Also, there is no one Devil or Satan who is the counterpart to God. In hell the inhabitants are “devils” or “satans” and they torture each other by lying, manipulating and inflicting pain on others in an attempt to dominate and gain power.
To angels, the inhabitants of hell are twisted, misshapen and live in buildings that are ugly, filthy, and stink horribly. However, to the inhabitants of hell their surroundings seem pleasant and they can even be attractive to each other. Therefore devils prefer hell to heaven and would not choose to live anywhere else even if they were given the option. They find heaven repulsive and cannot stand its light for even a few moments. They perceive heavenly teachings as sickly sweet and may dismiss good people as being too idealistic or impractical.
As with heaven, hell has different regions and levels. The deepest hells are the darkest and coldest (as God is the source of light and heat in the spiritual world). The only light and warmth in hell arises from the fires of malice that emanate from its inhabitants. Those who live in the deepest hells are the ones who embrace evil on the innermost levels of their being, who love themselves more than anything else, and who find great delight in inflicting pain on others.
Origin of angels and devils. Like the angels in heaven, all devils were once human beings; there are no beings in either heaven or hell who were not once living on Earth.
Marriage (Conjugal Love)
If two people were truly of one mind on earth, they will live together as spouses in heaven too. However, if they were not happily married, or if their personalities are fundamentally different, they will eventually part ways. Swedenborg says those who did not find love on earth will eventually find their perfect match in heaven — no one is ever alone unless they wish to be. Reference.
Consistent with his observation that angels are not a separately created race of genderless beings, Swedenborg is adamant that gender characteristics are part of one’s spiritual substance and thus survive death. He says not only that there are marriages in heaven, but that such unions involve supremely pleasurable sexual experiences. Reference.
Civilization in the higher dimension
Individuals such as NDEers, yogic adepts and ayahuasca-using shamans who are privileged enough to have visited civilizations of the subtle realms universally report seeing many vast and celestially beautiful cities there. The most notable feature of these great cities is that they are brilliantly luminous. They are also frequently described as foreign in architecture, sublimely beautiful and grand beyond words. In describing one such city Swedenborg said that it was a place “of staggering architectural design, so beautiful that you would say this is the home and the source of the art itself.” They are also frequently described as having an unusual number of schools and other buildings associated with the pursuit of knowledge. NDEers have said that the buildings of higher learning they visited were not just devoted to knowledge, but were literally built out of knowledge. Reference.