Do you think it’s simple to lead a heaven-bound life? Swedenborg, after all of his spiritual experiences, and conversations with angels, reports that, contrary to popular belief, “It is not so difficult to live the life that leads to heaven.”
Are you like many others who laughed or smiled incredulously when you first read or heard these words? This life often FEELS difficult. It can be hard to get up in the morning, get to work, make ends meet, meet the needs of family, friends and ourselves who are going through a rough time. It can feel like we are so busy scraping by with our natural life that we hardly have time to even remember that we have a spiritual life at all.
Maybe the heaven-bound life seems difficult because of what we think it is. In Heaven and Hell 528, it says that people have heard that they must “renounce the world,” and “divest oneself of lusts of the flesh,” and “discard worldly things,” and “walk continually in pious meditation,” and “spend their life in prayers and pious books.” After all, we could find several passages in New Church teachings that tell us, in more words or less, to do all of those things.
In outdoor survival, there are varying lists of necessities to keep you alive as long as possible. Having a shelter is always first. If all you can think of is a cabin or house, then you will have quite a time surviving in the wild, and you might just give up before you even start. If, though, you learn that a shelter can be built with a tarp and a stick, or with a lean-to of sticks and leaves, then your ability to survive increases dramatically.
Sometimes we over-think our spiritual survival. That laundry list of spiritual habits in number 528 above is good, and maybe something to strive for as we progress spiritually, but when it comes to “making it” to heaven, our survival shelter doesn’t require hammers, nails, bricks, or tractors. We can use what we have at our disposal already. Natural and spiritual people can live the same, the only difference being that spiritual people do what they do because the Lord said so, and not because people said so. As a person does this, they are gradually conjoined to heaven.
The phrase “it is not so difficult” is meant to inspire those who are stuck in a rut and see the good life as a cabin or house that’s impossible to build; and it is meant also to encourage those who are putting in a lot of effort and don’t feel like they are getting anywhere.
“You shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
You can do this.