Pretty much every day I ponder the meaning of life. It’s what I do. Why are we here? Why is here pretty much hell for so many people? If we’re going to be here, what should we be doing and why do we have to bother with it? And, I get answers. Usually when they come, they’ll come in clusters, from at least two sources. It’s this confirmation that signals me they are being sent to me, not me just making them up.
I am reading George Anderson’s Life Between Heaven and Earth right now. It’s a series of people’s life stories coupled to medium readings they have had with George and the life lessons that have come from the souls who reveal some of what they know now that they are on the other side. I wrote about doors a couple of days ago, how our earthly lives begin by walking in the door of birth and end by walking out the door of death, but meanwhile, we are going through a series of doors in between- that came from this book. Another common theme in the book is George keeps referring to this place, Earth(school), as Purgatory or as a proving ground. The spirits tell us this as well. We are here to learn, to grow, to be tested. This isn’t supposed to be a rose garden. This is supposed to be tough. For most of us it is tough. If it isn’t for you, just wait a while.
So, today as I’m walking, I decide to listen to the latest Swedenborg podcast. It’s on conscience. According to Swedenborg one of the primary reasons we are here is to develop our conscience. Conscience, according to Swedenborg, isn’t simply knowing right from wrong, it’s developing a love for what is right- for truth and goodness. Maybe a better word would be character. There is a new age teaching that we have this Higher Soul that is fully developed conscience-wise and that we can tap into that to make ourselves better people. The idea is to make our human side line up with our Higher Soul which is already evolved.If we did have this more evolved Higher Self, why is our human self so undeveloped? Swedenborg looks at it a bit differently. He’s probably call that Higher Soul our inner self. And, it’s not fully developed. We comes here to develop it. We come here to determine the shape of our soul. What we do here, what we love here, what we learn to cherish here- that’s what determines what we are like in the afterlife. That is what determines our place in the hereafter.
There was a time when I was a Christian that, like most Christians, I was hyper-focused on salvation. Salvation, for me, meant an escape from Hell. That was it. That was my only concern. I remember telling my counselor that all I wanted was to get into Heaven, just scrape by. I didn’t care about a mansion or what happened after I got there. Just leave me alone in a little corner by myself. Anything other than Hell was good enough for me. That is the result of thinking of myself as not being worthy and never able to make myself worthy. I was told my righteousness was “as filthy rags”. So, why even bother, if that’s what you’re told? Now I realize that I am supposed to work on myself. I am supposed to choose right over and over again, making myself a better person until it becomes a habit, becomes ingrained into my very nature and becomes what I love.
The last couple of years have been a major challenge for me. Not only has Shayna’s passing sent me for a loop, I’ve been facing a challenge with our business that seems completely intractable. I started a project a year ago next month, that should have taken a few weeks. The company I’ve employed to do the work has let me down time and time again. These delays have cost me tens of thousands of dollars and have put my livelihood at risk. Four months ago I was told the project would be finished in a matter of a couple of weeks. A month ago, I thought it would be a few days. I want to scream every curse word I know at these people. I want to not pay them for the work. I want to fire them and start all over. I want to take them to court and sue them. I am so angry and frightened that I cannot even express it. Kayla wants to go to Spain this summer with school. I can’t commit to paying for that until I know how this is going to turn out. Tywana and I want to go to Arizona this September and next April. I can’t commit to that until I know how this is going to turn out. I’ve been sitting in this valley a long time and the scenery is getting pretty boring. I’m ready for a change. And, every day, all day, I grind, trying to figure out what to do next to make it change. If I can’t get this done and it doesn’t work out, I might be looking for a job for the first time in nearly 20 years and I really, really do not want to do that.
Then, I read George Anderson. I listen to Swedenborg. I sit in meditation and leave this world of trouble, even if temporarily and only in my mind. I pull back and I look at the big picture. This life isn’t about the acquisition of things. It’s not even about comfort. It’s about creating the character I will have on the other side. I look at all of this crap that’s been piled on me and I think of it as a character building exercise. It’s an obstacle on the obstacle course. This life is about assembling that character.