New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 83

  would be influenced by the spirits who are with you. And without contact from any other people in this world, you would especially need the influence of your guardian angels to counteract false thoughts that might be insinuated by evil spirits. (WEO) alone time Important as communication with others is, we do need to have quiet times alone to think. Self-examination, a critical part of our regeneration, is a solitary exercise, not a group project. When we are alone – not interacting with or trying to impress other people, or “plugged in” to some device – then we “think in accord with the interior love of our spirit.” (Divine Love and Wisdom 418) This might be a good thing, or not! Whether our solitary thoughts are wise or insane depends upon whether we are inwardly good or bad. There is a great use and protection in having our thoughts “bounced off ” others. But alone time, when we can more easily discern what we truly think and feel, is also important for our spiritual development. (WEO) thinking from appearances Imagine someone using a hose to water the garden in the backyard. The hose is connected to the house, so as far as the person can see the water is coming out of the house. It appears that the house must be full of water! But of course that’s not the case at all. The water enters the house through a pipe which is invisible because it is underground. It then travels through the house in another pipe that leads to the faucet that the hose is connected to. So now we see how the mind works, how water gets into a hose, and how the garden grows. And also free will, since the gardener can point the hose in any direction he wants. But just to make all this perfectly clear: the “house” is your mind; the “water” flowing into it is the influx of life into your mind from the Lord; the water flowing out of it through the hose is your stream of consciousness. The fact that as far as you can see the water originates in the house illustrates the appearance that thinking originates in a person’s mind (and many would even say the brain). Consider also that the quality of the water that exits the house depends upon the quality of the water that enters it. As every New Church person knows, “efflux is according to influx.” And while we’re at it, we might note that there is some water in the house, in the water heater, which we’ll compare to the memory, in which knowledge 259