“We are in equilibrium and in freedom to accept good and its truth from heaven or evil and its falsity from hell.” Swedenborg
This to me, is one of the most helpful teachings of the New Church. To know that our thoughts are sent to us, and that we have the power to choose which ones we will align ourselves with, can free us from despair and revive us with hope.
When we have conversations with other people, it is clear that we can agree or disagree with them. We can listen to them, but are always in freedom to believe and love what we choose, no matter how compelling they may seem. No one can take this freedom from us. This is also true of the dialogs that go on in our minds. Knowing that these thoughts come from the spiritual world, we need not condemn ourselves for evil or negative thoughts nor can we take credit for the good. We must however, take responsibility for those we embrace or make our own.
Knowing the source of our thoughts can be very helpful when we are going through difficult times. In distressing times it is useful to be able to recognize the distortions that come from the hells (evil spirits) and open ourselves to the angelic spirits who want to bring us peace and lead us to happiness. When we are vulnerable, the evil spirits delight in tormenting us with feelings of guilt, hopelessness and doubt.
It can help to picture the negative thoughts and feelings as coming from this outside influence – obnoxious spirits. This gives us the power and freedom to reject them. As we turn away from the bad, we open the way for good spirits to come closer to encourage and comfort us.
“Temptations are spiritual labor in us, for they are combats between evil from hell and good from the Lord.” Swedenborg