While obtaining his degree in communication studies from Oakland University, Curtis Childs experienced an internal battle with depression that led him to question God and his lifelong interest in Swedenborgian theology. After a period of intense suffering, he recovered from his depression with the help of modern medicine, therapy, and a return to the spiritually uplifting messages he found in Swedenborg’s writings. Now, Curtis is applying his education and desire to help others find peace through Swedenborg’s insights by producing and hosting his weekly webcast. He’s happiest when he can use Swedenborg’s concepts to help someone solve something they used to think was unsolvable.

a map to the afterlife unlike any other

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) went from studying the body to studying the soul and found how interconnected the two are. His record of nearly thirty years of wakeful exploration of the spiritual world gives us unparalleled insight into spiritual wisdom, which is the very light of heaven.  

In the vast landscape of spiritual exploration, Emanuel Swedenborg is offering a map to the afterlife unlike any other. His meticulous recordings of spiritual experiences and profound insights provide a comprehensive guide to the mysteries beyond our earthly realm. What sets Swedenborg apart is not just the depth of his revelations but their practical applicability to our daily lives. His teachings offer profound guidance on navigating spiritual growth and understanding the workings of heaven, providing a source of inspiration and upliftment even in our modern age.

Swedenborg’s legacy extends far beyond his spiritual contributions; he was a polymath of his time, excelling in fields ranging from anatomy to politics. Yet, it was in his mid-50s that he embarked on a journey of profound spiritual awakening, documenting every step of his transformative experiences. Through his keen intellect and methodical approach, Swedenborg decoded the complexities of the afterlife, offering a roadmap accessible to all who seek deeper understanding. As we delve into his vast body of work, we find not only answers to age-old questions but also practical wisdom to enrich our journey of self-discovery.

In the interview, Jannecke and Curtis discuss the spiritual beliefs that Swedboug had and what he experienced in his mystical experience. Curtis says that the afterlife is about love. Love is what makes you who you are. You are still you in the afterlife and people can still talk to each other, and you have a spirit body., he said. Love is what shapes everything in the afterlife.

Transcript of the interview

Curtis Childs 0:00

You visit different communities, people are friendly. But you know, when you're like I want to keep moving. I'm not home yet, until finally you find that place where you feel like, Oh, this is it. And there's even even actually, literally, a house there. That's waiting because the house is a correspondence with the mind. So over the course of our life on Earth, we've essentially been building this heavenly house, and then you get there, move in, and then life, life really begins.

Jannecke Øinæs 0:29

Hello, Curtis, a warm welcome to the show.

Curtis Childs 0:32

Thanks for having me. I love being here.

Jannecke Øinæs 0:34

I'm so glad we got to reconnect. Because the last time we had a lot of technical issues, and now we're, and I was really excited to speak to you, because you came on the show many, many years ago, when I discovered Swedenborg. And I wanted to have this chat again, to even dive deeper, because I know my audience is very interested in the afterlife. And I think you are as well.

Curtis Childs 0:57

Yes. How could you not be, you know, if everybody's extensively going to go there? It's an interesting thing.

Jannecke Øinæs 1:05

I know. But it's not everybody who actually is concerned about it. But I've always been so curious about where do we go when we die? And could you share a little bit to our audience today, who Swedenborg is because you are very, very passionate about Swedenborg, you have your own YouTube channel, and you you make so many videos, and you create so much content about Swedenborg talks work. And to me, Swedenborg have given us a lot of answers to the existential questions. So for everybody who's new to him, who was him, and why are you so passionate about this?

Curtis Childs 1:44

Yeah, I mean, Swedenborg is the best map I know of, of the afterlife. He is the clearest and most comprehensive and most extensive recording of these, these big answers to these big questions. And, and not only that, but like that. So the experiences that he had spiritual experiences that he had. The picture of reality that he paints is so uplifting, and so useful and practical or give, even today, this morning before getting on this, I'm using those principles to help me live my life. So I can't, I've never found anything better. So of course, I want to try to give it to everyone I can. That's why we have the YouTube channel. We've made like 1200 videos just going through Swedenborg accounts. And so Swedenborg was a he was just cool meeting of science and spirituality, because it was in the 1700s. In Europe, he lived in Sweden, his name was Swedenborg. And he was good at everything. He was good at everything. He was a renaissance man. He was a leading figure in anatomy, chemistry, botany, he was an inventor. He had invented technologies that were useful to Sweden in like their mining industry and their military. He was the assessor of mines in Sweden's mining industry, which you might say today, okay, well, but back then the mining industry in Sweden was one of the most powerful industries on earth. He was a politician, he was like in the house level. So he's, he's good at everything, you can go to Wikipedia, look him up, he was good at everything. But when he was in his mid 50s, he started to have spiritual experiences. And I know this, because he recorded it all. He documented it. And I think his are the most extensive set of spiritual experiences ever recorded all the way from the very beginning when he started to have dreams that became more than dreams. And he had what he called his spiritual eyes open to for the next 30 years of his life. He was every day having what we would now call a near death experience or spiritual transformative experiences. And so he used his big science brain and the way that he was used to mapping things out to clearly and in a straightforward way, explain, oh, here's how the afterlife works. Here's how heaven works. Here's who God is. Here's the path of spiritual growth. And I'm telling you, there's so much that's useful for people in there. So I'm spending my time trying to make sure everyone's got access to it, if they want to know more about the spiritual reality.

Jannecke Øinæs 4:18

Now, did you say that he had multiple near death experiences?

Curtis Childs 4:23

Well, so they weren't classic near death experiences in that there was some he had some great injury, and that's why it happened. But as far as like the what they were like, I mean, Raymond Moody was the guy who invented the term near death experience. And in 1975, he came out with his book Life After Life in case any of your audience aren't familiar, and it coined the term near death experience. This was the first time he was exempt. Raymond Moody was examining people all over the world in hospitals and things saying, Look, when you thought I was dead, actually, my spirit was out of my body. It was up on the ceiling and then I went toward a white light that that class basic architecture that we now have in that book, Raymond Moody was looking for, well, if this is happening, so many places now has it happened in the past, it should have. And he had sections in that book where he compared it to other things in history and near death experiences, other things in history. And he talked about the Bible, he talked about the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and he had a whole section on Swedenborg. Because while Swedenborg experiences weren't because he was in a, you know, an accident or something, but they were just like, near death experiences, and Swedenborg was having those experiences at will like he could control going in and out of them every day, for 30 years, the last three decades of his life, and he kept a running Journal of his spiritual experiences the entire time. But he also published 30 volumes of material based on those experts. So yes, he had 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of these experiences.

Jannecke Øinæs 5:57

And then I get curious, since you probably know, a lot of his experiences very well. Now. Have you been watching other people's near death experiences? And are they similar? Do you see similarities here?

Curtis Childs 6:10

Yes, I, I remember reading near death experiences back when back when it was first getting big. I wasn't quite around in 75. But early on, I remember reading Howard storm had my descent into death, Betty Ed, Mary Neal, George Ritchie, so many people and yes, absolutely. There was a, even now when people we see, we see videos of people all over YouTube talking about their near death experiences. And there's so many similarities to that. They're visiting the same world that Swedenborg visited. That's my conclusion. There's a guy named Kenneth ring, who was the co founder of ions, which is the International Association for near death studies, which is one of the oldest and maybe the biggest, like research organizations around them. And he wrote an introduction to a book about Swedenborg, he wrote, people who have had a near death experience have peeked through the door into the afterlife, but Swedenborg explored the whole house. So I think I was just speaking at the ions conference in DC a few months ago, showing how Swedenborg experiences line up with and and let's just line up with but explain near death experiences, because people will go, why do you see a light that loves you? What's the spiritual physics behind that? Why does it seem like there's no time and space? All those things that are wonderful, but but unexplained details. Swedenborg has a framework that explains this.

Jannecke Øinæs 7:35

All right, I would love to dive into actually your takeaway from Swedenborg about what happens when we die. And I assume obviously, in an interview, you can't cover it all. But sort of like an excerpt of your biggest takeaway of what the afterlife is about.

Curtis Childs 7:54

Yeah, it's about what you love. It's about what you love. Swedenborg opens his book, divine love and wisdom saying, I'm paraphrasing, but he says everybody talks about love, we we say we love this thing, or we love that thing. Or we feel love for this person. But nobody really knows what it is. Love is our life. Actually, the core of what makes you who you are is what you love. And not just like, Oh, I love I love this kind of candy. I like eating but more like what is the purpose that you strive toward in life? What is the thing you're aiming at what brings you the greatest joy, that's what makes you who you are. So the afterlife in the afterlife. Love is what shapes everything. Here in this world. physical worlds. Gravity shapes everything. We're on the planet because there's gravity their solar system exists because of how gravity works in the afterlife. Love is what makes you who you are, it's makes you become an image of what it is that you love. And it draws you are drawn spontaneously like gravity to other people who have similar kinds of love as you the entire afterlife is laid out based on what kind of love we have fostered in our lives and cultivated and ultimately become he taught he describes an afterlife that's got a lot of similarities to this life he says we're still people there and and not only that, but you are still you like it you still have your your personality you still have your your your life in the mind that you are. People can still see each other and talk to each other. This is like this is kind of common sense these days. But back in the 1700s before there was a bunch of Near Death Experiences. People didn't know they thought art Do you just become kind of disembodied consciousness or are you just some ethereal but Swedenborg was adamant that no you have a spirit Your spirit is a body just like your physical body. So you have you have hands you have a face. I mean people in near death experiences they always say I saw my leg grandmother who had died and she was younger and she was looking great, but but she was still a person. So there's an afterlife. And that's got similarities, but yet yeah has magnificent differences, that there is there is no death there, there is not space and time in the way that we see it here. Instead, he says there's their state of mind. So it's more more about rather than like, there's a clock that's dictating everything it has to do with what's going on in your heart and mind. Actually, everything there is shaped by what with the love and the wisdom that people have, that the homes that they live in, they the environment that's around them is a reflection of the things that are deeper within them, is a place where love and even thoughts can be shared communally from from person to person, is a place where everyone can sense and feel the love of everyone else in consensus and feel the love from God. So it is both something that's familiar and way above and beyond anything that we've experienced here.

Jannecke Øinæs 10:59

If I am Jannecke, when I die on the other side, what about reincarnation when I have been all these characters, and I go back on Earth, and I come back as Joe and I come back to Earth, and then I come back to the afterlife, as Curtis, you know, yeah. Oh, are you talking about that? We see our or we are our true selves, like the soul in the afterlife? Because I don't understand why I would be Jannecke

Curtis Childs 11:28

Yes, okay. So Swedenborg had a different explanation for the past live memories that people have. And this was back in 1700s went before there was really a concept in Europe of the idea of reincarnation, so but he had heard little bits of it, here and there. So a quick primer on how consciousness works from Swedenborg. We are a spirit and a body. So you have a physical part to you. And the conscious part of you. The part that's hearing me right now is your spirit, like that matter isn't conscious, but our consciousness inhabits inhabits this body of matter. So you have a spirit, and the spirit is, in the spiritual world, somewhere, you're already in that world, that your spirits is never alone, you human beings are actually very, very communal creatures. So you always have with you at least four spirits. Swedenborg talks about how they're necessary for you to have consciousness because they have to create sort of an equilibrium between love and selfishness so that we can make our own choices. There's this whole complex mechanics of how that works. So you have spirits around you, and you're being influenced by not just them. But the whole spiritual community, that you're in each of us throughout our lives are in a spiritual community, that changes as you are the kind of person you are changes. So why why our kids were little kids were they all like they are why they all have this innocence about them. In this playfulness, it's because when you're a little kid, your spirit is among the highest angels, and Swedenborg. By the way, when he uses that term, angels, he just means people who are in the state of heaven. So everybody in the afterlife, according to him, was once a person on earth. So an angel is somebody who is living from directly from really deep love and really deep wisdom. It's kind of like the difference between a child and then an adult, adult to Angel. So that when you're a little kid, you're among the deepest, wisest, most loving angels in your in your spirit. And that's why kids are like they are, as you grow up, you move to different communities. That's why you change as you grow up. But ultimately, we're being influenced by whatever community we're in at the time, as I said, just a minute ago, spiritual world is much more communal, then this one, in that you can actually if you're having a feeling of love, or joy, you can like directly transfer it to somebody, you can, you can give them that feeling. And also as as described in many near death experiences, you can communicate thoughts directly, doesn't even have to be through verbal sound. So we are constantly actually being sort of feeling the influence of these communities. And it shows up in the way that we feel and that we think Swedenborg mentions just a couple of times that normally the influence we have from spirits, it goes into our own memory and activates things within there. For example, the dreams that you have some of those I don't know what percentage are spurred by conversations that the spirits around you are having. But you know how your dreams have stuff from your life a lot of the time, like, you'll see people that you know, like what, why was that person from from school that haven't seen in 20 years? Why were they in my dream, According to Swedenborg argue that the conversation of spirits, the subject matter will fall into the things that you already have sort of pictures around. So he describes having an experience where there was a couple of angels around him talking about superficial mindset. And people that get sort of sucked into a superficial mindset. In Swedenborg stream, a person Swedenborg knew appeared that that Swedenborg thought had that mindset that the angels were talking about. So usually, it's like, you get spiritual influence, but it comes in through the filter of your memory. There are times when you get a direct what he calls leak, and you actually experience someone else's memories as your own. And so he says, This is why some people think that we live many lifetimes in this world, because you can actually observe, just like the life review, people get a near death experience, you can observe somebody else's life. And you because it comes into you, you feel it as your own. So to Swedenborg, the system that he laid out is that there's a constant progression and a constant growth. He talks about how in the afterlife, you are growing and changing to eternity, some of the processes you go through in the spiritual world are reminiscent of some of the tenets of reincarnation. We actually did a whole show called do we reincarnate where we go through the things but but he's he's said, You don't come back into this world. Because you exactly why because you are you. Each of us is a unique individual, he says that there's, you could never have two people who were the same. And the thing that makes us unique is we each have a unique form of love. Like, each have a unique form of love for the world and a unique way of understanding the world. And each of us is needed to be ourselves because we each are can can then contribute to the human race in a way that nobody else can. So you are still you, you are always you. But that you continue to grow and change and get more and more. It's It's a never ending process. You never feel like okay, now I'm, I'm as smart and as loving as I'll ever get. I'm done growing, you grow, grow forever.

Jannecke Øinæs 17:09

Wow, that was very interesting. That was a bit mind blowing to me. I'm noticing. I'm not sure if I agree with Swedenborg. But then again, I haven't been in the afterlife. But because I've always believed that we reincarnate. But it can be yet another perspective. It can also be his perception of it. So that's why I'm not like saying no, it's not like that. It is like this, because I believe we see things from different perspectives all the time. And somehow everything can be true at the same time also, in a way that I can't understand. And maybe we are also have lives on multiple other planets as well. But I want to jump into something I know you have been speaking about. And that is that heaven works like our bodies work. And I find interesting, what do you mean by that? Well, what does he mean?

Curtis Childs 18:07

Yeah, I well, first of all, I want to say it's totally fine for us to have different ideas about stuff. I don't I don't mind that at all. I think it's great. And I feel like what's important is the love side. So if we're using our ideas, to try to make ourselves better people will make the world better for people that that's what that's what matters. So yeah, definitely for anyone in your audience, take the ideas as you want to take them and use what you can use to live a more loving life. That's great. So oh, the human body thing, man. It's so cool. It is so cool. So, and this is Swedenborg. He felt when he looked back on his life prior to this, you know, he was talking about how he's a, he was a really accomplished scientist. He believed that he was being prepared by what he calls divine providence, which is the guidance that God has for everyone. He was being prepared for this phase where he had the spiritual variances with what he was learning in science before because what one of the places where he was most active and most accomplished was anatomy. He had written this bit, these big tomes on the anatomy of the human body, he had done a ton of work in their dissections, everything you did back then so he knew not as well as we know the body today. But for that time, for the 18th century, he knew the body about as well as you could and so he knew all about not just you know, the joints and bones, but even like the the nerve fibers and all the little membranes and everything. And it turns out that that knowledge absolutely was crucial to him understanding how the afterlife works, because the form of the human body is the divine design itself. So we are truly a microcosm, meaning a little version of the whole and this is most clearly illustrated in the way that he said Heaven is organized. To Swedenborg heaven was this It's anybody in the afterlife who is living the way they believe is good based on whatever their religious faith is. That's what heaven is heaven as you want to do good, because it's good. So anybody who fits that mindset is part of this thing. That's called heaven. It's open to anyone, as long as you want to start living that way. Heaven is organized, like the human body. If you think about the thing about the body that you're walking around, in, if you're if you're like, Oh, it's so esoteric, all this having stuff, you're living inside a model of heaven right now. Everything in your body, it works together, your body is the ultimate example of community. It is it is different things are so many different things are nothing like each other, you think about the difference between your, your your kneecap and your lungs, or, or your teeth and your cerebrum, they're very, very different. But they're absolutely one because of how they work together. And this is like the human race, we are different, and we're supposed to be different. But if we're all working toward the same goal, which is the good of all, just like in the body, everything is working towards the health of the whole body, then you can be this one thing, and you think about the how each cell in there is giving everything it has to the whole and receiving back everything from the whole. So if I'm the cell, in the liver, I'm sitting there, and I'm producing the enzymes that I need to produce, I'm doing my job, and I'm getting everything, I'm getting the oxygen from the lungs and the bloodstream, I'm getting protected by the immune system, you're giving everything you have, and you're getting everything you had, According to Swedenborg, the main joy, the thing that makes Heaven Heaven, is the joy in doing something useful for other people doing something that you know, is making people's lives better. It's just like everything in the body is doing something that contributes to the health of the body. And everything that the body gets, if you know, if I eat something that's got good nutrients in it, those get spread out to the whole body, everyone gets what they need from them. So Heaven is literally organized in the same way. It's not like it's a big continent shaped like the human body. But schematically, you can say, Look, this group of people in the afterlife, they are the eye of the grand human in the eye would have to do with it. What it does in the body is you see things you understand what's around you. So for the eye of the of heaven, it'd be people who are focused on learning and under understanding. And then they they distribute that out to the body Swedenborg talks about people who are in the arm of heaven are the people who are focused on on truth and the strength that that gives you just like our arms hold our strength in them. Every kind of person can perform some function that if you're if you're wise enough, if you if you studied enough, you can kind of tell Oh, yeah, this part of heaven, we're, we're kind of like the heart, you know, or we're kind of like the backbone of heaven, and that heaven is on the grandest scale is that perfect working together of things, which is the same thing that you walk around in every day, you have a little heaven that you're living inside.

Jannecke Øinæs 23:14

Very fascinating. And that makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, our bodies are so complex. It's like this multi tech device that no human can ever create, right? I'm just so amazed by my body, myself. And the older I'm getting, the more amazed I become actually. And I know you also can speak to the different levels of heaven. I'm not sure if this is actually directly linked to what we were speaking about now, because I do remember I saw a video with you where he spoke about or how to title like how to reach different levels of heaven? I think I remember right. So are there different? Or could you speak to that if there are different levels? And how can we reach the highest levels?

Curtis Childs 23:59

Sure. Yeah. So there, there's levels of heaven just like there's levels to the body. So you think about and actually, this does get a little strange, like, like all Swedenborg stuff. But there's a couple ways to think about levels in the body first, you can think about outer to inner so you got it you just right now you can see me you can see my skin, which is like the outermost layer, and then there's bone, but then there's brain inside there. There are things that are progressively more fragile. But but more can do more specialized and complicated things. So heaviness kind of like that. You have people who are performing and you need every part. Like you can't just say, well, we don't need to skin you're gonna be in trouble or we don't need the bones, you're gonna be in trouble. So there's some people who because of the life that they have, they want to live kind of like a simple, good life and they can protect things and and maybe they're like the skin or people who have like a structure and they they stand for things. They're like the bones. And then people who are doing this sort of deep spiritual work are maybe more like brains are the heart or lungs. So that's one way to look at levels. The other way, he said, though, is there are levels in heaven, like there's levels of the body size wise. So you couldn't think on like, a organ level. So let's think about the heart, you can just look at it as like, Oh, it's just one thing. But then if you were to zoom in, you could see and a microscope that actually what looks like it's just one thing is composed of all these layers of tissue, that there are so many of you go down to that level, there's, there's so much more going on there that you then you can see, when you just are seeing the heart, then if you zoomed in even farther, you can see each individual cell, that this whole thing is made up of these little compartments that really kind of have the whole human structure within them again, there's like the equivalent of a little brain and all the organelles and, and that mitochondria and all those things. So there are these layers in us and the levels of heaven. Swedenborg describes the levels of heaven, and they are levels of your mind opening. So you can have your there are three levels to the human mind, just like there's the organ, tissue, cellular level of stuff in the body, there are three levels to the mind. And however deeply you want to open those levels is how deep in heaven, you go. So the first level of the human mind is, is essentially obedience to what's good. So if you just say, Yeah, I want to, I'm willing to, I've heard that I'm supposed to do what's right, and not cheat and lie and steal, okay, I won't do that, I'll do what's good. And I want to live a simple, good life. That's like the first level of of heaven, if you open your mind to that you can come into this first level of Heaven is a second level beyond that, of opening your mind with this is what Swedenborg called the spiritual level of the human mind. And that is where we are in a deep pursuit of the truth, and seeking to live by the truth. So I want to know, in my life, I want to know what is true. And I want to once I hear it, work it out, figure it out. And finally get to the point where it's it's directing my actions, because I want to not because I think I'm supposed to. But then the third level, which is the celestial or heavenly level, is where you're not truth, lead, but love lead, where the desire to do good to others is the thing that's, that's driving you. And when you you hear spiritual principles, you immediately are putting them in practice, because that's what you want to live your life around those those. That's the basic description of the three ways of living. And as throughout the course of our lives, the more that we're trying to do spiritual growth work, the more we're opening those levels, we're meant to progress and progressively open them up. So having then becomes deeper and deeper, it's like if you just had, okay, I'm just my heart's my heart's open, or all the tissues, every little bit of my heart is open, or even all the cells within there, it's a deeper, more full, more complete opening of the human mind. And doing that, because in the spiritual world, your mind directs where you are, like I was saying before, the deeper your mind is open, the closer that pulls you to source, which pulls you deeper into heaven.

Jannecke Øinæs 28:25

Now, what did Swedenborg say happens immediately after we die.

Curtis Childs 28:32

So he, the thing he had that was closest to a classic near death experience, it's actually our channel is called off the left eye. And that's taken from this experience where he says that he was just being shown the dying process, but able to keep his rational faculty enough that he could see what happened. And he said that initially, he was being his breathing slowed down, he could feel his spirit start to pull out of his body, like he could feel kind of almost a pop, when it was coming out. And then he was fully in the Spirit. So he went there through a shortened version of the process that we all go through. He said that at first, he was in a semi conscious state where he was just really feeling things. And in that state, you are surrounded by heavenly angels. So those are angels that are like we were just talking about opened to the third level of habits so that they are love centered, love focus, the same angels that are around little kids are around you, and they protect you and make sure that you don't have any no disturbing thoughts come close that that you they try to hold you in sort of the last good thing you were thinking before you die and they make sure that you're safe and and your transition is smooth. From there. When you start to stir and wake up. They leave You've and what Swedenborg called spiritual angels are people who are open on that second level or or truth oriented, they show up. And what happened with Swedenborg was he said, it seemed like a covering was peeled off of his left eye. And that's when he gained the use of his spiritual sight. Everything in the spiritual world is symbolic, it all it all, the way everything looks and appears has a deeper meaning to it. So the left eye, again, we're talking about the human body and its significance. The left side of us corresponds to the intellectual or thinking part of us so to in the eye to the understanding in there. So a covering taken off that is like, you're seeing the truth clearly now. And that's when he started to revive and building though he was in the spiritual world. And this is what happens to each of us. Finally, from there. Often what happens for people depending on what their state is when they cross over, but often what happens is, they leave those angels and natural angels are the sort of the simplest angels come around. And that's where we feel most comfortable, because that's the closest to the state we were when we were an Earth. And then from there, the angels, the angels don't want to leave anybody. So Swedenborg says they will stay with you for as long as you want. They'll do whatever you want. If you say I want to go see what happened is like, I want to go and learn these things. Yeah, they'll do it. And I think you'll see this some in near death experiences when people have all these questions and they get these questions answered. But then we start to make our own way. Yeah, at some point, we have to go and discover who it is we, we have become and who we want to be. So there's this period of traveling through what Swedenborg calls the world of spirits, which is a place that's that's below heaven, where you start out, and that's where we we get kind of, you know, a centrifuge like a centrifuge, just like he's spin around some liquid. And if there's if it's mixed up heavier parts go to the bottom, lighter parts go to the top, we kind of get ourselves centrifuge so that if we're basically want to live a good life, but we're kind of held back by some egos or some issue, ego issues we have or, or something like that, it's a period where we clean that out, and we get it so that we're our authentic self. So So you, you say what you mean, and you are what, what you want, but you get sorted out, you get rid of all the gunk, that's that's weighing you down. And then from there, you go in search of your home, everybody has a home in heaven, because each of us, as I said, are a unique form of love. Like we, we are some kind of love and the understanding that comes from that, that is not like anybody else ever has been or will be in there some place in heaven, that is the perfect fit for us. And there's some community that's full of people who are similar to us, it's similar enough that we will feel like, these are my people like this, this is my I feel home with these people. So we you travel through the Spiritual World, everyone's very visit different communities, people are friendly, but you know, when you're like I want to keep moving, I'm not home yet. Until finally you find a place where you feel like, Oh, this is it. And there's even even actually, literally a house there. That's waiting, because the house is a correspondence with the mind. So over the course of our life on Earth, we've essentially been building this heavenly house, and then you get there, move in. And then life life really begins. Because as Swedenborg says, there's, there's much more to do and learn and see in the afterlife than there is here. It's kind of like, this was this was like, you know, getting ready for life. And there's where it really goes. Hmm,

Jannecke Øinæs 33:38

I get so many questions. But one question I want to ask right now is okay, so if there's no reincarnation, in a sense. Well, so where were where was I? Before I came down to this earth? What was I?

Curtis Childs 33:57

Yeah, I don't? I don't know. I don't know the answer that I would say. So. I mean, each of us, according to Swedenborg, is the we are an A an expression of a particular aspect of the Divine. So there's like this the soul that's in me, I'm some kind of little I'm not I'm not a piece of God, but I'm a thing that can receive a particular piece of God, like there's a part of God that can express through you through me. You can say the same thing part of love that can express or you expressed to me that it can't in the same way through anyone else. So there was always like that latent potential for us as far as like actually, where we are what are we? I don't know that he doesn't address that.

Jannecke Øinæs 34:45

Right. It's an interesting perspective. It's quite new. I feel like in that spiritual community, to be honest, how is this teaching changed you?

Curtis Childs 34:56

Everything seems everything about me. So I mean, it The funny thing is that Swedenborg will, he talks about all this stuff that's way out there to the heaven and spirits and afterlife. But really the the main, all of it is going back down to, here's a way to live, I would say that there's there's five things that I most often will use to navigate my daily life, I just gave a talk about this bar called them the Five Secrets of heaven. He didn't make that up. But But I sort of feel like this is like condensing what he's done. Like, first of all, like the concept that you are never going to die. That can affect your life in a couple of ways. First of all, it takes away your fear of dying, I would be afraid to die in that I wouldn't want to leave my daughter and my wife behind, I wouldn't. But as far as like, what's actually going to happen to me, I kind of feel like, all right, I just had my birthday, like two days ago, and I turned 39. And I was like, getting closer to Heaven, you know, like, I'm moving along there. So that's nice. But then also, knowing that you're never gonna die, lets me focus on what's eternal, instead of on what's temporary. So According to Swedenborg, like, you know, obviously, your body as wonderful as it is, it's got a shelf life, but, but then even things like your rank in this world, the wealth that you have in this world, even your reputation, that stuff is is temporary, the stuff that's going to stay with me forever is what kind of love I have, and what kind of wisdom I've pursued and, and use. So I can be like investing in things that don't disappear. So that helps give me perspective, even if I'm like, I was, yeah, I was given, I had to go give a big speech recently, like, in front of a bunch of people. And I was when I was putting it together, I was feeling nervous. I was like, Is everyone gonna like this? Is it gonna go? Well, and I just had this moment of thinking, Well, what's temporary about this, and what's eternal about this temporary, what they think of me, it's temporary. Sure, they'll think for a little while, eventually, they'll forget it all, forget it. And when we get into the afterlife, and everybody sees the big picture, doesn't matter, doesn't matter. What's eternal, though, is if I didn't give them some good tools from this, it was about Swedenborg. If I can give them something that they go use, and it changes their heart that can stay with them forever. So what's more important, and my attitude going into this, if I can use this to say, like, oh, I actually don't care. I'm not trying to be better than these people. I'm just trying to do something useful. That that's, that stays forever. So that can that's secret number one, and that that can affect you. Because knowing, knowing where someone thing is going affects how you live it. What Why do you care in high? If you're in school? Why do you care about trying to do well there because you know, you're gonna go get a job later, if you didn't know that you wouldn't understand. So me see, being able to see a basic outline, I'm sure there's so much that I don't understand. And so we're going to learn about how afterlife works. But knowing the basics, I can orient like, here's what's important. And here's what's not important. Number two, the influence of spiritual world on your mind. And not just the positive influence, but the negative influence as well. I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression. And in reading Swedenborg, and his description of how the afterlife is just full of people, it's just all of us that have gone there. Some people are kind and loving, some people are not, and they try to harm you and take advantage of you just like here, where I you know, my, my phone is always ringing with calls from people who are trying to scam me, they're just calling in, or I get emails all the time where people are saying, Hey, don't you want to give me your credit card number, I've found a bunch of money and I'll get, they're just trying to take advantage of you. So it is with the thoughts and feelings in your head. Like some of them are coming from a loving place in the spiritual world. Some of them is just people, same kind of thing. So I've been able to, with the negative thoughts that I get and the worries and the fears that I get, I've been able to just say no, I don't need that. I know where that's coming from. I don't need it just like a spam call. So that's been super useful to me. Secret number three, is that problems are okay. Problems. Okay. There's this thing that I mentioned before, called divine providence, which is a god's directing of life. So that not that things that happen in life aren't painful, and aren't hard and sad at times. But ultimately, they're going to turn out to be okay. Because Providence will always use the challenges we have to even though there's temporary suffering there, it will make it so that eternally we benefit from that. So it will change who I am for the better, even if it's difficult so I can No, it's alright, whatever happens, something good eventually is going to come out of this. Then there's also one of the sequences usefulness is happiness. Which is, like I said, with each little cell in the body, wanting to give what it has to the body and receive everything. There's a certain joy you get in knowing you're doing something good for someone and thinking about the impact that has that that joy is the foundation of heaven. So there's all kinds of joy we get from all sorts of things. And they're all good. But the one that grows forever and is the one that on which all the others rest is that joy and being useful. So I can look for that in my life, and say, What am I feeling that? How do I cultivate that? How do I make that a priority in my life. And then the final one I use is called The Secret of bad things, and good things both feel good. So Swedenborg talks about what he calls the pleasures of insanity, that, that you can like, if you're mad at someone for how they're driving, and you want to yell at them, that that there's so it sort of feels good to be mean to people. Sometimes it can feel good to cheat people and mock people, whatever it is, we often you look out at the world, why is everyone doing such terrible things to each other all the time. Because it feels good, because people want to do it makes them feel powerful, it makes them whatever it is. Just because it feels good, doesn't necessarily mean it's good. So it gives me the chance to look inside myself, and really try to say okay, even though I like all these things, are there any of these that are actually making someone else? miserable? Is there anything in here that is actually blocking me from heaven, which is a love for everyone? So I will use that as well. But those are the those are, I think the main ways in which moment to moment, I will use Swedenborg teachings to live differently than I would if I didn't have them.

Jannecke Øinæs 41:25

Yeah, I really love the focus on love that he has, I mean, it doesn't really matter when nobody knows exactly what is going to come when we die. And I've interviewed so many people around about these near death experiences. And they have different experiences, like there is a red thread there, somewhere experiencing the tunnel and stuff like that. But I've also seen some contradictory things that people say, but to me, I explained that in the way that well, nobody has the whole picture. I don't think we all have or nobody has the whole picture. And I don't think we can see it. I think we we are different perspectives of the truth in a way. That's how I explain it. I want to throw in a question, if it is so that we only have this life, but I don't quite believe but if it is, so why would I choose this life? And then another person would choose a life of suffering? Even like, you know, dying at one years old or when a woman miscarriage, miscarriage? Or if you choose to become horrible person?

Curtis Childs 42:48

Yeah, if you do look out at life, and it seems like there's such a wide array of the kind of lives that people have. Yeah, there's some people who only get like, there's such a short time at it. Some people are born into devastating circumstances. Some people are born into great circumstances, and some people are in the middle. So how is that good, unjust, unfair? And why? Why does it happen? The only way that it makes sense to me is is to is through the first secret of heaven, that you're never going to die. And that this world is serving to create a foundation for which we can go and live the eternal life. And that Providence is using all circumstances to create the best foundation for that person. As far as why is there suffering in the world? Like why does that happen? That that is because people can mess stuff up if they want to. And I mean, on a large scale like what why are there their kids right now who are don't have enough to eat? Because people are callous and uncaring and cruel. And I've chosen like, I'm not going to feed these kids even though I could. And that that has real consequences. And we are we have a lot of us have to live more painful lives. Because you will look back in history, like Where Where did the current conditions emerge from its people making choices to choose like, I'm gonna conquer these people, I'm going to act selfishly towards these people. So that makes it so that pain enters into life. What Providence will make sure of is that kid who is born into poverty and and loves only a few short years, that that enough of the foundation is built there that they can live a happy life forever on the other side. So the Swedenborg has this passage in one of his journals of spiritual experiences about what why do we die when we die? And he lists these different points that affect the length of life on Earth. One is the trajectory of our spiritual growth. So we will live the amount of time in which it's, it's the, it creates the right foundation for us. The tweet more talked a lot to people in the afterlife who had died as children, and there's like pros and cons to it. So they had grown up in, in heaven, and so had this wonderful upbringing and like they described like the way that schools are there, and that they're taught by through these, like, he calls them representations, it almost be like sort of like holograms, that is amazing ways in which their minds are fed, he talks about women there who had been really love children, and they take the kids right after they die and, and like, raise them and as if they were their own. And I thought, you know, my sister died when I was six. And so I often thought about this, you know, so there's this amazing conditions that these kids grow up in, and they have these wonderful lives. But the kind of mind that produces is different, there's a certain innocence to them, they don't really know I haven't really encountered evil like we have here, they can form a certain part of the body of heaven. But But you and I, and other people going through a whole life you're encountering, we form a different kind of mind. And so we can, we can perform it from a different kind of heaven, if you didn't have both kinds, the whole thing couldn't function, like it does. So somehow on the grand scale, my life is perfect for creating the kind of who Curtis is going to be, and they use that I can have forever. Also, another thing, another thing that affects the length of our life is our usefulness to the people around us, like the way that we impact their lives. Because all they're all on their spiritual journey. So, you know, like, for example, my sister, she she had a short life, she was eight. Yeah, I think she's eight, when she's if she's absolutely affected, who I am, who my parents are a lot of people like that. So in some way that life affects us, and ultimately will be brought to good, I'm not happy that it happened. It's like, and I wouldn't wish I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Like I don't want my daughter to experience that kind of loss. But I think I'm going to see my sister again. And I think that I'll that I'll bring a certain depth to it and a certain love that that I've gained over the intervening time. So there's it also though there's, in the why do we live the life we live, we have a we are useful to spirits and angels as well. So right now, the human race on Earth, Heaven wouldn't be able to exist without us here. Like we're right now part of a single system with heaven. It's just like the human body, right? You have to have the skin, or else everything. Well, it's in a way people on Earth are like the skin like we have to be here. The kind of thinking that we're thinking Swedenborg could see this in his experiences that what his sort of simple by comparison, human thinking that provided a foundation by which the angels could have the life that they have so so even now, even if you're living alone, and you feel like nobody cares about me, I'm not doing anything, you are absolutely doing something you are in ways we can understand like you are making something good possible. It's an incredibly complex system, you think about like the biggest supercomputer, and what are all those little parts doing you think about the human body, what are all that we don't always know, but in some way, the overall my life is is going to is just right for the human race. Getting to where it needs to go. Now, if everybody in their hearts would choose like to not be selfish and greedy, and power hungry and abusive, and everything else that creates that we could all get to where we need to go with with much less pain and misery. Swedenborg talks about how back in sort of the earliest days of the human race before a love for power kind of took over, that people lived very, very much better lives like people would would die of natural causes. When they were getting older people there was open communication with the afterlife. So if somebody you love did die, you would still be able to talk to them and know that they were really there and everything that this this was how the human race used to be but but our tendency, our move towards selfishness and materialism kind of blocked that off. So now we have all these problems we have now but but if we all decided we're really going to be good and do spiritual growth and reopen that you would get back to where everybody could learn and do everything they need to do without all that suffering. So it's not like there has to be that suffering. But yet, even though the suffering is there, because of what we've chosen, Providence can make sure that that everyone is okay. Everyone gets a fair chance and you can't know even if even if it's in this would be the last thing I say about it. But there's there's so much on it. You can look at someone who said what if what if somebody's born into bad circumstances and they're surrounded by people who are acting in a negative way, and so they become negative themselves. You can never Know, you can never judge someone's spirit. So you can never know what their motives really are. It could be that somebody who you look at their life and you say, well, that person is doing all these terrible things. It could be that they've actually made a lot of progress because they've resisted things that they could have done even more than that. Or they felt like we don't know, you don't know what someone's spiritual progresses. And Swedenborg says, it was actually surprising to some people, he thought, like, oh, that person in physical life, he thought that person is a mess. But in that when he saw them in the afterlife, it was like they were doing great. So you never really know. So that's my answer. I mean, it's like the biggest question in the world, but but those are a few of my thoughts on it.

Jannecke Øinæs 50:38

Yeah. Wow, this is interesting. I mean, wisdom from North is all about different perspectives. And I like to stretch my mind. And who knows, right? Who really knows. Yeah. And another thing is that we have free will. So it seems like, you know, we can do whatever, actually, and we just need to follow our own inner compass, we have a choice, I do think we have a choice go after the positive path.

Curtis Childs 51:06

And it matters, it matters, you know, that the joy of you? Like I Yes, we don't like people should not be suffering like they are. And we can make the choice to help them. Like, that's really out there. And that can make a real difference in their life, having less suffering in it. So that's like, that's like, it's it's meaningful, you know?

Jannecke Øinæs 51:27

Curtis, I have three questions that I asked him, I guess, first one is what is self love to you?

Curtis Childs 51:36

Okay, so I what I usefulness is the greatest joy of life. So what I want, what I would want to do is to take care of myself in every possible way that I can, so that I can engage in usefulness and be happy even though even today this morning, I was thinking about, like the life I'm trying to build around me and I'm trying to have their nice nice home and have it clean and, and building up friendships, everything I'm doing. Ultimately, I think I want to have a healthy body, healthy mind and a healthy body. So that ultimately I can go out and, and do what we're doing right now go and be useful. Because I know that's going to be the greatest happiness. So not just love myself as the final end, like, but like I love myself so that I can participate in something greater, because that's when I really feel happy.

Jannecke Øinæs 52:28

And what is happiness to you?

Curtis Childs 52:31

Okay, yeah, I think that happiness is a balanced and complete existence where you are, where you have a living for something that's greater than you, you are working when you need to work like it includes, it's not just like I just can can lay around like it includes you're doing hard work at times you're doing putting that spiritual growth work in, but it's you're pushed on by the sense of something that's, that's greater and bigger, and you're able to, at times, just enjoy simple little pleasures at times you're working, but all of it under the umbrella of like, life is good. And I get to be part of making it better. I think that's, that's like true joy, that you know, kind of ebbs and flows like the, like the day night cycle, or like the seasons, but ultimately, you know, I look, you look back a few years and like I'm in a much better place now. And then a few years, I'm in a much better place, I feel like that continuing to get better is That's happiness.

Jannecke Øinæs 53:34

And what is the deeper meaning of life from your perspective?

Curtis Childs 53:41

There is a joy in that there's something that's called the divine intent that Swedenborg describes who said the divine intent is that everyone should be most profoundly and fully happy. I think that the idea that life can, we can iron out and erase that suffering, we can get it to where everyone is most profoundly and fully happy it is. It is a lot of work between here and there. But pursuing that is the reason why I'm interested in spirituality in the first place. Because I feel like it offers the promise of that in a way that nothing else does. So the deeper meaning of life is I want to get it to a place where we're Sunday. Everybody's waking up fully and profoundly happy and just the relaxation, the relief and joy of that. And then that I think is the deeper meaning of life.

Jannecke Øinæs 54:36

Beautiful, very inspiring. And I just see behind you you have this YouTube something I think you've reached a certain subscribers so congrats on that.

Curtis Childs 54:49

Thank you. Yeah, I put it this I put it back there. So that this is actually the set for my second channel. I just started a reaction channel but it's basically just is letting people who tuned in for the first time know like, oh, this the I want to watch this. It's like I go back and forth. Like, I don't want to try to be bragging about it. But it's like, it's kind of like because there's so many channels, people don't know what to watch. It's just like, yeah, we've worked hard. So this is our off the left eye channel, which is youtube.com/off, the left eye. It's 100,000 subscribers, which is really awesome. YouTube sent us that little metal square.

Jannecke Øinæs 55:23

That's so cool. I didn't know that to get that.

Curtis Childs 55:27

Yes, yes, I know, you'll get there. You'll get there soon. It's, it's fun. Because, you know, it's just a little silly, but it feels good to feel like, okay, this represents a whole bunch of people getting something that they liked from us.

Jannecke Øinæs 55:43

So yeah, I know. I mean, it's encouraging that the videos are reaching out that the messages are reaching out. And I find that myself that, you know, it's very inspiring to see that this is engaging, and I really want these messages to be spread, right. So it was sort of an inspiration from YouTube like, and

Curtis Childs 56:02

yeah, because you're being useful. It's an indicator that you're being useful that you're saying I want I want these messages to be out I want them to because it has to impact the human heart. In order for that human to say I want to click subscribe, so has to be doing something useful for them. So it's an end. It's like a little reminder, this is useful.

Jannecke Øinæs 56:17

Yeah. Thank you so much, Curtis. This has been very inspiring. Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring work with Swedenborg and your YouTube channel.

Curtis Childs 56:26

This was so fun. Thank you for having me back.

Curtis Childs – Official site


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