There is a "ruling love" which a person keeps after death, and which never changes to eternity. Everyone has a considerable number of loves, but they all go back to a ruling love and make one with it - or, taken all together, compose it.
All the elements of intention that are in harmony with the ruling love are called "loves", because they are loved. Some of these loves are more inward, some more outward; there are some directly bound; some are nearer, some are farther away; there are various kinds of subordination.
Taken all together, they make up a kind of kingdom. Thus they are in fact organized within a person, even though people are completely unaware of their organization. To some extent, however, this is made known to people in the other life, for they have an outreach of thought and affection there that depends on this organization. This is an outreach into heavenly communities if the ruling love is made up of loves of heaven, but an outreach into hellish communities if the ruling love is made up of loves of hell.
First: After death, people are their love or intention.
Second: To eternity, people stay the way they are as far as their intention or ruling love is concerned.
Third: People who have a heavenly and spiritual love enter heaven; while people who have a physical and worldly love without a heavenly and spiritual one enter hell.
Fourth: People do not keep their faith if it does not come from a heavenly love.
Fifth: Love in act is what lasts; hence this is the person's life.
After death, a person is his love or intention.
This has been borne in on me by observed experience over and over again. The whole heaven is divided into communities on the basis of differences in the good that comes from love. Every single spirit who is raised into heaven and becomes an angel is taken to the community where his or her love is, and once there they are where they belong so to speak - as thought they were at home, where they were born. An angel senses this, and makes close friends with others like themselves.
When they leave and go somewhere else, there is a certain constant resistance. This is the effect of their longing to return to those who are like themselves, which means to their own ruling love. This is how close friendships are formed in heaven. The same holds true in hell, where people also form friendships on the basis of loves which are opposed to heavenly ones.
We may establish that after death people are their love from the fact also that there is a removal after death, a kind of carrying away, of the elements which do not make one with their ruling love. If a people are good, then all the things that are discordant or that disagree are removed and, so to speak, carried away. In this way they are installed in their own love. The same happens with people who are evil (the difference being that true things are carried away from them, while false things are carried away from good persons), until finally all individuals become their own love. This takes place when a spirit-person is brought through into the third state described below. Once this has happened, people constantly turn their face toward their inner love, keeping it always before their eyes wherever they turn.
The same holds true for people in this world: their own love leads them too, and they are led by others by means of their own love. It is all the more true when they become spirits, because then they are not allowed to present the semblance of any other love, or to pretend a love that is not really theirs.
All personal association in the other life evidences the fact that people's spirits are their ruling love: for in fact, so far as anyone acts and talks in keeping with someone else's love, that person seems complete, with a fully expressive, cheerful, lively face. But so far as anyone acts and talks contrary to someone else's love, that person's face begins to change, to become hazy, and to fade from view. Eventually the whole person vanishes as thought the person had never been there. I have often been amazed that this is so, since nothing like it can occur in our world; but I have been told that something like this does happen to the spirit of a person, which is no longer with another person's view when it turns away from that other.
Several times, I have been enabled to see how good, simple folk wanted to educate evil people in matters of truth and goodness, and how these latter ran away from this education; and when they reached their own kind, they grasped the false elements that suited their love with an intense pleasure. I have also been enabled to see good spirits talking with each other about true things, which the good people present listened to eagerly, while the evil ones who were also present paid no attention whatever, just as though they did not hear anything.
Paths are visible in the spiritual world. Some lead to heaven, some to hell; one to one community, one to another. Good spirits travel only along paths that lead to heaven, to the community which is involved in the particular good that comes from their own love. They do not see paths leading in other directions. Evil spirits follow only paths that lead to hell, to the particular community there which is involved in the evil that comes from their own love. They do not see paths leading in other directions; and even if they do, they do not want to follow them.
Since loves do define everyone's life in this way, everyone is examined as to quality as soon as they come into the world of spirits after death, and are connected with people who are involved in a love like their own. People who are involved in a heavenly love are connected with people in heaven, and people who are involved in a physical love are connected with people in hell.
Then too, after the first and second states have been completed, these two classes are separated so that they no longer see or recognize each other. All individuals become their own love, not only in regard to the more inward elements of their mind, but even in regard to the more outward matters that are proper to their face, body, and speech; for all people become an image of their love, even in outward things.
People who are involved in a physical love are wholly incapable of living in heaven's warmth, since heaven's warmth is heavenly love. They are however capable of living in hell's warmth, which is a love of cruelty toward other people who do not support them. The pleasures of this love are various kinds of contempt for others, of enmity, hatred, and revenge. When they are involved in these, they are involved in their own life, utterly ignorant of what it means to do something good to others on the basis of and for the sake of the good act itself - only of doing good on the basis of what is evil and for the sake of what is evil.
People who are involved in a physical love cannot breathe in heaven either. If an evil spirit is taken there, he draws each breath like someone hard pressed in a struggle. But people who are involved in a heavenly love breathe more freely and live more fully the farther into heaven they are.