The Second Stage After Death

People's second state after death is called "the state of the more inward elements", because at that point they are brought into an involvement in the more inward things that belong to their mind, or their intention and thought, while the more outward things they were involved in during their first state go to sleep.

As a result, when people are in this state they are involved in their very selves and in their very own lives. For thinking freely from one's very own affection is a person's real life, and is the real person.

People in this state are thinking on the basis of their very own intention, which means they are thinking from their very own affection or love. At this point, their thinking makes a unity with their intention - such a unity, in fact, that they hardly seem to be thinking at all, simply intending. It is almost the same when they talk; but there is the difference that they talk with a certain fear that the things their intention is thinking might come out naked. This is because their fear became part of their intention in the world due to the demands of civic life.

Absolutely everyone is directed into this state after death because it is the actual state of the spirit. The earlier state is the way people were in their spirit when they were in company, which is not their proper state.

Once people are in the state proper to their more inward concerns, it is very obvious what kind of people they were intrinsically in the world. At this point, they are acting on the basis of what really belongs to them. If they were inwardly involved in something good in the world, they then behave rationally and wisely - more wisely, in fact, than they did in the world, because they are released from their ties with a body and therefore from the things that darken and, so to speak, cloud things over.

On the other hand, if they were involved in something evil in the world, they then behave senselessly and crazily - more crazily, in fact, than they did in the world, because they are in freedom and are not repressed. When they lived in the world, they were sane in outward matters because they were using them to fabricate a rational person. So once these outward matters are taken away from them, their madnesses are unveiled.

All people who have lived in the world involved in what is good, and who have acted out of conscience (these being those who have acknowledged something divine and loved divine truths, especially those who have applied them to their lives) - it seems to all such people, when they are brought into the state proper to their more inward concerns, as though they have been roused from sleep and come awake, or have come from darkness into light.

They are thinking on the basis of heaven's light, and therefore out of a deeper wisdom; they are acting on the basis of what is good and therefore out of a deeper affection. Heaven is flowing into their thoughts and affections with something more deeply blessed and pleasant that they had not known about before. For they have a communication with heaven's angels. At this time too, they recognize the Lord, and are worshipping Him out of their very life; for they are involved in their very own life when they are in the state of their more inward elements, as we have just stated. Further, they are recognizing and worshipping Him from their freedom, because their freedom is part of their deeper affection.

Then, too, they are withdrawing in this way from what is outwardly holy, and are entering what is inwardly holy, where actual, true worship takes place.

No one enters hell until they are engaged in their own evil and in the false things proper to evil. This is because no one there is allowed to have a divided mind, to think and say one thing while intending something else. All who are evil there will think what is false there because of their evil, and will speak out of their evil's falsity. Both their thinking and their speech will come from their intention, and therefore out of their own proper love and its delight and pleasure, in the same way they thought in the world when they were in their spirit - that is, the way they thought within themselves when they were thinking from their more inward affection.

All souls arrive at the community where their spirts were in the world. In fact every person is bonded to a particular heavenly or hellish community - an evil person to a hellish one, a good person to a heavenly one. A spirit is guided there step by step, and eventually gains entrance.

When evil spirits are involved in the state of their more inward elements, they are turned by stages toward their own community. Eventually they are turned straight at it, before this state is completed. And once this state is completed, evil spirits themselves hurl themselves into the hell where there are people like themselves.

A separation of evil spirits from good spirits occurs in the course of this second state; for during the first state they were together. The reason is that as long as spirits are involved in their outward concerns, it is the same as it was in the world - the way evil people are together with good ones there, and good ones with an evil one. It is different when they are brought into involvement in their more inward concerns, and left to their own nature or intention.

The separation of the good from the evil happens in various ways. Broadly, it happens by taking the evil ones around to those communities they were in touch with through their good thoughts and affections during their first state. In this way, they are taken to those communities which were persuaded by their outward appearance that they (these spirts) were not evil. Normally, they are taken on an extensive circuit, and everywhere are exposed as they really are to good spirits. On seeing them, the good spirits turn away; and as they turn away, the evil spirits who are being taken around also turn their faces away from the good ones toward the region where the hellish community is which is their destination.