My initial urge to write this book wasn’t to simply add more theory to the writing about Emanuel Swedenborg, Carl Jung, Gestalt therapy or spirituality, all of which hold interest for me. While I have written about each of these, at times together at times separate, my approach is to move away from the theory on each topic and into the lived experience of each – specifically the lived experiences of both these men. Some readers may wonder at the use of the term gestalt in the sub-title. I use this with a particular purpose and as a gestalt therapist. As a psychotherapist this is what takes my interest and I believe adds to the potency of gestalt therapy as a counseling and organizational approach – the interest in being with and part of the lived experience of others outside of the traditional story (theory) about oneself that is recounted in therapy and counselling.
So my interest both with Swedenborg and with Jung is most heightened in hearing the stories of their lives. This is the rich immediate data of their memories and dreams and such, which they might theorise about however my excitement is more in hearing these lived experiences recounted and in seeing significant similarities and patterns between them as they tell their stories.
Both men kept diaries of their experiences across a variety of what we might call altered states of consciousness and which were primarily for personal use with Jung begrudgingly permitting publication of his Memories, Dreams, Reflections and after his death his Red Book was published though not his Black book. Swedenborg wrote both a journal of dreams and then a spiritual journal recounting his experiences, neither of which were destined for publication yet published none the less.
The similarity between the records, journals and experiences of both men is what fascinates me and leads me to write this book.
Swedenborg and Jung:
A Gestalt of Psycho-spiritual Development
Introduction: Page 13
Psychology and Psycho-spiritual
Part One Page 39
Science and Early Studies
Psychology of Religious Experience
Part Two Page 57
Dream Journal and States
The Experience of Opposites
A Question of Sanity or Metanoia
Part Three Page 99
The Near Death Experience
Spirits and the Unconscious
Death and Beyond
Part Four Page 133
Religion and the Experience of God
Love and Wisdom
Anima, Animus and Conjugial Love