What About Suicide?

This article is written to provide comfort and to give peace to those who have survived the loss of a loved one from suicide. In no way is it intended to encourage a person who is in a suicidal state to go ahead with their plans to commit suicide. 

For those who read this who may be in a suicidal state, please don't consider suicide as an option. The heartache that you leave for your family and friends is beyond comprehension. There is help - and time will help you deal with your feelings of hopelessness and despair; I know, for I was suicidal for 2-1/2 years myself. I can honestly state that I am glad that I didn't go through with my plans because of the havoc it would have wrecked on everyone within my sphere. For more information: Suicide Education and Information Center and the excellent Metanoia.org

What about those who commit suicide?

From what I have read in Emanual Swedenborg's [18th century theologian/scientist who claimed to have extensive experience of the spiritual world] writings, the act of suicide in and of itself does NOT put a person in hell. As explained in "The Straight Facts~Spiritually Speaking", a person goes to the "country of their heart". For all of us - when we first cross over, we are in an "in-between" place - Swedenborg called it the Spiritual World (I believe that Spiritualists call it Summerland). It is a beautiful place, and it is where we all go initially. As we cross over, angels of the highest heaven meet everyone and graciously welcome us. The angels love nothing better than to help and counsel those just crossing over. Whatever we didn't get to work on here, we work it out in this middle place before continuing to Heaven. A person who committed suicide will be met by these angels as well - and will have opportunity to work things out - and in no way, are they punished, mistreated or anything else that sounds grossly cruel. Compassionate people would not treat a suicidal person cruelly - how much more true this is of angels and of God! 

Is there a heaven and hell? And if so, what are they like?

Yes, according to Swedenborg, heaven and hell exist and they are inner, spiritual states within ourselves - "For, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you" [Luke 17:21], as well as real places in the spiritual world. Hell, according to Swedenborg, is not like we have traditionally been taught. Rather than the fire and brimstone of outer fire, it is the burning hatreds within an individual's heart that makes it hell. For more information:  hell.

God is always all-loving and all merciful. He punishes no one. He casts no one into hell - rather, He wants all to be in heaven - to be eternally blessed. However, there are people that do not want to be in Heaven - they would rather be in hell, unbelievably. We don't have to wait to get to the spiritual world to see this ourselves, but rather, we can see this in people here in this physical world. There are people who willingly choose to live in the hellish nightmare of hatred and uncontrolled, murderous jealousy and lusts towards others. The spiritual world is no different - those who have chosen this kind of life here - willingly continue over there. Hell is simply a place of segregation for those of like mind, so that they cannot hurt the good - and in no way is a place of eternal torment and punishment from God. 

Heaven is an individual thing - we simply go to "the country of one's heart." There are many places in heaven - some prefer to live in cities; others prefer to live more simply as people did hundreds of years ago. Whatever is the "country of your heart" is where you will be - happy and blessed for eternity. There is ample opportunity to pursue those things that were not available to us here due to any kind of constraints. For example, a person who is physically disabled might have had the lifelong dream to become a figure skater - this is all possible in the spiritual world. Or another person who desires to be an artist, but could not due to family and financial considerations, will have that opportunity to fulfill their heart's desire.  For more information: Death and Beyond.

Swedenborg wrote that it was relatively easy to get into heaven: 1) Love God; 2) Love your fellow person and 3) be of use (service). Swedenborg wrote that the first two go hand-in-hand. A person who professes to love God, but acts in hatred of his fellow person, does not love God. Conversely, a person who is very quiet about his belief in God, but acts in love towards his fellow person actually loves God. Swedenborg defined "use" as simply going about our daily life - whatever that is - and performing our responsibilities always out of love - to God and to others.

I have heard people say that a person who commits suicide is automatically "earth-bound" - is that true?

Swedenborg, to my knowledge, never mentioned an "earthbound" condition. It is true that there are some people that cross over that are so attached to things of this earth that they refuse to believe that they are dead - Swedenborg did write of such people. But if a person knew and believed that life continues after death, then just because they committed suicide would not put them in this state.

Just because you receive an afterdeath communication from a loved one does NOT mean that the person is in an "earthbound condition". It is the bond of love that connects us with our loved ones - and if there is love between two individuals, that bond will be just as strong as it ever was. Our loved ones are there right beside us - and in no way, does that mean that they are earthbound. Swedenborg wrote that married partners (in a happy marriage) in particular (and this can pertain to those engaged as well) are not separated by death - the deceased one continues to live with the one in this world until they cross over and they are reunited once more. For more information, please see Marriage in Heaven/Soulmates.

Aren't those who commit suicide doom to be reincarnated?

According to Swedenborg's writings, there is no reincarnation. He wrote that we are surrounded by spirits - and that sometimes we access their memories and believe them to be our own. This would explain why sometimes more than one person has claimed to be a famous person in a past life. Swedenborg's explanation does not discount the experience - this life was lived - but not by the person claiming more than one life. We have one life - eternal life - and we are ourselves throughout eternity. We retain our personality intact. For more information:  Reincarnation?

I have heard that those who cross over by suicide are in a gray fog or mist.

According to Swedenborg, all people are met by angels of the highest heaven when they initially cross over. If a person accepts these angels, they are then counseled and instructed about heavenly life. If people refuse to listen to these angels, then angels from a lower heaven are sent - and so on, until there is a "perfect fit" between the person and the angels/spirits that are helping. This is the person's own choice - and is not something that God or the angels arbitrarily decide.

This middle area where we all initially go to, as stated above, is a beautiful place - and there is no actual gray fog or mist. However, I have come to believe that the gray fog or mist that is spoken about is an emotional/spiritual gray fog or mist. When I look back on the grief and despair of losing my loved ones, I often tell people that I was in a fog - that my thinking was not clear. I believe with all of my heart that this is what is meant when we hear that those who commit suicide are in a gray fog or mist - it's their emotional/spiritual state - and they cannot see clearly. This state of mind affects their ability to see what is truly around them.

What about those who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol?

Swedenborg wrote extensively that a person has to be in a rational state for his decisions to be a part of his life. Obviously, a person addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and/or is in a suicidal state are not in a rational state of mind. Only when our minds are rational is when we are truly free to make our choices. When our bodies are addicted, there is no way that we are free - and God always wants our choices to be made in freedom. That's what happens in that middle ground - the Spiritual World. That physical craving for the drugs is not carried over into the Spiritual World. They are led back into a rational state of mind by the angels and allowed to make their choices at that time. Of course, many addicts have a good heart - and many do not - and it's there in the Spiritual World that they make their choices.

Here is a quotation by a Swedenborgian minister, Brian Kingslake, in his book "Inner Light: Swedenborg Explores the Spiritual Dimension" - 

"The second state [of death - after the initial crossing over and could be likened to a life review] can produce some surprises. [There may be] many who, while on earth, appeared to be good and wise and were respected by everybody are now seen to have been motivated by self-love or love of the world. All their respectability now falls away, and they plunge into unrestrained selfishness or acquisitiveness. Another person may have been a drunk or wastrel on earth, scorned by "good" people; or perhaps even a criminal - who knows? Yet in their heart they may have longed for better things; in which case, their good ruling love will now take over, and their disreputable exterior will fall away, leaving them sweet and angelic, as they always wanted to be."

Swedenborg did write that we are not to judge anyone as the Lord indeed instructed in Matthew 7:1. Only God can see into the heart of an individual and know what they truly are. God, who is Infinite Love and Mercy, makes every provision for all that long to be with Him and to live in love in Heaven to do so.

One last thought - if compassionate people refuse to treat a suicidal person in a cruel, illogical and condemning way, then I would think that God, being Infinite Love and Wisdom, would also extend those kindnesses - only in an infinite manner - more so than any mere person.

Here are some resources on the Net that may provide help in dealing with a loved one's suicide:

Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide (SOLOS) 1000 Deaths - for the Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide
Suicide Education and Information Center Tom Golden's Crisis, Grief and Healing Site
GriefAid Compassionate Friends
GROWW GriefNet
Living With Suicide Suicide Prevention & Awareness (SPAN)
Surviving Suicide.com
Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide
If you are at risk of committing suicide, help is available:
Befrienders International
24 Hour Online Help and Resources
A site by someone who has been where you are. Excellent Resources
Walkers in Darkness
Depression Sufferers Reaching Out to One
For Excellent Help on Preventing Suicide

For more articles based on Emanuel Swedenborg's
writings, click on the Links button below.