The Common Heart Project


Common ground. Mutual understanding.

Who is Chelsea?

I’m the creator and developer of the Common Heart Project. The Common Heart Project is one way I live out my desire to serve the Common Heart of humanity. As a lifelong Swedenborgian, a central driving motive of mine is to study, explore, and realize what this thing that Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about called “the new church” really is (see next question!). This motive informs my vision for the Common Heart Project and is a guiding force in all areas of my life, from showing up to my daily life and relationships, to the music I create and my creative writing, to my work for the Swedenborg Foundation, writing and creating as part of the offTheLeftEye team that produces the Swedenborg and Life show on youtube, and even...quilting!

What is the New Church?

First, don’t get thrown off by that word “church.” It’s way bigger than one organization. It already exists and although it’s in no one organization, it is recognizable in the world. We are all a part of it if we choose and it needs every one of us. It is a way of life in which love leads and truth is what teaches us what divine love wills. It is wisdom about spiritual life that supports genuine healing. It is harmony among many, a vision of humanity centered on love. I’ve met it in people of all faiths and in the nones. It’s mindfulness and the wisdom of loving presence. One way Swedenborg describes it is as a crown—the gold of the crown is divine love and the gems of it are all the varieties of ways that divine love takes form and finds expression in our lives and communities. It is more than I can put into a short paragraph here. Never stop asking and neither will I.

Variety in doctrine and worship are like the variety of senses and organs in the human body, which contribute to the perfection of the whole.
— Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven 1285:3

The Holy Qur'an

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other)." Surah 49:13

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks." Surah 2:256

"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians—any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." Surah 2:62

The Prophets

"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.'
...They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:1-3, 4

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:6-9

"I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jeremiah 31:33-34

Baha'i Teachings

"The Bearers of the trust of God are made manifest unto the peoples of the earth as the Exponents of a new Cause and the Bearers of a new Message. Inasmuch as these Birds of the Celestial Throne are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible Faith, they therefore are regarded as one soul and the same person. For they all drink from the one Cup of the love of God, and all partake of the fruit of the same Tree of Oneness." –Baha’u’llah

"It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in diverse attire. If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold Them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendor!" –Baha’u’llah

The Guru Granth Sahib

"There is but one all-pervading spirit, and truth is its name! It exists in all creation; it does not fear; it does not hate; it is timeless and universal and self-existent, You will come to know it through seeking knowledge and learning!" –The Mul Mantar

The Acts & Epistles

"Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.'" Acts 10:34-35

"When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.'" Acts 11:18

"Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears." Hebrews 12:12-17

The Torah

"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Genesis 1:27

"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice." Exodus 23:2

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord...The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:18, 34

"He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing." Deuteronomy 10:18

"The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." Psalm 103:8

"What is desired in a man is kindness,
And a poor man is better than a liar." Proverbs 19:22

“To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty." Job 6:14

The Upanishads

"The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.
The Lord is the supreme Reality...
The Self seems to move, but is ever still.
He seems far away, but is ever near.
He is within all, and he transcends all.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear. " The Isha Upanishad 1, 5-6

"The Lord of Love is one. There is indeed
No other. He is the inner ruler
In all beings...
The Lord of Love, omnipresent, dwelling
In the heart of every living creature,
All mercy, turns every face to himself.
He is the supreme Lord, who through his grace
Moves us to seek him in our own hearts.
He is the light that shines forever." The Shvetashvatara Upanishad 2, 11-12

The Gathas

"Since, O Mazda, from the beginning, Thou didst create soul and body; mental power and knowledge and since Thou didst place life within the corporeal body and didst bestow to mankind the power to act, speak and guide, you wished that everyone should choose his or her own faith and path freely." Yasna 31:11

"He who abhors and shuns the light of the Sun,
He who refuses to behold with respect the living creation of God,
He who leads the good to wickedness,
He who makes the meadows waterless and the pastures desolate,
He who lets fly his weapon against the innocent,
An enemy of my faith, a destroyer of Thy principles is he, O Lord!" Yasna 32:10

The Gospels

"The woman said to Him, 'Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.' Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.'" John 4:19-24

"'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, '"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.'" Matthew 22:36-40

"In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2

The Bhagavad Gita

"They live in wisdom who see themselves in all and all in them, who have renounced every selfish desire and sense craving tormenting the heart." 2:55

"As people approach me, so I receive them.
All paths, Arjuna, lead to me." 4:11

"They live in freedom who have gone beyond the dualities of life. Competing with no one, they are alike in success and failure and content with whatever comes to them. They are free, without selfish attachments; their minds are fixed in knowledge. They perform all work in the spirit of service, and their karma is dissolved." 4:22-23

"Arjuna, cut through this doubt in your own heart with the sword of spiritual wisdom. Arise; take up the path of yoga!" 4:42

The Dhammapada

“For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can. This is an unalterable law.” 1:5-6

“Those who recite many scriptures but fail to practice their teachings are like a cowherd counting another’s cows. They do not share in the joys of the spiritual life. But those who know few scriptures yet practice their teachings, overcoming all lust, hatred, and delusion, live with a pure mind in the highest wisdom. They stand without external supports and share in the joys of the spiritual life.” 1:19 - 20.

"Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do." 4:50

"Hasten to do good; refrain from evil. If you neglect the good, evil can enter your mind." 9:116

"Everyone fears punishment; everyone fears death, just as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill. Everyone fears punishment; everyone loves life, as you do. Therefore do not kill or cause to kill." 10:129-130

"Use your body for doing good, not for harm. Train it to follow dharma. Use your tongue for doing good, not for harm. Train it to speak kindly. Use your mind for doing good, not for harm. Train your mind in love." 17:231-233

The Tao Te Ching

"Highest good is like water. Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way." Book 1, VIII 20

"Through compassion, one will triumph in attack and be impregnable in defense. What heaven succors it protects with the gift of compassion." Book 2, LXVII 165

A life of neighborly love involves thinking well of people, wanting what is good for them, and feeling personal joy in the notion that others too are saved. If we wish to see no one saved but those who believe as we do, and particularly if we resent any other arrangement, our life is not one of neighborly love.
— Emanuel Swedenborg, Secrets of Heaven 2284:5