Sunday, June 8, 2014
Heaven is not a separate place
We speak of heaven and earth as though they were two different things; and in dividing, although we discriminate — which has some accuracy in it — we separate things that are all within the single Being of God.
When Gurdjieff wrote about the holy planet Purgatory, it was as close to heaven, it would seem, as one could get; yet he made it a real place, and some people hypothesize that Earth is actually the holy planet Purgatory.
But there is no need to delve into Gurdjieffian hypotheses in order to understand heaven. We have it within us; and it also exists outside of us, because it is everywhere. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is within; and this is because the higher can only express itself through communication and relationship with the lower.
The Kingdom of Heaven is born through Being; that is, it begins and ends in consciousness and the perception that consciousness has of the good. There is no heaven without a conscious perception of the good; and we can be clear enough about this. Everyone would, after all, agree that no perception of the bad could constitute heaven; and if we endorse a nihilistic view, presuming no consciousness at all and (hence) no perception at all, then, nothing exists, and heaven is extinguished along with all the other candles.
So here we are; and what Christ said is indubitably accurate, because we find heaven within ourselves.
Now, I thought last week about what hell is like.
Is hell, I thought to myself, hot, or is it cold? and then, finally, I thought to myself, perhaps hell is what I like.
This may seem paradoxical, because surely heaven should be what I like, not hell; and yet it is interesting to think this way. Because so often, what I like is my downfall; and what I like comes from my own will, my own subjectivity, my ego, my opinions — so how could it really be? It doesn't represent that Great Love which we should all aspire to; it is composed of smallness, comes from smallness, and demands smallness not only from myself, but from the world.
In this way I contribute to the narrowness that destroys; and we are all party to that vandalism.
There is a greater and a better way, and it might not be the way that I like; but it would be the way that is righteous and the way that is good. I would have to come to know it through what was righteous what was good, not through the things that I want for myself.
In this way, perhaps heaven could come to me, to everyone; I don't know.
Within the blooming flowers,
The fallen trees,
The darkness of the woods,
And the green leaves of the spring—
Heaven is lurking,
Waiting for me to discover it
Whether I like it or not.