Saturday, April 30, 2016

The kingdom of heaven is within

Pratihara, 10th Century A.D.
National Museum, New Delhi

The kingdom of heaven is an inner kingdom.

Hardly a new idea, Christ explained this several thousand years ago. Yet perhaps I get confused because I think that this refers to a location that is, in conceptual terms, geographic. Yet the geography of the soul is not locational. Not in the sense that we understand the physical world.

The geography of the soul is a geography of influences; we are closer to, or further away, from influences, that is, the kingdom of heaven is determined to a large extent by which influences we are under in an inner sense. So it's a question of state, not of physical location, whether a conceptual physical location or even an actual one (as those who think we rise up into heaven after we die would conceive of it.)

State determines everything; and state can, as anybody knows, undergo transformation, sometimes even within a single instant. The physical world mirrors these truths and establishes them as fundamental; yet they are merely correspondences (that is, physical laws and actions are) and merely serve as faint mirrors of the question of state from a spiritual point of view.

The world is largely composed of materialists. Even those who are professedly spiritual, especially fundamentalists (they are the most materialistic of all) are generally materialists. We all fall prey to this kind of mentality, because our physical body — with all its ironclad limitations — stubbornly insists on materiality, even though it is designed as a receiver of the spiritual. The ironies here are untold; but that's how it is.

So the kingdom of heaven is an inward or inner state; and it is incontrovertibly present within every human being, at all times, because the kingdom of heaven cannot be separated from the material; the material is the final emanation of the kingdom of heaven on the spiritual Ray of Creation — which is a different Ray of Creation than the physical one Gurdjieff mapped out in his teachings with Ouspensky. (There is yet another example of a spiritual diagram which strongly tempts us to think in material terms.)

The abundance, Grace, and Glory in the kingdom of heaven are immeasurable. They exceed all comprehension and descend (there's that erroneous reliance on location again—my bad) into the material as the temporal expression of God's goodness.

Yet God exceeds time. Gurdjieff, in his soliloquy on the creation of the universe, recognizes that. Much can be learned from attempting to understand that God and time are actually opposing forces; there are subtleties here that deserve contemplation.

In any event, the purpose here is to remind us — to remind myself, as is usually the case in these diaries of mine — that the kingdom of heaven is already here. There should be no doubt of this; and there should be trust in God. When we discuss our lack, our lack always locates itself spiritually under the dual influences of the presence of doubt and an absence of trust.

These two factors are what create the tension that blocks us.

 To make the work organic, to develop the sense of the marrow of one's bones, is to transcend the presence of doubt.

This does not by itself guarantee the presence of trust.


Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.

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