Looks Like Heaven will Need to be on Earth After All
Many religions speak of a better place far off in another spiritual dimension where humankind will find peace and tranquility; where the mind rises to enlightenment, and the soul reaches Nirvana. Others look to the Second Coming when a messiah will appear on Earth and establish the Kingdom of God. In this kingdom, presumably, humankind will finally be united as one, brotherhood will reign, and there will be peace throughout the land.
In each one of these utopian worlds, people will necessarily be the actors in the story. And the only way for this story to be worthy of a place called heaven is if the actors treat each other with the respect due as if the moral law is as true as the laws of science.
Transporting ourselves to another world, in and of itself, will not make us better people, for we wind up being the same people wherever we go. Nor will a messiah – even if one appears — wave a magic wand and instantly make everyone a better person, and heal the chasms between the faiths. No, we will have to earn our place in this better world.
If heaven is to be real, it must involve real people. So when we pray for a better world, a place “up in the clouds,” aren’t we really praying for a higher state of being, of awareness in this world? Aren’t we really praying for someone – other than ourselves – to make us better people?
There is one way we know of where people undertake a greater appreciation for the world and other people – this is when we reach higher states of awareness, a global or universal attitude, rather than one fixed on ourselves, our family or religious symbols.
So the goal is the same as it always has been: we must rise to a greater sense of our true identity; perhaps this is the Hindu union of the self with God; the Christian blending with the body of Christ; or the Buddhist release from the wheel of rebirth. But whatever religious doctrine inspires us, we know that the path is up the same mountain: this is the climb toward a higher state of consciousness, of oneness with the root of being that is the source of the world.
Heaven is the climb inside of ourselves, the shining star that draws us upward to be a better person than we were the day before. There is no way up other than by a life of virtue, open-mindedness, and courage. When we finally get there it may seem like another place, but it will be a world that was there all along, hidden deep but waiting to shine.