Heaven is a place on earth. Does that raise questions…sound absurd? Is it possible to experience a moment on earth that’s just like heaven? Only you can know for yourself…not believe for yourself…but know for yourself. Keep reading. Heaven may be closer than you think.
A big tough samurai warrior once went to see a little monk. “Monk,” he said, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience, “teach me about heaven and hell!” The monk looked up at this mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain, “Teach you about heaven and hell? I can’t teach you anything. Look at yourself. You’re dirty. You smell. Your blade is rusty. You’re a disgrace. Get out of my sight.” The samurai was furious. He trembled and his face turned red with rage; he raised his sword, preparing to slay the little monk.
“That’s hell,” the monk said softly. The samurai was completely taken back. He took a deep breath, deeply moved by the compassion and surrender of this little man who had offered his life, to give this teaching, and show him hell! He slowly lowered his sword, filled with gratitude, and suddenly peaceful. “And that’s heaven,” said the monk.
After reading the above story in a book called How Can I Help, I immediately thought how much we are like the warrior when something unpleasant happens and we get angry. Our upset fills us with inner turmoil and gives us an experience of life that we describe as “going through hell”. If that’s where we are left when upset, it’s not where we must stay.
Many people use the saying, “This is a slice of heaven on earth” to describe a beautiful place, experience, or time when they are present to what only God could create and make possible. Describing life that way is not normally what we do on a day-to-day basis. Watching your child being born, standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, and other amazing experiences, aren’t regular occurrences for most of us. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t experience life as “a slice of heaven on earth” on a day-to-day basis.
The key is being present to what God has created and made possible — day-in and day-out. Since God is love and we are created in His image, when our way of being encompasses love (patience, kindness, gratitude, gentleness, forgiveness, etc.), we experience the Kingdom of Heaven because we experience the presence of God, but only if we recognize the opportunity.
Recognizing and experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven is only possible in the present moment. Experiencing life as, “just like heaven” arises from our Godly way of being…right now; Not our human way of being. Here’s what I mean. Consider the two fundamentally different ways of being, from which we live our lives.
God’s way of being shines through when we are being: Loving, Accepting, Grateful, Faithful, Trusting, Forgiving, Hopeful, Joyful, Helpful, Caring, Generous, Giving, Compassionate, Kind, Patient, Understanding, Humble, and Authentic.
The human reactive way of being shines through when we are being: Hateful, Judgemental, Ungrateful, Fearful, Worried, Anxious, Distrustful, Resentful, Angry, Full of Despair, Miserable, Distraught, Uncaring, Selfish, Unkind, Impatient, Self-Righteous, Prideful, Inauthentic, and Fake.
As you can see, how much or how little we experience God and “heaven on earth”, depends on our way of being. When our reactive ways of being run rampant, we experience separation from God, just as the the warrior did. In our suffering, the Kingdom of Heaven seems far, far away. We fail to realize that God isn’t missing from our life. Rather, our reactive ways cause us to miss God’s presence. In missing God’s presence, we also miss the Kingdom of Heaven.
On the other hand, when we reflect a Godly way of being, we are in harmony with God. As a result, we experience God’s presence and peace and naturally describe life as…”just like heaven.”
Today is a part of everlasting life. Heaven and hell are words that can describe your experience on any given day. If you ever describe yourself as “going through hell”, take a deep breath and do what you must to adjust your way of being so you can experience the other side -the Kingdom of Heaven…right here on earth.