While it has always been a subject of fascination, it seems that the existence of heaven is more and more frequently a topic of public conversation these days. From the sheer number of near death experiences (NDE’s) purporting its’ reality, to the variety of popular books being written on the subject, heaven has become mainstream. And, though much of religion relegates heaven to some place in the afterlife, many have begun to ask themselves if we were not intended to experience some measure of heaven’s reality NOW.
The Kingdom of the Heaven or Unseen Realm (as it is described in the Scriptures), while intangible to the five natural senses, may be more easily understood as the Invisible Dimension of Spirit. While imperceptible to ordinary consciousness, it could be considered much like an ever-present parallel universe which is intimately connected to our own. Whether or not it is possible to have an experiential awareness of that Reality simultaneous to a mortal existence, either partially or perpetually, is the underlying question.
“Seek those things which are above……set your affection on the things above, NOT on things of earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2
“For the Kingdom of God (heaven) IS……..righteousness, peace and joy IN the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17
“But God……has raised us up together, and made us sit together IN heavenly places.” – Ephesians 2:4-6
“Rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell in them.” – Revelation 12:12
In order to erode any preconceptions which some may have about what heaven is or is not, it may help to start by asking a couple of the questions Morpheus posed to Neo in The Matrix:
“What is “real”? How do you define “real”?” “If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
Correspondingly, quantum physics continues to reveal the illusory nature of the visible universe with the discovery that everything of a material substance simply takes form at a denser vibration or frequency of light. This gives it the appearance of solidity, much like a hologram. According to science, even atoms consist of 99.999% empty space. In fact, no matter how small you break down these particles on the subatomic level you discover the phenomenon that everything is actually made up of “no-thing” which is tangible to the human senses. This no-thingness has more accurately been described as the Invisible Energy by which all things are connected. The ancients called this the Ether or the ethereal fabric of the universe.
Not surprisingly, the idea that the material universe is an illusory and fragmentary appearance is something taught in almost every spiritual tradition:
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world (cosmos=pattern, arrangement),” while simultaneously declaring IT to be a Present Reality, in that, “the kingdom of God IS within you.” He qualified this first, however, by saying that “The kingdom of God does not come by (external) observation.”
The Apostle Paul said it this way,
“We look NOT at the things which are seen, but at the things which are UNSEEN, because that which is seen is passing away, but the Unseen things are Eternal.”
In similar manner, the Upanishads declare that the phenomenal universe is only maya. In both Hinduism and Buddhism the term “maya” has been understood to be synonymous with “illusion” or that which perplexes our individual consciousness through an “outward projection of that which is concealed or hidden.” It’s literal meaning, “Not That” beautifully expresses the relationship between the relative and the Absolute. In other words, Absolute Reality is Not That which can be reduced to a concept or compared to anything else. The duality of the relative universe, therefore, is merely a projection within Consciousness which veils the Unity of our True Self and the Transcendent Reality of Oneness underlying all material appearance.
A further clarification of this idea is found in the primary axioms, or self-evident truths, upon which the mystics and sages based their thoughts regarding the phenomenal universe, in that, nothing which is Real can be created, dissolved or destroyed. For THAT which is Unchanging cannot be subject to physical laws such as cause and effect.
Our understanding then of what actually constitutes Reality, and how that is consistent with the experience of heaven, may be instrumental in removing the veil of unconsciousness which has separated us from truly knowing heavenly bliss, peace and joy.
Reality is immutable. If it could change, it could not be considered REAL in any definitive sense. Matter, however, changes (in size, in form, in substance), therefore, it cannot be Real in an Absolute sense. As the blades of a fan spinning very fast appear to be motionless, so the Absolute is Changeless despite the infinite expressions and manifestations of our relative experience.
In the profound words of A Course In Miracles,
“Nothing REAL can be threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
We may find that the distinction lies between Being (Consciousness) and doing (individual consciousness). Being IS the Reality of who we are IN GOD. Being is not the result of doing, action or process. When actions align with Being, we may (on an individual level) experience a greater realization of our Infinite Nature, but it is merely a revealing of That Which Always IS, not a process of becoming That, even though it may seem that way based upon sensory perception. It is only when we objectify the Reality of the True Self through a filter of an individualized perception (as if they could be separate) that we try to define IT based upon material concepts (time/process) or natural attributes.
There is certainly an extremism which completely denies any purpose to physicality or materiality. The illusory nature of form, however, is not found in the things themselves but in the concepts, interpretations and meanings with which we define our perceptions.
It has been discovered in quantum physics that what appears as form ultimately assumes the substance (wave/particle) of the consciousness observing it. We could conclude, therefore, that everything we perceive as external (material, physical), and the meaning we give it, merely serves as a mirror to reflect our state of consciousness.
Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with Einstein’s theory (E=mc2) that Energy is mass (or weight of matter) times the speed of light squared. Accordingly, matter would be Energy divided by the speed of light squared. Therefore, Energy and Matter are not two separate things, they are simply two different manifestations of the same thing. This has been so beautifully expressed by Pierre Teilhard De Chardin:
“Matter IS Spirit moving slowly enough to be seen.”
Perhaps that is because Spirit IS Energy. Subsequently, when we refer to something which “matters” it is because it is something which we have given meaning to. In this way, it “materializes” in our experience whether consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously. In similar manner, the energy of Spirit is the ethereal substance of that which is formless emanating and emerging into the realm of visibility and assuming the form of our predominant intention. This could be likened to the way that water assumes the shape of whatever container it is poured into.
According to studies regarding the phantom effect of patterns in our DNA molecules upon the photons which constitute the structure of that which appears to our senses, the energy of that which we think and feel is directly linked to that which we see being manifested. In other words, that which is Formless takes on the appearance of form as a result of the transmutation and transference of electromagnetic energy (emotion) into vibrating frequencies of light.
NOTHINGNESS AND INFINITY
To get some glimpse of heaven, or even of what it means, to “BE filled with ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD,” we must in some measure understand the nature of that which is INFINITE. No matter how far you break down Infinity, you still have Infinity. You can give Infinity away and still have Infinity left. Such is the nature of the Divine (GOD) expressing through us as ever-flowing streams of abundance, grace, peace, love, etc…
With the discovery of the God-particle and the potential ramifications of the Higgs-Boson field, scientific investigation is opening a portal to other dimensions which simultaneously connects all space. This nonlinear convergence is believed to be linked to the Origin of the cosmos, the point at which that which is Formless is birthed into form, the event horizon where time and Timelessness coalesce to bend the very fabric of three dimensional space, the void where apparent nothingness emerges into visibility. This is the place in which the creative spark emanates…. a place of apparent nothingness:
“And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved…” Genesis 1:2
Very similar to the effects of traveling through a wormhole, the experience of nothingness becomes a portal to that which is INFINITE. This is NOT the nothingness of being unworthy, but that of dis-identifying from an illusory sense of self. It is the Non-Dual Realization of ourselves AS SPIRIT, or as the New Testament puts it,
“He that is joined to the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT.”
This is the very womb of Creation where even the dichotomy of a Higher Self and lower self is consumed in the Reality of the One Divine Self. The point at which the duality of separation ceases.
Herein the heavenly bliss of Nirvana (which literally means “cessation” or nothingness) is fully revealed. For this speaks of the laying down of our individual life (psuche) that we may know the very Essence of Life (zoe). In this way we are able to see more clearly the reality of the truth that,
“That which is born of Spirit IS Spirit.” – John 3:6
According to the first book to the Corinthians, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” But we also have the assurance in the second book, “that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
If the kingdom of heaven is already a Present Reality within us, does it not follow that as we lay aside our material concept of self IT IS “dissolved” within our consciousness so that we do experience heaven NOW?
“Behold, ALL THINGS are become NEW.”
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Rev. 21:1
Not only does matter not exist in heaven, neither does the concept of time. While our perception may be that of a “process” to individual consciousness, Consciousness itself (as a nonlocal phenomenon) must exist outside the constraints of time because it is not subject to physical laws of the universe (i.e. impermanence, change, limitation etc….) There is certainly an unfolding of this realization or awareness within individual experience, however, the Consciousness (Self) of Absolute Reality transcends any perception of separation, or of an individual “self” which is bound by time.
The Eternal Now of the heavenly sphere cannot be experienced as a mere fragment of chronological or sequential time because it is Non-linear and Timeless. This ‘Now’ is Infinite and inclusive of past, present and future. This perpetually present Now transcends limitation to passing time.
In like manner, God or Spirit is not subject to the effects of time (death, disease, decay etc…), therefore, Our Wholeness is found in Spirit, outside of any identification with an existence that is bound by the mental construct of time.
In heaven there is no need to postpone the fulfillment of something until the future because it already exists as a Present Reality IN Spirit. That is because the very substance of Reality exists outside of time; For, just as within the quantum field all points in space exist within a single point, so in Absolute Eternal Reality, all points within time exist simultaneously. Perhaps that is why faith is described as the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT SEEN.” In this way, there can be nothing that we will possess in the future that we do not already possess NOW IN SPIRIT.
“Truth is that which IS. It is perpetually new to our experience and therefore Timeless. The mind cannot comprehend it, because forms of truth change from day to day which gives it no continuity whereby it can be mentally grasped. Truth is not a matter of knowledge, nor is it a product of memory subject to repetition. The mind longs to define Truth, but only when the mind is quiet….silent….. free from every conception and projection can we Know that which IS Nameless and Timeless.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
Given what we know about the nature of Reality, is it then possible that the Kingdom of Heaven could be more ‘Real’ in an Absolute sense than that which appears real to our ordinary senses?
In the same way that the experience of heaven eludes a purely intellectual grasp, it is impossible to know ourselves AS SPIRIT if we are only looking through the filter of an individual, mortal or personal sense of self.
The Infinite Reality of Spirit (heaven) is imperceptible through the veil of material limitation. When there IS Oneness of Knowing, however, that is, when subject and object are one, the individual ego is swallowed up in the full realization of the Divine.
It is in that holy instant that we “know even as we are known” and what it means to “BE perfect as your Father IN HEAVEN IS perfect.” For it is in the very moment of illumination that we have already entered the Kingdom of Heaven.
To fully surrender to the Divine is to be at peace with this paradox. To be aware of our Infinite Potential through a Conscious Awareness of the Divine Presence is to know a purpose that transcends comprehension. To live experientially as a channel of spontaneous creativity, a portal through which the Infinite Invisible (GOD) is perpetually expressing.
It is in this way that we ‘bring’ heaven to earth, and that we can truly see “Thy will be-ing done, IN EARTH as IT IS IN HEAVEN.”