The Kingdom of Heaven

The following is taken from “The Flip Side”, a book I’m writing about seeing the words of Jesus from a different perspective:

Every good pilot knows that a proper perspective is important.  Sometimes you have to fly in bad weather.  There may be layers of clouds, rain, fog and a many other phenomena that can affect your perspective.  A misconception based on existing flight conditions could lead to poor decisions and maybe even an accident.

I’ve experienced some of the worst vertigo when flying between layers of clouds.  When the layers are not level but instead are sloping, your eyes perceive a false horizon.  Your body however senses gravity.  When the cloud layer is slanting and you can’t see the horizon, what you see doesn’t match what you feel.  This often leads to confusion, unless you reference your flight instruments.

Similarly if you are in the clouds and are in a slight turn, your body senses the g-force of the turn.  If you are in a gradual turn for a while and then roll out of the turn, your inner ear lags and gives you the sensation that you are turning when you are now flying level.  You can check your instruments and know that you are flying level, but your body is telling you that you are in a turn.  In pilot speak we call this “the leans.”  This kind of vertigo has resulted in many accidents for pilots who don’t recognize what is happening to their senses.

Pilots learn through experience to recognize these false perceptions and trust their instruments.  Your instruments are your truth and can save you from making a judgment error.  Still it can be very disorienting, especially when other factors like having to fly a precision approach or worrying about fuel or avoiding rising terrain can increase your anxiety to the point that you aren’t thinking clearly.

In this illusion we call life, our perception is everything.  We sense the world in a particular way based on our experiences, what we have learned from others, what we have been conditioned to believe… and much more.  One of the greatest misperceptions is the feeling we are separate individual entities.  This leads to many other misperceptions or wrong interpretations.  Jesus knew our illusory misperceptions and came to bring us revelation of the true nature of things.  He came to reveal an eternal life or a divine reality.  He often called this “the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus referenced “heaven” over 120 times.  Here is an example:

Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (ESV)

In the traditional and often unequivocably accepted view, heaven is a place.  Heaven is a good place for good people.  It is a reward for a job well done.  For some doctrines, heaven is something that is earned.  For others, heaven is something given freely because of the necessary and brutal sacrifice of Jesus.  Some might say heaven is where God resides and hell is a place absent of God.  Many will say that heaven and hell are the places we go after some version of a final judgment.  They would say it is God’s way of ensuring ultimate justice.

In an illusion, where separation seems real, these concepts make perfect sense.  Just like the sloping clouds, without some truth reference, our perception is skewed.  We let ourselves believe in what we think we see instead of listening to our innermost voice.  This conflict is our vertigo of sorts.  It is our “leans” that cause us so much turmoil and suffering.  We never find our peace because we aren’t using our instruments.  We are “lost” as Jesus would say.  We are in the darkness.  We have not seen the light.

So how about we look at the flip side?

Jesus knew oneness.  He said often “I and the Father are one.”  If we think in terms of separation, we put Jesus in some special category as the only one who could know oneness.  But that misperception is exactly what Jesus was trying to correct.  He was telling us that we are like him and we are all one, the one God in many expressions.

So from this perspective, what would Jesus mean by heaven or the kingdom of heaven?  Some of the clues are found in these verses:

Luke 17:20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (KJV)

(The writers of the Gospels used “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Kingdom of God” interchangeably)

Jesus isn’t saying Heaven is somewhere else.  Instead he is saying heaven is in us.

So what is this kingdom of heaven?  Knowing that Jesus saw all things as one and saw clearly the dream of the dreamer, he was telling us heaven is the divine truth, the divine perspective.  Heaven is the eternal consciousness.  Heaven is the perspective of the dreamer.  Heaven is God’s reality that is our reality in contrast to the illusion of separation.

Heaven is what we experience when we experience our oneness.  Heaven is what we see when we see the light revealed by Jesus.  He is telling us we are one.  When we know this truth, when we believe in Jesus as the truth of our nature, we are experiencing heaven.

On the flip side it can be difficult for us to perceive this truth.  Like the clouds that are confusing us and are presenting a false horizon, the separation lie will confound our thinking.  Only when we turn within will we see the kingdom.  Only when we embrace the illusion as an illusion and seek the “kingdom” will “all things be added to us.”  The divine reality will spill over into our lives.  We may perceive a separation, but we will “know” a divine reality of one.

So the kingdom of heaven is our ultimate reality.  It is where we are truly ourselves.  It is where our identity is found.  It is the reality that Jesus lived and demonstrated to us.  It is what he was trying to show us.  Like in this verse:

Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (ESV)

Jesus is trying to tell us something very profound.  Let’s look at a few clues.

The word repent in this verse is a translation of a Greek word that means to change our minds.  We get to change our thinking.  We get to embrace the truth that Jesus reveals.  The phrase “at hand” is a translation of a Greek word that means “near” or literally “it is here.”

In a Lance Literal Translation:

From that time Jesus began to preach saying, “Change the way you think because the divine reality is right here.” (LLT)

Can you see the power and the truth in these words?  From the flip side we can know that Jesus is telling us that not only is he a representation of an enlightened human who is living from the divine reality, but all of us have access to this same divine reality.  Heaven is in all of us because it is the stuff that we all are.  Our divine nature is our truth and not the lie of separation.

Hopefully now you are beginning to see differently.  You are beginning to see what the great mystics would call “ultimate reality” or the “divine oneness” or “the all of existence” or the great “I am.”  From this new perspective we can tackle more of what Jesus meant when he talked about heaven.

Heaven isn’t a place.  Heaven is a divine reality.  The kingdom of heaven isn’t a reward.  It is our true reality.  The kingdom of God isn’t a place we go when we die.  It is the substance of who we are.

When we know this truth experientially, we are no longer confused by the false horizon, the illusion of separation, and the vertigo of our separation perspective.  We can trust our instruments.  We can look within and find our truth.  It is what Jesus meant when he said “I am the way the truth and the life.”  The “I am” is the kingdom of heaven reality and it is at the center of us all.

Yay God!

Lance

Grace Pointers

3 Comments Leave a comment

    • Thanks Kevin for the encouragement!!! The world is a time space continuum through which the expression of truth can be seen in the perceived other to realize there is no other. A beautiful paradox of infinite proportions. May your day be eternally enhanced and infinitely expanded.

      Like

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