If you are reading this, it is very likely that you are a human being. Worded slightly differently, you are a Being with human form. The Being part of you is eternal, the human part, temporal.
The Being part of you has been described many ways throughout human history. Some have called it an “angel,” while others have referred to it as a “Soul” with a capital “S”. It is the part of you that remains when you “shuffle off this mortal coil” as Shakespeare put it so beautifully. In this sense, we can understand that the human part of you is what you “have” while the Being part of you is what you “are.”
Some might be familiar with the terms “earthly” and “heavenly.” Heaven is that realm which sits perpetually “above” earth, causally. Just as your inner, invisible thoughts form your outer, visible actions, the nature of the heaven determines the shape or form of the earth. The heaven always precedes the earth.
Can you guess which part of you (remember you are part human and part Being) is more “earthly” and which more “heavenly?” If you guessed that the Being part of you is more heavenly and the human part of you is more earthly, then you are correct! Your invisible, inner, heavenly Being resides within the visible, outer, human part of you.
Why is this important?
For starters, this means that you are already and always in heaven. You never left it, you don’t need to return to it, and most importantly, you needn’t die to go to heaven. You–inner you, the angel, Soul, etc.– dwell eternally in heaven. You’re already there! It’s time that we rethink our relationship to heaven. Heaven is here or “at hand” as it was put because inner, invisible heaven is the realm of cause for outer, visible earth, always.
If heaven is truly at hand, why is there so much struggling, strife and insecurity on earth? If heaven is the causal realm of earth, why aren’t all the ill and broken things just be swept from the face of the earth by the freshness, newness, purity, and sanity of heaven? If our true identity is angelic, why then do we feel and act like such devils on occasion? Beyond being told that heaven is somewhere we go after we die, why is it that heaven feels so far away, so intangible, and so mysterious?
Enter free will.
What is free will, exactly? It’s a big question, but free will boils down to the ability to choose where we place our attention and that to which we respond. It is important to note here that the “we” referenced in the sentence above refers to the human part of each one of us. Read it again with this understanding. We have the ability to choose where we place our attention and that to which we respond.
As odd as it may seem, our own attention is the only thing over which we have control on earth. We cannot control how others think, feel or act, we cannot control the circumstances in which we find ourselves, and as a result, we cannot control the effects of our words and actions. The only thing we can control is our attention, our response.
Where do you tend to focus your attention? Most focus the overwhelming majority of their attention on the drama at play in world around them, aka “earthly” affairs. They get themselves wrapped up in the drama of the worlds they center and they have little time for little else, especially not something as all-encompassing and vast as heaven (the one at hand not the imaginary one you go to when you die after accepting certain axiomatic presuppositions). It would seem that this is the only option available to the average person who, after all, has to make a living: keep your eyes focused on the world around you, watch your back, and do what you can to carve out a good life for yourself and possibly others.
But it is not.
There is another way. Now, suggesting that there might be another way has perennially been viewed as: 1) suspect, 2) impractical, and 3) objectionable and those who have made this point most clearly historically were categorically: 1) derided, 2) rejected, and 3) ostracized or murdered, but fortunately those who made the other way clear weren’t swayed by the effects of their declaration and embodiment of the fact that heaven is, in fact, at hand.
Nowhere in the historical record is this basic statement of reality laid out more clearly than through the words of Jesus when He said: “I and my Father are one” and when He explained further that: “I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” To understand these to phrases is to understand the nature and purpose of human Beings, to understand who we are and why we are here.
In this case, Jesus–the man, in human form–referred to the Being within himself as the “Father.” “I and my Father are one” is simply a more poetic and endearing way of saying: “I am a human Being.” He was able to say this because he lived not in reaction to the world around him, but in response to the “kingdom” (which is a place of control) “of heaven which is at hand.”
How did He do that? Well that was was made clear in the second statement referenced: “I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” His full attention and response was to the Being within Himself, not to the circumstances at hand, but to the heaven at hand.
Here’s the kicker: you could also make either of these statements and they would likewise be true. Blasphemous!?! Preposterous!?! Not at all. In fact, Jesus said “Follow me.” He demonstrated this “other way,” the “strait gate” which leads to an entirely different experience of living. He overcame the world and called us to do the same…long before those present did their level best to eradicate Him.
He called us to do the same in our living if not more (i.e., “greater works”) and pointed the possibility of another way not to mock us, but to encourage us. He represented the other way in His living–in the flesh as it were–to give us heart, confidence and assurance in the fact that the kingdom of heaven is indeed at hand, that perfection is possible through us here and now…regardless of the place and time in which we live. He demonstrated the healing that is at one’s fingertips, the power that is available, and the peace that is available–not only when he is present in human form on earth, whether at that coming or the next–but to you and me, here and now.
The one requirement–the only requirement–is that we “repent,” that is, use our free will to shift our attention and response from that which doesn’t matter to that which does.