One of the most widely held stories of mainstream Christianity is the grand moment after we die as we stand at the pearly gates...
We line up and await our turn to see if St. Peter has us in the VIP guestbook so we can get into the upscale convalescent home that is called ‘Heaven’.
Do we get in or don’t we? That is the deciding moment for many Christians, consciously or subconsciously. It’s a mega-myth that has sunk its teeth deep in our western culture — the end goal being a sort of divine escapism from this world.
But what if the story was flipped?
What if we had it backwards? What if, instead, the gates of Heaven opened the other way, towards us? What if the pull towards the Divine was to snatch it out of the clouds and bring it down into the blood, dirt, bone, tears, and joys of this world — right here, right now?
This is what I’m discovering to be true. Ponder the implications of this…
What if the point wasn’t to go anywhere?
What if we didn’t have to escape anything — mentally or physically?
What if the entire spectrum — the pain and loss as well as the joys and elations — of this human existence were the true gifts of the Divine?
What if the biggest source of our suffering is the idea that we must escape? And what if Heaven is a state of accepting and deepening into the infinite present moment?
The way I’m seeing it is, the goal is not to walk through some gate in the clouds to be accepted by a God that exists beyond this lifetime.
The pearly gates don’t swing out towards a heaven that exists beyond ourselves. They swing within, towards us.
The goal is to consciously find acceptance in ourselves and open the gates to a life graced by Divine love that awaits our embrace right now.
No need to wait for St. Peter. He’s a distraction. (And he’s easily paid off, apparently.)
I think we’d find, if we were bold enough to just try, that the gate swings inward.
It’s locked on our end, not Heaven’s.
And it swings towards us every moment of every day.
Owning this isn’t the easiest thing to stomach. But it’s the only way we’ll experience Heaven in this life.