Notice: Although the story here is contrived, the principles, contained within, if understood and applied, can and will improve the reader's outlook on Life, in both real life and in virtual worlds like Second Life
Now that Josh and Sha were friends, he decided to go see her home on Sunweaver Bay, which she had just wriiten about. We were so glad to see him, it was hard to keep from bubbling over with laughter. He got the nickle tour of the house, since we knew he could read more out of it than most would. After the tour, we go to the living room and Josh goes over and admires the Pneumatic Crystal Lattice painting. Turning back, he smiles and says,"OK, I know you have a million more questions."
Well of course there are questions and we begin by asking if he knew what could be put into a blog and be of interest and help your mission. "Oh my Dad, I could write a book about it", he replied. "I guess you could call it `the Do It Yourself Guide to heaven'", he said with a giggle.
The Do It Yourself Guide to heaven
Some people just can't take anybody’s' word for anything. They have to prove everything for themselves. Everything they hear is subject to debate until they have personally tested it's veracity for themselves. That is how it should be. What someone else claims to be true and knowledge, is just so much information to you. That which you have tested, for yourself, is all that you can claim to be true and known. If you recognize what has just been said as being the truth, it's because you've done your homework. All too many people are willing to accept as true, whatever their parents, teachers, ministers and other advisors tell them is so. These people expect everything to just be handed to them, without their having to earn it. These same people are the ones who still believe in the "free lunch". If you have already discovered, there's no such thing as a free lunch and if you want something done, you're perfectly willing to do it Yourself, this is written for you. What's more, it is the premise of this book that, what is true of lunches, also applies to Heaven. It is said, among other things, that Heaven is the apex of truth and knowledge. If that is true, it would be unreasonable to expect that it can just be handed to us, without it costing us something. And, anyone that tells you, that you can get to Heaven by joining his select group, having blind faith in the truth of his words or by the salvation afforded by the actions of some divine savior, is doing you a great disservice. That is not to say that you shouldn't have faith in something. Within the scope of this text, I would define faith as; a collection of ideas, information or, so called, "facts", which we have a reasonable expectation to be able to prove, in time, to be the truth, i.e., a provisional conjecture to guide investigation, a working hypothesis, a best guess. It is this kind of faith that has led to my spending lifetimes seeking to get into Heaven.
Sha: So you're going to show us the truth?
Josh: I can't tell you the Whole Truth. I would like to make one thing clear, before going any farther. No written or spoken words can ever express the full Truth about God and Heaven. Even if you went there and came back, you could never hope to give an adequate description of it in words. Attempts to describe the Truth about Heaven and God, using the speech of mortals, can be compared to the use of a two-dimensional photograph to depict a three-dimensional landscape. Although the photograph seems to be completely accurate, in its' representation of the scene, it is, in fact, a distortion of the truth. Measuring the photograph, with a ruler, may lead one to believe that a given point, in the scene, is one inch above a second point, when in reality, those same two points may be at equal heights but separated by many feet or even miles. The third dimension can not be shown accurately with a single two-dimensional perspective. To create a 3-D photograph, you need two views, from slightly different angles, of the same scene, which when seen independently by the two eyes and then combined in the brain, create the illusion of depth. Now, in comparison, the realm of Heaven is one of infinite and eternal dimensions. As such, it cannot be accurately depicted by our limited, three-dimensional, physical world. Any description of Heaven, given from a single point of view and using three-dimensional terms, will be a distortion of the Real Truth. Even I, in my attempts to describe Heaven to mortals, am bound by these limitations. In order to describe Heaven, I'll use, not one but, a whole collection of analogies or parables to produce, in effect, an enhanced, stereoscopic view.
Sha: What exactly do you mean by heaven? I assume we're not talking about some place with clouds for ground cover and a harp in every living room.
Josh: When we talk about Heaven, everyone agrees that it is something, which is very good or perfect. We all say that we want to go there, mostly because of having been taught that we are supposed to desire it. How many of us have actually taken the time to ask where and what it is that we hope to get to? When pressed for details, all too many people will describe some mythological place which is totally at odds with their current interests. The humorist, Mark Twain, was fond of pointing out that many Christians thought that they would, upon entering Heaven, suddenly enjoy spending all of eternity singing praises to God, despite the fact that they could barely tolerate an hour per week of it in this life. Every religion adds its' own myths to the image of Heaven. Stripped of these varied myths, we are left with a picture that is agreeable to all schools of thought. Heaven is the apex of everything that is good. An apex, by definition, is the tip, point, or vertex of anything, the summit. The point, in this case, is defined as a position, having no dimension of its' own, but from which all other dimensions are derived. As such, Heaven is the ONE, ultimate position, from which every other position deviates. Notice, I said position, by which I mean that Heaven is to locations as God is to beings. It's not the sort of location that we refer to in our three dimensional world. You can't say that it's here or there or even up there somewhere. Being dimensionless, by our standards, it is equally everywhere and nowhere. It is the ultimate address, home to the purest forms of all that there is. Heaven is Truth, with a capital "T", meaning the One, perfect and unchanging Truth. Any truth, short of the One Truth, can be said to be partial and variable. What is true, for me, may not be true to you. What is true today, may be false tomorrow. A truth, turned false, may be true again later. In fact, I have read that, some truths have a regular, seventeen year cycle. Any truth that can be seen or heard, in the flesh, is a warped perspective of the Real Truth.
Sha: Is there a rational reason for believing that there is a God and Heaven?
Josh: We can get a very scientific, rational answer to this question without the help of the latest developments in technology. The answer was given over three-hundred years ago by the French thinker, mathematician, scientist, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Pascal invented the first calculating machine, the syringe and the hydraulic press. The computer language, PASCAL, is named in his honor. His interests in probability theory led him to calculating the odds in various gambling games. When asked if belief in God was a safe bet, he responded with what is now known as "Pascal's wager", which expresses the conviction that belief in God is rational. If God does not exist, one stands to lose nothing by believing in Him anyway, while if He does exist, one stands to lose everything by not believing.
Sha: What is it really like in heaven?
Josh: Naturally, you could not expect to be able to give an accurate description of Heaven, using physical words, due to the limitations that I have already pointed out. However, by studying the first three dimensions and their relationship to each other, we can begin to develop an understanding of the nature of space beyond three dimensions. This is essentially what the philosopher, P.D.Ouspensky, did in development of his views on the nature of the universe. The following is his list of the principles of the World of Cause.
1) In that world "TIME" must exist spatially, i.e. temporal events must exist and not happen--exist before and after their manifestation, and be located in one section, as it were. Effects must exist simultaneously with causes. That which we name the law of causality cannot exist there, because time is a necessary condition for it. There cannot be anything which is measured by years, days, hours -- there cannot be before, now, after. Moments of different epochs, divided by great intervals of time, exist simultaneously, and may touch one another. Along with this, all possibilities of a given moment, even those opposite to one another, and all their results up to infinity, must be actualized simultaneously with a given moment, but the length of a moment can be different on different planes.
2) There is nothing measurable by our measures, nothing commensurable with our objects. There is nothing situated on the right or left side, above or below one of our objects. There can be nothing similar to our objects, lines or figures and at the same time exist. Different points in our space, divided for us by enormous distances, may meet there. "Distance" or "proximity" are there defined by inner "affinity" or "remoteness," by sympathy or antipathy, i.e., by properties which seem to us to be subjective.
3) There is neither matter nor motion. There is nothing that could possibly be weighed or photographed, or expressed in the formulae of physical energy. There is nothing which has form, color or odor -- nothing possessing the properties of physical bodies. Nevertheless, the properties of the world of causes, granted an understanding of certain laws, can be considered in enumerated categories.
4) There is nothing dead or unconscious. Everything lives, everything breathes, thinks, feels; everything is conscious, and everything speaks.
5) In that world the axioms of our mathematics cannot be applied, because there is nothing finite. Everything there is infinite and, from our standpoint, variable.
6) The laws of our logic cannot act there. From the standpoint of our logic, that world is illogical. This is the realm the laws of which are expressed in Tertium Organum.
7) The separateness of our world does not exist there. Everything is the whole. And each particle of dust, without mentioning of course every life and every conscious being, lives a life which is one with the whole and includes the whole within itself.
8) In that world the duality of our world cannot exist. There, being is not opposed to non-being. Life is not opposed to death. On the contrary, the one includes the other within itself. The unity and multiplicity of the I; the I and the Not-I; motion and immobility; union and separateness; good and evil; truth and falsehood -- all these divisions are impossible there. Everything subjective is objective, and everything objective is subjective. That world is the world of the unity of opposites.
9) The sensation of the reality of that world must be accompanied by the sensation of the unreality of this one. At the same time the difference between real and unreal cannot exist there, just as the difference between subjective and objective cannot exist.
10) That world and our world are not two different worlds. The world is one. That which we call our world is merely our incorrect perception of the world: the world seen by us through a narrow slit. That world begins to be sensed by us as the wondrous, i.e., as something opposite to the reality of this world, and at the same time, our earthly world, begins to seem unreal. The sense of the wondrous is the key to that world.
11) But everything that can be said about it will not define our relation to that world until we come to understand that even comprehending it we will not be able to grasp it as a whole, i.e.,in all its variety of relations, but can think of it only in this or that aspect.
12) Everything that is said about the world of causes refers also to the All. But between our world and the All there may be many transitions.
Sha; To hear people talk you wouldn't think many of us will ever get there. How many of us will get to heaven?
Josh: No doubt, you have heard it said that, "many are called, but few are chosen". We have been led to believe that this means only a small percentage of mankind will ever get to Heaven and that the vast majority of us will spend eternity in "hell". Nothing could be further from the Truth. Why would God, possessor of infinite Love, doom the majority of His creation to such a fate? Anyone that would perpetuate such a myth, does not understand Love, and is incapable of sharing Love with his fellowmen. In their ignorance, they are not even able to love themselves. The Real Truth is, sooner or later, every conscious being, in the whole universe, reaches that level of perfection. Notice, I said, "that level". Ultimate Perfection sounds like such a static state, it seems reasonable that the God that made and maintains our dynamic universe might have higher levels yet to reach for. What those levels might be, are so far beyond what we, earthbound beings, can even conceive of, that it is useless to even try to think about them. For our purposes, we shall consider God to be at the apex of perfection.
Getting back to the subject of many being called but few being chosen, let's take a closer look at what is meant by that. Our entire universe is Gods' creation. As such, it had a beginning. Anything that has a beginning also has an end. Furthermore, ours is not the first, last or only universe that ever was. If we can agree that the entire universe was created for the purpose of developing the awareness of conscious beings, then we will have a situation that is ideally suited to statistical analysis. Now, unlike the universe, which has a beginning and end, souls are eternal. So, what's God going to do with all those eternal misfits at the end of time ? They cannot join the ranks of those that have, by their own efforts, become as Angels, nor will they be punished for eternity for their ignorance. At the end of time, all of the matter in the universe ceases to exist. At that point, those souls that have not made the grade will be stripped of all the experiences and acquired personalities gained during their sojourns in this universe. This process has been poetically described as being cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. After having been thus purged, they will join with additional "new" souls and collectively they shall be "schooled" in the next universe that God creates. We all get as many chances as it takes to reach perfection. It could not be any other way, because God, being perfect, is always 100% successful.
Sha: Well, knowing me, always wanting to have "been there, done that", I'd like to know how to live life, so I don't have to wait for the next universe before getting there.
Josh: I could never hope to explain what it takes to follow the path to Heaven as simply, precisely and poetically as was done in the sermon on the mount. Unfortunately, for much of mankind, this clear message has been purposely distorted by those who pretend to be acting in our best interests.
The organized religions will tell you that no man can ever hope to achieve the level of perfection called for in the sermon and that your only chance for salvation is to accept their church, its' hierarchy and creed, because only they are in full possession of the truth and how to get to it, and they alone hold the keys to Heaven. They will tell you that it is useless to try to become perfect, that all that is required is that you; come to their church often, recite their incantations, receive their magical-mystically empowered blessings and food, accept their authority and give them your money, and you will go to heaven, when you die.
The practical minded scientists offer no support for the sermon either. Since the scientist deals only with the physical side of nature, it all seems senseless to him. He'll tell you that if you do not defend yourself from your enemies, give no thought about what you'll eat or wear, abandon your family and become completely chaste, etc. you will not only kill yourself, but you'll leave no descendants. If we all followed the sermon, there would soon be nothing left of the human race. When the scientist looks at the churches, he sees only the outward forms, which are presented. He will tell you that the practice of these techniques, developed in the fourth century, is outdated and useless to the man living in the twentieth century.
The churchman and the scientist are unable to live by the commands given in the sermon on the mount because they do not understand that the message is giving us spiritual principles, not physical ones.
It is speaking only of the divine force, telling us to recognize it in the highest degree, to free it as much as possible from our animal nature which retards it, by bringing it to the forefront of our consciousness.
It is by liberating and increasing this force that man truly lives according to the teaching. The true life, according to the previous conditions, consisted in the execution of rules, of the law. According to this teaching, it consists in the greatest approach to divine perfection, as pointed out to every man and inwardly felt by him, in a greater and ever greater approach toward blending our will with the will of God, a blending toward which a man strives, and which would be a destruction of life as we know it.
Divine perfection is the aspiration of all life. To it, we are ever attracted and approaching but can only attain it at infinity.
It is only when one takes the indication of the ideal to be a rule that the demands put forth by these teachings appear to be destructive of life. Without these demands the true life would be impossible.
In attempts to follow the demands, set forth in the sermon, all too many people feel that they can trim them down to something that can be practiced with a "reasonable" amount of effort on their part. They say things like, "It's impossible to not care for the future, all that we should do is not care too much. It's impossible to give everything to the poor; but we should give part to them. We must not leave our wives and children; but we should not be too much attached to them," and so forth.
But, this kind of talk is like telling a man who is crossing a rapid river, and who is directing his course against the current, that it's impossible to cross the river by going against the current, and to cross it he should row in the direction he wishes to go.
The teaching guides men, not by external rules, but by the internal consciousness of the possibility of attaining divine perfection. And in man's soul there are not moderated rules of justice and of philanthropy, but the ideal of the complete infinite, divine perfection. Only the striving after this perfection deflects the direction of man's life from the animal condition toward the divine, to the extent to which this is possible in this life.
In order to land where you wish, you must direct your course much higher up.
Lowering the demands of the ideal not only diminishes the possibility of perfection but destroys the ideal itself. The ideal is not an invented one, but one which is borne in the soul of every man. Only this ideal of the complete, infinite perfection acts upon people and moves them to activity. A moderated perfection loses its power to act upon men's souls.
It demands full perfection that is, the blending of the essence of God which abides in the soul of every man, with the will of God. That is the union of the Son and the Father. By liberating the Son of God, who lives in every man, from the animal, and uniting him with the Father we live according to the teaching. Human life is a mixture of animal and divine life, and the more there is of the divine life, the more there is of life. Life, accordingly, is a motion toward divine perfection. No condition, according to this teaching, can be higher or lower than another. Every condition, is only a certain step, indifferent in itself, toward the unattainable perfection, and so in itself forms neither a greater nor a lesser degree of life. The increase of life, is only an acceleration of motion toward perfection, and so the motion toward perfection of the prodigal son, and the robber on the cross, forms a higher degree of life than the immovable righteousness of the Pharisee. There can be no obligatory rules for this teaching. A man who stands on a lower step, in moving toward perfection, lives more morally and better, and better performs the teaching, than a man who stands on a much higher stage of morality, but who does not move toward perfection.
In this sense the lost sheep is dearer to the Father than one which is not lost. The prodigal son, the lost coin which is found again, are dearer than those which were not lost.
Fulfillment of this teaching consists in the motion from oneself toward God. For such, there can be no definite laws and rules. All degrees of perfection and imperfection are equal before this teaching; no fulfillment of the laws constitutes a fulfillment of the teaching; and so, for this teaching there are, and there can be, no rules and no laws.
Sha: WOW! It still sounds like a lot of work, but at least you make the means of getting there a whole lot simpler. I know a lot of people that could use this. Don't expect a million "Likes" on Facebook, though, LOL.
Josh: You never know. With a little help from you know Who and your foxy editor, we might get more hits that anyone could dream :)