The bandit and heaven

Why heaven is right here, in the midst of us all, waiting to be noticed

Hello everyone

There was once a bandit leader, feared throughout the land for his cruelty and contempt for human life.
      One day, his gang surrounded a village and herded the trembling inhabitants together in front of him. He strutted before them, enjoying their terror, prolonging the uncertainty of their fate. But then he came to the village monk who was calm and unafraid. Surprised, the bandit stopped in front of him. But still the monk showed not the slightest sign of fear.
      So the bandit mocked him loudly and taunted him. “Before you die, monk, you must enlighten me. You must tell me about heaven and hell.”
      “No,” said the monk. “I will not.”
      The bandit leader could not believe his ears, so he repeated the demand, this time with a voice that promised a hideous fate if he was not obeyed.
      “No,” smiled the monk. “There is no need.”
      Then the bandit leader’s brows darkened with fury and he fell into a rage so terrible that he shook, and blood roared in his ears and rushed into his eyes, blurring his vision. Even his own men fell back in fear. But not the monk—who was observing him with great interest.
      “There,” said the monk, looking into his eyes. “That is hell.”
      The bandit leader was so shocked by these words it was as if his body had been pierced through with a great spear. But even as he fell to his knees, his heart began to soar—filled, for the first time in his life, with understanding, light and compassion. So the monk spoke again.
      “And that, my friend, is heaven,” he said. “You see? Heaven and hell were already inside you.”
      Immediately, the bandit leader wept and begged to become the monk’s pupil, and his gang fled in confusion.

The foundation of the universe is not physical matter. It is thought. Or, more accurately, a giant feeling called Consciousness. Consciousness expresses itself as all things and through all things, as us and through us. So the question where do we find heaven and hell? does have an answer. They are in our minds, deeply present, bringing real joy and real torment.

The poet John Milton once said, “The mind is a place in itself. It can create a heaven out of hell, or a hell out of heaven.”

Can you see where this is going? Don’t wait for a post-mortem white-bearded gent to hand you tickets to your ultimate destination. You are at your destination now. And now is all there is, with past and future mere malleable dreams.

Here’s the fourth universal truth: You are already home. Amidst all the paths weaving the tapestry of our combined Soul is your path. Wherever you are on your path, that is your spiritual home. Your home is not at the end of the path, or around the corner, or when the ship comes in. It’s here and it’s now. If you wait fearfully for hell, you are already there; if you wait joyfully for heaven, you are already there.

Which means that heaven is as close as the blink of an eye. We have only to see it. As Jesus of Nazareth said, “Heaven is right here in the midst of you.”

Yes, we can look around at poverty, hunger, illness, and the abuse of man by man and we can think, If this is heaven, then I will choose the other place. But if that’s what we choose to perceive of our earthly playground, then we have already chosen the other place. What we think, we become. What we feel will follow. What we choose to believe and perceive is the only reality—the idea of an absolute reality independent of mind is a mass illusion. All that stops us accepting immediate ownership of heaven and moving in is what we choose to think and feel and believe.

The trick is to choose consciously and deliberately.

Looking elsewhere for heaven is like going out to look for the horse.

What horse?

The horse. To look for it, you gallop to the top of the hill and gaze into the distance, and when you can’t see it there you gallop to top of the next hill and gaze into the distance, and when you can’t see it there…

Live now as if you were in heaven, and you will make it so. Become the master of your life and your bandit.

Namaste
Michael

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