“Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit round and pluck blackberries.” -Browning
There is much talk floating around out there, that heaven is some place in the sky… floating around out there. When we think about it much at all we realize that the idea of “heaven” and attempting to conceptualize it is difficult, it’s hard to wrap our minds around. Thinking about heaven is generally fruitless simply because heaven is not something meant to be thought of but to be experienced, tasted and enjoyed. Heaven may be more accurately described as a state of being rather than a place. And that state of existence is fully here, now, available to all. As long as we see heaven and earth as separate, the “spiritual” somehow removed from the “physical”, we will never experience the fullness of reality as it was meant to be enjoyed and we will most certainly not understand many if not most of the teachings of Jesus and other great spiritual teachers from throughout history.
The earth and heaven are not different places. Heaven is a dimension of love, peace, joy and the like. These elemental aspects of heaven are not emotions (as we often relate to them), they are better thought of as pure energies that cause us to experience the sensations of what we would, in rather limited fashion, call love, or joy, etc. Our experiences of these as emotions are of course legitimate, but the experience mustn’t be confused with the substances themselves (just as when we taste honey we experience sweetness, but the sweetness alone is not the substance that is honey). Why is this important? Because as we learn that these substances, ones that most people experience every single day to some degree, are the substance of heaven, then we can quickly realize that earth is saturated or, as the opening quote above states, “crammed with heaven.”
A scripture was written that urges us, “Do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” All too often upon reading these words people have raised their gaze to some imaginary place beyond, attempting decidedly to shift their focus off of the “corrupted” place they are currently living in… the earth. These words were not penned so that we might become escapists wishing and waiting to be someplace else, but so that we might look more deeply at our lives, relationships, nature, and the entire universe, in all is beauty, splendor, and physicality. The “unseen” mentioned is not a place of angels sitting on clouds but of a reality called “Love”, which coincidentally is what God is. What we focus on we become. As we fix our attention and aim toward love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and the like, we become and expand those realities and thus the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray is answered through our lives, “…on earth as it is in heaven.”
Although this topic could be expanded on indefinitely, a brief introduction to this understanding can be enough to shift our understanding and perspective. Once we realize God is everywhere we can begin to see God everywhere, and as we see God everywhere we more deeply realize God is everywhere… and so the cycle of glory and transformation perpetuates itself. Where I say God, insert the word Beauty if you must. All creation is crammed with Beauty and the substances that were mentioned (love, peace, joy, etc) are the substance of Beauty.
This kind of thinking, of seeing, is critical. As we stop looking at somewhere or sometime afar off and begin to be present and conscious of the wonders surrounding us, we start to participate in the expansion of the Kingdom of God (of Beauty). The joys of heaven, which we had unintentionally relegated to a later life, become our living reality. When heaven manifests in us it manifests through us. Others can experience it as we live it and in turn it begins to exist in and through them. The spiritual journey is largely one of more consciously seeing and then continually spreading beauty, peace, joy and Love. This is the role we all have as Children of God (Children of Love) and it is a most glorious calling and responsibility.