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Tuesday 28 June 2011

The Kingdom of Heaven

I think often that heaven is far closer and more accessible than we know. It cannot possibly be simply a ‘place’ we go to when we die. Heaven, I was taught as a child, is where God is; and at the same time was told that God is omnipresent – therefore to those who believe in heaven, it must be with us now. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ or ‘among you’ (depending on the translation). It seems to me that physical life is but one aspect of who we are. In physical life there appears to be time but there are moments when we ‘glimpse eternity’ and realise that time, like so much else, is only a tool to help us order our lives. Beyond time, beyond all the boundaries that we put in place to create order, it often feels that in the timelessness of everything, we have access to all that has ever been and all that ever will be, since it all is really in the great ‘eternal now’.

Believing that to be so, it has always seemed perfectly logical to me that we can talk as freely and as naturally with those who are no longer in physical life, as we can with those around us. I do not mean table-tapping or Ouija boards or any of the other weird and dark things people use – on the contrary, I mean that through the purity of our own being and the Light of the Divinity within us, we can be in tune with anyone from any place or any time. Churches have always believed this – prayer, conversations with saints etc. are not dark and do not require darkened rooms or spooky goings-on; they are light and pure and natural. It was always perfectly natural to me to converse with saints, since that is what my Catholic upbringing showed me. It only began to dawn on me later that many saints were not really very nice people, and many had been canonised for political reasons...in fact some were downright racist, sexist, bigoted and quite nasty pieces of work. If, however, it was perfectly natural to converse with those people, was it not equally natural to converse with anyone?

It seems that there are wavelengths on which we operate and some of these coincide with the wavelengths of others, and just as we are attracted to or have a rapport with those around us though sometimes we do not know why we are just drawn to some people, we can be equally drawn to or have a rapport with those who are no longer on earth and from that place we are perfectly in-tune with them. It is a very remarkable and beautiful experience, I think. Some people might consider this a load of balderdash but I believe it.

On the anniversary of the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, I cannot help but think of the sheer joy that both of them experienced at the moment of their ‘death’. Such a horrific event, so pre-meditated and with such dire consequences for humanity (and for their beloved children), and yet whenever I think of them on this day, I have such a powerful sense of the joy that they both felt – a great release and a huge amount of laughter and exhilaration.

Did you ever attend a funeral expecting to be moved and tearful only to find it was an amazingly joyous and uplifting occasion? If so, maybe you’ll agree with these thoughts about Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.

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