Chapter 11: Expelled from the World
The minister said to his friend, “Rabbi, I dreamed of a Jewish heaven the other night. It was very lifelike, and it seemed to me to just suit the Jewish ideal. It was a crowded tenement district with Jewish people everywhere. There were clothes on lines from every window, women on every stoop, pushcart peddlers on every corner, children playing stick-ball on every street. The noise and confusion were so great that I woke up.”
The rabbi said, “By a strange coincidence, Father Williams, I dreamed the other night of an Episcopalian heaven. It was very lifelike, and it seemed to me just the ideal of Episcopalians. It was a neat suburb, with well-spaced English Tudor and manor houses, with beautiful lawns, each with its own flowerbed, with clean wide tree-lined streets, and all was suffused in warm sunshine.”
The vicar smiled. “And the people?”
“Oh,” murmured the rabbi, “there were no people.”
My idea of heaven is not unearthly. Heaven is here - you just have to know how to live it. And hell too is here, and you know perfectly well how to live it. It is only a question of changing your perspective, your approach towards life.
The earth is beautiful. If you start living its beauty, enjoying its joys with no guilt in your heart, you are in paradise. If you condemn everything, every small joy, if you become a condemner, a poisoner, then the same earth turns into a hell - but only for you. It depends on you where you live, it is a question of your own inner transformation. It is not a change of place, it is a change of inner space.
Live joyously, guiltlessly, live totally, live intensely. And then heaven is no longer a metaphysical concept, it is your own experience.
Enough for today.