The Kingdom of Heaven extends naturally and inevitably, because extension is what it is. A river is only a river when it flows – when it stops, it is something else. Heaven is a condition of joy and peace that knows itself by extending itself. We can deny this truth, but we cannot impair or alter it in any way. Accepting this is a surest way to literally enter the Kingdom.
The ego resists any idea that denigrates it, and the idea that we cannot change or affect truth in any way is offensive to the ego. The best way for it to keep the everflowing Heaven at bay is to make it seem illogical and impossible. It encourages us to perceive enlightenment or awakening as the domain of spiritual supermen and superwomen. It’s like going pro in basketball – not everybody can play at that level. Not everybody should try.
That’s how the ego thinks – and would have us think. But the Holy Spirit sees it differently. The Holy Spirit doesn’t acknowledge a state of imperfection because it knows no such state exists. There are no professional spiritual people and there are no amateurs. We are all equal in the mind of God. That some of us appear to be “further along” or “spiritually evolved” is an illusion.
Knowing this, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Heaven is a gift that was both already given to us and already accepted by us. Further, it teaches us that since we accepted the gift, all we have done is protect it by giving it away. Like our beneficent Creator, we have extended love perfectly.
But wait! I’m feeling sad today. I’m conflicted about work. I overate at lunch and I feel guilty. If those feelings are part of our experience, what gives?
The metaphysical truth of our identity is not often the best starting place for healing. It’s kind of like saying, “okay, I’m in Boston and I want to get California by foot.” It’s good to know where we’re going, but then we actually have to take steps. In other words, believing that this world and our so-called lives in it are illusory is helpful but not necessarily conclusive. There’s a process – we call it accepting the atonement for ourselves – by which the Holy Spirit translates our experience in the world to its Heavenly equivalent. That seems to take time. Some people seem to get it quicker than others. But that is all part of the illusion. It has nothing to do with the reality where we are perfectly united with God and extended love without any reservation.
It is good to accept that the extension of Heaven is forever underway. It is good to remind ourselves that our seeming experience to the side, we have already been gifted and are already gifting. And it is very good to know that we can’t screw this up! That is really the lesson of this section: that we should breathe, affirm our commitment to waking up, and get on with the forgiving.
There is a real peace in that acceptance. There is a real peace in making that our practice.