Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
The above verse states that once you become like a child, you are already great in the kingdom of heaven—no need to wait until you’re dead, right? Jesus also confirms this line of thinking when he stated that the kingdom is within you. These verses suggest that heaven isn’t a place where only born again Christians go to for eternity when they die.
Many years ago, when I was a young man in the mainstream church, I discovered that the Torah, the first five books of the Bible—and supposedly the very foundation from which all other scriptures was built—said nothing of an afterlife. This disturbed me. Deeply. If the Torah was truly the foundation for the rest of the Bible, there should have been something about an afterlife, and, more importantly, heaven. But there wasn’t. No matter how deep you dig, it’s just not there.
If I had known then what I know now, I would not have been disturbed. As you’ll soon see, the truth about heaven is far greater and more satisfying than spending eternity in some golden city or floating around in the clouds. The reason? The law of impermanence, which states that everything in this universe is in a constant state of change. To anyone who has already established that heaven is a place of permanence, this idea seems dreadful. But it needn’t be. The law of impermanence means that there’s always an opportunity for spiritual and mental growth. Whether you reincarnate back to earth, or graduate to a higher realm, there is always a chance to choose conscious growth. To me this is much more satisfying than being in one state for eternity.
The catch is that sometimes impermanence means hellish experiences. Pain, frustration, and negativity are realities that we all go through. But Jesus suggests that we can have heaven with us now, in the midst of a world full of misery. This makes sense, because if heaven is within us, then we should have the power to manifest it.
That power is in understanding Jesus’ statement to become like a child. The answer lies in their natural tendency to live from BEING, and not within the confines of the mind. To become “converted” as the child is to revert back to this state of BEING.
Most adults miss life. The older they become, the faster it seems to fly by, and the more they seem to miss. Why? Let’s look at this from the standpoint of the ego.
Remember that the ego is just an idea we have of ourselves and our situations in the mind. These ideas define who we are and what our situation is. Most of us don’t like our current situations or idea of ourselves. This builds resistance. Resistance is the path to hell.
The key is to be released from resistance that is created by the ego. Look at little children. For the most part, they can enjoy themselves because they don’t resist the moment. Even when a child is in a long-term unfortunate circumstance, they are able to manifest moments of peace and happiness, especially very young children. The main reason is because the ego hasn’t had the time to fully develop yet.
When Jesus says that we must become “converted” and “become like a little child” he is telling us how important it is to BE in the present moment. We convert by living from BEING and not the ego.
Make every act holy, no matter how simple or how complex it is. Whether you are cleaning out the gutters on your house or enjoying a fishing trip with friends. BE in the moment, consciously aware of what’s take placing around you and how you are interacting with your environment. Living from BEING is allowing consciousness to shine forth, thereby overcoming the ego.
For many people, the man-made concept of time helps strengthen the ego. This is true especially for people who dread going to work or fear something they will undergo in the future. Sometimes people live in denial and regret of the past. These are all forms of resistance. These are also cases where consciousness is experiencing from the confines of the mind instead of BEING itself. This creates the concept of hell on this earth. When someone lives from BEING they are creating the experience of heaven on earth.
Living in the present moment is also a form of meditation. In fact, it is ongoing meditation. The person that masters living in the now has mastered life. Now you understand why Jesus said:
“…take no thought for your life…And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If you then be not able to do which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?” (Luke 12:22-26)
Being converted as the child makes you become great because then you live by taking care of that which is least. Be faithful with the little moment in which you have been given, which is NOW. Doesn’t consciousness itself, the very thing which you really are beyond the ego, deserve to be fully present to experience all that the moment has to offer?
The key to manifesting heaven is to make peace with the present. This doesn’t necessarily mean you want to stay in the present moment forever. I certainly do not wish to be in pain or suffering all of the time, but in the long run, if it means that temporary pain and suffering will teach me how to consciously grow, it’s worth it. By experiencing the moment fully we bring consciousness to the forefront. By living from BEING, conditions always will begin to change for the better.
This is the real reason the Torah doesn’t say anything about an afterlife. What need is there? The Torah, at its most basic function, is a collection of works meant to explain living life in the here and now, abundantly. It does not concern itself with the afterlife and neither should you. As Jesus said, take no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Isn’t this true about the afterlife as well? If you focus on entering the kingdom here, a conscious experience in the afterlife will be more pleasant no matter what the conscious experience becomes. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying the afterlife isn’t important. It most definitely is. And I believe it’s quite a different experience for everyone, most of which eventually reincarnate back into gross matter. But my point is that we must change the way we think about life today by making peace with the present. Then we can live the realization that it’s not about getting into heaven, it’s about manifesting heaven!
Why this concept of heaven is so much better than the one taught by the church
Manifesting heaven is so much better than traditional concepts of heaven because it means that heaven isn’t static; it’s dynamic, just like life itself. That’s good news, because no matter where you are or who you’re with, you can enjoy heaven in many different states. Heaven isn’t the same for everyone. What kind of heaven would that be?
How does this knowledge help us?
This knowledge is crucial. For one thing, it lets us know that we can’t sit back and wait for heaven to come to us at death. This knowledge begs for us to get working on entering heaven right now. Working on entering heaven right now will also assure that you continue in this state during the transition to the afterlife when your physical body wears out. My grandmother once told me that wherever you are with God in this life when you die is where you will start off with God in the next life. This statement always struck me as containing a profound truth. This life right now is the place and time to enter the kingdom.