A game I enjoy playing when I am having a serious talk with someone or a group of people is to ask them to point to Heaven.
The typical scenario is a discussion that touches on religious topics. Many of my discussions are that way. I enjoy learning about peoples’ views about God, Christianity, church membership, other religions, and all sorts of related topics. I hate the small talk of weather, television, sports, and such trivialities, and I try to steer the conversation around to matters of deeper significance. (Perhaps that’s why I don’t get invited back very often.)
So at an appropriate moment, I suggest that we play a game. That usually catches peoples’ attention. “Everyone get ready to point somewhere,” I instruct, pointing my index finger as an illustration of what I mean.
Most people in a group will follow suit, a bit hesitatingly pointing their fingers. A few of them will squirm slightly, a bit embarrassed, perhaps glancing for the door, hoping for an escape.
“OK, get ready,” I prompt them. “Now, everyone, point … to … Heaven!”
At that moment, I start to mislead them by starting to gesture my finger upwards. But at the last moment, as I see people starting to point upwards, I turn my finger back towards my chest, and point straight to my heart.
Smiles of recognition, annoyance, embarrassment, puzzlement, acknowledgment, guilt, and exasperation usually result from this bit of theatrics.
I continue with, “So, if we ask people in Australia, or on the other side of the planet, to point to Heaven, they would have to point downwards, wouldn’t they, in order to agree with you!” This statement usually brings broader smiles of recognition, with some noddings of heads, but also some more expressions of puzzlement. Using a globe or a diagram helps to explain the notion of up (away from the centre of the earth) and the contradictions that are inherent by everyone around the world pointing up and thinking they are all pointing to the same place.
But Australians point up to Heaven. So do Chinese, Europeans, Africans, and indeed, people all over the world. So, clearly, Heaven can’t be up, in the sense of away from the centre of the earth.
So where is Heaven? Well, the best teacher of all, in this regard, Jesus the Christ, tells us “The Kingdom of God is within you!” (Luke 17:21). This is the wording of several versions of the Bible, including the KJV, the GNB, and the NIV. The RSV has it “in the midst of you,” and the NRSV has it “among you.” Footnotes in the various versions indicate that alternate renderings are “within,” “among,” and so on. For this reason, as well as from thinking seriously on the topic and pondering the teachings of mystery schools such as Rosicrucian orders, my own view is that Heaven—or the Kingdom of God, as Jesus taught—is in my heart, our hearts, everyones’ hearts.
When I explain it this way, most people pause and think about it.
And that’s all I ask. Pause and think. Don’t just take my word for it. And especially don’t just follow along from years of watching the clergy gesture or gaze upwards when addressing or referring to God. Pause and think for yourself.
I’m not saying the priests are wrong and I am right. But I am saying that you should examine critically your old beliefs and habits, study, research, think, and decide for yourself.
To my way of thinking, Heaven is not up, but within. God lives in our hearts.
William Bezanson is a retired engineer, fulfilling his passion for writing, and has published books on world stewardship, user performance-centered systems design, and mathematical beauty. He is a long-standing member of a Rosicrucian order and two related initiatic, mystical orders. His mission in life it to help to bring about a Spiritual State in this Mundane World. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada, and they have six adult children.
To learn more about him, visit his official website.