The word is out. We read about it in best-selling books and see it in movies and on YouTube. Famous people and many ordinary folks are coming forward with a similar tale. They are each talking about very personal experience of encounter, an encounter with another world, an encounter with something we could only call Heaven. They are saying, "Heaven is real. Heaven is very real!"
Incredible stories of love, a vast, unending, totally accepting love are being told. Some of the experiences shared are from near death experiences, the results of accidents or heart attacks. Others are describing their time sitting with a passing relative when suddenly grandma, who passed over many years before, is in the room inviting the dying person to the other side. Everyone present feels an unworldly peace. Others are coming forward describing profound experiences of spiritual awakening from childhood, a lucid dream, or meeting a special lover or spiritual teacher. It seems the other side is also this side, especially in times of intense intimacy with life. People of all faiths and no faith have had experiences of spiritual awakening and now we are beginning to hear more about their adventure.
As more and more people come forward with their spiritual experiences, others who have had their own encounter feel emboldened and are beginning to share. The reality of something more, something incredible beyond our normal world is being talked about, thought about, and explored as never before. Perhaps the best source for these experiences on You Tube is from the NHNE's Near Death Experience Network . One of the best organizations supplying a safe shelter for people to come, share, and be accepted with experiences of spiritual awakening is with the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transforming Experiences (ACISTE).
Of course the skeptics are still around. The skeptic inside each of us is always present. But the more we read the stories and listen to people's experience, a part of us is touched. Somewhere inside we just know what is being shared is true. We also know there is something more. There is a greater reality. We are more then just the busyness and stress of normal life.
The scientists can argue about new discoveries in physics. They can say what they want about these stories, that they are just that, stories. They can insists that ordinary chemicals are doing what they do, reacting in the brain to extreme life events. But many of the same scientists will admit, there was something profoundly present when they held their lover on their wedding day, their own new born child, or said goodbye to a close friend or parent as they pass over to the other side.
It seems much of our intellectual debate is only a sign of our separation, the split we each have with our minds from our hearts. Our minds are filled to over capacity as many of our hearts are running on near empty. No wonder there is so much skepticism. There is more to our being then thinking and analyzing. There is devotion, heartfulness, compassion, play, gratitude which build and strengthen our awareness. How can we trust these stories of incredible love when our mind is over crowded and loaded with everything but love?
Nevertheless, we each know a love from sometime, a love that lifted us to someplace else. Whatever we call it, this place of expansive being begins and continues in our hearts. The stories of spiritual awakening have one thing in common. For one reason for another, our thoughts stopped and our awareness is in something greater, a realm far greater then we ever imagined possible.
If Heaven is real, what are we doing here? If we live forever what does this mean for the choices that we are making everyday? Does the existence of Heaven mean we just have to be patient, wait, and see? Or is Heaven something we can know now and enjoy in our lives?
Most of us are just continuing our days as if the Heaven conversation never entered our minds. We are busy trying to be comfortable and get ahead. If there is a Heaven someday great. If not, we are doing the best we can with what this world presents.
Another group of us are believers. We are trying to live the path everyday. We are depressed and extremely hopeful sometimes within hours of one another. We join various groups on weekends and are reading spiritual books during the week. We are working on ourselves and often everyone around us. Our lives can be filled with judgments about ourselves and others. We struggle with our everyday selfishness while trying to be more then simply human. Heaven, the brilliant light, is real but seems just beyond what we can experience from one day to the next.
Then there is another group, an emerging awareness in many, discovering we can know Heaven by extending Heaven into our lives. As we treat others the way we want to be treated, we notice we feel Heaven closer. As we plan our days making choices that nourish ourselves and those around us, our hearts are embraced. In our surrender in the silence in our hearts, we find our awareness softening and yes expanding. The stories of spiritual awakening are our stories in these moments.
As joy becomes the road we travel, Heaven and Earth are not so far a part. There are Heaven realms during a morning sunrise, sitting with a special friend, in the perfect quiet of meditation. We discover angels in our lives as we help others in their distress. Love's special light shines in our awareness the deeper we look into our heart and the hearts of others. Heaven is real and we are not waiting. We know God knows us intimately as we know ourselves including our deeper innocence, beauty, and nothingness. In Heaven all questions are answered immediately, fully. We too have our questions answered in simplicity and truth as we are present, open, humble, and available.
We don't have to wait for a life review. We can review our lives now including forgiving ourselves and others. We can understand the connectedness to everyone and everything. Everything done to others we are doing to ourselves. Everything done to us is done also to the other. Equally important, our life review can be remembering all the grace, good times, the Heaven moments that have blessed us. Our life review of joy's presence can bring us very close to the joy of eternity, the planets and stars dancing and singing in the silence.
In our longing for Heaven, Heaven comes closer. In our recognition of Heaven, we see love's presence. There is a Heaven practice to receive the heart in our heart, the heart of life. If we want to live in a spiritual world, life is a spiritual practice. Learning to receive, to actually absorb heart essence is a daily meditation and a choice moment to moment. We can ask ourselves again and then again, "If Heaven is real what are we doing here?"