Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Heaven On Earth

Jefferson Street, Napa, California, USA

February 21, 2018

"God's greatest work wasn't creating the universe: it was disappearing into it afterwards." ... 
"I'm looking forward to heaven." ... Reverend William Franklin "Billy" Graham

"Heaven is in your mind." ... Steve Winwood

"Heaven! I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak." ... Fred Astaire, Cheek To Cheek

"I know why the skies all cry: Aum! Aum! Heaven! Aum!" ... The Moody Blues

"... peaceful, like heaven on a Sunday." ... Sir Paul McCartney

"I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places." ... Johnny Lee

"... lookin' for heaven in all the wrong places." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, Heaven On Earth, is the companion piece to Above The Line.

It is also the third in a trilogy on Heaven:

How fervently it's believed that if we're good, we'll go to heaven when we die. It's an axiom  of conscience, a beautiful, fundamentally human, devoutly cherished staple of faith. It's cross-cultural, cross-ideological, and cross-ceremonial. That belief explicitly embeds the certainty that we have to wait until the afterlife to go to heaven (that is if we want to wait that long  - my qualification in italics). But why?  There's no need to wait at all.


If you're looking forward to heaven in the afterlife, be aware that the odds are pretty good that if you don't like what you got while you were here, you probably aren't going to like what you'll get in the afterlife either.


It's de rigueur  in eastern disciplines, to "go within" to find heaven. Here's what you'll find "within" (I'm sorry, but it's actually very limited): there are bodily sensations, feelings / emotions, and thoughts / memories (mind) ... and that's it. There's nothing else. We've been looking for heaven in mind, and in all the different states  and components of mind, for centuries. As interesting and as revealing as that particular exploration may be (and often is), at some point it becomes clear it's just not a good place to look, as seductive and as alluring and as fascinating  as it is. To borrow that golden oldie  country song, it's "lookin' for heaven in all the wrong places".

The erstwhile unthinkable, unimaginable, outrageous possibility to begin trying on and considering, is that heaven is patently present everywhere, all the time, right now, right here on Earth ie even  right here on Earth ie out-here  on Earth ... and  ... the truth is heaven is elusive - at least, it's elusive at first. It's so elusive at first, that a likely (indeed, a very wide-spread)  erroneous conclusion is that it can't be found here at all.

How does heaven stay so elusive? It stays elusive by hiding in plain sight. We could try looking for heaven in other places ie on other planets in our solar system, or even in other lives  ie in the afterlife to come, for example - if indeed that's your penchant. We could attempt to infer heaven's existence by developing new rationales and esoteric explanations, some of which may even garner scientific agreement. We could seek to justify a "future, elsewhere" heaven (but not a "now, here" heaven) by taking on, then filtering our conclusions through elaborate belief systems (and some of us have already gotten pretty darn good at doing exactly that, yes?). And in each of those cases, the results may still be inconclusive as to whether or not heaven can be found here - so much so that almost everyone who's explored and exhausted one or more of them, has become quite certain that this (ie our domicile on Planet Earth) isn't heaven, and even more than that, it could never possibly be.

Here's my proposal: to leverage our access to heaven, rather than believing in it more, and then believing in it better, and then believing in it differently, what works is trying on a new context  within which to distinguish heaven - in other words, generating a new context in which heaven can show up. Then suddenly  - it's here, like an overnight sensation that's really been around for a millennium or ten. It's everywhere. It's all around us. It's right here on Earth ... and  ... (get this) it always has been, and it always will be. And look: if we do go to heaven in the afterlife (indeed, if there is an afterlife after all - which we'll all find out, more sooner than later), then the heaven in the afterlife will be a seamless continuation of the heaven in this  life - and if it isn't, then it wasn't really heaven in the first place to begin with.

So what then is  heaven? Isn't heaven that place where everything is perfect?  And what is "perfect"? Something is perfect when it's exactly the way it is, and exactly the way it isn't. Look around you. Look out-here. It's perfect. All of it. Stop lying about it.

Now, I can't create a context for all this to be perfect, by reasoning that it is. I can't create a context for all this to be perfect, by believing  that it is - if anything, it works exactly the opposite way: I can  create a context for all this to not  be perfect (ie I can create a context for this to not  be heaven) by believing that it isn't.

OK, so then how do  I create a context for all this to be perfect?

I say so - that is, I look ... and then I say so.

"Say whut?  You 'say'  so, Laurence? Just like that, eh?" skeptics have responded, with barely concealed incredulous disbelief, ridicule, and disdain for my ignorance, heresy, and arrogance. "Exactly" I say. I look. And I see this is all perfect (that is, I see it's exactly the way it is, and exactly the way it isn't). And then I say so. Listen: saying so to create a context, is hardly new. And it's not even far-fetched. Didn't you once already  say this is all not  perfect for you? And didn't that already create the context that all this is not perfect? That worked, yes? So it's obvious that if I now say instead (after I've looked) that all this is perfect, it works just as well, yes?

That's all it is. That's creating the context. Imagine the power we've already invested (with great success, you may notice) in creating a context in which heaven is a possibility but only in the afterlife. Now imagine us investing that same power in distinguishing life as perfect on Earth - here, now, exactly the way it is, exactly the way it isn't. We wouldn't be expending any more energy or any better energy or any different energy doing it. Yet the outcomes couldn't be more profoundly distinct: a) heaven is available as a possibility but only in the afterlife ... or  ... b) the heaven already present  on Earth is seamlessly connected with heaven everywhere else.

And if that's true, by the way, it's really no big deal. Neither is it significant. And it doesn't mean  anything either. It's just the way it is.

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