the kingdom of heaven | essays & thoughts
Sometimes the simplest phrases can hold the whole universe. And sometimes the universe is our heart.
(My Beloved) and I have always been looking for heaven. In our high school yearbook (’66), her ambition was “To find heaven.” At the time, I couldn’t say what I wanted was because I hadn’t touched down on the planet yet – I was still lost in the unruly, mystic fog of childhood.
Our obsession with heaven was what drew us together. It was the glue that held this unlikely couple together. We came at it from very different angles, but both of us were lifeless without it.
We didn’t really care about anything else. This was the true luxury of the times. This is what a lot of old boomers would like to get back to, but it isn’t gonna happen because nothing wonderful happens without love.
Our passion wasn’t unique in the late fifties, early sixties in America. For the Elvis Doo Wop Beatnik then Hippie generation, the pursuit of heaven was a massive movement, what sociologists call a ‘collective effervescence’ (I love that term!). The songs at that time were all about adoration. Most people went to church or synagogue. Love was the oxygen everyone breathed – just as today having strong opinions and proving our point is the in the air. Back then, very few wanted to prove a point.
Our goal was to find the point and live there.
So (Beloved) and I instantly jumped in head first, with no preview of what we were jumping into. We went through many spiritual groups. Chronologically, Young Life (64), Up With People, exploring all the different denominations of Christianity (66-69), Transcendental Meditation (68), Yogi Bhajan (Kundalini Yoga – 69), Trappist Monasteries (69), The Holy Order of Mans (a mystical hippie Christian group in Haight Ashbury – 69-90) Silva Mind Control (73), Sufi Dancing (69-to present), Native American stuff (early 90s), and then Hinduism (around 93). The Hinduism phase took off with full tilt devotion to Shree Maa (totally diving into puja, kirtan etc), with flings with Karunamai, ShivaRudraBala Yogi, Ammachi. The Hindu phase was supercharged for ten years – and it was total bliss. We had found heaven and heaven welcomed us with open arms. All eight of ’em!
And then it crashed. The details are nobody’s business, but the crash started in 98 and it was horrific. (Beloved) was totally crushed. I very much enjoyed the Hindu phase (I was music director, producer and toured (guitar) with the guru), but it was absolute, infinite bliss for her. When it crashed, our Truth dissolved. It suddenly became a cruel lie. The good news is, I never loved the gurus as much as I loved my wife. When Heaven collapsed, I became obsessed (understatement) with saving her from the Horror.
The process of trying to save her woke me way up.
That horror generated an explosion of songs for me that continues to this day. “The Soul Is Greater Than The Hum of Its Parts” (2001) is the tip of the song iceberg I wrote at the time – and all of those songs, and all of the songs I now write – rise out of one of the most powerful, important phrases ever spoken, “The kingdom of heaven is within.”
Creator can’t be found outside us. We can experience incredibly high emotions on the wings of a great teacher’s (preacher, guru, cult) spiritual power – but when we do, we put our very precious souls in their hands. We are projecting the supernatural Creator inside us onto another human – which gives them tremendous power over us. More often than not, that power is abused.
In Hinduism they have a variation on the kingdom being inside you – “Shiva is inside you,” or “Shiva/Shakti is inside you,” but very few gurus really go into that because it undermines their hold on you – and you are their financial, promotional and ego support.
Creator’s true home is in our hearts, which contains our deepest mind. When our reality crashed, I figured this out. It was empowering and liberating to see through all the organizations (often cults) we’d been involved with.
After that all the pieces fell in place for me. I see the Holy Trinity now as “Creator / Creation / Creativity.“ Crucifixion is the death of the ego. Our egos died in 1998. After crucifixion of the ego comes resurrection – heaven.
Which was there all along.