In The Wisdom of Fulton Sheen (opens in a new link), the May 18th entry says “Heaven is a city on a hill, hence we cannot coast into it; we have to climb.” I couldn’t agree more.
I feel fortunate to have found heaven in this life. At the same time, I realize the work I put into making this discovery. The question for you is “Are you willing to put in the work?”
That question will be difficult for you to answer…until you know what’s involved. The thing that is most important for you to remember is that you have a choice. You are not required to climb the hill…unless heaven is important to you.
What is heaven?
My definition of heaven is one in which there is no judgment. There is nothing that is good or bad. In my experience there are tradeoffs in every aspect of life and we have the privilege of choosing the tradeoffs we’re willing to make.
To me heaven is also other-centric. I find that the real joy of life comes from helping others, yet my efforts are not sacrificial. I don’t give up anything that I desire to experience this joy. Quite the contrary my joy, and my ability to attain what I desire, are enhanced by this other-centric attitude.
it’s been said that if you help ten people achieve what they desire, you’ll have ten who willingly help you realize your dreams. There’s nothing sacrificial about a 10 to 1 return on your effort…as long as you’ve given without expecting anything in return from the person you’re helping. This has certainly been my experience. Indeed, many that I’ve helped have volunteered to help me without being asked for their help…further evidence of having experienced heaven in this life.
Heaven is also understanding that you’re not alone…that there is a greater intelligence that is accessible to you to help you solve problems…for yourself and others. This greater intelligence also sends you messages via your emotions that, if you understand the message, will help you avoid many of the problems you would have faced. The connection to this higher power is your subconscious mind. And, yes, you can call upon it consciously and at will.
There is so much more to heaven’s advantages, but in the interest of brevity I’m going to stop with these three.
Fulton Sheen said that “we have to climb,” but what does that mean? The climb is retraining our minds to think counterintuitively…differently than our human nature suggests. Here are examples related to the three aspects of heaven outlined above.
Our natural tendency is to judge people and situations as good or bad, right or wrong, pleasant or nasty. This tendency creates bias which limits our ability to see what tradeoffs are available to us. If we see only the “good”, we open ourselves to risks that could have been avoided. If we see only the “bad” and try avoid it, we miss opportunities to learn and grow…to become more capable of dealing with future challenges.
The climb involves a conscious effort to shift our thinking from our natural tendency to judge, which occurs as a natural, automatic response to the emotion we feel, to reminding ourselves that the person or situation is neither good no bad, simply something with which we have to deal. Something that is easier to deal with when we’ve set aside our emotional reaction.
We are all, to some degree, egocentric. We have interests and desires that we want fulfilled. We experience anger, anxiety and frustration when we don’t get what we want. We also tend to put our interests ahead of others’ interests.
The key to recognizing when we’ve become egocentric is the emotions we experience. When we are anxious, angry, frustrated or feeling victimized, it’s because we’re focused on ourselves to the exclusion of all others. It’s in these moments that we need to set aside these feelings by reminding ourselves that we are the ones inflicting this pain upon ourselves and that we’re doing so by focusing on ourselves. Then reminding ourselves that shifting our focus onto helping others we not only alleviate the pain, we experience the joy of helping, feeling valued and valuable, and gaining a willing partner to help us in our pursuits.
This is probably the steepest part of the climb. Our natural tendency is to be skeptical…to question people’s motives, the gift horse, the overly-aggressive attempts to persuade us. And these reactions can protect us from those who would do us harm. But this skepticism also can prevent us from enjoying our connection to the greater intelligence that exists…and intelligence that can open the door to heaven for us.
I overcame this tendency by creating a simple test to see how reliable my subconscious mind is. I set my alarm clock for the time I wanted to rise, then I instructed my subconscious mind to
awaken me five minutes before the alarm went off. On three consecutive days, I awakened a few minutes before the alarm went off. Then I expanded the test to have my subconscious mind remind when a program I wanted to watch was coming on. I positioned myself where no clock was visible to me. Again, my subconscious mind reminded me that the program was about to start just a few minutes before it was to start.
Notice that I didn’t deny my skepticism, but I established tests that enabled me to overcome my skepticism so that I could trust, and eventually come to know, that I could completely rely upon my subconscious mind’s connection to a greater intelligence. Subsequent to the removal of my skepticism, I learned to ask my subconscious mind to assist me in solving problems that my conscious mind couldn’t. Then I learned that emotions are messages from the greater intelligence and then when I understood the messages, I could set aside the emotions in favor of productive behaviors.
I’ve shared my climb with you, but my climb isn’t the only path to heaven. Each of us has different attitudes, beliefs, challenges and experiences, all of which influence the path to heaven. The only real question is “Do you want heaven enough to make the climb?”
Only you can answer that question. What I can tell you from my experience is that I live joyfully each day. So much so that I regularly get comments on my smile…which others label “ever-present.”
They marvel at my ability to connect quickly with others in ways that bring joy to both of us. I also gain others’ trust and the influence it affords me. This trust and influence are byproducts of having become other-centric with a focus on enriching others’ lives.
Others’ often say “I want your life!” To which I wonder, do they want it enough to make the climb?
I quickly set aside feelings that something or someone is good or bad, right or wrong, and replace them with an objective, nonjudgmental view of the situation. As a result, challenges are more easily dealt with. I see a broader spectrum of potential solutions because my mind is free of the emotions that cloud the real issue.
My only suggestion to you is to make a conscious choice about whether you want to make the climb to heaven.
If you choose to make the climb, understand that while the concepts are simple, effort is required everyday until your new, counterintuitive way thinking becomes automatic. With each day, the effort required becomes less…as long as you’re consistent in that effort.
If you choose not to make the climb, then recognize that the fear, anxiety and frustrations you experience are a result of your choice. Often these feelings have to become overwhelming before we’re willing to put forth the effort to make the climb. But as long as you remember that what you’re experiencing is the result of the choice you made, you’ll know that the option of the climb is always available to you.
For our kids
Help your kids develop a nonjudgmental attitude, an other-centric attitude and teach them how to tap into their subconscious mind, consciously and at will, and they’ll enjoy heaven their entire lives.
It’s easier for kids to make these mental shifts because they don’t have lengthy histories of experience in thinking intuitively instead of counterintuitively. By helping them develop the mindsets of non-judgment, concern for others and awareness of how to tap into a greater intelligence, you’ll give them the greatest gift possible…heaven in this life.
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I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your thoughts in a your comment.
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Hi Dale, Having been raised a Roman Catholic with sixteen years of Roman Catholic education, I was under the impression that Heaven was a place that you could go to after death when you followed the Ten Commandments.
Your point of view is refreshing inasmuch as I can make a choice to experience Heaven here on earth. Seems like the reward is all upside to try climbing the hill even if you don’t make it all of the way to the top!
Thank you for the insight!
Thanks for your insights, Bill. The concepts of heaven and hell are one of the areas in which I deviate from most organized religions. Most refer to them as existing in the next life…the hereafter, as you indicated. My experience has been that I can enjoy heaven here and now or subject myself to hell in my present life. It’s the choice I make every time that I face a new situation. I can either judge situation as bad and subject myself to pain. Or I can set aside that judgment and accept the situation as merely something that needs to be dealt with…neither good nor bad, it just is. With this approach, I experience the joy of dealing effectively with the situation, which is heaven in the here and now.