Searching for Heaven
I was flying at 30, 000 feet to see a friend who was dying. I tried to think of something useful to say to her, I realized I was up in the sky, where Heaven is supposed to be. Then I realized that during all my flying, all the pictures from the moon, the Hubble telescope, space stations, space shuttles, and various super sonic images of our galaxy and universe, no one has ever declared that they bumped into or found Heaven.
My plane raced through huge clouds – and still – no Heaven. I looked up and down and off into the horizon – I still didn’t see the gates, the gold, the happy peaceful people, no relatives or saints or Gods or Goddesses, no cherubs dangling their legs off of puffy white clouds.
Then I started to remember some of the lines from the “Deep Thought” books I have been reading forever:
“What is real is invisible to the eye”
“The Tao is nearby, yet people seek wonderful doctrines far away”
“The Kingdom of Heaven lies within”
“When this truth is at last seen, that heaven is not a place in space but a condition of being, and that therefore it can to a certain extent be realized even before death, a feeling of joy and a sense of adventure are felt”
I found myself deeply comforted by these words. I began to look around the plane for heaven, at the people in it, at myself, within myself. It was easy to find heaven in the many kindnesses I had received just to get on this plane, from flight attendants, talented pilots, all the unseen service people cleaning, re-fueling, and double checking the plane, my fellow travelers helping each other with bags and seats and kind looks during the bumps and heaves of turbulence. I found heaven in my deep love of my friend through the years, carried within me, and within her.
I told her this story when I reached her. I told her with full confidence not to worry about finding heaven, or if she would gain entry – it was already here. I knew then that heaven is within us, and all around us – it just takes a little refocusing. Knowing where to look for heaven was a final gift from a dear friend.
May you always know the heaven within yourself.
Dedicated to Catherine V. Cauffield