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Heaven in the heart
The toil of Life ceases when the heart is pure. When the mind is harmonized with the Divine Law the wheel of drudgery ceases to turn, and all work is transmuted into joyful activity. The pure-hearted are as the lilies of the field, which toil not, yet are fed and clothed from the abundant storehouse of the All-Good. But the lily is not lethargic; it is ceaselessly active, drawing nourishment from the earth and air and sun. By the Divine Power immanent within it, it builds itself up, cell by cell, opening itself to the light, growing and expanding towards the perfect flower. So is it with those who having yielded up self-will, have learned to cooperate with the Divine Will. They grow in grace, goodness, and beauty, freed from anxiety, and without friction and toil. And they never work in vain; There is no waste action. Every thought, act, and thing done subserves the Divine Purpose, and adds to the sum-total of the world’s happiness.
Heaven is in the heart. They will look for it in vain who look for it elsewhere. In no outward place will the soul find Heaven until it finds it within itself; for, wherever the soul goes, Its thoughts and desires will go with it; and, howsoever beautiful may be its outward dwelling-place, If there is sin within, there will be darkness and gloom without, for sin always casts a dark shadow over the pathway of the soul–the shadow of sorrow.
This world is beautiful, transcendently and wonderfully beautiful. Its beauties and inspiring wonders cannot be numbered; yet, to the sin-sodden mind, it appears as a dark and joyless place. Where passion and self are, there is hell, and there are all the pains of hell; where Holiness and Love are, there is Heaven, and there are all the joys of Heaven.
Heaven is here. It is also everywhere. It is wherever there is a pure heart. The whole universe is abounding with joy, but the sin-bound heart can neither see, hear, nor partake of it. No one is, or can be, arbitrarily shut out from Heaven; each shuts himself out. Its Golden Gates are eternally ajar, but the selfish cannot find them; they mourn, yet see not; they cry, but hear not. Only to those who turn their eyes to heavenly things, their ears to heavenly sounds, are the happy Portals of the Kingdom revealed, and they enter and are glad.
All life is gladness when the heart is right, when it is attuned to the sweet chords of holy Love. Life is Religion, Religion is life, and all is Joy and Gladness. The jarring notes of creeds and parties, the black shadows of sin, let them pass away for ever; they cannot enter the Door of Life; they form no part of Religion. Joy, Music, Beauty–these belong to the True Order of things; they are of the texture of the universe; of these is the divine Garment of Life woven. Pure Religion is glad, not gloomy. It is light without darkness or shadow.
Despondency, disappointment, grief–these are the reflex aspects of pleasurable excitement, self-seeking and desire. Give up the latter, and the former will forever disappear; then there remains the perfect Bliss of Heaven.
Abounding and unalloyed Happiness is man’s true life; perfect Blessedness is his rightful portion; and when he loses his false life and finds the true he enters into the full possession of his Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is man’s Home; and it is here and now, it is in his own heart, and he is not left without Guides, if he wills to find it. All man’s sorrows and sufferings are the result of his own self-elected estrangement from the Divine Source, the All-Good, the Father, the Heart of Love. Let him return to his Home; his peace awaits him.
The Heavenly-hearted are without sorrow and suffering, because they are without sin. What the worldly-minded call troubles they regard as pleasant tasks of Love and Wisdom. Troubles belong to hell; they do not enter Heaven. This is so simple it should not appear strange. If you have a trouble it is in your own mind, and nowhere else; you make it, it is not made for you; it is not in your task; it is not in that outward thing. You are its creator, and it derives its life from you only. Look upon all your difficulties as lessons to be learned, as aids to spiritual growth. and lo! they are difficulties no longer! This is one of the Pathways up to Heaven.
To transmute everything into Happiness and Joy, this is supremely the work and duty of the Heavenly-minded man. To reduce everything to wretchedness and deprivation is the process which the worldly-minded unconsciously pursue. To live in Love is to work in Joy. Love is the magic that transforms all things into power and beauty. It brings plenty out of poverty, power out of weakness, loveliness out of deformity, sweetness out of bitterness, light out of darkness, and produces all blissful conditions out of its own substantial but indefinable essence.
He who loves can never want. The universe belongs to Goodness, and it therefore belongs to the good man. It can be possessed by all without stint or shrinking, for Goodness, and the abundance of Goodness (material, mental, and spiritual abundance) is inexhaustible. Think lovingly, speak lovingly, act lovingly, and your every need shall be supplied; you shall not walk in desert places, and no danger shall overtake you.
Love sees with faultless vision, judges true judgment, acts in wisdom. Look through the eyes of Love, and you shall see everywhere the Beautiful and True; judge with the mind of Love, and you shall err not, shall wake no wail of sorrow; act in the spirit of Love, and you shall strike undying harmonies upon the Harp of Life.
Make no compromise with self. Cease not to strive until your whole being is swallowed up in Love. To love all and always–this is the Heaven of heavens. “Let there be nothing within you that is not very beautiful and very gentle, and then will there be nothing without you that is not beautified and softened by the spell of your presence.” All that you do, let it be done in calm wisdom, and not from desire, impulse, or opinion; this is the Heavenly way of action.
Purify your thought-world until no stain is left, and you will ascend into Heaven while living in the body. You will then see the things of the outward world clothed in all beautiful forms. Having found the Divine Beauty within ourselves, it springs to life in every outward thing. To the beautified soul the world is beautiful.
Undeveloped souls are merely unopened flowers. The perfect Beauty lies concealed within, and will one day reveal itself to the full-orbed light Of Heaven. Seeing men thus, we stand where evil is not, and where the eye beholds only good. Herein lies the peace and patience and beauty of Love–it sees no evil. He who loves thus becomes the protector of all men. Though in their ignorance they should hate him, he shields and loves them.
What gardener is so foolish as to condemn his flowers because they do not develop in a day? Learn to love, and you shall see and all souls, even those called “degraded,” the Divine Beauty, and shall know that it will not fail to come forth in its own season. This is one of the Heavenly Visions; it is out of this that Gladness comes.
Sin, sorrow, suffering — these are the dark gropings of the unopened soul for Light. Open the petals of your soul and let the glorious Light stream in.
Every sinful soul is an unresolved harmony. It shall at last strike the Perfect Chord, and swell the joyful melodies of Heaven.
Hell is the preparation for Heaven; and out of the debris of its ruined hovels are built pleasant mansions wherein the perfected soul may dwell.
Night is only a fleeting shadow which the world casts, and sorrow is but a transient shade cast by the self. “Come out into the Sunlight.” Know this, Oh reader/listener! that you are divine. You are not cut off from the Divine except in your own unbelief. Rise up, Oh Son of God! and shake off the nightmare of sin which binds you; accept your heritage–the Kingdom of Heaven! Drug your soul no longer with the poisons of false beliefs. You are not “a worm of the dust” unless you choose to make yourself one. You are a divine, immortal, God-born being, and this you may know if you will to seek and find. Cling no longer to your impure and groveling thoughts, and you shall know that you are a radiant and celestial spirit, filled with all pure and lovable thoughts. Wretchedness and sin and sorrow are not your portion here unless you accept them as such; and if you do this, they will be your portion hereafter, for these things are not apart from your soul-condition: they will go wherever you go; they are only within you.
Heaven, not hell, is your portion here and always. It only requires you to take that which belongs to you. You are the master, and you choose whom you will serve. You are the maker of your state, and your choice determines your condition. What you pray and ask for (with your mind and heart, not with your lips merely) this you receive.
You are served as you serve. You are conditioned as you condition. You garner in your own.
Heaven is yours; you have but to enter in and take possession; and Heaven means Supreme Happiness, Perfect Blessedness; it leaves nothing to be desired; nothing to be grieved over. It is complete satisfaction now and in this world. It is within you; and if you do not know this, it is because you persist in turning the back of your soul upon it. Turn round and you shall behold it.
Come and live in the sunshine of your being. Come out of the shadows and the dark places. You are framed for Happiness. You are a child of Heaven. Purity, Wisdom, Love, Plenty, Joy, and Peace–these are the eternal Realities of the Kingdom, and they are yours, but you cannot possess them in sin; they have no part in The Realm of Darkness. They belong to “the Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” the Light of spotless Love. They are the heritage of the holy Christ-Child who shall come to birth in your soul when you are ready to divest yourself of all your impurities. They are your real self. But he whose soul has been safely delivered of the Wonderful Joy-Child does not forget the travail of the world.
end of The Heavenly Life by James Allen
Narrated by Gabriel