Choosing between Celestial and Inner Heavens
Shying away from Responsibility
In no other aspect of human personal orientation have I seen a more self-deluding inclination than in those expectations by so many folks that an outside heaven with its celestial personnel will intervene in their problematics.
To me it's an intellectually shocking experience to see folks messing up their health, relations, prospects of happiness and peace of mind - and then by merely doing certain religious rituals believing they are booking a ticket to their Garden of Eden.
This tendency of dumping their own responsibility onto an outside source of mercy and benevolence is actually a general trait, not only typical of religious mentalities but also of many others of more mundane orientation.
Pick a Fixer
Indeed, whether it's his-deity-the-doctor, or shrink, dietician, motivational speaker, guru, gym instructor - we seek them to make us whole and happy one way or another. Of course, not to forget mentioning material goodies, the hoarding of which is supposed to fill that void in our hearts, like that one of a kid who wants more and more toys for the lack of love, attention and an incentive for self-expression.
However, while theirs is at least a tangible source of a fix, religious folks are placing all eggs into an imaginary basket. It would be quite plausible if they were at least following the example of their spiritual idol and by doing so achieve that inner peace, love, and harmony prescribed by his teachings.
Being Too Human to Follow Divine Recipes for Living
As it is in reality, I still have to meet such a devoted believer who made a considerable leap in personal evolving by achieving a vibrant health, great relationships, happiness, while serving as an example to others---rather than posing as a pissed off preacher criticizing the "evils of the world".
At times it gets even comical when you really think of it, that those propagators of peace, love and harmony are actually disturbing the crap in this world with their "struggles for a morality and values" tailored by their particular recipe.
In my humorous mind it's like a scenario in which I would terrorize my family with demands to "show unconditional love". Believe it or not, but I have personally seen a sample of such "religiousness".
Taking the Line of the Least Resistance
There is something definitely missing in many versions of religious mentality---not that all of them may be inclined to release every aspect of personal responsibility for their desired outcomes into hands of their deity.
However, being religious partially means exactly that---entrusting God for all outcomes. All of us must have heard : "It's not up to me, it's in God's hands". Or : "It' was God's will". Quite honestly, I find it hard to believe that grownup individuals, some of them even very educated, choose to resort to this kind of reasoning.
Life is a multifaceted experience calling for many different measures of maintenance and nurturing, and it's beyond my comprehension that people may surrender all that responsibility to hands of a deity.
Always Ready Answer
Even less I understand this matter of a selective, or limited faith. When someone tells me that "God is almighty", I am trying to avoid an argument, but my mouth is itchy to ask - "Why do you go to a doctor if your God has a power to heal you?" But then I laugh inside, knowing the answer - "God created doctors, so He is healing me through them".
Well, people's religiousness doesn't really "bother" me---it just makes me wonder, because I can't understand it. If I wanted to play with the words of religion, I could even say something that we may hear as a religious slogan here and there: "Help yourself and then God will help you."
While it does sound like delegating the duties between those of God and those of ourselves, let me leave this aspect of self-deluding and shift my attention to that mundane aspect of responsibilities.
Responsibility Puts Us in the Driver's Seat
Proper eating, breathing, a life-promoting life-style, a good stress management, nurturing of good and lasting relationships, fun, humor, mind expanding interests and hobbies, expression of talents, and spirituality not tied to a religion but to an evolvement from within---these are ingredients of a "heaven on earth".
There is nothing that feels more rewarding than achievements as a result of our own smart effort and intent. Whatever is given to us---can be taken away from us, but those aspects of life where we have a say, where our mind and will and spirit play their almost divine symphony of power and harmony---that's the domain of our human responsibility. Everything else is beating around the bush, well, so often---a burning one.
Let me surprise you a bit---I do believe in the after-life. Not in a religious sense, but from an experience as a long time meditator. When I first succeeded sinking down into a sort of oblivion with only a sense of a pure consciousness remaining, that sudden realization of having lost every sense of having a body startled me.
I snapped out of it with a fear that I had died. Well, later it became my most cherished altered state of consciousness, an almost divine feeling of being present in another realm altogether.
Ever since, I became prone to believe in another dimension to which we slip after the game is over for us on earth. So, I don't have a need for a religious interpretation of after-life, and my "heaven" is still my own responsibility.
No Holy Manuals Necessary
Through a combination of a few factors, some mental and some physical, I have trained myself to produce blissful emotions at will. I am not making them my main emotional feature of the day, because I like to experience a full spectre of my humanness.
These blissful feelings are merely a part of my self-healing routine. Not to serve for boasting, I simply want to make it clear that we are capable of establishing an inner heaven, and experience that unconditional love that religion keeps advertising.
Also capable of living as a decent human being---all without any holy books, rituals, and glorification of a deity. It is our responsibility, and we are all equipped to create it out of a thin air, from scratch.
The Glass Is Half-Full - Not Half-Empty
To many folks over 40 life may be serving one nagging question - "Is this all there is to it?" Hormones going down and leaving us somewhat tired of the game that keeps repeating itself, with sex that has lost that initial meaning in life, and ambitions that are following the path of those declining hormones.
We call it "middle age crisis" when life inventories are made, and a bunch of depressing questions and answers replace the previous zest for life. However, with only some willingness to persist in painting all that with brighter colors, yesterday's gloom can become today's delight.
We are capable of that, and even so much more because once that we make look nicer whatever already is---that impetus can take us to start creating what isn't there yet.
For Those Who Want It
You might have seen a flower growing out of a pile of manure---and so it is possible for our inner heaven to flourish out from the pile of crap of our irresponsible neglect. We are all smart enough to know which areas of life need to be addressed and made the best that's humanly possible.
So, let us not expect a doctor's pill to fix our mental laziness to create better moods. Yes, pill works faster, and if you go to church, you can have those sweet conversations that are healthier than a shot of whiskey---although with a similar temporary effect.
However, we are really talking mental crutches, not a bold marching through life. Now, is this "inner heaven" something that we "should" do? Inner heaven is for those who WANT it - not for those who see it as another "demand" upon them.
It's for those that I have written this article with a hope that my words have added to their already existing inspiration and gave another boost to their spiritual drive.