Brian Wilcox. 'A Way Through The Wood'
Waterman Trail. Georgetown, Maine
A seeker attended the Sage's evening gathering. After time in group silence, he said, "I hear you say we can enjoy heaven now."
"Yes, heaven is only now."
"I thought we go to heaven after we die."
"If so, that is now."
"Can you share some about what I can do to enjoy heaven?"
"Certainly, I can. Let us share a story.
A man appeared at the gates to Paradise. He met Christ. "Christ," said the man, "I am so happy to get here to enjoy heaven!" Christ answered, "You are not ready to enjoy heaven." The man contested, "Certainly, I am! I have done much good to make sure I am fit for heaven." "That is why you are not ready to enjoy heaven," remarked Christ.
A woman came to the gates of Paradise. She, too, met Christ. "Christ," she spoke with face aglow, "I am so enthused to get to heaven!" Christ replied, "You are not ready for heaven." The woman argued, "Christ, you must be wrong! Did I not live a holy life, avoiding the evils that would lead me to hell?" Christ said, "Yes, and that is why you are not ready to enjoy heaven."
A third person approached the gates of Paradise. He met Christ, too. Christ asked, "What have you done to be ready to enter heaven?" He spoke, "Nothing." "Well done!" Christ said. "You are ready to enjoy heaven."
* * *
A man was trying to start a weekly online gathering of followers of a spiritual teacher. He continued this effort over several months. Eventually, he gave up the idea. He wrote a mailing in which I sensed his frustration. I replied to him, voicing appreciation for his efforts. I told him I used to get upset when others did not show interest in what I found much interesting and helpful. I was referring to my devotion to contemplative spirituality. When a pastor, I found few persons in the churches who took the inner life seriously. They were focused more on morality and the church as a social fellowship. I often felt like I was shouting into the dark, no one listening. I shared with this man of how I now live, in contrast to being upset over how others respond to my life and work: "I just enjoy the Walk."
One asked the Sage, "Is the Way difficult to walk?"
"Yes, very difficult."
"But I have often heard you say it is simple."
"Yes. That is why it is so difficult."
"But that does not make sense."
"It will make sense when it is not difficult."
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Ⓒ Brian Wilcox, 2020