The Kingdom of heaven is our ultimate abiding place, our ultimate eternal reality. We are commonly taught to think of it as our future residing place where we will go after an event called death. But, this kingdom is, and always will be, the abiding place of our real consciousness – eternally. What did Jesus mean when he said “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 10:7) and “The kingdom of God is within you” (Mark 1:15) ? Certainly, “at hand” means immediately available, and “within you” means just what it says.
We cannot deny that we exist now. In the Kingdom, existence is already and always must be eternal. Eternality does not begin in the future. Eternality includes, and is, NOW. Then, must that kingdom not already be available now, and within us, as Jesus promised?
“The kingdom of God is within you” Within what? Is this eternal, immortal and infinite idea called the Kingdom contained inside of your finite and mortal body, which is doomed to return to dust? Can you put an ocean into a milk jug? Or, is this Kingdom within the grasp of your consciousness, which you can never lose, being the product of the reflection of eternal God’s being? Perhaps the Kingdom is within your potential awareness of it. Perhaps your self perspective must change in order to become aware of the Kingdom. Perhaps the truth of your being is that your existence is not really IN a realm of its very own, but is comprised of the enactment of God’s actions made visible to Himself. What makes up your awareness of yourself now? Which way do you see yourself? Are you aware of God’s essence as the source of your true character, and are you living that awareness every waking moment?
Why does it so seldom feel like we really are already in the Kingdom now? When human consciousness is not aware of and never contemplates its spiritual essence, it is only aware of what it thinks of itself humanly. Spiritual experience can only result from the thinking of spiritual thoughts. Human thoughts are not of the essence of God. Human thoughts are the false Adam-identity which believes our existence to be mortal, limited, and not yet having access to God’s perfect kingdom.
The Bible tells us that Adam is in a deep sleep, and that there is no record of him ever waking up. What if we could awake from that state of mind by continually feeling God’s presence? St. Paul said (Eph 5:14) “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Are we sleeping away our life, unaware of God? Isn’t it possible that Adam actually represents the identity of the limited mortal man, the man who dies, and who is NOT the identity of the immortal perfect man, who lives forever in the light of Christ? St. Paul also told us “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor 15:22)
Could it be that Jesus wanted to instruct us all how to put off our own mortality here on earth, step by step as he did – that his earthly mission included teaching us how to reach this heavenly state of thought in practice, here and now? To awake from Adam’s dream, now? Did not his marvelous works and healing clearly indicate his perfect understanding of God’s continual presence, even in the midst of consciousness of human life on earth, which protested so strongly against Jesus’ mission? Did not Jesus’ perfect understanding finally and perfectly cause him to reach the perfection of the Kingdom of Heaven in the resurrection, while urging us to follow him? Might we be overlooking the importance of the DEPTH of our OWN mental and spiritual participation required for our own salvation – salvation from the sins of belief in impossible powers external to an already infinite God?
This perfect spiritual kingdom is ultimately completely attainable, as exemplified by Jesus in his resurrection. It is also available to us ALL, as the children of God, in degrees and steps, NOW, in proportion to the spiritualization of our human thought on earth. Jesus’ resurrection becomes our resurrection only as we mentally and spiritually FOLLOW in his footsteps. Without this level of participation, Jesus’ selfless acts are nothing but a beautiful observation. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to The Scriptures, the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy wisely cautions “Outward worship is not of itself sufficient to express loyal and heartfelt gratitude, since he has said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (Page 4:6)
In the kingdom of heaven, which is at hand, the things of the material realm – sin, disease, and death, are recognized as powerless – and thus are gone forever.