I was visited by God* in my dream last night where the story of heaven on earth unfolded before me. The dream made clear that Heaven doesn’t exist in another dimension or another location. Heaven is in the process of manifesting joy and wonderment in our present, exactly where we are. It exists in the here and now. As I went along on this journey I noticed it was the workers, those exerting effort to create a better world, building a home, putting up a play, cleaning a countertop or creating a work of art, who guide us on our path to this heaven on Earth.
In my dream there is ritual at every turn, that portends the future and leads to each of the various levels of human perfection. These rituals are difficult and take much practice, requiring that participants engage deeply, with presence and mindfulness, in an intricate dance or the playing of a musical instrument or speaking words thoughtfully and in perfect sequence, which support and deepen the ritual’s message. With much practice, these actions have more meaning and take us further into the realm of knowledge necessary to move to the next level of perfection, which is no more or less perfect than the previous one.
Heaven is not what we think we should be doing, as we aspire to do the work we were somehow meant to be doing. Indeed, we are always doing the work we were meant to be doing, whether that is cleaning up a broken vase, mowing the lawn or performing brain surgery. It is in reverence for the work itself that reveals the levels of perfection that our work returns to us. We do not work for money but for the quality of the effort itself. Heaven is not a capitalist enterprise. Each person contributes their gifts, their work in this moment, to bring about perfection for all, whether it is cleaning, moving and managing Earth as we move it from one place to another (gardening), bathing an infant, or work which we give more significance to, like merchandizing, coding, leading others in some political or business capacity. Even loitering has an art to it and is necessary for the health of the whole. Work that is often repetitive and not always exciting is the deepest form of worship, because it mimics ritual.
The best and most important work is not what we associate with glamour. Even being a movie star is mostly about learning lines and waiting in trailers. Not glamorous stuff at all. Inspiration comes out of the effort made by doing. It is only through a constant state of becoming, realized only in glimpses of how our work benefits others, as we serve one another, that we achieve perfection. Perfection is not a gift. It must be earned in the quiet solitude of thankless toil, in the state of constant praise of the creator who weaves our efforts together in the tapestry of his creation. We are the hands and feet of God, who exists and manifests Itself in the product of our efforts, primarily in the effort itself.
It is about our fitting into our place in this moment and furthering the betterment of the whole that perfection is attained, like in a commune. Did you know Communists are those who live in a community? And all those who live in a community and contribute to the whole, are communists. If you are contributing to the betterment of the whole, you too are a communist. If what you do serves only your own selfish interests, you exist outside the plan God has for you. When we feel threatened by our work, when we compare our reward for our work to the rewards other others’ receive for their work, that is when suffering takes over. Everyone must work. Like the Haitian graffiti in my painting says (in Creole). Therefore, the most dignified and edifying thing we can do is contribute our effort to the common good.
It is such a simple idea. That is why heaven eludes us. There was much to the dream I could not remember that made all this make perfect sense. It was about working not for the purpose of gaining wealth but to gain freedom from the bondage of stagnation and the alienation of working outside and separate from Gods immaculate tapestry. Our egos feed upon one another’s egos (spiritual cannibalism) when we stagnate, which leads to greater alienation from the real work that binds us together. As my sweet teacher Pat Harvey would say to her kindergartners, “busy hands are happy hands.”
My dream ended by watching the God-man carefully and completely clean and dust a cabinet rather than intervene in another’s existential quandary. It is better that they resolve their own conflicts, not God. For it is there, dealing with our jealousies, our vanity, our relationship to, and our communion with one other, that we draw closer to God. Therefore, the efforts we make learning to work in harmony with others is also good and necessary work.
But there was so much I am not permitted to remember from my dream, perhaps because I am not ready to remember. I awoke in the certainty, however, that it all made perfect sense. It was like a great movie I wish my kids had watched so they could teach me what has always been there to know. Work comes before wisdom.
*I don’t pretend to speak for God. I am no prophet. This dream was simply the product generated by my mind, for me to process and learn about myself. I don’t present it as THE truth or suggest it as a theology or advice for others. It was simply my dream, where my mind sorts through the issues in my subconscious mind and tries to make sense of it all.