we, together, become Love ~
Love is Harmony
Be in peace among yourselves.
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Heaven, Spirit, paradise, City of God, celestial city, Abraham's bosom, Avalon, Shambala, Elysian Fields, eternal life, nirvana, the Light, the Tao, the New Jerusalem ... many ways, and more, to speak poetically of the unspeakable longing for something that nothing in our personal experience can give us. Rather than it being a personal experience, it is so intimate, so close, it takes us out of ourselves, it opens us to the world in compassion and kinship. We discover we are only formed to live at-home, for we are shaped to find that we are who we are only together. And, that we do not speak on this alike, and we cannot speak it at all, does not make it unreal, only real in a way unlike what we commonly call real, if anything, more real than real. This is why all reference to the spiritual is metaphor, is poetical pointing, never explanatory. Grace hints in the darkness, a darkness to us, for filled with Light ~ the Light.
* * *
In my childhood, I was introduced to a scripture from the Gospel of John 14.2-3. This passage reads, in the King James Version, or Authorized Version, the only one used in the little rural congregation...
In my Father's house are many mansions [i.e., dwelling places, rooms]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
I kept a copy of the hymnbook from the church. A few years ago, I perused it, amazed at how many hymns were about after this life, in what was referred to, and still is by many, the afterlife. These hymns seemed to reflect a sense of this world being an evil, damned place, one to move through to get to a heaven later.
The Gospel of John passage was interpreted in this manner of a later time. Jesus coming to receive us was the Second Coming, at the end of time on Earth. Afterward, immediately or at a later time, based on different theories, all Christians would be introduced to the literal, material "my Father's house" in heaven, and it would have a room each for everyone. So, our true home was elsewhere, and was later, not here, not now. This kind of teaching was called, in the theological schools, eschatology, the doctrine of the last things, or end times (Greek, the eschaton).
At that time, I did not know that this literal thinking about religion was what came to be called, by the cognitive theorist Jean Piaget, concrete operational, noted as normative for ages 7-11. Certainly, I know many in my religious environment had profound spiritual experiences, yet they had not been given the conceptual framework to understand them beyond a mythic-tribal understanding.