The Kingdom of God is not a mytholgical place invented by Christians. It has been the central teaching of each and every Avatar, Prophet, Guru, Teacher and Incarnation throughout history. So what is the Kingdom? Is the Kingdom a perfect world, ruled by God, which will come into existance at the end of time, after the apocalyptic show down between good and evil, when Jesus returns to earth to judge sinners and annihilate the evil-doers forever? This is what the majority of modern day Christians and Catholics believe. Yet, I do not believe that this is what Jesus, John, Mary, Magdalene, Prabhupada, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed, Gurudeva or any other divine teacher means.
"The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say "lot, here it is!" or "There!" for behold, the Kingdom is within you". In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus teaches us further that "the Kingdom is spread out over the whole world and people do not see it. The Kingdom is within you, and all around you. Jesus never said it was a world to come. Rather he said it is already here, as a potential present reality, available to those with spiritual sight. So how does one discover it? Is it a place, like an actual planet? Is it a state of consciousness? Or is it both? In The Gospel of Mary Magdalene he reveals "the true child of humanity is within you. Follow it. For thoe who seek it, will find it".
The Master says, "Seek and you will find". So how does one seek? Does one go through life wanting the Kingdom yet not actively seeking it within? Does one sit still, close ones eyes and focus on the breath? Does one stand on one leg and raise ones hands in the air for days, weeks or months at a time? Should one be celibate, or married to get there? Is everyone qualified to go there, or is it available only to the Jews, who are said to be the 'chosen race'? Or only to the Brahminical races of India?
The Gospel of Thomas tells us "The Kingdom is like a merchant who discovered a pearl among his consigned goods. The merchant was wise and he sold the goods and bought the pearl for himself. So too should you seek the enduring treasure which does not perish, and which no motheats and no worm destroys. What you must do is unify that which is outside you with that which is within. You must make the male and female one and the same, and that which is above you becomes that which is below. Then you will be able to enter the Kingdom. Whoever seeks, will find. It will be opened for him. When you go forth naked and unashamed. Have no care from morning to evening, and from evening to morning, about what you shall put on. For what is the profit if one gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Visible things that decay and change and go their way through impulse have always been attracted downwards. When they are destroyed, they become one with all the bests of the perishable realm. Therefore, I say to you, be sober, and do not be deceived". To finish he concludes "why do you wash the outside of the cup? You should recognize that He who made the inside also made the outside". Here is our clue for todays practical application.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION FOR THE DAY:
Today, ponder on what activities you could do that could daily assist you in seeking out the Kingdom within in a more fervent way. If you have a busy life, which most of us do, how could you create some time each day for deepening your inner-life? If you have children, perhaps getting up earlier in the morning when the mind is calm and the house quiet, and you have no 'needs' pulling at you. Once you have figured out a possible route to a deeper life, schedule it, and be committed to it, and watch the miracles happen around you.
More on the Kingdom another day......