Perhaps nothing in all of Jesus’ teachings has been more misunderstood than his idea of THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Many of his contemporaries wanted to believe that he was referring to a political kingdom that would come into being once the Romans were expelled and Jews were once again in control of their own land. Subsequent Christians interpreted heaven as the home of God, where we would go after death if we had lived good lives.
Neither of these ideas corresponds to Jesus’ many teachings on the subject. “The kingdom of heaven is within you,” he said (Mark 1:15). And he devoted many parables to helping people understand the kingdom of heaven as a state of consciousness. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (both examples from Matthew 13).”
What do these parables tell us? The kingdom of heaven is within us – now and always. It can transform every part of our lives, just as the leaven affects every bit of flour. And once we realize its Presence, it is more valuable than anything else we may have.
These are not parables about political kingdoms or life after death. They are images of a state of consciousness that exists within us now, to be experienced in this lifetime.
Let us appreciate today that the kingdom of heaven lies within us, waiting to express through our creative consciousness once fear and resistance have been dissolved. With every challenge, every choice, every new awareness on our spiritual path, we move closer to fully expressing the kingdom.