“The narrow way to which perpetual ascension into Heaven and imitation of Christ is this. Thou must despair of all thy own power and strength, for in and by thy own thou can not reach the Gates of God. … Also thou must resolve to watch and guard thy mind, thoughts, and inclinations that they admit no evil into them, neither must thou suffer thyself to be held fast by temporal honor or profit. … Thy will must be wholly pure and fixed in a firm resolution never to return to its old idols any more. … Thou must also forgive all thy outward enemies and resolve to meet them with thy love, that there may be left no Creature, Person, or Thing at all able to take hold of thy will and captivate it; but that it may be sincere.” ~Jacob Boehme
By Harold Boulette
Heaven Bound Path
Boehme’s words from several centuries ago may be difficult to follow because of the different uses of words today and because translations are rarely 100% accurate (since Boehme was German, so I assume his books were originally written in German). Spiritual insight allows us to make sense of them. First he tells us that the path to Heaven is a narrow one. By that, he means that it is a difficult one and one that has certain rules and laws if you are to succeed. Some spiritual groups today, as in the past, will say that all paths lead to heaven, must as they used to say all roads lead to Rome. Try getting on a road twenty kilometers south of Rome and heading straight south and see how soon you get to Rome. The direct path is generally best, and Boehme is talking about taking that path rather than walking around in circles for many years until you die.
Control Thoughts and Ego
Boehme starts by telling us to “despair of all thy own power and strength.” This does not mean, as some might think, that one should not try to advance spiritually, but just sit back and wait for God to do it for you. It means that you can’t do it by brute strength, by storming the gates, by demanding to be entered, or by developing the egotistical attitude that no one deserves to be in Heaven more than you do.
The first thing we need to comprehend is that Heaven is not just a name for the spiritual worlds, for the place where spirits go after the physical body dies. Heaven is the highest level spiritual world and is only for those who have reached the highest state of spiritual perfection that is possible. We must control our thoughts and limit egotism if we are to be Heaven bound.
What is Evil
Boehme advises us to cleanse ourselves of evil or impure thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that hold us back. Where this gets difficult is that there are great differences in what churches, governments, and even spiritual schools consider evil thoughts and deeds. Too many get caught up in the minor aspects of this and condemn others for the clothes they wear, the movies they watch, the jobs the do, or the church they go to. Whether or not you keep your head covered, or your face or your penis is not what matters. Do you have respect for all life? Do you love all people, even those you strongly disagree with, do you recognize that behind the mask of matter, all is spirit and therefore all is God? That is what matters. Your openness to new idea is also important. Not just slightly new like apples colored blue instead of red, but totally new. You will not be able to comprehend the spiritual if you are not open to such things.
Love Thy Enemy
Boehme says we must forgive our enemies and meet them with love if we are to be Heaven Bound. Some might say that is impossible to do. It isn’t impossible if you learn to separate the deeds from the person. You can be an enemy of materialism, but still have love for the misguided materialist. You can hate murder, but still have love for murderer who is almost certainly mentally ill (I don’t see how anyone can do such a thing without some form of mental illness). Remember that Jesus forgave the Romans (yes, Romans) who murdered Him saying that they didn’t know what they were doing, and that is the attitude we must all seek to attain if we too wish to be Heaven Bound.
This post previously appeared on the Solar Wind blog.