In the Summer, 2010, issue of UU World, Rebecca Ann Parker, writes that we are already in paradise.
My immediate reaction is , "No I'm not. If I am in paradise, I am even more depressed to think that this is it."
And then she goes on to explain a little bit :
"We come to know this world as paradise when our hearts and souls are reborn through the arduous and tender task of living rightly with one another and the earth. Generosity and mutual care are the pathways into knowing that paradise is here and now. This way of living is not utopian. It does not spring from the imagination of a better world, but from a profound embrace of this world. It brings hope home to today, to this moment and its possibilities for faithful love."
Well, okay, maybe it is me. I should be more grateful and I should try harder to make other people happy and myself. I've heard the slogan, "We don't try to get people into heaven, we try to get heaven into people." But I want a Santa Claus. I want a savior. I want my mommy to come, kiss my boo boos and make everything okay.
Telling me that I have to grow up and make my own paradise because there isn't anyone or anything that is going to make my suffering all better is a very rigorous and tough theology. I am not sure that Parker is going to find many takers.
Parker's theology requires people to grow up, to become adults, to take responsibility for themselves and for others and to do the best they can appreciating what they do have and not focusing on what they don't. Paradise is within our hearts and minds. It requires awareness, calmness, and a oneness with what is, not with what we want there to be. Paradise comes with acceptance that a Higher Power is in charge. It is bringing our will into alignment with the will of life that we find peace and flow another word for which might well be "paradise".
To read Parker's article, click here.