By John Lind
When I was a little boy a very very long time ago
my father said to me:
"if you are a very good boy and grow up to be a really good man,
when you die you will have a good chance of going to Heaven."
He pointed up at the sky.
It was very big and blue with lots of clouds hanging about not doing much.
"Is the sky Heaven?" I asked.
"Oh no! Heaven is much much higher than the sky."
"Have you been there? Have you seen it?"
"No" father replied.
"So how do you know it's there?"
"It's a matter of believing it's there.
You don't have to see things to believe in them."
"Like fairies and goblins?"
I could feel his energy changing
as if he was being bothered by a fly,
"Heaven is much more important than fairies and goblins."
So I spent lots of days thinking about this ever-so high-Heaven so far away
and how would I get there when I died,
apart from being very good.
Why did God have to build it so far away?
especially if one has been very good.
I would have to be a bird
but not just any old bird,
I'd have to be a lark or a Golden Eagle to reach it.
Yes a Golden Eagle
But Heaven is so far away I'd get tired and give up.
What about a plane? They go higher.
And I wouldn't have to flap my arms.
But it if the plane didn't reach Heaven
and ran out of fuel it would crash down to Earth
and I'd have to start all over again.
Anyway, I don't have a pilot's license.
If nobody has been there or even seen it
even rockets couldn't be sent in the right direction.
It must be further than the moon.
What about a hot air balloon?
I have not seen any dead people.
Maybe when you die you get all bloated with gas
so you can float up there with a big flame under your bum.
As long as you've been good.
I must drink lots of fizzy drinks
One night when I was almost a grown up
I was lying on the ground looking up at the night sky,
still thinking about how to get to Heaven.
It was very dark
No moon no stars.
It was an "overcast night"
And suddenly I realised that I had my eyes closed.
Yes, I had been looking at the night sky with my eyes closed.
And the night sky wasn't outside me but inside me.
And guess what?
It wasn't even above me but below me.
Yes, the sky is not above us but below us.
Aborigines know this.
They know the sky is below us.
That's why when they fly in a plane for the first time
they wonder why they are flying upside down.
A wise old Aborigine told me that.
So I stared at the night sky below me inside me
and realized that I didn't have to get UP to Heaven
No climbing or flying
It looks very dark and huge. It goes on forever on all sides.
And I wondered what it would be like
to fall into it.
And then I got frightened.
Could it be THAT place that some grown ups talk about in whispers
and even tremble?
The "dreaded abyss"
when you fall into it you never reach the bottom
it is so deep
and nobody knows you have fallen down there
so nobody misses you.
Father won't throw a rope down and shout
"Hold on son while I pull you up!"
Mum won't be there to cuddle me close to her bosom.
And if by then I have a wife or girlfriend
they won't be able to say
"I love you"
because they don't know I'm down there
very frightened and alone
where no-one can hear me crying for help.
But looking down at this dark place
it doesn't seem to be that 'dreaded abyss'
there are no high dark cliffs around it.
It feels more like I'm looking deep deep into the ocean
but without water and fish.
So it can't be the ocean.
But then I see a movement down there.
And it's not actually totally dark
because it's milky.
There is a lot of swirling going on
like snowflakes in a blizzard.
But they aren't snowflakes and it's not a blizzard.
There are just a lot of white dots
masses of them.
They are not even lights.
Just pin points of light.
And they move one way
and then another way
and then they all become still
as if they all know what each other are going to do
just like those flocks of starlings in the day sky
all changing direction and creating patterns
Have you seen that?
Clever people call it
something like that.
I realize I am older now - a grown up.
I am mesmerised by these changing patterns of white dots
twirling around in circles like Busby Berkeley choreography
or weaving in figures of eight infinitely
it seems I am looking at white noise
I am actually seeing white noise and it's all silent.
And I find myself falling into the swirling mass.
I am among them.
And there is no objection.
None of these dancing white dots asks me for my ID
or where I'm from
or what religion I am
or how successful I've been
I start dancing with them effortlessly
No white dot is thinking, "He's not a good mover."
I feel no distractions like
"Corrrr! She's a goodly looker!"
"Will I find my true love here?"
There is no hustle or bustle or jostling
like trying to get to work in the rush hour.
No competition. No destination.
I don't feel afraid. I don't feel excited.
I don't feel sad. And I don't feel happy.
I'm not too hot nor too cold.
I feel weightless, light,
I feel welcome. I belong
within the harmony
of this anonymous multitudinous solitude
where we are the secret silent source of Light
and the eternal Life Force in every form
and at last... at last...
I am no longer aware of myself.