We know that heaven is what we all desire, but where can we find heaven? Christians have generally believed that heaven is where you go after you die. Most other religions also believe this. However, the Unification Church is different from other religions in this respect, since we believe that heaven must start on earth.
Let's stop for a moment and think about where we are now: are we already in heaven, approaching it, or are we far away? Religious people agree that life in this difficult world of the present is the result of the fall of man. The fact that people have lost heaven shows that mankind is fallen.
Who is at the center of heaven? Heaven is the world which is centered on God. Life in the world since the fall, however, has been centered on Satan. We must ask: did mankind fall from the top or the bottom of heaven? If we reason that at the time of the fall, mankind was in the process of advancing higher and higher into heaven, then a fall along the way would be more likely than a fall from the top. Were people growing higher and higher into heaven on their own, or did God have to make daily efforts to lift them up? Again, we say that mankind had to climb upward on their own, without someone constantly lifting them up.
Every day of their lives, our first ancestors were growing in goodness. This is also the direction of our original nature. If we did not have this inherent sense of direction, each person could be on his own tangent and much confusion would result. If it were necessary for God to direct every activity of every person, how much effort it would require! Without much difficulty, we can conclude that God must have created people with an inborn sense of direction, so He wouldn't have to teach each person individually. Also, our own experience tells us that each of us wants to improve daily. No one has to make you feel that way; all of us were born with that characteristic.
We also know that each individual is unique and embodies truth. All of us were born as the result of a father and mother who were both individual entities of truth but at the same time different from each other. It is inconceivable that everybody could be exactly the same. God desired that each human being on earth be distinct from every other individual. Without individual human beings, God simply cannot feel the joy that comes through responding objects. Since each person serves as an object which God can love, everyone is equally important. It is impossible to imagine two people looking exactly alike and responding in exactly the same way. Each person has distinct features and actions, manifesting the infinite variety that gives God joy.
Certain things are unchanging in the creation. For example, mankind is divided into only two sexes, and there are only four seasons of the year. However, each season varies, and there is great variety within the two sexes. For instance, there are infinite varieties of clothing. Though there is only one way to walk-one foot ahead of the other-no two people walk in exactly the same way. Each of us laughs and talks differently and our facial expressions vary. All of these are characteristics of an individual entity of truth. How awesome it is that out of the billions of people on earth, no two are alike, even though their faces all have the four basic elements-eyes, ears, nose and mouth!
Heaven is where billions of people can live in harmony, and yet all be different. God, the subject, finds the utmost beauty in the harmony of four billion different living beings. Moreover, everyone who previously lived on earth is now in the spirit world. Altogether it is like one huge house in which God wants everyone to live and rejoice together.
Once we get there, what shall we do--study together? Sing and dance? Perhaps you would get tired of doing only those things. Perhaps after eating, singing and dancing, you would feel something lacking, and suggest fighting-just to have something different to do! People who have lived in a mansion for 20 years and have servants preparing steak dinners for them every day get tired of it and may go out looking for a McDonald's to get some cheap food they can eat with their hands. I'm bringing up this point because some people think of heaven as a lofty place where you just sing, dance and eat, a place you would soon tire of.
We can agree that heaven is a good place, that is simple enough. But what about life on earth-what is the situation here? It took God six biblical days to create all things. On the sixth day, after He created man, He said, "It is good"; and when He created woman, He said, "It is very good!" The earth was created good, but we still think of heaven as a better place than earth. What is the element that makes heaven better?
For a scholar, to know more today than he knew yesterday is better. For a businessman with a good purpose, to be richer today than he was yesterday is better. Suppose some scholar mastered all the available knowledge about a subject; that is good, and he would be proud of it. After a while, he might begin to think that no one is better than him. But if there is a God who is definitely above us, He would say, "Did you create that knowledge and the things from which you learned, or did you merely discover what was already there?" Can you say that you are the source of your knowledge? No matter how much you know, the source was already there before you. Therefore, everyone comes under the realm of knowledge, not above it. No matter how great are our abilities, still we come under the realm of knowledge.
Westerners know that knowledge brings power, and so they tend to value knowledge to the utmost. Do you feel intimidated by an intellectual, or can you see that an arrogant intellectual has nothing of true value? Actually, as a scholar's knowledge deepens and he realizes that he is approaching the One who created these things, he normally becomes much humbler. God is above us all and sees everyone. Would He lift up a humble intellectual who has discovered the truth of the creation through diligent efforts and calculations, or would He prefer the arrogant one? In every area of endeavor, God loves the humble person.
Suppose you master one specialty, whether technical or metaphysical. Would you choose to remain on that level of knowledge or go on to a higher realm? I am sure you would want to go on. Even the people in spirit world want to advance to higher levels of knowledge. Why do people have such a nature? We were created to live in the realm of a Being much higher than ourselves, and by entering into a subject-object relationship with Him, we are automatically lifted up to His level.
Do just intellectuals feel this way, or does it apply even to illiterates? It is clear that knowledge is not the closest thing to the essence of the Supreme Being. We cannot deny that the world values knowledge; people compete to excel at the best universities. Suppose we look with God's eyes at a recent Harvard graduate who may be filled with pride at his accomplishments and have an air of superiority. We laugh because he is out of position, don't we?
The same applies to money. The richest man may be proud of his immense wealth, but all he did was accumulate material that had been created by someone else. He may feel that nothing is above him, but after being wealthy for a long time, would he prefer to remain in the realm of money, or would he want to go beyond it? Here again it is evident that our original character craves unity with a higher Being, the one who created everything on earth.
Think about power. Would you like to have great worldly power, where anything can happen at your command-or rise above that realm of power and find union with the universal subject? I am sure all of you would answer that instead of remaining in the realm of money, knowledge or power, we long to live as an object to the higher subject who is in heaven. When we can establish a harmonious subject-object relationship with Him, we will be lifted up to that level. We are not belittling the realms of money, knowledge and power, which are very orderly and require much effort to master. However, for what purpose do we want to master them? Our goal is to become closer to the one who is above all those levels. The material world in itself is never the goal; we seek to penetrate it and transcend it to reach God.
There must be some pinnacle or summit of money, power and knowledge in the material world which connects with the boundary of God's world. When someone reaches that summit, would he want to debate with God in order to see who knows the most? Would he declare, "I have mastered all knowledge, and no one knows more than I. Let's have a debate"? The first word God uttered would knock such a person flat! Would a man of power challenge God to see who was the strongest? Of course not.
Since God couldn't care less about all these material things that absorb our interest here on earth, we can understand that none of these things is a source of true pride. What is it that God cherishes more than all of these? It must be something which all of us, including God, long to attain. It must be true love. All over the world, people are praying to God. Often they ask Him for more money, more prestige, or better health. If you were God, wouldn't you Bet tired and bored hearing such prayers?
We realize that heaven doesn't begin with money, power and knowledge because they can't satisfy our original nature. Then what kind of heaven are we talking about? We say that heaven transcends all these and we are seeking something much more significant. Love is such a short word, but what are its properties? With love, you could ride on God's back and He wouldn't mind. With love, you could put your foot on top of God's head and He wouldn't object. With love, you can even control the heart of God.
Suppose there was a giant who had a beloved wife so small he could carry her in his pocket-a pocket wife! When that wife said something to the giant, he would behave most humbly before her. We can often see dramatic examples of love. It's worth studying what makes such relationships work.
If wearing the cheapest possible clothing would bring you a step closer to heaven, you would want to do that, right? If you knew that love could be found in hell, you would be willing to live there, wouldn't you? l he suffering we undergo in order to come closer to the highest being is actually a source of rejoicing.
Love has no boundary; it can control even heaven and hell. Does love influence mankind alone, or also plants and animals? Researchers are discovering that plants like to hear music. Do you prefer listening to birds chirping in harmony or watching them fight? There is no boundary in the world of love; there we can rejoice any place we go and be welcomed everywhere. When you comprehend this, much of your internal turmoil will be solved.
Is love something you can achieve all by yourself? You need an object for love, don't you? We may respect the efforts of a man who works tirelessly to attain some goal. But suppose he meets a woman and completely abandons his work. Someone observing such a drastic change might think he was crazy. However, which is more right: to pursue knowledge or power whatever the cost, or to give up such a quest for the attainment of love? Would God approve of the latter choice? According to Principle, God would declare that the person who gives up everything to pursue true love with his spouse is the smartest of all. No one has really believed this and carried it out; but if God finds one man who does so, He can have hope.
Love, here, does not mean having relationships with many different people, but rather a man and woman establishing a circuit of true love together that will endure for the rest of their lives. Together they may dig deeper and deeper, even down to the bottom of hell, and then rise again. For the sake of true love, they could even give up heaven and choose to remain in hell. Do you agree? They could go freely up and down.
For the sake of true love, could you give up all your material possessions, even all the education that you labored during your life to gain? You women, would you like to have a husband who would do that for you? Some people cannot abandon such things without great struggle, but wiser people can set them aside like a pair of old shoes. Which kind of person are you? I believe we should be ready to give up everything for true love. Once you women know the value of this love, you should be able to renounce everything you cherish in life to find such a man. Do you agree, or do you feel you have to be practical?
What is the most precious thing one can imagine in this world-money, knowledge, power, or love? You already know the answer. Unification Church members are often persecuted by people in authority, but it doesn't bother us so much because we are seeking true love. When you joined the Unification Church, you typically gave up whatever money you had and dedicated yourself to finding this love. People in the world suppose that I am controlling you, and they oppose me out of misunderstanding. Are you paid for loving me or loving God? No, it comes from your own conscience. Perhaps you cannot explain why, but you know that when you are near me you feel happier. People who haven't experienced this cannot understand how white people could be drawn to an Oriental; the only explanation they can concoct is that you must be brainwashed.
In the Unification Church, people are motivated enough to cast aside the typical order of American society and devote themselves to attaining absolute, true love, whatever the cost. People of the secular world don't perceive the greatness of pursuing true love. Even those of you on the path to true love don't comprehend the enormous value of this pursuit! This is today's situation.
You don't realize that you have crossed the threshold of heaven. Where is the heavenly life? It starts here on earth. People must be able to transcend race and nationality, embrace both wealth and poverty, master both secular and metaphysical knowledge. Heaven begins when you can move from one extreme to another for the sake of love. This is happening now. Thus, God's love is with us and the power of the universe protects us. No matter what we encounter, as long as we are living for God's purpose we will be advancing upward and becoming better and better- even though it may not be apparent to us. Suddenly one day we will realize it.
We don't want to keep heaven to ourselves, but to keep extending its boundaries further and further so more people can enter. Real Moonies couldn't care less if others misunderstand and oppose us; we just keep advancing, even while asleep. We cannot stop because of opposition or because we are tired.
It is the desire of the universe as well as human beings to return to the original order of creation. When we go to sleep, the universe takes over where we leave off. This actually happens. When our motivation and purpose is love, we don't become discouraged when some calamity occurs. We know that such occasions are good opportunities; they are signs of even better things ahead. Do you think people who live like this will die early or live longer than usual? Such people usually live longer because the universe protects them.
Spirit world is an immense place, with no boundaries of status or culture. Love forms the only boundary. Imagine an American who has never transcended his culture going to the spirit world and expecting privacy and individualism. He will be a heretic in the spirit world! Privacy means personal boundaries, and there are no such boundaries in heaven. The rule there is to open all doors.
For whom do we open our doors? For true love. True love says, "Feel free to move into my domain whenever you feel like it" There is no such thing as true love working only during certain hours. If you truly love someone, what do you reply when he knocks on your door at 3 a.m. and you are sleeping? Would you scold him for waking you up? Suppose you have prepared a nice meal for your family of five, and suddenly your parents walk in. Would you ask them to go to a restaurant and return later? I have heard that this actually happens in America. Or would you invite them in and feed them and later worry about what you will eat?
Anything that advances love is courtesy and anything that blocks it is discourtesy. If I drop in without calling first and say, "I haven't eaten lunch,' would you reply, "Father, you shouldn't do that here in America"? Perhaps you would suppose I was acting according to Oriental custom. You should be prepared for Mother and me to walk in at any time. If a couple is making love in the evening when I knock, should they be upset by my interruption, or should they welcome me? Your first reaction would be to wrap a blanket around yourself and dash to open the door and say, "Father, what a surprise! We didn't expect you!" You laugh at this situation, but actually it's not a laughing matter.
I have trained myself like this, and you on your part should do the same. I open up East Garden to almost everyone; many unworthy people come in, but I leave them alone. No matter how furious I may feel, I let them stay as long as they want. Many times I pretend that I don't see what happens. I am training myself to love the unworthy ones as much as the worthy ones, because people of all extremes will eventually belong to heaven.
In this way of life, we must continually keep eternity in mind and concentrate on doing away with all boundaries. We live like this even under severe persecution. The world thinks I am a multi-millionaire. Though our movement spends millions of dollars, there is hardly any money in my pockets. Even if there is $10 million in the bank account, I would still worry because there are so many projects to carry out. Whenever a project simply has to be done, it has been my experience that the necessary budget somehow becomes available. Later I wonder how it all happened. My only principle is to live for the sake of loving mankind and God. When I act out of love, I find that somehow things get done. From experience I know that love is the greatest power.
When news comes that a tornado is heading for a certain town, the residents evacuate it and run away. But if people hear that a tornado of love is coming, they will converge on that town from all over! Wouldn't you like to be in the center of a love tornado?
Recently, Mother has been taking members from other countries shopping, spending time choosing things for them to wear. Even when she is tired, she goes out for long periods of time. I was surprised and impressed, and I thought about how beautiful it was. Eventually Mother will get old and need a cane, and I can imagine young people joyfully following her around, like kids in a toy shop! what a Beautiful scene that would be! She could never do that for money- only in the name of love.
Even though Mother may not have a lot of money, still she manages to buy something for everyone who comes along. Now you can begin to realize what true happiness is. Love means to give without reservation. My urge to offer a person something-even if it's only a blank piece of paper I have written on-is an expression of my love. If I really mean it from the depths of my heart, that paper is worth millions of dollars. When your small child brings you a trifle of no monetary worth, you should receive it and sense its value. Once you experience the first love with your God given spouse, your challenge is to maintain it and share it freely with the rest of mankind.
This way of life serves as the foundation for the heavenly life on earth. Imagine a huge tree with roots deep in the ground, a thick trunk, and branches lifting its leaves high in the air. Is it more natural for a leaf on the top of the tree to focus on its relationship with a nearby leaf, or with the tips of the roots deep in the ground? Naturally it wants to relate with the roots. Don't you think the branch bearing such leaves would someday become the biggest one on the tree?
How about you? As individuals, we are like the leaves and we have to think about God at the other extreme. No matter what happens to its branch, if the leaf focuses on the root with true love, the universe will protect it and make sure it doesn't perish.
You may take it for granted that I will overcome all persecution, yet thousands, even millions of people have prayed for God to destroy me. The only way I could surmount that was to penetrate deep into the love of God and act accordingly. The prayers against me are selfishly motivated, but my motivation is to help God and mankind. Therefore, the universe must protect me. As a result, the Unification Church has made great advances. When an individual thinks of how he can contribute to the universe, the universe literally protects him. Could I cause that to happen with money or power? Only with love. If you are fundraising centered on God's love, you can persevere without getting exhausted. However, if you are self-centered, you tire easily and have difficulty continuing. For whom do you do this?
A sister may once have seemed small and valueless to the world, but when she joined the Unification Church, she began to nurture true love. Once she marries a most outstanding man, her family will be amazed. A truly dedicated couple will have exceptional children. This is a promise as well as a prediction. When will this happen? We must be patient. That blessing may come in two or three generations.
We have to regard every person as part of one whole tree. Hopes and dreams are fulfilled in love. In your spouse and in your children-to-be, you must find your hopes and dreams. One day we want to be close to the throne of God, but only through love can we even imagine it. We are not suffering under an illusion; we are living the dream of love centered on True Parents. It is far more real than the secular world that surrounds us.
We want to extend the boundary of love further and further in order to make room for more people. Heavenly life must start on earth and true love perpetuates it. When we as objects are united in a circuit of love with God, our perfect subject, the electrical energy of love will ignite in each of us.
When we are released from our bodies and go to the spirit world, we will realize all the effects of love. There is nothing we cannot do there. Everything will be as we wish it to be. However, we start that life here on earth and reap its fruits in the spirit world. We have to connect with the root of the tree. After joining the Unification Church, we begin to trust and give to others. Even if we are sometimes betrayed or disillusioned, it is better to give than to close our minds. Someone with a closed mind can never improve.
Even though we cannot see the fruits of such a life immediately, we should remember that this is the first step in creating heaven on earth. In this foreign culture of America, I have taught that all the branches must respond when direction comes from headquarters, so that everyone can grow for the purpose of love. We are guaranteed that heaven is near for those who practice this way of life. Everyone will welcome such people. There is no magic shortcut to heaven; we can attain it only by practicing the heavenly way of life.
This does not mean that money and knowledge are useless. They are valuable when they are employed for the sake of love. But a selfish person is better off without them; he will be complacent and will not search for love. When we have true love, we want to bring Joy to others even if it means working throughout the night. For the sake of your loved ones, your original mind wants you to overcome your limitations of time and energy.
This place where you are sitting is much more precious than you can imagine. You can be grateful for the adversity you meet along this path and for the times when you work day and night because it brings you closer to God. God knows you are suffering. You may think that you have a reason to complain, but don't you suppose I have even more reason to do so? Had I complained, the Unification Church would never have come this far. Had I complained, I would have washed out a long time ago. However, I knew that loving God and mankind was the most powerful force.
This is a time of turbulence. When you are on the crest of a wave, you can see everything and have tremendous hope. But when you are in the trough and cannot see what is happening, you are apt to become discouraged. However, one day the storm will end and the sea will be calm and you will realize how strong in love you have become. I guarantee that when we live this way of life, God's love will remain with us for eternity and the universe will protect us.
Those who can say, "Father, I understand the value of this way of life, and I want to live it," raise your hands. God bless you.