Turning Our Dream of Heaven on Earth into Reality
There is a desire, a longing, in each of us for a world that works. We want to end the immoral and recurring problems of the planet, such as war, hunger, disease and hatred. We want our soul's dream of a world that inspires hope, engagement and creativity to flourish. We want heaven on earth.
We've already proven that humanity can accomplish the extraordinary. We've returned a human from the moon, we've extended life by transplanting hearts, and we've brought democracy to South Africa.
But our human story also contains suffering, fear, prejudice and horror. The apparent strength of these negatives contributes to our feeling powerless and believing that we are unable to make a true, deep and lasting difference in the world. Yet even through these sufferings, we still experience times of heaven on earth, times of beauty, love and tranquility.
How do we nourish and support this collective project? We establish a new model of existence, a new collective purpose, a new civilization-fueling vision. We expand the idea of what is possible, focus on and multiply what works, and confront and reduce what doesn't work. We join with others to make the creation of heaven on earth the new story of what it means to be human and what it means to be humanity.
I've asked many hundreds of people to tell me a time when they've experienced heaven on earth. They don't hesitate or ask me what I mean, but immediately tell me about a moment when they've experienced it. They answer with clarity and certainty, sharing moments ranging from the birth of a child, to an appreciation of nature, to a moment of deep communion. Heaven on earth, like love, peace and joy, is hard-wired into us, an eternal, innate truth, one that we want to extend from a moment to always. Ask yourself this question, "What is heaven on earth?" Just sit quietly now and answer.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines "heaven" as both a noun and a verb. It says that heaven is not only an abstract concept of the afterlife, it is also a transitive verb, "to heaven." This means we can go around heavening all day. We can heaven our relationship with problems. We can heaven our relationship with life itself.
Here's one simple way you can begin. Speak to two people in the next twenty-four hours about creating heaven on earth and ask each of them to speak to two other people the next day, and so on. If everyone does his part, it would take just thirty-two days to reach all 6.5 billion people on earth—a small act, a huge impact.
Your contribution is vital to this building process. Author Frances Hodgson Burnett said, "At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, and then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done ... and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago."
There are many other ways to bring about a heaven on earth. Here are some:
I believe the vast majority of the world's people want to participate and play their part in a new global vision, a new human story of hope and momentum. United, we can and will create a grand and global planetary chorus, each person adding his voice, his gift, his inspiration. Through our intentions, our actions and the circumstances that provide the opportunities to move in a more expansive world, a heaven on earth can be created. This truly is the work of humanity. This truly is fulfilling the longing for the world we want.
Perhaps best-known as co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, a New York Times bestseller, Martin Rutte is the president of Livelihood, a management consulting firm in Santa Fe that explores the deeper meaning of work and its contribution to society. He founded and is chairman of the board of Canada's Centre for Spirituality and the Workplace at the Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University, Halifax. Rutte is in demand throughout the world as a speaker and consultant.