The war is over now.
(John Lennon, Happy Christmas)
The other day I was reading a sad note in the Spiritual Networks community. The author is a father of two who somehow with extreme willpower made it through many years of hardship by raising his children single-handidly. His wife had dropped out of their life, spiraling down with an addictive affliction. He himself was a soldier professionally, and he also tried to kill himself - and almost succeeded - during the time when he got divorced from his wife. Apparently, besides his love for his two daughters, he also had found the will to live in God. However, listening to the gist of his posted message, it sounded to me like he was waiting for the bliss in his afterlife, and was just soldiering on with the faith and commitment to make it through this "hell of a life".
I hesitated before sending a response. I knew what I wanted to say but I also knew that it wouldn't be well received. Eventually, I sent it anyway. My response said that thanks to his two daughters he had soldiered on an has accepted to live despite the pain, but that now is perhaps a great opportunity to let go of all the pain and fall in love with life itself. Heaven is not something to wait for in the next life, or an after-life; Heaven on earth is about to be experienced here and now.
I hesitated with my response because I know from my own experience that when you feel like going through hell, you just don't enjoy someone saying that Heaven on earth is always yours to choose. It sounds disingenuous, pretentious and fanatic all at the same time. Yet, the lyrics of John Lennon's beautiful song Happy Christmas, should be ringing in every soldier's ears: the war is over, if you want it. The war is over now!
The word war sounds extreme, but conflict can be in many places. Leaving aside obvious areas such as physical violence or verbal abuse, violence can even be hidden in supposedly "polite" conversations or interactions, and the question is whether one has the power to step out of it. The promise of the Way is that if you are willing to change, the world that surrounds you changes with you. Sacrifice is of the ego; so if you feel like a soldier getting punished on his mission, stop everything and step out of it. The war is over brother. Take a look around and see the beautiful world that your driven mind and your distracted eyes had failed to see.