The kingdom of heaven is like a man seeking pearls; who when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13: 45-46
When he was about four or five years old, my son, Connor, woke me up at 4 o’clock one morning when he climbed in my bed to tell me about a bad dream he had just had. We talked about his dream for a while and then he slowly drifted off to sleep in my arms as I reflected on how much I love my boys and how much I love being a father. For me, that awareness of love’s presence is where we find heaven in our lives here and now.
When I was a teenager, I had a fantasy of leaving society and going to live alone on some mountain in Tibet to meditate and find God. I avoided responsibility because the adults around me often seemed tired, stressed out, and unhappy, and I didn’t want to grow up to be like them. I was afraid I would get caught up in the daily routine of life and lose the experience of joy.
As I get older, I’m finding that my Spirit is not off on some mountain in Tibet but is right here at home at 4 o’clock in the morning with my son asleep beside me. I’m finding joy by embracing the daily routine and the responsibilities of being a husband and a father, and I’m finding God in the faces of my wife and children, in my coworkers and friends, and in the playful conversation with the checkout lady at the Safeway down the street. I’m feeling like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz saying that happiness is not somewhere over the rainbow but is right here in my own backyard. I’m also realizing that finding happiness requires only that I let go of my fears and allow a shift in my perception.
We tend to focus on pursuing a plethora of external goals whether that be money, the right relationships, recognition, fame, new places to see, new experiences, or whatever, or we focus on external situations in our work, relationships or life situations. No external relationship or situation will bring happiness in itself.
Happiness comes from within and it occurs when you look within and begin to recognize and release all the fears and the barriers within yourself that block you from the awareness of love’s presence. Happiness occurs naturally when you release your fears and recognize the love that is the core of your nature. This same unconditional love is at the core of everyone you meet. Behind their ego baggage is a good person with the same hopes and fears and the desire to belong and to love and be loved that you have. The happiness you seek is right here right now and it is within you and all around you and has been all the time, only you didn’t see it because you were blinded by your fears, your goals, your struggles or your feelings of inadequacy.
It’s time to wake up and release the fears that keep you locked in old dysfunctional patterns of blaming yourself or others. It’s time to find your center and embrace and release the pain and hurt of your past and wake up to the joy of living. There is a little piece of heaven inside you and in everyone you meet. Finding happiness and successful living in your goals and relationships just takes a willingness to release your fears and your old patterns of blame and guilt towards yourself and others. You can find and hold your center and open your eyes to the profound depth of love all around you now. This joy of heaven within you and around you is the pearl of great price and nothing else will satisfy you or bring you peace.