When I was active in the fundamental Christian Movement, we had a saying: “So heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.”
At the time, observing heavenly-mindedness meant that the particular person seemed so focused on ‘getting to Heaven’ that they were not functioning much on earth as humans nor relating to life in the world. Over the years, even after I left the movement, I heard and saw people I thought were too heavenly-minded. It seems their only focus was to find more ways to earn their way to Heaven. It didn’t make sense to me.
When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me a story about Heaven and Hell (and maybe you have heard this story before as well). She told me that hell was a large banquet table where the people were all given huge forks and spoons. These utensils were so huge that getting them into their mouths was impossible. The frustration was overwhelming. On the other hand, Heaven was the same scenario with the banquet table and the huge utensils. But in Heaven, the people were feeding each other! What a beautiful way to envision Heaven — after all we really don’t know what happens after we die.
After my exposure to the New Thought movements and especially Ernest Holmes’s teaching, I found a perspective on Heaven that really resonated with me.
Ernest Holmes’s definition of Heaven:
A state of happiness. Heaven is within, it revolved about us … Heaven is not a place, a locality, ‘with streets of gold and gates of pearl.’ it is the real state of Being. We do not make it real, for it is eternal Reality. If we abide in the Father and He abides in us, in harmony, in power, in peace, in wisdom; and our thought is friendly, happy, confident and open, our Kingdom of Heaven is a good place in which to live.
~ Science of Mind Textbook, page 598
One teaching that drew me into New Thought (and Centers for Spiritual Living) is their focus on the present. Honestly, I did not relate with my Christian friends, who were constantly talking about spending their time and energy preparing for Heaven! For me, it was more important to be the best person I could be while living on earth!