If paradise were not joy, then eternal life would be a punishment, not a prize. If eternity were not in the moment, then eternal life would be a burden, not a relief. We cannot permit paradise to always be somewhere far away, in another dimension, on another plane, to which we only attain after death, or sometime in the future after the last judgement. This concept of paradise only divides us from life and devalues the large trajectory of our past, by constantly limiting the scope and context of our present.
Paradise has to be in the moment, every moment. Paradise has to be for you not a place you go to, but a way and manner in which you go every place you are going. Paradise for you has to be the way you walk your ways, the way you talk, the way you think and perceive, the way you feel and sense, the way you intuitively perceive, in short: the way you are, in every moment. And this concept of paradise can only make sense to you when you recognize that the only thing paradise can be is joy. And the only thing that can be eternal is joy. And since life constantly pushes towards motion, then eternal activity only makes sense in combination with eternal joy. The only price that joy demands is that in seeking it we do not infringe on the personal boundaries of other joy-seekers.
But there is nothing like eternity, because it does not exist, because it has not yet existed, because by definition it cannot exist since it can never conclude itself and be a rounded event. It is an open-ended assertion. There is nothing like eternity. There is only the moment which gives birth to the moment which gives birth to the moment which gives birth to the moment which gives birth to the moment…. unendingly? Well, I tell you what. The only thing that makes a thing gladly repeat itself unendingly is joy. If being itself makes it happy, then it will repeat itself unendingly.
Would the beings in paradise and spirits in heaven want to live forever if they were not happy, and happy being themselves? Would YOU want to live forever if eternal life were not eternal joy but the lack of joy and you could not be yourself and be happy? I would not. Come to think of it: is that not the definition of Hell? I really think that is beyond the capacity of human experiencing. Every joyless human existence must come to an end some day. Only joyful spiritual experiencing can extend endlessly.
Joy is not a place. It is an inner state of being. It is paradise. It is not connected with earthly or exterior badges of praise. It is not by itself connected with power or money. It is not even connected with achievements, which become the past. It is simply a product of the way you are. Thus you can carry it about with you, every moment, every day, through all your lives, on earth and in the beyond, and at home in the spiritual kingdom, forever and ever.
The Kingdom of God lies within you – and it’s name is Joy.
– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.