Changing Your Perspective to Success 4
In today's world, where power, achievements, and wealth seem to be how everyone defines success, it can be a bit discouraging to try to figure out how to actually move ourselves to a vision of success that includes Level 4 ideals. The following will give you some helpful tips to better understand Success 4, and will inspire you to seek it in your daily life.
Remember that in Success 4, the priority is to begin living for the kingdom of God. In this view of success, we are not only seeking to achieve our own eternal life, we also want to help other people move toward their own salvation. We want to be kingdom-builders. So it's important to share what you believe with others.
Start by helping others to understand that they have a transcendental dignity. Human beings cannot be reduced to a bunch of molecules. We are all destined to eternal life where we are going to know the complete set of answers to the complete set of questions. We are going to also have an empathy and a love that is so free of imperfection, ego, and selfishness that it will induce a joy that will make time stand still. And we're not only going to have this joy with God, we're going to have this joy with every other person God ever created.
Did you know that there is a tremendous body of evidence from very good medical studies that suggest you will survive bodily death? These peer-reviewed studies which have been published in some of the most prestigious scientific journals give evidence that after death, you will not only have your self-consciousness, but you will have all your memories, and you will be able to see and hear, and will even have your same feelings that you had when you were in your body. These studies prove that people who have "near-death experiences" can pass through walls, "cross to the other side," and see a deceased loved one, Jesus, or a loving "White Light" that people call "God."
To see this evidence for yourself, take a look at the article from the Magis Center on Science, Medicine, and Near-Death Experiences. This evidence is really significant and has been tested in several major studies which have been published in the best peer-reviewed journals in the world. And what's really amazing is that it corresponds almost identically to the Christian view of the resurrection, and suggests that what Christ revealed about our resurrection and His resurrection is absolutely true.
So, what did Jesus say about our resurrection? What did He look like when He was risen? He appeared in Glory – looking like a spirit – actually, looking very much like God. It caused His disciples to bow down and worship, and even to call Him "God." What's amazing is that he said He is going to share His risen state with us. We are going to be like Him in His risen state, and this corresponds to what thousands upon thousands of people have reported in their near-death experiences.
What's more important is that Jesus revealed that our eternal life would be about a loving community – it was not just the transformation of our bodies – it was the transformation of our souls. In our risen state, we will be purified of all of our egocentricities, all of our Level 2 exaggerations, our narcisisms, rages, self-pities, jealousies, greeds, etc. Once we get beyond our egos (through the grace of God) we will be free to love in such a pure way, and others will be free to love us in that same pure way – each in his or her own unique way – that it will be like being at a perfect banquet where everyone is totally attentive to the unique goodness and lovability of the other and responds to the other with such perfect empathy that time simply slips away, and we are lost in the joy of being in perfect relationship with each other, and with God.
This is the image that Jesus uses of the heavenly kingdom – an image of a banquet – an image of a home with many rooms; but unlike the mansion faced by the man in the story at the beginning of Chapter 2 in your book, it will be a house of rooms filled with good and loving people! It will be a place where the communion of saints, like a family, will be brought into perfect joy. This is what the man in the story gives up when he chooses the well-adorned mansion over the humble yellow house.
So we began by saying that we're not just atoms or molecules, but that we are destined for an eternal life of perfect truth and perfect love. Along with this is also perfect goodness – where all of our virtues will be brought to a perfection and we will be able to offer those very virtues, and indeed, the very gift of ourselves, to everyone else – with perfect freedom. We will be able to receive others' gifts of themselves in perfect freedom, and this will simply enhance the joy.
Is there anything else? As a matter of fact – there is! We are also going to be brought into perfect beauty. Perhaps you think that some of the music you listen to is beautiful – and it very well may be. But what you will experience in heaven will be billions of billions of times more beautiful. You may look back to a time when you saw a truly beautiful sunset, perhaps on a beach or a mountain – but heaven will be billions upon billions of times more beautiful. You may have visited a beautiful cathedral or palace, and thought, "How glorious this architectural creation is!" But heaven will be billions upon billions of times more glorious, more majestic, and more beautiful. It will be like perfect music in perfect nature in perfect architecture in perfect verse emanating from everyone like a choir – because our beauty will be brought to perfection, which is more beautiful than any conceivable music, or architecture, or natural beauty.
This is what is meant by the "beatific vision" – the beauty and goodness and lovability and love and truth of God, and every other unique self-conscious being combined together in a kind of celestial choir.
So why are we making a big deal about this? Aside from the fact that it is true – that it is grounded in Jesus' own resurrection, and is even talked about by ancient Greek philosophers like Plato, and even shown through tens of thousands of near-death experiences – it shows us our real dignity. It shows that we are created in the image of God, and that we are destined to live in the divine life which is a life of perfect love with God.
So why is this important? Because it means that, if we are to pursue Success 4, we have a three-fold task ahead of us:
- We are going to have to journey with God to become more and more free from our egos so that we can be more and more free to love.
- We will want to share the good news about our true dignity and destiny with as many people as possible, so that they will not under-live their lives, underestimate their dignity and destiny, or become distracted by purposes that are superficial and beneath them. In other words, we will want to help them know about the kingdom of God that awaits them, and help them to stay on the course that will lead to perfection and love.
- We will want to connect with the God who loves us and who gives us all of this, not only to express our gratitude and love, but also to open ourselves to all the inspiration, guidance, protection, and every other kind of help that God can give us to accomplish our first two tasks. We will want to set about a life of prayer so that we might more deeply recognize God's inspiration and guidance in our lives, ask for His protection and help, and relate to Him in gratitude and love.
Not surprisingly, these three tasks can become our definition of success, because they are not just tasks really, they are goals. They are goals with an eternal objective – a perfectly loving and beautiful objective – a perfectly loving, eternal objective which we will want to share with as many people as possible while we are on our journey towards it.
Thus, a Level 4 person views success as relationship with and surrender to the perfectly loving God, which allows us to journey toward greater and greater freedom to love, and helps us to share this incredible unconditional and eternal destiny with as many people as possible. Level 4 people think they have had a successful life if they bring a little more hope and a little more love into the world, which will result in a legacy that will last for an eternity with God and in the communion of saints.
Though you can see that this has some similarities to Level 3 – it goes beyond Level 3 to the ultimate dignity, destiny, and transcendent, mysterious nature of every uniquely lovable human being. It kind of multiplies Level 3 by infinity.