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Hi, I’m Beth Misner, and I want to welcome you to Abundant Health Podcast. I’m glad you’re joining me today, and I hope you’ll come back over and over because in my weekly podcast, I tell stories, share strategies and practical information about creating abundant health. My focus is three-fold: body, mind, and spirit. I believe abundant health needs all three of these areas to be working together because they ‘e like a three-legged stool. And without any one of the legs, the stool is going to fall over. I’m bringing over 35 years of experience in health and wellness to this podcast series. My experiences and the things I have learned along the way will benefit you, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. 

In today’s episode, I’m going to share my thoughts with you about paradise. And you may wonder, “What the heck does paradise have to do with my ability to experience abundant health.” Well, I think after you listen to today’s podcast, you’ll be inspired and excited to be alive. And being fully alive is one of the best ways to be sure you’re living in the highest state of health possible. 

I have a friend who is a fellow author by the name of Martin Rutte. He is exploring the concept of Paradise for a follow up to his last book, entitled Heaven on Earth. We were very recently talking about his new project, after I had just completed my 4th manuscript entitled Called Out of the Church: 7 Steps for Living Beyond the Cross, and so our conversation came at a time when I am experiencing an expanded awareness of existence and the true nature of reality. This experience is something I like to marinate my life in. 

My conversation with Martin has provided a springboard for me to also personally explore what Paradise is, what we think about Paradise, and how we either do or don’t experience paradise in our lives. So I thought you might like a window in to seeing how my mind works with regards to these of concepts. 

I think almost everyone can agree that we instinctively know paradise when we see it. And it is often not something that we planned to experience. It’s something that catches us off guard, and takes us by surprise. When our son was only nine years old, he was basking in our pool in a new home that we had just moved into, and he was on a float that had cup holders. He had a soda in one side of the armrest and a tin of chips in the other side of the armrest. He was playing his favorite music on an outdoor stereo, and he said, “Ah, THIS is Paradise.” 

There are many ways to think about paradise: Sometimes we think about Milton’s Paradise Lost or the opening chapters of the book of Genesis where we read about Adam and Eve losing the gift of living in and taking care of the Garden of Eden—which is pictured as paradise on earth. When I was growing up in the Bible Belt of the United States, it was ver common to hear it said of loved ones who had passed away: “Well, he’s gone on in to Paradise now.” So we think about needing to reach paradise as if it is a future reality reserved only for certain people.

But do we ever consider that we hold Paradise within ourselves? Paradise isn’t something that simply happens on the outside and we notice it—or, that it’s something that is to strive for and to be achieved by only certain people. No, it’s something that radiates from within us and our awareness of it can be transmitted to others, expanding outward from our circles of influence. Paradise is here and now and is within everything that exists—imprinted on all of Creation. 

I do see this concept of Paradise as being inherent within us . . . imprinted in our very DNA just like a laser-etched mark of identification onto the surface of a diamond . . . the imprint of Paradise is on every packet of energy—every atom, every sub-atomic particle, and even on every quantum particle of the manifest world. 

So let me explain what I mean and why I say this: 

You see, before the existence of the physical body you inhabit today . . . wait a minute: it’s interesting to think about this—do you have the sense that you are a physical being who is able to have spiritual experiences and awareness? Or do you have the sense that you are a spiritual being, a soul, which has the physical technology, the body, in which you can enter into this realm or this dimension? Most of us have one or the other view of the reality of life . . . Now, I know there are other ways to experience life—some people feel they are simply a product of biology and there isn’t and spiritual aspect or soul within this biological product. I suspect they are not listening to this podcast, so I’m going to simply keep my observations located here with the first two possible ways to experience one’s self. 

And I’m also not here to persuade anyone to have the same sense about the mystical nature of Life that I have, so my comments are going to naturally flow toward my personal bias so ultimately I’m going to only be talking about one of the ways to experience one’s self, which is that we are souls, spiritual in nature, who are here in this time and space within this physical technology we call bodies.

So! Let me ask the question again: Before the existence of the physical body you inhabit today, where were you? But I’m going to stop again to talk about who is the “you” I’m referring to? 

And this is one reason why talking about philosophy can get frustrating: Every concept needs to really be quantified so you know what it is that I am actually talking about. Otherwise my podcast would end up being a bit like a cruise ship that’s a little bit off course when it leaves the harbor because you’re thinking one thing while I’m talking about something else. I want to keep you on the trajectory I have set so we both end up the same destination. 

So let me start again: Before the existence of the physical body you inhabit today, where were you? and I want you to experience the YOU I’m referring to. 

Take a moment, right now, and simply close your eyes. Think about the part of you inside who has never felt any different . . . it’s the part of you that never feels older, no matter how old you actually are. That’s the YOU I mean: the part of you who is simply aware . . . watching all that’s unfolding . . . sometimes commenting (that small voice you hear inside from time to time) . . but mostly just being present and aware.

Okay, if you haven’t already, you can open your eyes now. 

In my new book, which is entitled Called Out of the Church, a parable, a story about a lady named Helen who is looking for a way to go beyond a weekly rehearsal in church of the momentous event of Jesus dying on the cross, in this book, Helen is introduced to the concepts of integration, disintegration, and reintegration. 

I want to focus on these three phases of life to illustrate why I say that Paradise is imprinted on all of Creation. 

So before any of us were born, the soul, the spirit, was completely integrated with the energetic expression of Love . . . and that’s what we have given the nam “God.” The great physicist, Albert Einstein’s equation E=MC2 gave us a brainy way to understand what Christian mystics and others had been experiencing for centuries, and things the indigenous peoples of the globe have known and felt for millenia. 

So let’s think about this: When the energy moved into manifest, physical expression, suddenly there were borders, edges, boundaries, all the experiences that come with physical beingness . . . the unavoidable consequence of this seismic shift from energy to matter created disintegration. 

Many religious traditions call this separation. Some of the branches of my faith tradition call this “original sin,” or the “fall of humanity.” And no matter what it’s called, the sense of it is that we are no longer at one with all that is . . . we’ve lost paradise. We’ve come into form, and we’ve lost our original expression of being. This change is so extreme and so real that we forget we are still completely one with all that is . . . 

And as a result, we need structure—ways to frame our understanding about what has happened to us. And again religion gives us that through different motifs used within the various traditions—all of these motifs have the same goal: reintegration.

In my faith tradition, it is Jesus’ atonement on the cross that helped me experience at-one-ment, unity: with God, the Holy Trinity, with all people, with all of creation because there is nothing else, there’s just the energetic expression of Love taking many different forms. That’s the imprint of Paradise. That’s the laser-engraved serial number on every energetic packet that makes up this created world. 

In my book, Helen learns about Christ consciousness, which is not something one will probably learn about in church. This is why I have used the title: Called Out of the Church: 7 Steps for Living Beyond the Cross because if we don’t grow beyond the moment of atonement into remembering our complete integration — or Paradise — then we perpetuate the win-lose model, some “go on into Paradise,” while others are left behind. We stay stuck in tribal divisions that lead to the most awful ways to treat the “others” because we don’t see ourselves in them—we surely don’t see the universal Christ—in the others, in the birds, in nature, the atmosphere, the stars—right here, right now—not something that is held somewhere else for us as a reward. 

My hope for you as you go about your day once you’ve listened to this podcast is that your eyes will see everything around you differently, that your heart will be so wide open toward yourself . . . who is the Christ manifested all around and inside of the person you call by your name. And my hope is that love will hold you and pour out of you, and you will know that you are fully integrated into God living in the fullest expression of the Promised Paradise right here, right now. 

And I want to thank you for being with me on the Abundant Health Podcast. I would really love to meet you back here again next week, and until then, may you experience abundant health.