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New Heaven, New Earth: Is Religion Being Replaced With Spirituality?

04/01/2015 08:09 am ET | Updated May 31, 2015

Heaven is real! People in all walks of life are coming forward with experiences of Spiritual Awakening. Many hundreds are reporting Near Death Experiences from accidents or serious illness when they find themselves floating above their bodies and entering a realm of vast peace and unlimited love. Others are reporting being next to love ones in their last hours who are seeing and talking to relatives on the other side welcoming them to let go and join them. People are reporting experiences of being in silence, meditation, and prayer where their thoughts disappear and they find a space in their hearts of intimate acceptance, profound understanding. An overpowering experience of inner light or love seems to be common to the many who have had a spiritual awakening.

A new Heaven is the direct experience of the Divine being reported in all parts of the world. A new Earth is the life changing result of the incredible news. Best selling books, movies, internet sites, all the chatter about life after life are changing the hearts and minds of doctors, chaplains, hospice workers, and all of us who are facing the mortality of friends, family, and our own. The personal accounts being shared of Heaven are knocking down the door of many minds as hearts are being opened.

Meanwhile Pope Francis, a champion of mercy and forgiveness is talking about his work may soon be done. The Dali Lama, a leader of compassion and understanding is saying that for the first time in hundreds of years there maybe no new incarnation for the next Dali Lama. Is there a connection to their popularity and the fast growing movement of people who are rejecting religion saying they are spiritual instead? Is it a coincidence that more and more people are shying away from the dogma of religion for a spirituality of compassion, forgiveness, and service to others?

Could religion as we know it be ending? Could the future be less structured, more inclusive groups, giving to and embracing a God of love in ourselves, others, and nature? Do the intellectuals and their theology have meaning as people hear the message in the life review reported in Near Death Experiences? They say again and again,"What we do to one another is what we do to ourselves." In other words, people are waking up to the message to love one another as we would want to be loved! How much and how long can religion argue with the simple truth of living a life of being good to ourselves and our neighbor?

David Sunfellow, a networker for the Near Death Experience community, in a recent video, speaks about for the first time in history there is a new religion which does not have a charismatic leader or a sacred book. It is leaderless, with no theology of its own. It is truly grass roots changing what people think about death and therefore about life itself. Author and scholar, Kenneth Ring states, "There is a NDE virus. This virus is how people are changed just hearing about Near Death Experiences and stories of spiritual awakening in others. People are changed just listening and feeling the experience of people's most personal journeys. Meanwhile, death, instead as something to avoid talking about or to fear, is an open door, we all go through, to welcome. There is a great love being discovered and explored."

If religion is to survive could it be less materialistic and self serving and more concerned with the beauty of life and preserving the beauty of the planet? Can religion give up being judgmental and inspire us to reach out and reach within to the seat of our soul, God, the heart in everyone? The power of mindfulness, learning to be present, finding purpose by expressing our gifts and joy, realizing our outer life is only as balanced as we honor and develop our inner life-all are moving people to a new Heaven and new Earth. Of course many people are both religious and spiritual. But for others it is the difference between trying to live a certain set of beliefs and living one's heart and embracing the heart of others. Will religion go the way of the horse and carriage? Will we miss it?

The new Heaven and new Earth begins everyday for many as we take a step out of the hyper activity of our mental world and sit in the stillness of the heart. Here we drop our awareness like a stone into a great ocean. The stone (which is our stress) dissolves into a vast beauty. New Heaven and new Earth is no more and no less then receiving the depths of inner peace within each of us and bringing this peace into our daily lives. It is a practice, a path, a life which gives us the humility and courage to live a magical life with all the wonder and nakedness included.