Imagine that you are on your deathbed and the moment has come where there is nothing for it but to die. You give up the ghost. You let go. You surrender. You let yourself be taken.
Do this on “magic mushrooms” (I prefer “holy mushrooms”) now, while you are still very much alive, and you will be transported to Heaven. What happens next will depend on the state of your soul. If it’s not in good order, you will suffer. If you’re in a particularly bad way, you will feel as though you’ve been plunged into the depths of Hell.
Hell is actually in Heaven. It is really just an intense form of Purgatory. Suffer it patiently if you don’t want to make things worse for yourself. Learn the lessons you are given and accept the healing, however painful. Eventually, with repeated practice, and through many trials and tribulations, you will find that you have purified your sight sufficiently to see the Holy of Holies, the Eternal Light. But you will also find that you still cannot be admitted into the presence of God.
Only the Son of God is admitted. If you want to come before God the Father therefore, you must “put on Christ”. You must train yourself to be Christ-like on earth, through the imitation of Christ, and to be Christ-like in heaven, through mystical communion. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Like Jacob tricking his blind father Isaac by dressing up in the animal skins of Esau, you must trick God the Father by dressing up in the mind, body and spirit of Christ. Then He will give you your blessing.
Rudolf Otto describes precisely this need for clothing, veiling, covering or shielding oneself in order to approach God (the “numen”) in his masterpiece The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational :
“We meet the ‘moment’ of ‘covering’ in specially clear form in the religion of Yahweh, in its rites and the emotion they excite; but it is contained also, though more obscurely, in many other religions. It comprises, first, a manifestation of the numinous awe, viz. the feeling that the ‘profane’ creature cannot forthwith approach the numen, but has need of a covering or shield against the όργή [wrath] of the numen. Such a ‘covering’ is then a ‘consecration’, i.e. a procedure that renders the approacher himself ‘numinous’, frees him from his ‘profane’ being, and fits him for intercourse with the numen. The means of ‘consecration’, however – ‘means of grace’ in the proper sense – are derived from, or conferred and appointed by, the numen itself, which bestows something of its own quality to make man capable of communion with it.”
As the Gospel of Philip has it, “No one may visit the King without robes of light.“
You could say that Christianity provides us with the kind of “cheat” familiar to gamers. Even though you are ‘not worthy’, even though you are ‘profane’, even though you are a ‘sinner’, you can still have an audience with God. How? Through the ‘saving grace’ of Christ, by imaginatively identifying with him and borrowing his numinosity. This is why he is said to “take away the sins of the world”.
In reality, however, he only ‘covers’ our sin, in order that we may approach the Infinite Source of Life, and in so doing be cleansed, purified, healed, redeemed, remade and born again in the image of God, and made a child of God, and be given the keys to immortality.
So what does this communion with the numen yield? What is the blessing conferred by the Eternal Light, the enigmatic and unapproachable Ein Sof Aur? Seemingly, this mysterious thing called “eternal life”:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1: 1-5