No one yet realizes what heaven and heavenly joy are. Those who have considered either subject have formed such a crude, generalized picture that it is hardly any picture at all.
Spirits who have only recently come into the next life from the world have allowed me to see with perfect clarity what idea of heaven and heavenly joy they had formed. When left to their own devices as if they were still in the world, you see, they think the same way they did there. Let me offer just a few examples.
Some, who in the world had seemed more enlightened concerning the Word than others, had latched onto such a false conception of heaven that they thought they could go to heaven just by going up. They imagined that from their height they would be able to govern everything below, so they thought they would be allowed to bask in self-glorification and in their superiority over others.
In order for them to see the error of their thinking, they were raised up on high—such being their fantasy—and were permitted some governance over things below. But they found to their shame that this heaven was an illusion. They discovered that heaven does not consist in altitude but exists wherever people have love and charity (or the Lord’s kingdom) inside them, and that it does not involve the desire to be superior to others. The wish to be greater than others is not heaven but hell.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 449, 450
Previously Cited: 5/19/2016