Do you know heaven? Have you had the blessed opportunity during your days to find that thing, person, activity or event that transformed this clump of mud and helped open up the sky? Have you found your heaven, your bliss, your rapture and radiant awesomeness?

Have you found that which makes you cry? That which makes you soar? That which is not open to laughter or jokes, but is held as the sacred, the not-to-be-touched, the private and personal? Have you seen the world from the eyes of an angel, your heart overflowing with love and joy? Have you found your secret and stowed it away in an airtight box? Protected from daylight and the grubby fingers of those who would soil it and tear it down if given the chance?

Have you felt ecstasy? Passion? Pride? Have you found the theme song of the universe?

“My love for the game I don’t think can be measured man… I think if they took my heart out it would be a basketball… When I’m in between those line… I feel at peace… I feel free… I’m in paradise… I feel like I’m in my sanctuary… That ball, and that basket, it just makes me complete… Being in the zone… it’s an out-of-body experience… it supersedes the physical because… the world kinda’ goes away… and I’m just flying. I can’t hear anything out there on the floor. I can’t hear the crowd… you don’t see a hand in your face…. You know, it kind of feels surreal to me… like a superhero inside.”

“When I’m between those lines… I feel at peace… I feel free… I’m in paradise… I feel like I’m in my sanctuary”. For these men, it is basketball. For me, it was music—then philosophy—then bodybuilding.

I’m sometimes asked if I win money at my competitions. No, I actually pay money to participate. Why? Because it is my heaven, my sanctuary. And when I’m the gym, I feel at peace; I feel free. It’s the only time I turn my phone off—turn my brain off—don’t worry about schedules, agendas, or anybody else’s problems. It is my meditation. It is my private realm. It is that time when I am allowed to bear my soul, my true essence, to the world, without fear of repercussions or judgment or injury. It is just me, and a bar, and my ability to move it or not. It is when my eyes look inward, and not outward; it is when I hold my breath and stop talking. It is when all that matters is the next 60 minutes. It is my heaven.

Have you found the pure, the white, the shining bright? Have you found that which you would gladly give anything and everything to do, just one more time, if you only had one more moment to live? Have you found that which defines you, a title—“painter”, “sculptor”, “mother”? Have you found your salvation?

Do you know heaven? These men do. These men are athletes—warriors—but not here, and not now. Here, they are simply souls gliding across wooden boards. They are grateful, at peace and free. There are no problems, no worries. There is simply bliss—a reason to awaken each day with a light step—a blazing fire that licks at the inner lining of each player, and forces his feet faster down the lane.

Have you found your heaven, your patron saint for being? Is it the beaming smile of your child? The unguarded laughter of your wife or husband? Smashing a volleyball across the floor? Being placed in the middle of the lineup because, you worked for first place? Inventing a new recipe that makes mouths drool? Sticking a landing that seemed to defy physics, or inventing a new skill not yet named? Singing until your throat hurts? Pulling a heavy barbell off the floor? Holding a yoga pose in silence? Seeing your team take first? Is it the warm spring breeze blowing through the blinds on a sunny day? Or the rain falling to the ground, grouping in puddles to splash through like a little kid?

Do you know Heaven? Have you found that which cleanses, purifies, and leaves you new, unstained, unhurt, unblemished? That activity that stands as your symbol on your internal coat of arms? That which only your truest friends and loved ones can even begin to understand? And maybe even they don’t—maybe it’s just you, a feeling you can’t trust to share with the world. Maybe it’s your way of plugging your spirit directly into the fabric and lining of the universe, becoming one with all. Maybe it’s the only thing that can return an atomized existence, split and rendered into untold quantities of separated entities, into a singular principle. Maybe it is your glue, your substrate, the ether of your universe, the pure fresh air and clear sky breathed by gods, unchangeable, permanent, forever.

Do you know heaven? And will you fight for it, now and forever? Will you never let it go?

-David A. Johnston


David Johnston - TEAM Warrior WithinDavid Johnston is the founder and lead trainer of TEAM Warrior Within.  You can also listen to him weekely on the GEARD Up podcast. ( ) David works with clients ranging from the everyday person just trying to lose weight and get healthy, local and national bodybuilding and physique competitors, to IFBB professional athletes.

David lives and breathes all things related to physique transformation, and has devoted nearly half of his life to passionately studying and educating himself to be the absolute best at what he does. His intensity in the gym is matched only by the passion he gives to his clients.