Having recently written a few words about heaven, I now offer a few on hell. If heaven is a condition of thinking and understanding, a choice we all can make to experience, then what and where is hell? It is the corollary to heaven. It is an interpretation of one’s present situation in which the result leaves one in misery and unhappiness. What may be heaven to one mind might then be hell to another. What may be hell to one may be a simple matter of indifference to another according to proximity and interpretation. If a close loved one is suddenly killed, it will feel like an awful hell has hit us. However, if we hear about such happening to someone we don’t even know or who lives far away, we simply pass it off as another news item and go about our business. Yet as human beings living on this earth, we all have had and will have our “hells” of confusion and lapses into misery.
Is there a real place of hell and misery for people after death, people who have been unfair and harmful to others in this present life? Perhaps yes and no. I do not believe in a literal hell where people go, never to escape for all eternity. But it does make sense to me, and supported by evidence others have written, that people can die after a life of anger, of hurting others, of being unkind, of being unhappy and guilt ridden and then be reincarnated into another life of even worse misery. This has been taught in many eastern religious teachings. I also believe it was taught for hundreds of years in the early Christian era. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, one reads of the Tibetan fears of dying with bitterness or guilt in their minds and hearts. The ideal way of dying was to pass with the words of God and love on one’s lips. Even when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by one of his own Hindu brothers, his last words in dying were, “Oh God!” almost as a plea for love, forgiveness and mercy. In the Jesus’ story, he died according to one version uttering over his persecutors, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
The words for hell in Christian scriptures, most of them taken from Jewish writings, speak of the place of the dead, sheol, or the ever burning garbage dump that lay outside of the walls of ancient Jerusalem (gehena or hades). In one sense, going to hell simply meant one’s dying and going into the earth or wherever the souls may then reside. On the other hand, it was a graphic symbolic description of living without being aware to one’s True Self, the Kingdom or Presence of God. To live without the later, hoping only in mortal bodies or structures of form, is an invite to living in mental hell. Ignorant of being made in the very likeness of God, one lives with constant fear, constantly seeking for what which is lasting and eternal, only to never find it. Being alone or in a situation when forms, structures and bodies break down, leaves our minds in great agony, bitterness, depression or symbolically, a hell-on-earth experience.
So where is hell? It’s in our minds by choices we make. We then manifest it with our bodies. I believe we even made the ultimate choice to come to earth, entering a time/space dimension as a rebellion against our Creator God. Until we awaken that it was our choice, not God’s making, we will live in the hell of fear, fear, and worry of loss. We may adapt to our angers by projecting such guilt and rage onto God with a religious form of sacrifice and crucifixion, but it never works or last for long. We find ourselves fighting others as we do our inner selves even in the name of God. Such experiences in churches certainly gives the “believers” such an experience of hell, as many have known over the centuries. I have been in a few of these during my tenure.
To leave hell is a matter of understanding, or enlightenment, or awakening to the Spirit Self of which we are. It is seeing yourself as a Spirit Self, One with the Creator, just like Himself or Herself as you prefer. It takes practice and meditation, and listening in times of silence and solitude. If persistent, you will come to your Heavenly Self, experiencing ever longer periods out of the hell of doubt, anger, judgment, and depression. Such wonderful books as A Course in Miracles can help with this life long work of remembrance. And there are many others, but this one has been my favorites for years.
I hope you see the choice before you. I trust you will begin realizing your misery, anger, and judgments of negativity are really your own choosing, your own interpretations projected onto a mortal world made to be imperfect, unpredictable, chaotic, and angry. I also trust you will choose to try to the choice of seeing yourself as Love, Kindness, Very Forgiving, Patient, and as an Eternal Spirit one with God, the Ocean around us at all times and places.
May eternal peace be in your life today and for longer periods each day you live here, never being down too long with doubts, fears, angers, and the hells of living without awareness. Find friends for the journey with you. They are indispensible for the journey out of hell into the heaven which is ours. They have been critical to my own journey, as Holy Guides along my path toward Home.