Where are they and how do we get there?
"I don’t like to commit myself about heaven and hell, you see, I have friends in both places." Mark Twain
I invite you to consider the following perception; that heaven and hell are not actual places that we go to, and where various people dwell, they are actually states of mind.
Mary, a former drug addict describes the time she was using drugs as “sheer hell”. As a result of her addiction, she had lost her job, her house, her husband, and nearly her life! Her children were taken from her by the courts and placed in foster homes. She hung out in the streets, sleeping in abandoned cars and flophouses. She was beaten and abused by the men she chose to be with, and she describes her self-esteem at that time as “lower than flat feet”. Finally, she was sent to jail and, as part of her probation, had to attend a rehabilitation program. This was the beginning of her ascent out of “hell”. Now, with many years of drug free living and with a good job and her children back with her, she uses the following profound words to convey the supreme joy of her recovery: “I thought that God had opened the gates of heaven to let me in, but I now realize I had opened the gates of hell and let myself out!”
Hell is a state of mind. Like heaven, it is within us. We all have had our moments of hell. When we look back we can see how these periods of our lives caused a major shift and transformation within us has human beings. We come out of these dark periods stronger and more aware of how we can transform our lives once we actually transform our choices and state of mind.
“ Behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you”. – Luke 17:21
“ The kingdom of God is near” – Luke 21:31
When no matter what happens in the outer world the “real” of you is unchanging, peace-filled and expectant of good, heaven will indeed be in the midst of you, heaven will indeed be near.
As human beings, most of us have moments when we experience heaven, for some reason or other we have trouble sustaining it, and so we continuously move in and out of heaven. We must strive to take up permanent residence in this state of mind called heaven.
The more we nourish and sustain positive thoughts, filled with hope and faith, the more possibilities we create for ourselves and for our lives.
If we constantly become more present to our thoughts, choices and words, we can then generate and create a life filled with the joy and happiness we truly desire.
By the way, nowhere it is written that being in this kind of heaven means not being playful or having fun. Some astute observer of the human condition once joked, “I don’t mind going to heaven if I can go to hell every Saturday night!” There is a bit of truth to this comment. The “truth” it holds up to us reflects our society’s belief that “evil” things are often fun and “good” things are boring. Yet one of our creator’s greatest gifts to us is a sense of humor and the ability to laugh. Heaven can be all that we want it to be and so very much more.
Heaven and hell, as we have seen, are states of mind. Beliefs about ourselves, feelings about what we deserve, these are the things that eventually show up as the circumstances in our lives, creating our personal heavens or hells.
My personal belief is as follows: “My attitudes directly reflect what I think God is, so if God’s desire for me is absolute good, can I possibly believe that God created a place of eternal damnation?
Okay, I believe that negative attitudes and behaviors generate negative situations and circumstances and that these are a form of punishment, the effect of a cause. But eternal damnation? That’s pretty permanent!”
By dwelling on an “afterlife”, it’s easy to forget that today is the afterlife of yesterday. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions of yesterday are affecting us today. We set up our own heaven and hell and are living in it now!
It is each one of us who decides if and when and where we go, and how long we intend to stay!
If the motivation for your actions is fear of a punishment or anticipation of a reward to come from someone else’s consciousness, then you may be living a very inauthentic life.
It’s time to examine your thoughts about heaven and hell. Are they still old thoughts passed along to you by someone else and never challenged by you, or are they revised according to your current feelings and knowledge?
Begin creating your heaven now! Why? Because your life is happening now!