Hell, heaven, purgatory

 

If in heaven you believed everything you believed here on earth, where would you be?

– Byron Katie

Hell, heaven, even purgatory are states of mind, and we experience them here and now.

Hell. In a way, it’s true that people who hurt others go to hell, because hurting others comes from a hellish mind state. It comes from believing painful thoughts. It often comes from unhealed trauma.

People who Christians traditionally thought would go to hell often already are in hell. Their actions comes from a hellish mind state.

And when I say “people” I mean (just about) all of us, including myself. I sometimes experience and act from a hellish mind state. It may not always be as extreme as it sometimes is for us humans, but it’s still a hellish mind state, and it can lead to actions that sometimes hurts others (in an ordinary, everyday sense).

Heaven. Similarly, we all sometimes experience heaven. We find ourselves in heavenly mind states. These come about in three ways.

(a) When things go our way. When life conforms to our shoulds.

(b) When we find peace with what is, as it is.

(c) When we meet our experiences and our world with heaven, with love, kindness, noticing, feeling, allowing (the content of our current experience).

The first of these is somewhat outside of our control. We are dependent on life circumstances for this form of heaven to happen. The third comes from intention, practice, and creating new ways of relating to our experiences and our world. We create our own heaven, by relating to our world in a heavenly way. (It’s much simpler and more ordinary than that may sound.) It doesn’t just happen, we make it happen in an active and engaged way. And the second comes from the third.

Purgatory. This is what happens on the way from hell to heaven, on the way from a hellish mind state to a heavenly mind state. It may happen in inquiry, when we look at and feel hell as part of the exploration, eventually leading to finding more peace with it. It may happen in TRE, when trembling releases old and previously unresolved emotions and memories. It may happen just as part of life, when old unresolved things surface with an invitation to see it, feel it, find love for it as it is (to meet it with heaven).

I usually don’t use these words, since they belong to a different worldview than the ones I am more comfortable with. But it’s sometimes helpful to use terminology from our mainstream culture to bridge and explore. (It also bridges something in me.)

And yes, I know that the ideas of heaven and hell come from Christianity and not Jesus. They are not found in the New Testament in the way they later came to be understood. They are created by the Christian tradition. And even within that tradition, there are many ways to understand these words.

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Repeating the incarnation trauma

 

I have images of an incarnation trauma, and the feelings to go with it. I am in a heavenly realm. A group of beings convey to me that I am about to incarnate, for the benefit of Earth and myself. I agree. I don’t speak for the part of me that deeply loves the heavenly realm, and doesn’t want to incarnate. And it’s quite traumatic. There is a loss of what’s most important for me, and a deep pain from this loss.

It seems that I have repeated this incarnation trauma several times in my life, especially around intimate relationships and also in other situations. I lose what’s most important to me (a relationship, a person, a place, an opportunity) right at the threshold of it happening, or shortly before or after it happens. The feeling, images and experience of it is very similar to the incarnation trauma. There is a deep sense of love, connection being home, rightness. And it’s lost.

A part of me also experience that a woman (relationship) will either save me or destroy me. And this too mirrors the incarnation trauma. God/the divine saved me, destroyed me (by sending me here), and may save me again. A woman will save me (if it is a deep soul connection, deep soul love, aliveness), or destroy me (if she has blind hangups, anger, and I feel trapped in it). Both the incarnation and some relationships (the ones with a deep soul connection) become a big thing, a life and death situation, in my mind.

Of course, I see that what was there before incarnation isn’t really lost. It’s here now. And it’s all God / the divine, whether it’s a heavenly realm or this life with all the usual human experiences.  And still, the pain is here, and it’s worth meeting with love and curiosity. It’s worth allowing the pain to come home.

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Hell, purgatory, heaven

 

Any map mirrors what’s here, and so also the map of hell, purgatory and heaven.

Hell

Hell is when I believe a story.

When I tell myself something is, was or may be and shouldn’t be.

Or something isn’t, wasn’t or may not be, and should be.

Hell is also what I explore through question no. 3 in The Work:

What happens, how do you react, when you believe that thought?

Purgatory

Purgatory is The Work, being with fear, shaking and so on.

It’s taking the backwards step.

It’s seeing, feeling and finding love for any experience, meeting it as a friend.

It’s meeting and investigating any stressful thought, finding what’s more true for me.

It’s the dark night of the senses or soul.

Heaven

Heaven is a temporary well being, an alignment of should and is.

Heaven is clarity, loving what is.

And eventually noticing all as already innocence and love.

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