According to Christianity, heaven and hell exist outside of ourselves, as if in some kind of a geographical place. To me, however, heaven and hell are nothing but manifestations of our own mind, and we carry them within us, wherever we happen to be.
Those who have a peaceful state of mind, and embody compassion in their everyday life, experience heaven and help create a heavenly environment wherever they go. Those, on the other hand, who have an easily agitated mind, experience nothing but hell, and can’t help but negatively affect those around them.
Below is an inspiring short story of a man who is said to have turned hell into heaven, just by his kind and loving presence:
Once upon a time, there was a man who had been the soul of kindness all his life.
When he died, everyone assumed that he would go straight to Heaven, for the only possible place for a good man like him was Paradise.
The man wasn’t particularly bothered about going to Heaven, but that was where he went.
Now in those days, service in heaven was not all that it might be. The reception desk was extremely inefficient, and the girl who received him gave only a cursory glance through the index cards before her and when she couldn’t find the man’s name, she sent him straight to Hell. And in Hell no one asks to check your badge or your invitation, for anyone who turns up is invited in.
The man entered and stayed.
Some days later, Lucifer stormed up to the gates of Heaven to demand an explanation from St Peter.
“What you’re doing is pure terrorism!” he said. “You sent that man down into Hell, and he’s completely undermining me! Right from the start, there he was listening to people, looking them in the eye, talking to them. And now everyone’s sharing their feelings and hugging and kissing. That’s not the sort of thing I want in Hell! Please, let him into Heaven!”
Find heaven within you and you’ll create heaven all around you, even if you’re sent to the worst of hells.
Story credit: Paulo Coelho