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Heavens and Hells are Here on Earth

By Carl S ~ 

Hell and Heaven, in reality, describe extremes, extremes of agonies and elations. They describe physical feelings. Other, very real heavens and hells exist in our bodies in varying degrees at different times, depending upon whether our bodies are suffering or healthy. Our emotions are heaven and hell, love and hate, positive and negative, and all the gray areas and variations intertwined with them. It's called, “being human.” Not facing these facts, or suppressing them entirely, creates various degrees of hell for us. Since it's true our bodies affect our brains, our minds, and vice versa, it only makes sense. Suffering and joy, peace, happiness, misery, and everything else, including rest and activity, all of them describe bodily existences.

For a gravely wounded soldier or person suffering from cancer unremittingly destroying his or her body, heaven means nothing more than ending the endless suffering. And “heavenly” is the feeling of that cessation. The individual experiences a “heavenly peace” following physical, mind-bending suffering, even if it lasts for a short time. When body and mind suffering is unremitting, there is hell, whether it is experienced by a human or other conscious animal.

Eternal rest is the end of all bodily agitation, unrest, suffering, as well as all the joys, pleasures, and ecstasies remembered. It's the end of having to fight for survival. Eternal rest can be signing off on a lifetime of living as best one could under the circumstances one has found oneself in, with satisfactions and despite regrets.

If I were to write my obituary, this is what I'd say: Do not say “He's in a better place now.” (Church is a place where people gather to tell each other “consoling,” platitudinous “better off dead” stuff.) If you agree with my wife's pastor, then since I died I'm in Hell now. I'll refer you to the words on a tombstone, “Would you trade places with me?” You say it's a better place, being dead? Besides, the “he” you're talking about no longer is. I once read an account of an elderly Native American in fear as he lay dying. His friend told him, “You will soon be joining the stars in the sky.” This thought brought peace, consolation and resignation to him.

Eternal rest is the end of all bodily agitation, unrest, suffering, as well as all the joys, pleasures, and ecstasies remembered.I too am overwhelmed by things greater than I am. We are privileged to see what no humans before have known existed: the billions of galaxies, deepest parts of the seas, and what our cells are composed of, for a start. It's a tidal wave of reality that sweeps over and carries away any “spiritual” claptrap. It tells me that no matter what happens to my self, however I might be scattered, or what I am changed into, my atoms will always be a part of this absolutely vast, mind-bending, awe-inspiring Universe, whether or not I am conscious of it. This is knowledge far beyond any afterlife conceptions dreamed up by the minds of men. I, we, our pets, and everything else, are the Universe.

Don't count on endless bliss, which is wholly incompatible with our experiences of happiness mixed with other feelings. I've found life has no meaning. I couldn't tell you the meaning of your life, anymore than I would tell a squirrel or any other organism the meaning of its. Make your own meaning. Consider: The best we can do for each other, human and non-human animals alike, is to mitigate and end the hells on earth, and create our heavens and heavenly rests for one another, when we can, while we can. We must fight against the hells humans create for us in pursuit of their heavens on Earth, and hells they create for us when they pursue paradises they hope to gain after they die. There will always be those telling you what the meaning of your life is for you. Really taste what you eat and drink. Enjoy living. These pursuits are always good meanings for living.