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Creating Heaven and Hell

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What use have we for the concept of heaven if we can have peace every day? What use have we for the concept of hell when we do not have fear?  It is quite possible that both places exist but perhaps they exist as states of being rather than physical places.  With our human minds we can go to very dark places and more often than not, we take our physical bodies along for the ride.  When we are in a state of fear or anxiety, our breaths become short, we hyperventilate, cortisol runs wild through our bodies, our hearts race, we break out in hives – is that not hell?  Have we not created a new physical state with only our thoughts?

What conditioning have we undergone that everywhere we look we see harm, danger and death instead of seeing beauty?  I now call the phenomenon of taking something pure, beautiful and natural and turning it into a danger or something to be feared, the phenomenon of “sunrise cataracts.”[1] To what extent have we participated in the brainwashing that leads us to automatically and systematically look at our fellow human beings as separate, different, less than and/or threatening?  Those of us who have lived in major cities know that one of the first things we are taught about traveling on public transportation is to not make eye contact with anyone.  How absurd!  How can we begin to understand each other, empathize with each other, appreciate each other and love each other if before we have even looked at each other, we have decided that everyone else is a potential source of harm?

What impact does this line of thinking and behavior have on our minds, bodies, spirits and relationships? Are we robots who have the ability to spend our morning commute wearing masks of the stone-faced and armor of the guarded and who can flip a switch and turn it off or immediately discard the armor upon arrival at the office?  Do we remember to remove the mask and armor when we arrive back home at the end of the workday or are our loved ones now also the enemy?  Or, are we human beings, perfect in our imperfections, who now subconsciously wear the armor so consistently, that we now believe that our armor is who we actually are?

If the masks we wear have now concealed our true identities from even ourselves, surely the masks also cloud our perceptions of who we truly are to each other. Shall I tell you how I used to perceive you from behind the mask I wore to shield myself?  You were frightening!  Subconsciously I believed you wanted to hurt me, physically or emotionally, because the mere presence of my semi-permanent armor invited battle.  While my soul may have desired peace; my body, my posture, my tone, my words and my actions unconsciously sought war.  And because our brains are biased towards self-validation, I found it – often.

My body held the tell-tale signs of my paranoid mind-state and suffered the effects of carrying around that heavy, omnipresent armor: acid reflux, furrowed brow, quick temper often disguised as quick wit or not disguised at all, tension in my neck, headaches, back issues, road rage, impatience, exhaustion, insatiable cravings, vitamin deficiencies – the list goes on and on and on and I was what modern medicine defined as being “healthy” – ha!  And what are the long term effects of wearing such armor day-in and day-out?  Is it any wonder that we are seeing a dramatic rise in and epidemics of illnesses such as diabetes, cancers, asthma, allergies and depression?  And what about heart disease?  We fill our hearts with fear and hate instead of with love and compassion and are surprised that these beautiful, perfect organs are giving out on us.

We often feel powerless against illness and aging but we feed them and give them our power by focusing on them and on all that is wrong in the world rather than on giving gratitude to all that is good within and around us.  I propose that even if we cannot change our physical states entirely we have the ability to shift our state of mind and to find some peace/heaven each day by focusing on the light within and that which emanates from others.

If we have the power to create heaven or hell with our thoughts then why not consciously create heaven instead of unconsciously creating hell? We can start by tuning out the nonsense that we are being force-fed by the media and tuning into our inner wisdom.  We can start right now in this moment by focusing on just one breath at a time.  We can give our bodies and minds a much-needed break by simply becoming aware of our breath.  When we tune into the breath, we can recognize the miracle of this highly complex physiologic function that is necessary for our existence.  When we acknowledge the enormous significance of something so basic and fundamental to the point that we took it for granted or never thought about it before, we are experiencing awareness.  Awareness opens our eyes and our minds to the true nature and significance of all that is around us and to the world of infinite possibilities.  Gratitude comes naturally when we are in the space of awareness.  And if we can appreciate just one perfect moment simply by being in it, then we have connected with our light and have found a little peace or, in other words, we have created heaven!

If we are powerful enough to create heaven, why not share it with others? If we can become aware of the perfection of one moment, then we can become aware of the perfection of other moments.  If we carry that awareness and heartfelt gratitude with us, instead of hiding behind our masks, our lights will shine brightly and attract the light of those around us just as a mirror attracts and reflects sunlight.   And if for a few short moments that shared connection casts light on the true beauty and magic that is all around and within us, we will find that we no longer have need for the armor nor want for the masks that once distorted our vision and prevented us from seeing that we have been in the company friends and not surrounded by enemies all along.

 

Evolution Revolution Social Experiment: Reverse the Conditioning

Part B: Make a connection

Theory:

  1. We are afraid of that which we perceive to be not like us.
  2. Our prejudices, biases and pre-conceived notions keep us from getting to know each other and the fear-hate cycle perpetuates itself.

Challenge:

Become aware of your unconscious reactions to different people or animals. If a person or animal crosses your path and your immediate instinct is fear or anger, take a moment to consciously breathe and relax and acknowledge that self-awareness.  Do not judge your judgment; it is perfectly ok that it is there.  Now, remind yourself that the object of your fear is simply a living being just like you and let that recognition sink into your heart.  Please make eye contact if and when you have worked up the courage.[2] Say “hello” if you are feeling especially brazen but don’t force it.  A smile would be great but again don’t force it as it will appear patronizing if it is not sincere.  Simply practice acceptance and looking for the light within other living beings.

Hypothesis:

If we begin to look at each other simply as fellow light-filled beings on the journey then we will ultimately have a greater level of understanding, compassion and love for each other and reverse the conditioning that has us perceive each other as enemies.

 

[1] See “Preface to Sunrise Cataracts” for additional info

[2] Important note:  Do not make direct eye contact with all monkeys!  Apparently some view it as a threat regardless of how much love you have in your heart.  I’ve recently learned this very valuable lesson living in the jungle in Thailand.

 

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