A Samurai went to see the holy man who lived on the mountain and asked him the question, “Master, what is the difference between heaven and hell?” The ancient hermit paused for a few moments and then said in a loud accusing voice, “You have no honor! Your children are pigs and your mother is a prostitute!” The Samurai was shocked that this holy man would talk this way, but the master continued to heap scorn and criticism on the Samurai and his whole family until the warrior could take it no more. The fires of anger and hatred swelled within the Samurai as the old man continued to criticize him, and in a fit of anger the Samurai took out his sword, and with his face contorted in fury he raised the sword to chop off the head of the holy man. In that moment, the master paused, looked the Samurai squarely in the eye and said calmly, “That is hell.” The Samurai was stunned as he realized how his own rage and anger had created a personal hell in his life. He also realized that the master had knowingly risked his own life to teach him this lesson. The Samurai was humbled felt a profound gratitude and fell at the master’s feet with tears in his eyes and thanked him from the depths of his heart for teaching him this life changing lesson. The master then said, “That is heaven.”
Heaven is not a time or a place. Heaven is a state of mind where you allow yourself to experience love and gratitude and where you allow yourself to experience your connection with your Source. Whatever your religion or your belief system, or whatever name you have for ultimate Reality: God, Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, the force; the Universe is what It Is regardless of what you think about It. Everything is connected in a web of life, and Universal Love surrounds you constantly regardless of what mistakes you have made and regardless of your relationships or life circumstances or your state of mind. However, whether or not you are aware of this Universal Love at any given moment is totally up to you.
You can choose to live in the hell of the fears of your ego. You can allow your emotional wounds and scars from your past to dictate your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and when you do this, your life circumstances will reflect the hell of your inner state of mind. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “There is nothing to fear except fear itself,” and this is so true. All your fears would have you believe that you and others are unworthy, worthless and alone. Don’t believe everything you think! You are a child of God. You are a priceless, precious soul. You may think you are stuck cleaning the emotional toilets of the world because your fears have tied you to your own personal hell, but you have the power to free your mind.
Your mind is the most powerful piece of equipment in the galaxy and you can choose to tune it into anger, fear, and hatred, or you can choose to tune it into unconditional love. This is your choice, and no power in the universe can stop you either way. Your life circumstances are simply the out-picturing of your inner state of awareness and whatever frequency you tune in with your thoughts and feelings will translate into your actions and ultimately into the circumstances and relationships of your life. This doesn’t mean that you just wave a magic wand and all your life problems simply go away. However, this does mean that you can choose to hold your center in the face of your life challenges. You can face your inner demons and you can face the difficulties and the problems in your life with wisdom, compassion and good judgement. You can feel jaded and underwhelmed by the people in your life, or you can be your best self and look past other’s ego fears to the truth of love that is the essence of their humanity.
Take some time to reflect on the patterns of conflict in your life and look within your mind and in your life to seek to understand the fears that have caused problems in your life. Any time you spend in this type of self-reflection is time well spent. When you start to recognize your inner fears and take responsibility for how these fears have caused you to act in a destructive or hurtful manner, then you can free your mind from these fears and eventually change your life circumstances for the better.
Be honest with yourself and with the people in your life. Own up to your fears and take responsibility for how these fears have caused you to act poorly. Go to others in your life whom you have treated poorly and apologize and commit yourself to positive change regardless of other’s actions. Clean up your side of the street, and you will set the example of how you want others to treat you. This will have a positive impact on your life, and your life can become a reflection of heaven. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
You can do this,