Have you ever knowingly or purposely landed off-the-mark, creating suffering for yourself or others?
Creating tremendous suffering from a perspective lacking in awareness is one thing; willfully choosing to engage in a harmful behavior consciously is another. Since your soul is always aiming for the bulls-eye of Loving, it would not be in your own highest good to purposefully choose to head in a direction that will knowingly create more pain and suffering for all involved. And yet, sometimes in our lives that is simply what we choose to do – purposefully, willfully and knowingly head in the opposite direction of our soul’s urgings. When this happens, we end up in hell.
From my own personal experience, I have learned that hell is of a person’s own making. I was in my own state of hell a few different times in my life. The best advice I ever heard was a quote on a T-shirt that said, “If you find yourself in Hell, keep going.” ~ Winston Churchill. This is excellent advice, and in fact the only real solution.
Hell is an experience of feeling a complete separation from Spirit, which includes feelings of tremendous suffering, pain, self-judgment, doubt, fear and despair. It feels like getting placed into total darkness, cut off from light, God and the source of Loving. It is a state of hopelessness, as if you have been abandoned and cast out into a dark pit to rot, alone. Finding yourself in hell is neither good nor bad from Spirit’s perspective; it is just one particular place or state along the path of your journey. Understand that there is no condemning or judgmental God that has put you in this place. It is only your own behavior and your own self-judgment that have gotten you there.
There is a delightful series of documentaries for the BBC on the History of Art led by an enlightened nun named Sister Wendy. Describing the scene from a painting of Dante’s Inferno, she says, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, “Notice how no one is pushing them; they are literally throwing themselves into the fire!” I loved that part for two reasons; first, because it is so true and second, because not many spiritual teachers are willing to enthusiastically and directly state that truth – that we each have to take personal responsibility for getting our own self there if we happen to end up burning in the fiery pits of hell.
In an earlier blog, I talked about consequences of our behavior being equal to our level of conscious awareness when choosing to ignore our internal guidance system. To get to the true depths of hell, I discovered that I had to knowingly and willfully go against my inner guidance, my own feeling barometer and my own discernment of the truth. When I willfully decided to ignore what I knew to my bones to be my on-course direction, and instead chose to jump off-course in a direction that was definitely, clearly and even blatantly going against my highest good, this is when the consequences I experienced as a result of my choice became the toughest; I found myself burning in a hell of my own making.
A state of hell may be likened to finding yourself in a particularly challenging level of a video game. Faced with a degree of difficulty that you’ve never previously encountered, you may be wondering, ‘Am I going to be able to survive this?!’ Your video character may need to crash and burn a few times, maybe even die and start all over again from level one. That is Ok in the video game, and it is Ok in life, too. And, while you may feel like it will kill you, once you are conscious, you do not need to die in a state of hell. You just need to complete the current level to start climbing up out of the dark pit into the light!
Landing in hell somewhere along your life’s journey is neither right or wrong, nor good or bad. It is simply one experience in the full spectrum of free will choice.
Have you ever experienced a state of hell? Or are you experiencing one currently?
If you are currently experiencing an internal state of hell, do not despair! Yes, you can and will survive.
A state of hell is never permanent. Just like in our current penal system, you can get a lighter sentence and early release for good behavior. The faster you can forgive yourself and begin to be gentle with yourself, the faster you will release yourself from your internal state of hell.
Conversely, if you get so down on yourself that you simply keep perpetuating punishment with your self-judgment and negative self-talk, you could very well stay imprisoned for life. Understand that this is a choice. If you willingly chose to perpetuate your self-inflicted punishment and stayed in a state of hell, your soul would have to work toward freedom in another lifetime. If you’ve ever wondered why some people seem to be born in hell, it may be because they needed to pick up wherever they left off last time.
If you find yourself in a hell of your own making, I say choose joy over suffering by choosing freedom – stop inflicting the self-punishment by being kind and gentle toward yourself – and say ‘no’ to temptation, right now; by doing so, you will be choosing to align yourself with your own soul’s will, which will direct you straight out of hell and accelerate you on your personal path to self-actualization. Say, “A state of hell is a choice. I can choose freedom at any time.”
Action Step ~ To get out of a state of hell, simply apply the compassion liberally. Choose to get on-course by saying ‘no’ to ego-based temptations and ‘yes’ to following the will of your soul. Declaration: “A state of hell is of my own making. I always have the power to liberate myself by forgiving myself and getting back on-course with what I know is in my highest good. I can now view my learning neutrally and end the needless self-punishment.”
Additional Support: Listen to this closed-eye process on viewing Hell as a temporary state from which you can free yourself at any time; please refrain from driving while listening.