Heaven

Watching the 20/20 special on heaven. Really interesting to watch. Guess I have been in this weird place since the family dinner a few days ago. Been lost in though about what may be out there, beyond us. Does believing in the afterlife give us a destination? (as suggested on the show) I think it gives us hope, and a sense of life as being a journey toward something more. I have never been religious, grew up in a jewish family complete with pork and christmas trees, yeah I know, don’t even ask. There have been points in my life that I find myself searching for something beyond myself. Something larger than all of us. A way to try and make sense of my life and all that has happened. Often times I just grow frustrated and angry. If there is a god, how could he allow my life to be such a disaster. I see no purpose in suffering, what godly reason is there for that. I think without the framework of a religious upbringing questions like this easily lead me astray. I don’t allow myself to move beyond my anger and my judgement. I do not know that in living a life without religion will I find heaven. If I do not except a god, does that change the course of my afterlife. I struggle with that question. I don’t have an answer.

I find in my day to day existing, I use the skills of mindfullness to try and calm my mind. I can’t imagine trying to live this life without them. In the practice of mindfulness I have read much about Buddhism. It is hard not to, as most mindful practices have their root in Buddhist faith. One of the most remarkable moments in this 20/20 special was Barbra Walters interview with the Dalai Lama. There is a joy, and an infectiousness about this wonderful man and his giggle. For me personally, I find it easier to believe in the teachings of Buddhism, as opposed to Judaism or Christianity. But that is just me. I will continue to try and center myself by staying as present in this life as possible. By seeing the beauty and the wonder in everything around me. It is a battle to see this, especially when things are rough. It is hard even when things are normal and hectic. It is so easy to lose sight of everything. Days blur into days, months into years. Losing sight of the glory and the wonder is easy to do. Mindfulness allows the mind to be still long enough to see it again. The depth of peace and quiet is profound, but for me it is fleeting. The distractions of the world, and the stresses constantly intrude. The more I try to center myself the more these thoughts find there way in. It is in those moments that I realize I am trying too hard. Mindfulness isn’t achieved through force. It is with acceptance that it comes and settles over you. I find it comes when I am least expecting it. In a pause between breaths, or in catching a glimpse of a bluebird sitting on the fence. In the late evening sky as the sun slants low over the hills and casts everything in a golden glow. It is when I stop seeing these things that I know I have truly lost touch. I know I am in trouble.

I do think there is a place beyond us, whether it is heaven or not, I don’t know. I’m not sure I can stomach the thought of there being a hell. It is far too easy for me to think of all the mistakes I’ve made and worry that is where I’ll end up. So I try not to imagine a place of judgement, and suffering. I have enough of that in the here and now. I can only allow myself to hope that there is a place of love, and joy. A place where suffering doesn’t exist. If I live my life trying to get better, and treat those around me with respect and kindness maybe I will see this place.

“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about
it or not: what is the purpose of life?  From the moment of birth
every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.
Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this.
>From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.
Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the
greatest degree of happiness.” Dalai Lama

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