Am I Going to Heaven or Hell?

My therapist once asked me where I thought we went after we died. Before I could think about it, out of my mouth came, “Wherever we really believe we’re going.” This may seem contrary to the certainty of heaven or hell based on how we live, but it’s not really. Many of us have been told since early childhood the list of actions that will carry us to one place or the other after our bodies die. And even if this wasn’t drummed into us, there is enough in life and literature to convince us it’s true.

A dark shadow of fear hangs over many of us, even if we deny it. Is this our conscience? Maybe in some twisted version, it is. Our conscience is our inner wisdom and for those of us raised in a stable environment, it’s lead us through life’s inevitable tests. We may have disappointed ourselves and others, but we learned, asked forgiveness, and moved on.

But what happens to the rest of us? Prolonged abuse of any kind, physical, emotional, or mental, perverts the mind and heart. And if we pay abuse forward, it weighs us down and we know we’re going to hell, even if we tell ourselves it’s not true.

That’s why it’s so important to slow down and take some time for reflection. Do we spend a lot of time in negative thinking? Do we want to change? Do we act out of anger? How do we change? Do we push loved ones away when what we most want is closeness? How can we help them? Life wears at us, especially in these times. It’s tough out there. The solution is to believe in love, to believe in our own goodness and the goodness of life in spite of it all, for believing is the necessary first step to change.

Besides, dark thoughts and actions make hell on earth, never mind what we create for the afterlife. We can change the course of our lives by changing our thoughts, which are reflected in our actions. There is help out there. If we can’t pay for therapy, we can ask a pastor or support group for help, or start in the Self-Help section of a bookstore. If we can’t read, there is someone who will teach us. We only need ask. But first and last, and in the middle, too, we can ask God for guidance. If these prayers come from deep within our hearts, they are answered. Prayer is a waste of breath unless we mean it.

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13 thoughts on “Am I Going to Heaven or Hell?

  1. There was some interesting experiments done by Dr. Pribram of Georgetown into the brain and how it operates. It seems the brain, and perhaps the universe operates in many ways like a hologram. It could well be that our thoughts are at least in part the projector (or some conception of God), which explains why positive thinking works so well, and while negative thought brings negative realities. And, of course, if the world is holographic, then the idea many have that the soul is mortal becomes harder to hold.

    • I love the holographic idea–it fits so well the Eastern teachings of the world being an illusion, and that we have to “tune in” to the real world to see or live in it. There is so much more to all of this–and I’m so glad to be alive now to experience it.

  2. A student of mine transferred to Georgetown to study political psychology, and she actually took a class from Pribram. She says he’s about 90, fit and alert, and brags about how he was laughed at 20 or 30 years ago when he first talked about the brain as a hologram, but now the data and evidence are coming around to support him and he’s getting all kinds of new attention. There was a good book written back in the early 90s called “The Holographic Universe,” I think the author’s name was Talbot. I’ve also recently read the “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene, a great explanation of modern physics (quantum theory and relativity) which really could fit both the hologram theory and the notion that the universe has to be an illusion — modern physics sees all of time as a dimension (all time is in some way simultaneous), and nothing is certain until it is observed, before then it’s only probabilities. That would make it seem like a consciousness needs to actualize a potential or probable reality before it really exists.

    • You’re venturing into territory where I can barely follow along, but I watched a really great movie that helped me understand more about this, called What the Bleep Do We Know? As I remember it was pretty much about how our consciousness, including looking at and thinking about people and things, affected those people and things–including that our belief that something is there is what’s makes it there. I think there was also something about parallel dimensions, but I’m stuck at the idea where, for example, we all wake up in the morning, drive to work on freeways we all believe are there, go into buildings we expect to be there, work at jobs we applied for, but didn’t actually create. There has to be something about group creations and expectations and if you think about that too much, pretty soon you’re at, ‘So WE created the earth, together, by believing it into being?’ There is a part of my earth-personality that says, ‘I gave birth to my children; I remember because it hurt a lot and I expect them to pick up their cell phones when I call.’ Does my expecting them to be there cause them to be there? There has to be another aspect to this, something about the partnership with the Great Being who I am comfortable believing created the universe. And I am certain Love (with the capital L) holds it all together.
      Scott, you must be a speed reader and writer! Honestly, I can’t believe all that you do, but thank you for not only taking the time to comment here but to comment in such a way that gets me (and hopefully others) thinking about the big picture and the great mysteries of our time.

      • I did see that movie (my wife bought it for me because she knows I like that stuff). I didn’t find it as interesting as some of the stuff physicists write, in part because the physicists usually don’t like the spiritual implications, so you know that as they describe these things and possibilities, they aren’t exaggerating. Brian Greene’s book is readable — though I was helped by getting a ‘lectures on tape’ series as a gift — one on modern physics, one on particle physics (all for the non-physicist — no way could I do the math!) It seems so obvious that our science is pushing towards a more spiritual and non-materialist view of reality that it’s only a stubborn desire to hold on to old ideas that keeps people from really exploring new ways of thinking.

        I used to experiment in dreams (the ‘experiments’ described by Jenny in the story is really autobiographical — the learning to fly, being chased by dogs, etc., all happened to me in my dream experiments). I decided that waking life, which seems just as “real” as dream life, is probably much like a shared dream, where a collective ‘we’ decide the ground rules and limits. In individual dreams the ego can only control so much, the subconscious and other aspects of who we are shape a lot of it. But the “real” world seems to have firmer limits and rules. Oh, I do read fast but thanks to the fact that in eighth grade I wanted to be a sports writer I learned typing in junior high school — on a manual typewriter no less (an Underwood). Only girls learned how to type then, boys were about a tenth of the class. But I practiced (instead of blogging about politics and philosophy I wrote about the Minnesota Twins and Vikings) and by high school could type 100 WPM. That means, unfortunately, I have a tendency for verbosity, as in this comment!

        • Wow, you should write about your dream experiments. It would help people, I’m sure of it, as would your book, which I’d better get back to work on! (Lazy me.) And my eldest is in journalism school as UNLV to become a sports writer. That’s funny–though, he doesn’t (yet, anyway) have all your other interests. I can’t believe you learned typing on a typewriter, too. I’m way older than you (57) and I guess I figured people your age learned on computers, on which fingers can really fly! My kids really do think dinosaurs roamed the earth when typwwriters were used. Just wait ’til you tell your kids that story!

          • You are not “way older” than me! You are only eight years older than I am! I just waited a long time to have my own kids. (I tease a friend of mine, who has two grandchildren about the age of my kids, that she’s an “old granny.” She knows, of course, that I’m three years older than she is). I remember at age 15 visiting a friend whose dad owned a bar and he had this really cool device called a “beta max” where you could tape from the TV! Wow, I thought, if I’m ever rich, I’m going to buy me one of those! In college I still recall the ritual of cleaning records, the needle, and playing the album (and reading about some Japanese technology where they could turn music into binary code and use a laser to read it perfectly every time. WOW!) Now my kids expect all cameras to show you the picture after you take it, and all TVs have a “pause” and allow you to skip commercials.

            • Well, then, I LOOK way older than you! 🙂 I had my kids late, too, at 33, 36 and 40! They are my joy, and they don’t mind so much that they got an “old mommy.” They all had a rap-music phase that was really hard on me (what sounded like shouting to me and bad vibes being sent into the world), but we got through it. And my daughter has made me listen to the lyrics of some of the rap songs that have a message–a good message. Still, I prefer the music of the late 60s and 70s to this day! Dinosaur! Have a great week and thanks for all the communication. I feel connected–thanks.
              Pam

  3. Right now Ryan, age 6, is playing at bed time a CD of songs I recorded from my old 45 record collection, circa 1969/1970. He listens to it every night, and I often lay there and enjoy the records I bought when I was nine or ten. I blogged about the device to finally put my 45s on a CD back in March, and surprisingly got a response from one of the people whose 45 I had (Hank Cardell, “Natural Man.”) Small world! Here is the post: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/frost-nixon-and-neil-diamond/

  4. I just took a look at my May 2009 issue of “Discover,” and there is an article about a new view in science called “the Biocentric Universe” described as “a radical new view of reality: Life creates time, space and the cosmos itself.” An interesting read!

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