Location: The Netherlands
Dear Francis, I was raised up in the sixties in a Christian surrounding and when I was about 15 years old I became heavily scared by the idea of the existence of hell. I’ve done nearly everything to escape from that horrible idea and fear. So I ‘became’ an atheist, I visited mediums, red hundreds of spiritual books and finally I discovered Advaita. The fear became a little less, but it never disappeared completely. For example, I recently did an experiment. In the local library I picked up a book of Hirschi Ali (who criticizes the Islam) and I said to myself: I open the book on a random page and the text on that page will say something important about my (future) life. And guess what, the text was about hell. A normal person would laugh about that and say: okay the chance that you will pick up a page with a heavy text about heaven or hell in this book will maybe 1:400, probably far less, so what is your proof that this is a sign of God or in this case Allah? Seen in a rational way that is perfectly true. But my anxious mind began to chat, is it coincidence, or really a sign from God, or … is this Consciousness ‘saying’ to me you are still busy with fairy tales and if you don’t find out who you really are, you will never live in joy and peace … Francis I hope I may ask you this question: Can you give me some advise about how to handle with (this) fear? Yours sincerely, Robert
This world is hell when we live in ignorance, and heaven when we live in wisdom. There is no point being afraid of hell, since you are already in it whenever you believe to be a separate, limited, human consciousness. All forms of fear, including yours, can be traced back to this belief. Who, if not a limited, separated consciousness or “soul”, could be subjected to damnation?
The way out of it? Investigate the truth of this belief. If you cannot do it, find a teacher who will teach you fearlessness.
Here is a story about heaven and hell. This gentleman was given by St Peter, the realtor of the after life estates, a tour of the various residential areas. They first visited hell. There was an out of this world gourmet buffet, all you can eat style. Unfortunately, the available forks were all six feet long, and the unfortunate residents, in spite of all their efforts, were unable to put the delicious food into their mouths. Eternal starvation was in this case their eternal damnation.
Next they entered heaven, the next building, which was in fact an exact replica of hell: same heavenly food, same long forks. The only difference: the residents here were using the forks to feed one another, enjoying the food, the company, the laughters, and the love.