After life destination ? Utopia, fantasm, idealistic reality…
The destination of the righteous is called Heaven, a place of non-suffering of immense beauty and joy. All religions describe and mention a place called Heaven, Paradise, Amhaddiya, Tian, Trayastrimsa… depends which language and which culture do you live. They have different names but seems to carry the same meaning: bliss, purity and light.
I remembered to walk through material reality on Earth where I said to myself – ‘this place is heaven, I am blessed to discover something so precious’ – and the moment I realized it, that same moment I could also reach the shadows of that same place and see Hell.
The first Heavenly place I discovered was when I was 12, my mother offered me a summer camp holiday to Corsica ( a french Island near Sardinia in Italy). I remembered that all my senses was stimulated by so much beauty, I never saw before so much blue in the sea also incredible trees and perfumes all around me. Then, my Heaven favorite place was in Ardeches, a very dry area in France with many mountains, caves and wild rivers to do kayaking. That was incredible because of the outdoor and the adventurous lifestyle there.
One place that I will always perceive as Heaven is Bali, even if I saw the worst there too – walking to the valleys of shadows where I could admire Hell as everyone would imagine it – burning mountains, cruel beings, deadly destiny of people, upsetting situations, dangerous moments and ugliness.
But Bali accept and receive the same way Heaven and Hell, because that’s the balance to maintain this World together. One cannot exist without the other, one is no better than the other in fact. That’s how you can explore temporary those two worlds, and navigate from one to the other. Anyway, we cannot escape, in this life or another you always have to experience the two aspects of life.
The moment I recognize one aspect, immediately the opposite will show up. It is how it is to sail through this reality, but all here is temporary, Hell is temporary and Heaven is temporary – it is still the world of duality, so there is no importance to try to hold to Heaven.
This year, I spent 7 months living in Thailand, on a small island called Koh Panghan. For me that was the same duality there – Heaven and Hell – until I realize that the moment I was loosing my center I was always juggling with those two aspects of life. I decided to increase Prathyara-Dharana and Dhyana practice to not fall out of my own balance and it works.
It all depends on how you want to perceive this reality, through which lenses ?
If you feel always miserable and wait for an external situation, people, pleasures, sensual distraction, or idealistic place and circumstances to put you in a peaceful state, you are dependent on others and external situations. Also, to be in that situation means that you cannot practice contentment and that’s suffering. Just daydreaming and praying for Heaven, when Heaven is always opened right in front of you if you give permission to perceive it anywhere.
Koh Panghan, was a form of lower paradise, where life was spinning around pleasures, beauty, distractions and amusements like a Disneyland, like in Ubud or Goa.
When I usually meet tribes or others ancient traditional beings who are still connected with their lands and values – I feel the closest to a sense of Heaven, where things finally aren’t temporary anymore but where Truth can travel from eternity to eternity. This is where I met highest virtuous qualities like honor, respect, loyalty, grace, innocence, purity, generosity, devotion, compassion, family, trust… Their minds are so strong and in-corrupted by what is no true, grounded into reality and proud of their culture, heritage and ancestors. This is really calling me.
I met them long time ago in Flores – Est-Timor in Indonesia, also I met them again in North India, in Greece, and Myanmar – where modern society didn’t change the natural rhythm of living with the symphony and the cycle of nature. Those humans with the eyes full of stars, of innocence and purity – not intoxicated by desires.
For me that is Heaven, feeling this state of being satisfied to be, and then Heaven is permanent anywhere and in any situations.
(Pictures credit to a Belgium photographer and a french traveller during a trek in Myanmar together).
I am not an academic or a scholar but I can still describe my experience with Samadhi. It is when I am tuned with none frequencies at all, no thoughts, no urge, no desires, just a state of non-doing and feeling blissful no matter what, receiving the love from an intelligence around me. It happens but it also goes away. Sometimes is there, sometimes is not, but I never forced it to manifest. I usually go to this state when I practice long momentum of concentration and ironically I had those experiences in my darkest moments or not even close to a Heavenly place.
In Buddhism and Hinduism, the concept of Heaven is part of Samsara – the cycle of birth and death because Heaven is still a temporary place with a departure gate and an exit. In Buddhism there are several heavens, all of which are still part of samsara (illusionary reality). Those who accumulate good karma may be reborn in one of them. However, their stay in heaven is not eternal—eventually they will use up their good karma and will undergo rebirth into another realm, as a human, animal or other being. Because heaven is temporary and part of samsara, Buddhists focus more on escaping the cycle of rebirth and reaching enlightenment (nirvana). Nirvana is not a heaven but a mental state.
Attaining heaven is not the final pursuit in Hinduism as heaven itself is ephemeral and related to physical body. Is just another name for pleasurable and mundane material life. Since heavenly abodes are also tied to the cycle of birth and death, any dweller of heaven or hell will again be recycled to a different plane and in a different form per the karma and « maya » i.e. the illusion of Samsara. This cycle is broken only by self-realization by the Jivatma. This self-realization is Moksha (Turiya, Kaivalya). Moksha stands for liberation from the cycle of birth and death and final communion with Brahman. In the Vaishnava traditions the highest heaven is Vaikuntha, which exists above the six heavenly lokas and outside of the mahat-tattva or mundane world. It’s where eternally liberated souls who have attained moksha reside in eternal sublime beauty with Lakshmi and Narayana (a manifestation of Vishnu).
« Consciously or unconsciously, most theists see in gods and devils, heaven and hell; reward and punishment, a whip to lash the people into obedience, meekness and contentment. » –
Anarchist Emma Goldman.
Some have argued that a belief in a reward after death is poor motivation for moral behavior while alive. The problem with this linkage between religion and morality is that it gives people bad reasons to help other human beings when good reasons are available.
Here religions show a way to control our behavior with the concept or rewards and punishments – ‘do good and you will go to Heaven, and do bad and Hell will open to burn you for eternity’. Which is a good thing to discourage people to perform UN-morals actions. They just explain an universal law of Causes and effects, and nobody can disagree that intense positive-feeling state are at the heart of experiencing a taste of « heaven » and this happens when our actions and thoughts are aligned with Love.
There is many state of Dhyana, and many can be attained by dedications and commitments.
Feel free to visit my website: www.sadhana-journey.com and check a course for practicing Dharana – Prathyara and Dhyana if you feel starting your own spiritual journey.