Have you ever thought about eternity? That‘s longer than a month, a lot longer. If an angel flew up to the top of a solid granite mountain once every hundred years and softly brushed a silk veil across it’s top, the number of years required to wear that mountain down to the ground would be a drop in the bucket compared to eternity.

Consider all the sand on all the beaches in all the worlds of all the universes, and if each grain represented one million years, all the sand of all the beaches in all the worlds in all the universes would not scratch the surface of eternity.

Therefore, the belief that this flash of lightening called life, where usually our only concern is what’s on TV tonight, will determine where we spend our eternity, is a bit scary. And life does go by fast. As a matter of fact, the older you get, the faster it goes.

Yep, eternity is a serious prospect, yet we brush it off as not important. Why do we do that? I believe it is because we only trust the transient world of pleasure, simply because we have a direct contact with it. We can relate to the world, but we can’t get our arms around a concept like eternity. So we remain ignorant of it. In other words, we ignore it and figure that when the time comes, we will handle it.

Oh yeah? I would call that the epitome of conceit, the grand misconception and delusion perpetuated by an entirely false sense of an inflated ego.

Do you think that you could go ten rounds with a trained, seasoned heavyweight boxer? Why not? Maybe because that situation is more readily imaginable, and you know your limitations. But you could spend an eternity in hell right? Because you can handle what comes up right?

One of the most profound visions that come up for some advanced meditators is an actual tour of non-human realms, including the hell realms. That is usually enough for him or her to dedicate the rest of their lives to practice and forget about the very temporary world of pleasure, because they have seen up close and personal the consequences of a careless, self centered existence.

But who would believe such things unless they could see them for themselves. So if you don’t have the time to actually shift your consciousness through the practice of meditation to the point of being able to see into non-material realms, don’t you have time to see the hells you create right here and now on earth?

A young Samurai warrior came across a monk sitting down and asked him, “Monk. Is there a heaven and a hell? If you know the answer, tell me. If you don’t, don’t waste my time!”

The monk looked up at him and said,“You’re too stupid to understand!”

The samurai said, “Stupid? I’m a samurai warrior!”

The monk replied, “You. A samurai? Don’t be silly, you’re just a country bumpkin!”

“That’s twice you’ve insulted me monk!” Said the warrior as he rested his hand on his sword. “One more insult and I will cut your head off with this sword in half a second!”

“With that stupid rusty blade? Said the monk. “You couldn’t cut a slice of bread with that!”

The samurai drew his sword, incensed by the insult of his immaculate blade, and squinting his eyes with rage he prepared to swing his sword.

The monk made eye contact and said, “Samurai! That is hell!”

The samurai then understood at that moment that the anger he felt was what hell was like. He was so moved that he dropped his sword and his eyes welled up and bowed to the monk saying, “Thank you monk.”

Then the monk said, “Ah, and that is heaven.”

And the samurai understood that the respect, understanding, and compassion he felt was what heaven was like.

---(Story from Ajahn Brahm)

So perhaps you’re not ready to devote the rest of your life to cultivating peaceful and kind virtues, to really love your neighbors (and how you really feel about your neighbors is a good indication where you are regarding your eternal destination!)

But can you just spend a few moments every day reflecting on your many thoughts and emotions that come up, and see what realm you find yourself in? That’s your destiny, you know, the majority of feelings that come up for you every day.

Are your days filled with anger, resentment, selfishness, irritation, ambition, aggressiveness, greed and hatred? No problem, that’s where you are headed tomorrow as well, and for eternity. Just be aware of it.

Or are your days filled with loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, sympathetic joy, happiness, calmness, opening, letting go? That’s where you will find yourself tomorrow, and for eternity as well. Just be aware of it.

It won’t do us any good to beg God to change us at the last moment. If you had no respect for His teachings while living, and if you just sat around enjoying yourself waiting for Him to zap you with goodness, He will not respect you when your dead. Fair, right? Just be aware of what your destiny will be.

Sometimes just the awareness of what we are is enough to begin a transition, but if we never look at ourselves, there is no chance in hell!

Author's Bio: 

     E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at:

http://www.dhammarocksprings.org/ and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:


His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.