When the chips are down, I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell as some vision of Life After Death. Let me be clear though: I do believe in Life After Death. I shall live on in the worms and grass and bacteria, and the birds who eat the seeds from the plants and trees I will nourish and become a part of. Bit by bit I will enter more richly into life than I do at present. One day I shall be stardust again.
But, to get to the end and be then sorted into Heaven or Hell, some kind of divine exam and reward or punishment scheme? I can’t believe life is like that. I can’t trust a god who does that. And in any case, the whole idea is far too concrete a picture.
Really, I am an ant, a transitory, mostly unnoticed creature, and when I am dead there will be nothing individual left; but the mark I have made on the world will live on. The totality that is God-and-the-Universe is undiminished by my death. And this makes the present moment the important thing – this is the place of a heaven or a hell – and my individual needs, wants & desires are less important than the answer to the unanswerable question, “What is good for the Universe?”
It is another reason to let go of self-improvement programmes; ultimately, it is missing the point to try to make oneself better, cleverer, more efficient, nicer, less deserving of punishment and more deserving of reward in order to pass some anticipated final test of acceptance. What is important is to put myself into God’s hands, to let God do God’s stuff, and to try to ascertain right action.
And, at the same time, at this moment, the whole of the Universe is reflected, mirrored in my body. I am a representative, a hologram, a microcosm of everything.