Post written by Sofo
Many so-called religious people believe that hell exists somewhere outside of ourselves, as if in some kind of geographical place. They say that in the afterlife, those who have sinned will be placed in hell and experience suffering, no matter how “heavenly” they might have lived on Earth.
The truth of the matter, however, is that there is no hell outside of ourselves, just as there is no heaven outside of ourselves. In reality, heaven and hell are states within our own consciousness, byproducts of our minds.
Here is a beautiful Sufi story pointing out the truth about what hell is, as told by William Dalrymple:
One day, Lal Shahbaz Qalander was wandering in the desert with his friend Sheikh Baha ud- Din Zakariya. It was winter and evening time, so they began to build a fire to keep warm. They found some wood but they realized they had no fire. So Baha ud- Din suggested that Lal Shahbaz turn himself into a falcon and get fire from hell.
Off he flew, but an hour later, he came back empty handed. “There is no fire in hell,” he reported. “Every one who goes there brings their own fire and their own pain from this world.”
Hell can exist only within us, and when it does, we carry it with ourselves all the time, wherever we are.
We are the cause of our suffering, and so it is in our hands to calm the fire of hell or to distinguish it altogether.