Welcome to OneLife Ministries. This site is designed to lead you prayerfully into a heart experience of Divine Presence, Who is Love. While it focuses on Christian teaching, I hope persons of varied faiths will find inspiration here. Indeed, "God" can be whatever image helps us trust in the Sacred, by whatever means Grace touches us each. Please share this ministry with others, and please return soon. There is a new offering daily. And to be placed on the daily OneLife email list, to request notifications of new writings or submit prayer requests, write to email@example.com .
Brian Kenneth Wilcox MDiv, MFT, PhD
Interspiritual Pastor-Teacher, Author, Workshop Leader, Spiritual Counselor, and Chaplain.
You are invited to join Brian at his fellowship group on Facebook. The group is called OneLife Ministries An Interspiritual Contemplative Fellowship. Hope to see you there. Blessings.
Title: A HEAVENLY COMPASSION: HOW TO GET OUT OF HELL
Please do this meditation a little before proceeding...
Breathing in: Love
Breathing out: Joy
Breathing in: Peace
Breathing out: Thank You (Smile)
The principles now planted in thy bosom will grow, and one day reach maturity; and in that maturity thou wilt find thy heaven or thy hell.
Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.
*William Blake (1757 - 1827)
2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed cut off from Christ!if that would save them.
*Romans 9.2-4, CEV
For the Divine Love loved the world so much that the One gave the unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in the Son will not go on in spiritual death but enjoy eternal life now.
A man died and ended up in Hell. As he was brought before the Guardian of Hell, he pleaded with the Guardian, saying, "I'm asking your Majesty to be merciful, for I always believed in Jesus Christ and sought to serve Him."
"Can you give me a description of any good deed that you had done on Earth?" asked the Guardian. "If you can, I'll be more than willing to let you go to Heaven instead of staying here." The man thought for a long time and said, "I saved the life of a spider. A bird flew into my garden and destroyed a spider web, and I chased it away."
"OK, I'll ask my Officers to verify this," said the Guardian. So, he sent two Hell Officers to look for the spider whom the wicked man claimed to have saved. The Officers found her in the Heavenly Garden, serving as the Angel of Silk.
"Yes, it's true that he saved my life," the Angel of Silk told the Officers. "I'm very grateful for this, and I'm willing to help him get out of Hell." "How would you do it?" asked the Officers. "I will spin a long, fine piece of silk and drop it from Heaven to Hell. He can hold on to it. And I will lift him to Heaven. There is one condition: My silk appears thin, but it's very strong. He must have faith in it before he can be lifted to Heaven."
The Officers and, then, the Guardian approved the plan. A long, thin piece of silk was produced by the Angel and dropped all the way from Heaven to Hell. The man in Hell held on to the silk, and the Angel started lifting him out. Everything seemed to work well until....
As the Angel was lifting the man out of Hell, he looked down and saw many Hell residents holding on to the thin piece of silk. The weight of all the persons was stretching the silk tremendously. Suddenly, a thought came to the man, "Can I trust this silk to hold so many? If I cut the other Hell residents loose, this silk need not bear so much weight, and I'm sure that I can get lifted up to Heaven safely!"
He remembered that he had a knife in his pocket. He tried to reach his pocket to find it, but as he took his hand off the silk, he fell back into the darkness of Hell.
So, while the other residents reached Heaven safely, he was unable to get out. The Angel of Silk sighed and told the two Hell Officers, "Well, my silk is very strong but elastic. It would not break no matter how many Hell residents hold on to it. He did not have faith in it and did not long to bring anybody else to get to Heaven. There is nothing else that I can do to bring him out."
The above story is an adaptation of a story from Buddhism. Like Christians, Buddhists believe in a Hell. And truly, they are right, that Hell is now. Hell is the seeds that grow up in our heart-mind that lead to suffering. So, though we use a different vocabulary, both mystical Christianity and Buddhism say we choose Hell or Heaven now. We really do.
Hell is the ultimate of separation from Divine Love. Hell is the void formed from the absence of the Good, True, and Beautiful. Hell is being closed in on oneself, cut off from Divine Love and other creatures. Hell can be you or this writer trying to get to some heaven, or enlightenment, without working for all persons to enjoy bliss with us.
Heaven is the opposite of the separation defining Hell. Heaven is the fullness of union. Here, one experiences the bliss of Divine Love and compassionate openness and dialogue with other creatures. Heaven is an inward enjoyment of and sharing with others in the Good, True, and Beautiful.
Absolutely, Heaven is God, and God is Heaven. John speaks of this Love as reaching to all, offering to all Life by means of offering Itself.
Love leads the apostle Paul to yearn for all his kins people to know the freedom and joy of the Divine Presence as a living, freeing, and gracious Love. He posits his willingness to accept Hell, or this total separation from his beloved Christ, if it would mean their enjoying Heaven.
Heaven is not an individual way. The way is personal, however, for each person endures Hell or enjoys Heaven himself or herself. Still, Hell and Heaven are not individual. For example, I by myself do not have one or the other by trying to get there as a self separate from others. For when I separate myself from others in search for God and Heaven, as surely as in any other way I find myself apart from both God and others, enclosed in on myself.
I cannot find God alone; I cannot enjoy Life apart from a will for others to enjoy it with me, and without efforts in that very direction. Rather, I am by this act of seeking for myself, which is another form of self-seeking ~ though dressed in religious or spiritual garb, or self-help motives ~ creating the isolation that itself is Hell. Hell is full of what we define as well-adjusted individuals; Heaven is full of persons with little or no interest in self-adjustment.
Compassion is heart-openness to others. In Mahayana Buddhism a Bodhisattva is an enlightened being who himself or herself has experienced Nirvana (or release from suffering) and chooses from loving compassion to stay within earthly existence until all sentient beings are freed into eternal beatitude. Contrast the idea of the Bodhisattva with the stress in much religion and spirituality on "my" salvation, enlightenment, or relationship with God. The contrast is clear, is it not? There is no release from the suffering of the self enclosed on itself by that same self seeking salvation, or enlightenment, focused on itself and for itself, even if the self claims to be seeking God to save or free the self ~ such would violate the very nature of Love.
Like John speaks of God, the Love that frees us to experience Heaven and now within us, as a spiritual state of heart-mind, is the Love that reaches out in compassion that opens the heart-mind to be a means of Grace to all.
No, likely none of us can enjoy Heaven or Hell now as absolute states in full degree. That final beatitude awaits us. Still, we now are experiencing Heaven or Hell in partialness, and we do this by the choices we make. And those choices are hellish even when we enclose ourselves inward in the name of religion, spirituality, nationalism, moralism, or God. Any enclosing in on the self in self-seeking, even the self-sacrifice that is enamored with its self-sacrifice (which is only a subtle self-glorification) is Hell. A martyr for the faith can be taking Hell with him or her beyond the death, for his or her self-giving could be another form of self-glorification, not from true Compassion.
I Corinthians 13 speaks of this love that alone validates even extreme sacrifice for others:
1What if I could speak
and of angels?
If I did not love others,
I would be nothing more
than a noisy gong
or a clanging cymbal.
2What if I could prophesy
and understand all secrets
and all knowledge?
And what if I had faith
that moved mountains?
I would be nothing,
unless I loved others.
3What if I gave away all
that I owned
and let myself
be burned alive? I would gain nothing,
unless I loved others.
Do you want more of Heaven and less of Hell? Open your heart-mind just a little more to the world around you. If you truly loved, purely, one other person, that would be Heaven.
This prayer and meditation practice is called Tonglen in Tibetan Buddhism; in English it is often called Giving and Receiving. In Christian terms, then, it is a form of intercession through image and energy. You can do this for a family member, a friend, a stranger, or an enemy - for anyone. You can see someone doing it for you. The Christian, for example, could see Jesus doing this for him or her or the person could be Mary, a great saint from the past, or a contemporary spiritual person. You could see yourself doing this for a friend, and him or her doing it for you. Likewise, you two could do it for each other, either in prayer together or at a distance, and at the same time. Finally, you do not have to choose transformation of suffering. You could adapt this practice to offer positive blessing, sending light from the ball of light in you into the other person.
*Go into your meditation, and bring to mind one person you know is suffering especially.
*See the person before you, and see within his or her heart area a dark ball of suffering.
For this to work well, you need to let yourself feel the suffering represented by the dark ball. Compassion is your willingness to feel the suffering of another.
*See within your heart area an intense light of love, compassion, and grace.
As with the ball of suffering, you need to feel the feeling of this compassion within you.
*See the movement of the dark ball of suffering coming into your heart area and being engulfed in the ball of light in your heart area.
*You see the dark ball of suffering being changed into light by the light in your heart area.
*You, then, send out a ball of light the dark ball of suffering transformed back into the chest area of the other person.
* * *
*OneLife Ministries is a ministry of Brian Kenneth Wilcox, SW Florida. Brian lives a vowed life and with his two dogs, Bandit Ty and St. Francis. While within the Christian path, he is an ecumenical-interspiritual teacher, author, and chaplain. He is Senior Chaplain for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Punta Gorda, FL.
*Brian welcomes responses to his writings at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, Brian is on Facebook: search Brian Kenneth Wilcox.
*You can order his book An Ache for Union from major booksellers.