Hell -Traditional

Where and What is Hell?

Is Hell Real?

“Why do not the Souls which are without God feel Hell in this world? I answer, they bear it about with them in their wicked consciences, but they know it not; because the world hath cast them likewise into a sleep, a most fatal sleep. Notwithstanding which it must be owned that the Wicked do frequently feel Hell within them during the time of this mortal life, though they may not apprehend that it is Hell, because of the earthly vanity which cleaveth to them from without, and the sensible pleasures and amusements wherewith they are intoxicated.” ~Jakob Bohme

I find it curious that many who believe in Heaven, do not believe in Hell. A ladder cannot have a top without also having a bottom. A road running north and south must have a southern end and a northern end. In short, if there is a heaven, but we are not in it, then there must be some place that isn’t heaven, and the furthest place from heaven is called Hell.

Now for those who do believe in Hell, there are essentially two views on it. One is that Hell

Charon's ferry to Hell

Charon’s ferry to Hell

is a place completely separate from us here on Earth. You have to get there on Charon’s boat, according to a Greek myth. It is often associated with a place far underground, perhaps due to people seeing red hot lava sprouting from volcanoes. The other version says that there is no particular place called Hades, it is right here and we each make our own hell. So which version is true? The answer is both. Continue reading “Where and What is Hell?”

training, Universal Religion

Real Yoga is More Than Exercise

Real Yoga

“In India, the candidates for initiation into the science of ‘Raja Yoga,’ when they apply to the Yogi Masters for instruction, are given a series of lessons designed to enlighten them regarding the nature of the real self, and to instruct them in the secret knowledge whereby they may develop the consciousness and realization of the real ‘I’ within them. They are shown that they must cast aside the erroneous or imperfect knowledge regarding their real identity.
“Until the candidate masters this instruction, or at least until the truth becomes fixed in his consciousness, further instruction is denied him, for it is held that until he has awakened to a conscious realization of his actual identity, he is not able to understand the source of his power, …” ~Yogi Ramacharaka

The first thing you may notice about this statement is that there is no mention of the stretching and bending exercises that have become the staple of modern Yoga in the western world. Real yoga is a school of spiritual discipline and enlightenment of which those exercises are just a small part, and not a particularly important part. You might also notice that this Yoga Master doesn’t talk about students or customers, but “candidates for initiation”. That is because he is not selling something, or offering it to anyone who walks in off the street and asks for it.

This is not unique to Yoga or to India. All ancient schools of mystics or spiritual adepts required those who came to them to pass through a period of initiation before the more advanced teaching could be revealed, and that remain true today. This was true in Egypt, in ancient Greece, in Rome, and everywhere else. The Essenes took in students on a two or three year trial basis, The Pythagorean and Platonian schools did as well. Continue reading “Real Yoga is More Than Exercise”

Sacrifies to buy God's favor

God Never Harms and Cannot be Bought

God Never Harms

“God is good, dispassionate and immutable. Now someone who thinks it reasonable and true to affirm that God does not change, may well ask how, in that case, it is possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are showing mercy to those who honor Him, while turning away from the wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honor Him, for that would mean he is swayed by pleasure. It is not right to imagine that God feels pleasure or displeasure in a human way. He is good, and He only bestows blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the other hand, if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him; but if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. … It is not that He grow angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is our sins that prevent God from shining within us, …” ~The Philokalia

We love to think of God as being much like us, primarily due to a misunderstanding of the “created in His image” teaching. God is not human, not much like a human, and we should not think of Him as being some kind of super human. It would probably be more accurate to think of Him more like a natural force such as gravity.

The Philokalia says God never does harm, but only good. This is completely true. Some people might say that God does do harm indirectly by allowing those things that harm us to exist, but that is a childish way of looking at it. We need to learn things and if we never get burned by the fire, we never learn to stop sticking out hands in the stove. Continue reading “God Never Harms and Cannot be Bought”

rise above, Creature evolving, integrated being, purification, spiritual evolution, abstract transformation

Rise Up the Ladder of Spirit

Ladder of Spirit

“In the degree that Man realizes the existence of the Indwelling Spirit immanent within his being, so will he rise in the spiritual scale of life. This is what spiritual development means—the recognition, realization, and manifestation of the Spirit within us. Try to remember this last definition—that of spiritual development. It contains the Truth of True Religion. … There are many planes of being … and all depend upon the advancement of beings in the scale, of which scale the lowest point is the grossest matter, the highest being separated only by the thinnest division from the SPIRIT of THE ALL.” ~The Three Initiates

There are a lot of people calling themselves spiritual these days, and a lot of schools claiming to teach spirituality or spiritual development. There seems to be considerable difference, however, in what different people and different schools call spiritual.

Some people think that simply because they have given up on organized religion and the big churches, but still believe in God, that they are spiritual. While a belief in God is certainly important, that alone does not make one spiritual. There are schools that teach noting more than basic meditation methods, or chanting and holding crystals. Calling them spiritual is like calling a person a carpenter because he can use a hammer. Yes, a carpenter needs to know how to use a hammer, but he needs to know a lot more to truly be a carpenter. Continue reading “Rise Up the Ladder of Spirit”