Heaven and Hell and all that, revisited

One month ago, just about 2 weeks after I started this blog, I wrote an “explanation” of the meaning of my tagline ascent from hell, descent from heaven. I feel it’s a very important personal thought and one of the main guiding principles of this blog.

I will explain the “phoenixism” thing another time…an equally important personal philosophical underpinning. But for now, my tagline…one month later.

Repeated with some tweaks, because we are evolving creatures, are we not?
From September 11, 2009:

My tagline. What does it mean?

Descent from heaven, ascent from hell. Why?

I’m describing a state of being.

Absolute peace. As close as we can scale Nirvana in our own life.

A state of perfect equilibrium. An unlikelihood we must strive for.

In our modern times we are battling and fighting and contending with constant distractions. Just walk out the front door.

Hell, forget walking out the front door…you are bombarded the minute you open your eyes and ears in the morning.

Stress, anger, fear, despair, worry, boredom, hate, on the “negative” side (hell?); excitement, joy, happiness, love, lust, physical and emotional pleasure, gluttony, on the “positive” side (heaven?).

When condensed and summed into a typical day of our life, all this input, all these sensations, are addicting and they disturb the equilibrium. I believe it’s much more difficult to attain (and maintain) a state of existence where you are at an equal distance from hell as you are from heaven now than it was 200 or 300 or 500 years ago simply due to the presence of all the bullshit we fill our lives with.

Modernity is an addiction.

We have learned to crave heaven and even hell; our inner being seeks to flee the state of Peace because culture has taught us that Peace is boring. Boring is a bad word for 21st century man and woman. I’ll admit, sitting in an office and waiting for an appointment can be boring; sitting in traffic for an hour is boring; a shitty movie can be boring. In this case boring is describing the attribute of a specific object, a moment. That’s fair…but to describe your existence as boring simply because you are currently experiencing a lack of heaven or lack of hell just tells me that you’ve bought into the lie.

Look around…observe how everyone clamors for more excitement and drama in their life. And they go about cultivating this consciously and subconsciously, in the choices they make, the people they choose to fit in their lives, the situations they enable…we are addicted to heaven and hell because we are ultimately unable to accept and live in that region directly between the two.

This symbol is called an “enso”…Japanese for “circle.”

It is frequently conjured in the study and practice of Zen and there are countless interpretations and uses of the symbol as an indication of our present state of being. It can never be perfect just as we can never find that perfectly equal distance between heaven and hell, but it is a yardstick upon which we can lay our spiritual state and measure the unmeasurable.

In some versions the circle is closed, but I feel it should be open…for we are at one with our environment and our world. We are constantly discerning the flood of input which enters our existence through the opening in the circle (representing our conscious mind); the “awakened” inner mind which receives the stream of outside “data” and interprets and judges and accepts or rejects.

Like us, the circle can never be perfect. It can approach perfection but flaws intrinsic to our nature such ego, pride, laziness, anger…will always doom the circle’s completion.

Ascent from hell, descent from heaven. Where are you?