"As I focus on Diligent Joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once - that all sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-'n'-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.
At the moment, the person I'm enjoying the most is Ketut. The old man - truly one of the happiest humans I've ever encountered, is giving me full access, the freedom to ask any lingering questions about divinity, about human nature.
Karma is a notion I've always liked. Not so much literally. Not necessarily because I believe that I used to be Cleopatra's bartender-but more metaphorically. The karmic philosophy appeals on me on a metaphorical level because even in one lifetime it's obvious how often we must repeat our same mistakes, banging our heads against the same old addictions and compulsions, generating the same old miserable and often catastrophic consequences, until we can finally stop and fix it. This is the supreme lesson of karma (and also of Western psychology, by the way) take care of the problems now, or else you'll just have to suffer again later when you screw everything up the next time. And that repetition of suffering - that's hell. Moving out of the endless repitition to a new level of understanding - there's where you'll find heaven.
But here Ketut was talking about heaven and hell in a different way, as if they are real places in the universe which he has actually visited. Atleast I think that's what he meant.
Trying to get clear on this, I asked, "You've been to hell, Ketut?"
He smiled. Of course he's been there.
"What's it like in hell?"
"Same like heaven," he said.
He saw my confusion and tried to explain. "Universe is a circle, Liss"
I still wasn't sure I understood.
He said. "To up, to down, all same at end"
I remembered an old Christian mystic notion: As above, so below.
I asked, "Then how can you tell the difference between heaven and hell?"
"Because of how you go. Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell, you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up, Liss." He laughed.
I asked, "You mean, you might as well spend your life going upward, through the happy places, since heaven and hell - the destinations are the same thing anyway?
"Same-same," he said. "Same in end, so better to be happy on journey."
I said, "So, if heaven is love, then hell is..."
"Love, too." he said.
I sat with that one for a while, trying to make the math work.
Ketut laughed again, slapped my knee affectionately with his hand.
"Always so difficult for young person to understand this!""
Eat, Love, Pray.
One of my favorite books. It kind of changed my life when I read it. You are never too old or too young to change your life. No dream, desire or hope is ever ridiculous. You can have everything you want. And things, will work out in the end. With every love loss, with every sadness and heartbroken, the sun will shine again. And with it, a new begining, a new hope, a new adventure. I hope you are never afraid to go after what you want and I hope that you always chose the happiest of paths.
I hope you always choose to smile.
I hope you always choose to smile.
Eat, Love, Pray - - Read it!