Loading...

What does heaven look like?

Now you might not believe in heaven or hell, but maybe you’ve thought about it as a concept.

You see religion has always fascinated me. In fact, when I was a child I wanted to become a preacher. That was my dream as a child: to be able to inspire people and give hope to those who needed it.

There was only one small problem with that dream…

I didn’t believe in God.

But I didn’t really see why that should stop me and I even remember asking my local priest this question “Do I have to believe in God to become a priest?” – I’m sure you can imagine his answer.

Let’s just say, that I had to pick another career path.

 


 

What’s interesting about that choice in my life was that I was very conscious of it from a very young age. Around the age of 9, I made the decision that God couldn’t be real because he never answered any of my prayers and didn’t help me or save me and my stepbrother from the nightmares we grew up in. And when I was 14 years old and everyone else in my class was going through the Danish Christian tradition of ‘Konfirmation’, I was the only one to say:

I don’t want to do that, because I don’t believe in God.

In my hometown Bramming: “All are welcome in the House of God” – except young atheists who are curious to learn about the faith!

I remember it creating quite a bit of fuss with both teachers and the local priest in the small country town, I grew up in.

I was far from the only one of my classmates who believed that however and in today’s society in Denmark, the majority of the population subscribes to the idea of Atheism or Agnosticism, just like I did.

However I was the only one to say, I’m not going to take part of a ritual for something, that I don’t believe in.

Still…

I wanted to learn about God and Christianity, so I requested that I could join my classmates for the teachings so I could learn about God and better understand what ‘Konfirmation’ was all about. Guess what the priest said?

If he doesn’t believe in God, then he has no business in church.

Yes. It was a very small town that I grew up in.

But that didn’t stop my curiosity and so as I’ve travelled around the world, meeting different cultures and many different people, I’ve always kept an open mind about every religion or belief system that I’ve met. From Nordic Mythology to Islam and Buddhism to Christianity. It’s taught me a lot. Namaste.

 


 

And the concept of heaven has always been an interesting one.

Most religions subscribe to the idea of there being an afterlife in one shape or another. This idea of a perfect place, where all is good, that you can only get to if you live a good life generally in servitude of the world and the doctrines of the religion. Now if you ask me then if that’s what it takes for people to act with love and kindness towards one another, then that’s not so bad.

What’s interesting though is the question of what does heaven look like to you?

My favorite author Terry Pratchett, a satirical fantasy novelist, came up with these characters: The Nac Mac Feegle. Also known as “The Wee Free Men”.

They’re blue because they’re covered in tattoos. And yes, with my current looks I’m dangerously close to joining their clan.

They have quite an interesting take on the afterlife which has stuck with me ever since reading about them. They believe that the world they currently inhabit is the afterlife, because it’s so amazing. Seeing as there’s sunshine, flowers, birds, trees, things to steal and people to fight, must be some sort of heaven, because “a world that good couldn’t be open to just anybody”.

Their priorities and values might not match my own (I mean I love the idea of having things to steal and people to fight, but I’ve never cared much for sunshine, flowers and such…) but I always quite liked that idea of this world being the afterlife.

When I think about the idea of heaven, I imagine something along these lines:

  • A place where I am happy and loved
  • Where I feel good and get pleasant experiences
  • My dreams come true and I am free to do what I want
  • Surrounded by incredible people, who love me
  • Where everything is possible

Maybe you have something similar in mind?

Now most religions would say that it’s also a place where all suffering ends and I’ll get back to that, because this world we live in right now definitely has suffering.

 


 

Which is why I’m proud to call myself batshit crazy and off my meds.

Yesterday I was watching a documentary about sexual exploitation of minors in the Philippines.

And I know this isn’t a nice topic to think or learn about but I think it’s important that we acknowledge the world for what it is and that we are aware of what is going on. Now I am a very positive person and some people might find me naively happy thinking that I live without a care in the world or that I’m growing up in a little protected bubble because the truth is that as a Dane, I do.

And we as Danes are too privileged quite often. We complain and make a fuss about things that to a child growing up in another country would be more than they would ever hope and dream for.

I’m talking about children who are being molested and sexually abused by their parents, raped by adult men and forced to perform sexual acts every day online for wealthy and sick men in countries like Denmark. And then we have the audacity to complain about the weather or someone cutting us off in traffic, when there’s children being ruined for life in other countries because they are so desperate for money to survive, that they will do whatever it takes. We should be walking around with a big smile on our face constantly that we are so lucky to live the lives, we live. We should be full of kindness and love, but instead we’re so focused on ourselves and whether or not we’re getting enough. And it seems like it’s never enough…

Suddenly the prospect of District 12 attacking the Capitol is a lot more terrifying…

I always found it ironic that we cheer for Katniss in the Hunger Games as she fights to destroy the Capitol, where the wealthy and powerful live.

The truth is that we are the Capitol and district 12 are the developing countries, that we neglect.

They are the homeless people on the street, that we ignore, the immigrants that we deny entrance and the children that are abused, starve and die in other countries.

These examples prove to me that hell is a very real place and it’s right here on this planet with us. Because honestly, I have a hard time imagining worse conditions than what I heard about when I worked in UNICEF Denmark. Once we had a representative visiting from UNICEF South-Africa who talked about their work in Africa. He told us how bad conditions were and that they needed help. So I asked him what the worst thing was, that they had going on and he looked at me with deadpan eyes and apathetically said:

3 year olds who have been raped by adult men”.

Hell, compared to something like that, I’d take a bit of hellfire and brimstone any day of the week.

And one day I do hope to be able to travel to Africa and be able to help them out with their work.

Now I know this isn’t nice to hear but I think it’s important, because it really puts things into perspective.

Last year when I was at my lowest, I went and talked to a homeless guy standing in the rain. He told me about his life, his addiction to drugs, his fights with his partner, his struggle with the system, his desperate battle to survive and his desire for life to get better. It really helped me with putting things into perspective in my own life and realize that things aren’t as bad as we make them out to be sometimes. It’s all relative.

And we’ve got it fucking good.

 


 

If a sunflower can break through concrete, then surely a bit of mature happiness can break through our stubborn egos too.

So let’s have a look at the other side of it.

At my day today and life in general.

I sleep in, because it’s Saturday and I wanted to.

I have a roof over my head and a soft bed.

I wake up slow, I cook a healthy and tasty breakfast of organic eggs and oranges.

I am enjoying myself.

I write with some good friends online, I talk with a sweet girl, I feel loved.

I open my laptop and the whole world opens up to me, I can do whatever I want.

Literally, I can do everything. I can read about anything, watch anything, learn about anything, do anything, build anything, play anything – my opportunities are endless.

 

Today I choose to relax and just watch a series while chatting online. I lean back in a comfortable chair and enjoy myself. Later on I feel like having something sweet and I go 5 minutes to the store where I buy a pack of grapes. I don’t have to worry about being able to afford it, I can afford it. I bring it home and enjoy it while continuing my series.

Later on, I feel like chocolate and I go to the store again, where I have the choice between 20 different types of chocolate. I pick up dark organic fair-trade chocolate for 85%, giving thanks to the people in developing countries who probably worked hard to harvest the cocoa beans used in this product and the journey it’s been on to get here.

When I return home, I reflect on my life these past days and weeks, even years. It’s not been easy always and I’ve had to go through a lot of pain, but I am happy. I’ve worked hard and I am free to do what I want.

And I can do anything I want.

Through my laptop with internet everything is possible. I have loving friends to reach out to. I am doing exactly what I want to and love to do in my life. I’m building a business, that’s helping my customers to success and happiness. I’m making a difference. I’m studying and learning, I’m growing. I have everything that I need. I even get paid by the government to study and my monthly expenses are so low that I don’t need to earn anything more.

And I am extremely grateful for everything that I have and the life I live.

The credibility of a quote is much higher when it’s framed this beautifully.

But yes, there’s sometimes pain. Sometimes there’s suffering. I feel down and I have to get myself back up to feel happy. It sometimes takes a lot of energy and a huge amount of willpower. It’s not easy. But stepping back for a moment to compare my life to how my life could have been, if I was just born in a different country.

I live in what is effectively heaven as I would describe it:

  • A place where I am happy and loved
  • Where I feel good and get pleasant experiences
  • My dreams come true and I am free to do what I want
  • Surrounded by incredible people, who love me
  • Where everything is possible

There is still suffering yes. And sometimes hell exist in my life from the prison of my own mind and the chaos of my thoughts, when my emotions run amok, but the truth is that the life I live is heaven.

What more could I ask for?

 


 

Sure

I could ask for a bigger place to live, a bigger TV, a nice car, more travelling, more money and more success – but I don’t need it.

I’ve got everything I need and I am grateful.

I need nothing more, so I ask for nothing more. Sure, I will create a better life for me, I will earn more and do more, I will travel more and live out my dreams, because I can and have earned the right to do so. And I will extend my reach in my business to make a bigger impact, because what I do is helping make this world a better place.

So what do I ask for instead?

Strength to live my life to the full and be grateful for everything that I have. To be grateful for the bad days, when things go against me because that’s part of life. And every time I have a bad experience, every time I go through a challenge, every time I fail and fall short, then I grow and get better. And I appreciate so much more when things are going well.

“Because you only need the light when it’s burning low. Only miss the sun when it starts to snow.”

Warning: This way of thinking may greatly influence your appreciation of your life and the challenges you face.

And I invite you to do the same.

To be grateful for everything that you have. To let go of anger, frustration, greed, hate and whatever else, you’ve picked up on your journey in life. And to just be grateful to live in a world where you have all possibilities and opportunities open to you. A world where you have everything you need.

A world that you’re able to make into heaven or hell for yourself. Your choice.

Be grateful and be satisfied with what you have, and maybe you’ll start to experience your world as it being heaven too.

 

Good luck being a hero! 😉

2017-05-19T13:15:37+00:00

Leave A Comment