What does Heaven look like?
As a child, raised in a strict Catholic family, I was taught that Heaven had pearly gates that opened up after St. Peter had you answer questions about your life. I then envisioned it as a never ending, green, vast valley with flower bushes every where and animals romping around happily with people in long robes and wings. Food was plentiful, there was no pain and God sat on a throne in a long robe with a flowing, white beard that strolled past his feet. On his one side was a ghost like spirit (the Holy Ghost) and on the other; his Son, Jesus.
As I grew older and met more people of different faiths, my vision of Heaven continued to change. My perception of what God was and wanted changed too. I always heard people say to those who had lost someone that God wanted them up in Heaven more than He wanted them on Earth. I disagreed with that. If God was loving and giving, then He wouldn't take people from us.
As a college student, I took care of children of Indian, Jewish and Chinese descent. I continued to learn more about world religions and appreciate the beauty of them. I was still confused as to how all this religion fit together and the different interpretations of "Heaven" and "God". Now, at half a century old I have formed my own opinion on life after death. I know that even though people in the World celebrate their faith of their God in many different ways, each religion believes in one main God. Minor Gods, saints, angels and what have you are revered and prayed to as well. The teachings or stories spread by each religion talk of evil, repentance and sin and how by changing one's life, they can achieve a balance and attain a higher existence with their God.
I believe that Earth is Hell. The suffering. The lessons learned. The losses of loved ones. Tragedies. Temptations. Choices that can change our lives for good or bad. I believe that while we may make choices that keep ourselves and our families safe, others may make choices that don't and this can affect our lives whether we want it to or not. We can only control ourselves. We cannot control the decisions of other people. Therefore, Earth, while bringing equal amounts of joy and sorrow, is a place where we are continuously victims of circumstance. We have limited control once we step outside of our door. We willingly take a chance every day that those around us will keep our best interest in mind.
I am an eternal optimist. I truly believe that 99% of the population does consider others. It is the 1% that makes living on Earth the Hell I speak of. They take away our choice. They can make us a victim in a second. I believe I am watched over by God. In my mind I see Him as a man because that is what I was always taught. I truly don't know if God is a man, a woman or a different life form because I have never seen Him. For the sake of my childhood teachings, I will call Him a man. I have felt God's presence and have intuitively felt His guidance throughout my life.
As I type this now, I feel a sense of peace because I can feel Him within me and I know what I believe is true. True to me. I don't believe that we all envision Heaven the same way. Whether your sense of Heaven is to come back in a different Caste system, or to come back as the Chosen One or to fly among the Heavens with wings and a halo. Heaven is simply what we want it to be.
I have always sensed that I am an old soul. Reincarnated at least twice now. I can see images of my past lives clearly in my dreams and I know those people to be me. My past lives have been strong, courageous women fighting for a cause. Caretakers that put the needs of others before themselves, even though it meant pain and persecution. I imagine the day that I take my last breath will be a day of anticipation for me....wondering where God will send me next. My sense of Heaven is to be sent back to this Earth; the place I refer to as Hell, so that I can continue what I deem to be the purpose of my creation; to help those less fortunate and to ease suffering; even if for one person.
Your sense of Heaven may be to drift above the clouds with the angels. It may be to act as a Guardian Angel. You may wish to have your spirit remain on the premises so that you can exist as a ghost. Whatever your sense of Heaven may be, it will be beautiful in your eyes. I don't believe that God separates Baptists from Jews or Buddhists from Hindus. I believe that whoever envisions Heaven in a similar fashion will indeed enter the Heaven of their dreams. Why shouldn't they?
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