Paradise is not a place, it’s a state of mind.
What is paradise? In Quran and Bible, paradise is a place from where Adam and Eve were driven out and same is the place which has been promised for the pious and sacred people to return to after death. In Fairy tales and other stories, paradise is predominantly portrayed as a place of undisturbed happiness. Poetically, hell is the underworld, complementary and opposite to heaven and paradise. As a place of suffering, hell is a mythical place. The concepts of paradise and hell have been viewed from myriads of perspectives by different schools of thought and we have just discussed few of them. In whatsoever sense, almost all of them have regarded Paradise as a far distant metaphysical place; where one can reach only after death.
The most striking feature claimed about paradise is that there will be no suffering over there. There will be peace and harmony. There will be enormous serenity. But, have you ever thought, why would there be infinite peace and serenity in paradise? Actually, in paradise, we will not be having our egoic mind with us. It is our egoic mind that compels us to judge ourselves and those around us. Our egoic mind forces us to believe the lie that we are not enough, that something is wrong with us. Whenever, we give into the complaining and judgmental attitude of our egoic mind, we refuse to accept what there is. And when we refuse to accept our reality, what happens? Yes! We suffer. As, in paradise, we will be devoid of our complaining, judging and worrying egoic mind, there will be no question of suffering. Here is an interesting thing to consider: If somehow an arrangement is made that we are given a chance to visit paradise with the same egoic mind sitting on our shoulders as we have right now, you may believe or not, we will not stay happy even in paradise. It looks bizarre but it’s true. Our egoic mind will again start its incessant complaining beat that this and this is not right here; this and that in me needs to be changed etc. Then, the same paradise will become like hell for us.
From this we can make the point that paradise or hell as a place can’t affect our reality or experience. It is our own attitude that makes our reality. If we can somehow stop our mind from complaining and judging, we will be able to surrender and accept the reality. When we accept our own nature and being and the universe too, everything falls into place; then we can’t live but happily; we experience an unparalleled and unexplainable state of bliss and we will feel like we are living in paradise right here on this planet, right in this mundane life. But, if we listen to the negative melodrama of our egoic mind, which is also sometimes called our lower self, we feel strangled from in and out. Life becomes agony for us. We experience nothing but affliction, pain, bouts of depression, loads of anxiety, continuous worrying and a horrendous feeling of disconnectedness and separateness, which is no lesser than living in hell. Hence, paradise or hell is not a place to be thrown into; it’s a mind set. It is an attitude to develop. It is a perspective. It is a state of mind to cultivate. If we can somehow nurture this attitude, we will feel like we are actually living in paradise.
William James, the eminent philosopher and psychologist, once observed that,
“The greatest discovery of our age has been that we, by changing the inner aspects of our thinking, can change the outer aspects of our lives.”
Similar idea was also raised by Plato as shown in the illustration below.
As we look at us and our fellow human beings, we find that very few of us are happy, fulfilled and leading purposeful lives. Most of us seem unable to cope up with our life problems and circumstances of daily living. The majority of us, settling for average, have resigned ourselves to “just getting by”. Resignation to suffering and mediocrity has become a way of life. As a result, feelings of inadequacy cause us, quite humanly, to blame our society, people, circumstances and surrounding conditions for our failures and disappointments. The idea that people and things control our lives is so thoroughly ingrained in our thinking that we normally do not respond to logical arguments that prove otherwise. But, irrespective of how unwilling we are, we have to change our belief that our lives are controlled by the factors outside us and that we can’t change our life conditions. We definitely can change our lives if we change our mindset
If we can accept ourselves and those around us in a non judgmental way, if we can love ourselves and others unconditionally, if we can trust existence and can resist our ego’s penchant for complaining and blaming attitude, we definitely can turn life into a paradise.
Paradise is not lying far away. It’s right besides us. We only need to change our perspective in life.
Keywords: paradise is a state of mind, ego and suffering, egoless life, acceptance and surrender, mind change, importance of attitude in life, happiness in life, controlling our life, being non judgemental, unconditional love.