There was a time in my life when I had a negative opinion about almost everyone I knew. I can remember turning down multiple aisles in grocery stores to avoid saying hello to someone who I didn’t care for. I always had a good reason for my aversion to their being too. Sometimes it was because they didn’t say hi to me last time I ran into them. Sometimes it was because we were at a party together and I started a conversation with them but they went to get a drink and said they’d be right back, and as I waited, I saw them happily chatting with some other person. Sometimes it was because I could tell that they were avoiding me. Sometimes it was because they said something nice about my ex-husband or someone else that I was mad at. I felt very justified in my varied and sundry displeasures with people. After all, I had read that Sartre once said, “Hell is other people” and I whole-heartedly agreed, even though I didn’t know who Sartre was. He had an impressive sounding name and that was enough for me.
When I began to wake up spiritually, what I learned (to my great surprise) was that hell was not other people. Hell was my thoughts about other people. If I dreaded running into someone, it was because of the condition of my own mind; my feelings about either myself, them, or both. Hell was the state of mind I was steeped in when I judged everyone by a small and petty code of morality or behaviour. Hell was needing to make someone else wrong so I could be right. Hell was believing every negative thought, and making a story about the world to fit this thought.
Hell is an “exclusive” club where there is no room for thoughts that go beyond the small me; my fears, concerns, worries, likes and dislikes, my opinions.
I have no desire to belong to this kind of exclusive club (or any other for that matter). I want my world to become larger, more expansive, more inclusive as I grow through this life. I want my mind to be a very inclusive club with one moral code: be yourself, love yourself, appreciate yourself, and let that Love radiate out to all.
“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike“. Oscar Wilde