“You have been to hell, Ketut?”
He smiled. Of course he’s been there.
“What’s it like in hell?”
“Same like in heaven,” he said.
He saw my confusion and tried to explain. “Universe is a circle, Liss.”
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.
Same-same,” he said. “Same in end, so better to be happy in journey.”
I said, “So, if heaven is love, then hell is.. “
“Love, too,” he said.
Ketut laughed again, “Always so difficult for young people to understand this!”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
Whether we grow or shrink, we are, and can only be, always ourselves. Always home.
Even after a long and strange journey, you end up in the same exact place, except that everything is also (hopefully) changed because of where you’ve been and what you’ve learned…what you brought with you from your travels.
Space. Room for a deep, more humble and gentle breath.
A delicate brightness of light that seeks not to injure that which it reveals.
A silence of song that speaks of important things.
And the knowing. Clues about who you might be…and that you don’t need anyone’s permission to be yourself.
A simple knowing that…some questions have no answers, and some answers do not matter anyway.
That it’s tiresome to take everything and everyone so seriously all the time.
That it’s not all about you.
That we are all monsters in our own ways, but we can choose whether we ultimately build things or tear them apart.
That no matter what, some things always matter. Kindness matters. Gentleness matters. Patience matters.
That we are defined not by our intentions, but by the little and big things we do. By how we do them. And also by those things we do not do.
And last but not least…
That everything comes down to love. It really does. The only thing we can have…to keep or surrender…in the beginning, at the end, and in all the moments in between.
That is all.