A fading concept

A visit to Italy this summer included admiring the art in a 13th-century church in Florence. Inside, I stood beneath a striking domed ceiling split in two—one side filled with gilded images of people who’d made it into heaven, and the other side filled with those unfortunates trapped in purgatory with hell just below them. It occurred to me that just like the fading images on the frescoes, the concept of heaven and hell as physical places we are destined for is also fading—like that 13th-century paint! 

Associating states of thought with heaven and hell isn’t that unusual. The phrases, “I’m in heaven” or “That was hell,” are common when describing things we really like or really detest. So you could say heaven and hell as conditions of thought are already part of public discourse. Aren’t we living them now? And if so, isn’t it possible to include more heaven in our lives today—and rid ourselves of hellish conditions? 

Items of Interest
Healing: choosing an approach
August 22, 2011

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