Hell Is Just Resistance To Life – The Broad Place

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Hell Is Just Resistance To Life

On the weekend just been I had too much to juggle and responsibilities I didn’t want to fulfill and I just wanted to fall into a heap and listen to the rain and rest. So I acted like the deeply evolved person I am not and chucked a deep inner tantrum. Like an erupting ball of frustration, I could feel tears welling and my body getting fiery and hot. And as such is life with a family, at that moment everyone seemed to want a piece of me; Honey scratching at me, Marley yelling for me from the other end of the house and Arran asking me something about invoices, holding armfuls of washing he clearly wanted me to help fold.

These are the lives we live. Not in monasteries, not in quiet Zen temples. Filled to the brim with responsibility, family, friends, work, hobbies, fitness, my god it’s endless. And this, this is our spiritual work. It’s not just on a Retreat or the daily 20 minutes we sit to meditate (wouldn’t that be nice hahaha), it’s everywhere, all the time. It’s the thing we call life…

In Pema Chodron’s beautiful book The Wisdom Of No Escape, she writes, “There’s another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It’s a story about how those things don’t really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this:

A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, ‘Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.’ And the roshi looks him in the face and says: ‘Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?’ The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, ‘I miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?’ Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, ‘That’s hell.’ The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, ‘That’s heaven.’

There isn’t any hell or heaven except for how we relate to our world. Hell is just resistance to life”.

I know this to be so true. The moment I stopped holding onto my ‘poor me’ story, resisting the reality of my weekend, it was a delight. That inner surrender and acceptance cracks us open to the life that is actually happening. And something wonderful is always there, once we get out of our crappy storylines, and get into the business of being present.

Sent with love,


Image; Honey our nutty Jack Russell, and Arran. Honey’s unbridled enthusiasm for rainy walks or sleeping or chasing things that move, is the perfect example of making whatever you can of the day…

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