Heaven or Hell?

Which one are you going to when you die? Where is heaven and hell? What determines how you get to either one? Do you ever even consider an after-life of any kind?

Perhaps if you are Buddhist or Atheist, you give no thought to an after-life, and feel that today is all you have. But I have heard stories of people who changed their minds on their death beds and asked God for forgiveness and to please be taken to heaven.
So ask yourself if you are prepared to face eternity right now, based on your current beliefs. Are you really ready to say goodbye to this World, and are you completely confident?

I bring up this point today as a self check-in. Am I ready?
I would have to say yes and no to this. I am totally at ease with my practice, and have no hopes or wishes for a heaven or hell. Nor do I have any belief in coming back again in another life. Yet because I have yet to experience this personally, I leave myself open to any possibility.
One day I could be reborn as a chicken, or I could be walking on clouds and talking to Jesus. Who knows!
For me, it really doesn’t matter.
What I have is this existence and this moment right now. And quite honestly, there is so much awareness yet to be gained in this present moment, that I cannot fathom expelling any energy into the “what ifs” of tomorrow, much less the “what ifs” of an afterlife.
Right now, I am breathing, I have a life, I am loved and can give love. I have food and shelter, health, a beautiful Family, friends and neighbors. I have creature comforts beyond the wildest imagination of so many beings in this World.
I have opportunities to share, learn, grow, feel and experience so much. There is a true bounty on the plate before me.

Now let’s turn back to the original question of being ready to die. What, you don’t like to think about that? Why not, do you think avoiding the subject eliminates the reality? Of course it doesn’t.
And personally, I think by being constantly aware and accepting of this reality, of our own impermanence (anicca), is the only true path to preparedness of this inevitable event. As they say “Forewarned is forearmed”!
So am I ready? No, I am not. I have many attachments to this life. All of the bounty that I am grateful for is also the cause of clinging (upadana) and suffering (dukkha). But I continue to practice each day, and with gentle determination, learn to accept and understand the true nature of this existence so that I am prepared when the time comes.
I hope that some of you can be around when that time comes so you can see how I did. I hope to leave with a smile on my face and love in my heart. For me, that will be mission accomplished.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.