Heaven is the decision I must make.
(A Course in Miracles)
A Samurai warrior came to a Zen master and commanded him, “Teach me about heaven and hell”. The master looked at the warrior and laughed ridiculing him, “Why would you think I would waste my time teaching an ignoramus like you? You are an uneducated buffoon!!” The Samurai feeling severely insulted began to breathe heavily and grew red in the face. Furious, he drew his sword and lifted it to chop off the master’s head.
“That, Sir” the master interrupted, “is hell.” Immediately the warrior realized the ferocity of his act and was overcome with humility. In deference to the profundity of this lesson, he fell at the master’s feet and began to thank him profusely. “And that, Sir,” continued the master “is heaven.”
Heaven and hell are not eternal dispensations that await us after die; they are states of mind we experience even while on earth. Whether we live in ecstasy or torture depends not on any outside agent, but on the thoughts we think and the attitudes we hold. Optimism is the path to heaven and pessimism is the path to hell. At any given moment, we hold the key that will unlock either door; the choice is ours
“Help me open the door to heaven with the key of humility and appreciation.”