Monday, February 17, 2014
Metaphorically speaking, Heaven and Hell are here and now, our choice, and I suppose the same is true for Purgatory. Purgatory, from the same Latin root as our word purge, is described as a process of purification, but surely it was originally conceived as a process of purging, of letting go of baggage, of letting go of attachments.
All the great prophets and mystics teach of detachment, of non-attachment, but I think very few of us are able to do it by our conscious will alone. I think most of us need life to rip away our attachments for us. This is the process of Purgatory. And the way we choose to interpret our purge, the meaning we assign to our purge, is our choice of where we go next, to Heaven or to Hell. Shall I be bitter or grateful? Am I being robbed or liberated?
When we eat something bad, our bodies will violently purge the toxin, an unpleasant experience, but a healthy autonomic response. The bulimic has a sickness, to consciously purge healthy nutrition. The trick in Purgatory is to let life remove the toxic attachments, but not to purge what nurtures our health. I have just realized that differentiating between the two is not necessarily intuitive or obvious.