As far as hellfire goes, I would not lose too much sleep over the thought that your ‘sins’ in life are going to have landed you in a pit of fire for eternity. That isn’t what happens. In anycase, when you are dead, you do not feel. You could sit in a cauldron of boiling water all day. Your burning happens while you are living. That is what conscience is. That is also what dumb public opinion is. A branding. Should it be negative opinion that follows your happenings – and your management of those happenings – you will feel the burn. That burn is what you learn from. It is not often easy to be thankful to those who cause you to burn in this life, in fact it is most often the desire of those under fire to do some serious damage to the person or institution doing the burning. However. There is always the charitable process of instant forgiveness via the grace of God – if that way is for you. Or – you tolerate the burn and try to understand what is causing the friction in your days.
If you should find that it is you that is causing friction for yourself because you are being an arsehole in life – and again, both men and women qualify as arseholes – then you must accept the burn. You allocate to yourself your suffering. You will burn until you are made humble enough to realise that the way you think and the way you behave towards others does matter. You will burn until you adjust your attitude to include the understanding that everything you do in life is measured. Every single thing. If you are feeling friction because external prejudice is criticising you or your choices, you need to distance yourself from the idiots who practice that prejudice. Burning because you are gay, for instance, is unacceptable. Burning because you dare to follow your heart? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. Who dares persecute a person who decides to follow what might appear to the masses to be an ‘unconventional’ path in their pursuit of purpose? Convention, as a norm, is a load of shit – and tradition is not much better. They both confine dreams, thinking. Tradition and convention are constructs. Reconstruct them.
There are those who enjoy burning. And there are those who enjoy being on fire. Leave them be. It depends what you have been trying to achieve with your life as to how close you will have ventured to the flames and how long you will have exposed yourself to their heat. Fire is transformative, no matter how you look at it. The hotter your spot – and we all know what hot means – the more corrective your karma. That is such a simple concept to understand. Let karma play out the way it must. It has your best interests at heart.
And keep in mind that for a phoenix, fire is necessary for rebirth. For rising. In the same way the burn caused by your conscience is necessary. If you have no conscience, know that you are going nowhere.