Upcoming Events


Heaven, Hell and the Pursuit of Memory

Heaven, Hell and the Pursuit of Memory 2368 1374 Jason Stadtlander

Wars have been fought, countries have been conquered and dreams have been shattered over the beliefs in religion, dogma and the truth of our existence. Why are we here? What is our purpose on Earth or in this Universe?

The one thing all of our arguing and thousands-year long discussions and triumphs and failures has taught us is, we do not know what really lies beyond our own mortal lives.

Strange as it sounds, I’m not going to discuss religion, God, Buddha, Allah or anything of the sort. Not in this article. We all have our beliefs and the one truth to those beliefs is, it helps us to have something that guides us, even if that belief is to believe in nothing at all.

The very nature of humanity is that we need a purpose. Regardless of whether you’re the president of a country or a hermit living in the wilderness, without a purpose your life is meaningless. Even if that purpose is nothing more than coming up with food for tomorrow. I have talked with people who are deeply influential or wealthy people and I have talked to those who have lived in the slums of Mumbai, India. It’s amazing how alike the two classes are in terms of humanity. Both seek love, compassion and a better life for themselves and their families. Reality is… it is all relative. Our lives are so interconnected and related that we simply cannot perceive it.

Let’s look at two perspectives. One is how we look at life and the other is what remains after we have gone.

The Eye of the Beholder

I spoke with a woman in London once. She was on a once in a lifetime trip to visit her sister who had moved there from Mumbai, India. The woman, Nilima was worn and weathered, wearing sixty years of age upon her thirty-year body. She told me that she lived in a cinder block room with tin roofs. They had a rug to sleep on with two old pillows. She and her three children and her husband all slept in this single room no bigger ten feet wide. Living on dirt floors and in an area where the water alone can kill you, she says that she is happy.  She is happy because she has a purpose. To create the best life she knows how for her children and to hopefully lead them to move out of the area that she now lives.

I have a client that I have done some computer work for. They live in a home that overlooks the ocean on the North Shore of Boston. Their sprawling ten thousand square foot home is, by all means, a beautiful home to die for. However, speaking with the woman who lives there she finds that she often has a difficult time. Her children moved to California and her grandchildren are all there. It leaves her often ‘without purpose’. She wants to be a good grandmother and finds it difficult not being close to them to serve that purpose. All her life she was a stay at home mother, not needing to work because of her husband’s lucrative income. So, now she looks for things to keep her occupied, bridge games, golf games or other activities with other ladies of similar lifestyles but finds them unfulfilling when the family is all she wants.

To be Remembered

My son asked me the other day, “Daddy, why do they put stones on people’s graves with their names?” – My instant response to which was “So we know where to find their bodies if we want to visit their graves.”

He thought about this and finally said “Why would we want to do that? They aren’t doing anything anymore. They lived their life.” It was at this point that the simplicity of a child’s thought came through to me as well. The only point of a grave or of a memorial is for the living. It serves no purpose for the dead.

Finally I said to him, “The truth is, I think those of us left, do not want to be forgotten. Perhaps, remembering those that have died, gives meaning to the life we live. That it makes sure we are not forgotten. Whether it’s a stone with our name on it, painting with our name on it or children that we have left behind. Does that make sense?”

“Yes. I think so. Is that why you write? So that you leave something behind?” he asked

I said, “Partly. I want at least a little bit of who I am to hopefully teach others of my own mistakes and also entertain them long after I’m gone.”

This whole discussion led me to think about our mortality. It is important, at least for some of us, that all of this – our existence be worth something.

We are born, we live a life, we touch people and eventually we pass on. Sometimes all too soon. The question is, what do we leave behind? For Nilima, she leaves behind three children who know her well and have seen how everything she does is for their own good. For my client, she leaves behind children who care about her but grandchildren that may never know their grandmother.

“The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.” ~ Norman Cousins

When we die, all that we have left is the memories of us in the living. Be it mental, photographic, video or something we have created that we left behind. Personally, I want to be remembered, not in name – but in that this life I have lived served a purpose.

So, my ultimate question is; Is it what we do in this life from start to finish that truly explains what our existence is about? Or is there a reality that is just out of phase with this one where we continue?

Dreams, Heaven and Hell

Heaven, Hell and Everything in Between (Part 2 of 2)

Heaven, Hell and Everything in Between (Part 2 of 2) 1920 1080 Jason Stadtlander

My second part in this two part (see here for part one) series will discuss a little more about [my views on] Heaven, Hell and the what might happen to our soul or consciousness. I welcome any discussions regarding it in the comments below. Some of this may sound like ramblings, but just hear me out and think about what I’m saying and it might make sense. Also, keep in mind – I am not at all asking you to abandon your own religious beliefs, I’m just saying keep an open mind.

I have, in recent years come to wonder if what lies beyond this physical existence may be closer to what we know as our dreams. There is a part of me that believes that when we die, our consciousness goes on to exist wholly in this place and whether or not it is heaven or hell depends on our own quality of mind. If we continually do things to help others or have kindness in our heart or peace in our soul, then perhaps this realm is peaceful and beautiful. If we do things to torment others or have malice in our heart, then we reap what we sow and are treated as such in this dream like afterlife. It may also stand to reason that we have the same free will in this dream-life as well. If we do wrong others in this dream-life, it may be possible even in this dream afterlife to turn that attitude around and find a peace within and with others.

This is all speculative, of course and just a theory.

In the movie; “What Dreams May Come” with Robin Williams, Robin’s character Chris dies and perceives heaven and hell as dreams, finding himself living within his wife’s paintings. His wife who commits suicide is trapped in Hell (a continuous nightmare) and Chris works to bring her out of Hell (thus not being condemned to exist there forever). This is the best embodiment of my theories I have ever seen.

Non-Linear Time and Reincarnation

I believe that there is much more to our existence that we can perceive and that time does not truly exist as linear as we feel it does. It is my thought (and the thoughts of others I’ve met) that time exists all at once, past present and future and it is our own physical existence (corporeal existence) that forces us to perceive it as a linear path. In this scenario, perhaps the concept of reincarnation is not quite how we have been taught it might be. Perhaps reincarnation is more the understanding of “omni-time” and the ability to see all time at once, viewing the multiple corporeal embodiments that already exist for our soul?

My father and many people I know would come back and say, what about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (I was raised Christian)? And that is a good question. There’s no reason to believe that these constructs are not real, my perspective is that they just may not exist exactly as we are taught. I once had a dream that I was in this place, a train station (that vaguely resembled Paddington Station), with thousands of other people. The people I met were continuously directing me to “the conductor”. When I got there, I saw a man that looked similar to what we have been taught Jesus must look like. In this dream, Jesus was the conductor of souls, pointing people to trains on one track or another. It’s an interesting idea, but it goes against free will, unless we have the power to say ‘no’ when we are told to go to a specific track. And, if our dream-life operates like a train, taking us from place to place, can we simply jump off the train at any time?

Before I let you go, think about one last concept, if each person that dies goes to Heaven or Hell, imagine the actual quantity of people that would be at any of these given locations. We have 7 billion souls on earth (that are living). It has been calculated that there have been 107 billion people born in human history. But that is just the length that we believe ‘human history’ may exist, there is no reason to believe that we haven’t existed even longer or through multiple iterations of our civilizations.


Heaven and Hell

Heaven, Hell and Everything In Between (Part 1 of 2)

Heaven, Hell and Everything In Between (Part 1 of 2) 768 536 Jason Stadtlander

When I die, where will I go? 

I have asked myself this at least a million times. Not because I question the quality of my soul or the actions within this life, but because I question the very existence of constructs such as Heaven or Hell. Do I believe in a higher power? Yes. Do I believe that this higher power has a part in every nuance of our daily life? No. The greatest (and worst) gift we have been given is “free will”.

I just don’t think it’s practical… to give a creation free will and still have a part in controlling how that free will plays out. There is another part of me that questions the validity in judging the actions of that free will when no further actions can be taken.

For example; pretend that through our masterful DNA manipulation that we create creature called a Jathdizone. It’s a soft, furry creature with four long legs, long ears that are nearly as long as its legs, and it has a portly belly that hangs below it. We have given it intellect and have made it sentient (aware of its own existence). We place it upon the earth and tell the jathdizone to go forth and be fruitful and make lots of little jathdizones and create communities, etc. Now, each time a jathdizone dies, this consciousness, this awareness that we have given these beautiful creatures comes back to us. There is nothing more that the jathdizone can do to right any wrongs in its life. Perhaps it changed the world for its fellow jathdizonians… perhaps it murdered other jathdizones in a war. At this point – at the end of the journey, is it right for us to judge the actions of this creature and cast its consciousness into an abyss to exist for all eternity in darkness, aware of itself and existing in misery forever? Or does it make more sense to send that consciousness to the group existence of all the other jathdizones for them to teach it how to be good and true?

Is this a second chance? No. It is merely a step in our consciousness, a learning phase. Now, don’t get me wrong, pure evil does exist. We have seen it in our past and we will see it in our future. But, pure evil does not exist on its own without a catalyst or series of events leading up to it.

Let’s look at Hitler, just because I enjoy using him as an example. Here is someone who has not only devalued entire groups of people as ‘less than human’ and was responsible for the murder of countless people, he also is regarded as one of the most evil people in our past. However, I do not believe that he came to this ‘evil’ on his own. He came from a turbulent childhood, a very unhealthy relationship with his mother and was taught by others the nationalist perspectives. Did he from the day he was born contain the ultimate future of being capable of the atrocities he committed? No, I don’t believe so. I think that if he had a nurturing home, loving family and had been taught the TRUE right from wrong and taught to value people of all creeds, he may not have walked down the path he did.

In this statement, it is not the individual that should be punished but rather our species as a whole for allowing someone to slip through the cracks and not have the nurture they needed.

So, if Heaven and Hell exist in the literal sense, is it right for someone who has been raised poorly and influenced toward evil to be cast into the fire of Hell to spend eternity burning with no reprieve? In addition to this, what if someone has simply made several bad decisions in their life (God knows I have) but at their heart wants to do good for others and themselves? Further, what if someone wants to do good only for themselves but does good for others because they know it will benefit themselves – upholding their own selfishness through the good they are doing for others (we all know there are plenty of people out there like this). Will they go to Hell because it was their own interest that was paramount?

And, what if Heaven and Hell do not actually exist at all. Scientifically speaking, energy does not go away, it simply changes or transfers. So if the body dies and Heaven and Hell do not exist, where does the energy of our soul, our consciousness go when electrical activity ceases? Do we go to a group consciousness on a plane that we cannot perceive in this corporeal life?

I’ll let you know my own beliefs and thoughts on this in part 2.

Back to top