The False Identity’s idea of heaven is a world that exactly matches its expectations of what it wants (or what it likes). This is pretty much inarguable, certainly its idea of heaven doesn’t involve anything else apart from what it wants or likes! What we are essentially saying here is that the False Identity’s idea of heaven is actually its own projection, which in turn means that the False Identity’s conception of heaven or paradise is actually itself (since my projection is me). This is a very peculiar state of affairs therefore. There’s no way we can’t say that this isn’t a very peculiar situation!
Similarly, we can say that the False Identity’s idea of hell is a world that exactly matches its expectations of what it doesn’t want, of what it doesn’t like. It is entirely redundant to say this, of course the FS’s idea of hell is made up of what it doesn’t want or what it doesn’t like. What else would we expect? The same argument necessarily applies here therefore – hell is my projection just as heaven is which in turn means at my idea of hell is me. It certainly isn’t anything different to me. I am my own hell, which naturally doesn’t sound too good. Who wants to be their own hell?
So here we have a perplexing situation, hell for the FI is itself and so too is its idea of heaven. My idea of heaven is me and my idea of hell is also me, which is of course a total contradiction. Heaven and hell can’t be the same thing, surely? We might want to rationalise this by saying that each one of us can either create a hell or heaven for ourselves, depending on how we choose to look at things. We can say that but that isn’t it at all. The point is that heaven and hell are the very same place, the very same thing, and the ‘thing’ in question is the False Identity.
This doesn’t mean that it is ‘up to us’ whether we are happy or sad in other words, which is very much how we tend to see things. We actually love seeing things this way; by saying that it is up to us whether we are happy or sad (whether we are feeling good or feeling bad) we get to take credit for the fact that we are feeling happy in the first case and we also get to allocate blame in the second case – we blame either ourselves or others when we (or they) are ‘down’ and this – needless to say – is something that we do all the time! We’re forever blaming ourselves in this way.We’re pretty much convinced that happiness is a choice and even though this sounds nice and positive to us (even though we take this as being an empowering viewpoint) what this really does is to force us to recriminate against ourselves when we aren’t happy, when we aren’t feeling good, since we must now believe that this is also our choice. This is ‘the glitch in positive thinking’, this is how positive thinking rebounds on us.
In reality there is no ‘choosing’ here at all, we flatter ourselves to think that we have a choice. It’s not that we have a choice in that way and, as a result, have personal responsibility for whether we are ‘up’ or ‘down’, but rather that we are prisoners who are strapped onto the revolving wheel of illusion (or strapped onto the revolving wheel of euphoria and dysphoria). Put like this of course, the prospects of the False Identity (or conditioned self) don’t sound quite so good! We can hardly feel so flattered when matters are expressed like this; we definitely aren’t going to be flattered but – on the other hand – we will get to be free from a particularly pernicious suffering-producing illusion!
What the contradiction of ‘up’ equals ‘down’ (or ‘pleasure’ equals ‘pain’) is really showing us (if we’re willing to be shown) is that the apparently volitional False Identity doesn’t actually exist, is a fiction, is a fantasy, is a trick of the light, is a dream, is an illusion etc. Since the FI or conditioned self doesn’t exist its elation doesn’t exist either, and neither does its despair. The pleasure that I experience as the FI is unreal and so too is the pain, and so in this way of course ‘pleasure equals pain’. Their basis is unreal and nothing can ever be done about this. Or if we wanted to look at things the other way around, we could say that the fact that whatever whatever pleasure we experience in life (as the one who seeks pleasure or strives to avoid pain) is always exactly cancelled out by the pain we experience shows very clearly that there is no experiencer, either of the pleasure or of the pain. The False Identity spends all its time trying to obtain euphoric states of mind and run away from dysphoric states (it has to do this in order to maintain the illusion), but since both are its own projections it is obviously never going to get very far in this regard. It’s actually never going to get anywhere – the FI is never going to get away from its starting off point – as much as it would like to – and it’s ‘starting off point’ is ‘the starting off point of not being real’!
At this point in the discussion we might provisionally go along with what is being said, but then ask the question ‘But what about the identity that isn’t false? What about the true identity?’ The answer to this query is simple however – there is no such thing as ‘the true identity’, ‘the identity that is not false’, and so we can dispose of any such questions straight away. That’s a non-starter. Any identity that we might adopt is always going to be yet another construct of thought, so why would we bother taking them seriously? All that’s going to happen if we do take some identity or other seriously (and play the game that we are it) is that we’re going to get strapped into the revolving wheel of euphoria and dysphoria and why on earth would we want to do that?