Hell is a place I know intimately.

It is a place where you walk alone, searching for something that is always just beyond your reach. You will find no comfort there, no love. There is no-one to hold your hand. In hell you will find only extremes- the cold empty darkness and the unbearable heat of shame, and there is no sustenance, no sleep, and you search the skies for the light of distant stars, but there are none to be found. In hell there is no hope, no joy, and there are faceless monsters that whisper nightmares in your ear and mock you as you pass with shrieks of laughter.

The mountains are unconquerable; the dead forests hostile. There are rivers you cannot cross, and the very ground beneath your feet shifts and cracks and splits open before you so that you cannot sit and rest for fear of being consumed. In hell you cannot speak. You try to scream but there is no sound. You know not how you got here or why you came. There is no life, the trees are twisted black stumps; charred feathers the only remnants of the birds that tried to fly away from here long before you arrived.

In hell your tears do not cleanse you, but burn your face like acid- and your anger is a futile, impotent shadow of itself, and you are reminded with every step of your insignificance. You shrink, you shrivel, you watch helplessly as pieces of you blacken and die and fall to the ground to rot. Still you search the skies.

I have lived many lives in that place. I have mourned the death of hope.

And yet even in that hopelessness, in the midst of your suffering, through that dreadful darkness and the stench of sulphur, you carry your own spark of light. Sometimes you cannot feel it, but it remains.

What you Are remains. What you Are cannot be destroyed. And what you Are will eventually awaken, if you will tend to that tiny flicker of a flame inside; if you will softly blow on it until it kindles into something unmistakable. Where there is no hope you must find faith. Faith in yourself. You did not come here to live in this place; you came here to find your light, to realise that distant star is not to be found in the sky but in you. To find it, you need only look inwards. You need only hold yourself close.

You need only know yourself.

You will feel that flame ignite, and you will rise. You will rise on the currents of your knowing as your fire begins to rage, until all the fires of hell could not compare to the inferno that you Are. That fire is the light of your understanding. That understanding is the beginning of your love. You rise into your love and the hell you knew for so long becomes a distant memory, and you will come to rest in the soft grass of your own heart which bursts with life and the songs of birds, and you will know your wholeness, your perfection. You will rise and you will expand to encompass everything that ever was, and you will know that bliss was always yours, and you will carry that bliss with you everywhere you go.

When you reach this understanding you will know freedom. You will know peace. You will know you had to walk through hell so that you could learn to rise above it, and rest grateful in the heaven that is your own love, in the home of your heart.

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