False Paradise


The Illusion of a "Plane of Reward"

What is meant with the term "false paradise" is a place of otherworldly bliss and fulfilment longed for. Those are enjoyable and beautiful environments. The belief to be already in paradise holds the danger of stagnation – because of the illusion of already having achieved everything. Very often, this illusion is based on the promises of superficially interpreted religious texts, or on a deep wish to find an "island of peace".

"The Paradise of an Orthodox"

Translated from: "Die andere Welt", vol. 14 (1963) II, no. 11, p. 851

"Today I want to tell another instructive story. This time about a lady. I have already encountered her some time ago. On earth she had been a strictly religious Christian, and without knowing it, she had a psychic mediumistic disposition. She was aware of her superiority and very intolerant. But aside from that, she was very kindhearted, otherwise she would never have reached this height.

She was convinced to come to paradise, and she really has found her paradise! But what she enjoyed there was not this immeasurable happiness that we feel when facing the eternal cosmic existence. It was only her very own ‘personal satisfaction’.

In her view, everything – everything! – was exactly as she had always known and told it. She did not realise in the least that this handful of happiness she was enjoying was simply as little as she was able to feel then – and that her purification was still about to come. The time came, and at first, vanity stirred inside of her: She – she – she! was in paradise! – How her husband would regret it now to have mocked her so much! She rejoiced in increasing satisfaction without realising that, step by step, her paradise lost its poor, false glory …"

"The Country House" (Ballabene)

"In a cable car we glided over the landscape. There I saw a big park with beautiful old trees. Every of these trees was a rare species as you normally only see them in botanical gardens. There were some with branches and twigs that were coloured golden at their tips; and others were like giant bonsais, there were blue-green conifers amongst them; everything was magnificent to look at. It was the garden of a feudal country house as I realised soon. Although several parties had their apartments there, everything was in deep peacefulness and highest prosperity. The world with its restlessness seemed far away. Here there was only relaxation and peace. Wonderful plates with wood carvings hung at the walls, not made of soft wood but of precious woods. On the meadow in front of the house a child was playing, and not far away there was a stable and a saddled up horse standing in front of it, waiting calmly.

Anyone who lived here was living on an island of peace, hidden from cities and villages, so remote that no uninvited guest would ever find his way here. It was bliss and isolation at once which these people were enjoying. After my first astonishment I started reflecting and thought about that child. ‘This child is living in a paradise’, I thought. ‘It will never face problems and it won’t have any motivation to learn. Any kind of sorrow or suffering is unfamiliar to him, so this soul will also lose compassion over time.’ And I suddendly felt sorry for all the people that lived here."

© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated by Corra