How is heaven and hell?

`Abba, how is hell?`

`I’ll tell you a story I heard. There was ince a simple man who prayed to God to show him heaven and hell. And one night he heard in his sleep a voice saying:

Come, I’ll show you how is hell!.

And he immediately found himself in a room where many people were sitting around a table and in the middle there was a pot full of food. But all those people were hungry because they couldn’t eat. They were holding in their hands some very long spoons, they took the food from the pot but they couldn’t take the spoons to their mouths. For this reason some were grumbling, others were shouting and others were crying…

Then he heard the same voice saying:

Come, now I’ll show you how is heaven! And he immediately found himself in another room where many people were sitting around a large table, resembling the first one and in the middle of that table there was a pot full of food and they had the same long spoons. But they were all satiated and happy because everyone was taking food from the pot with his spoon and fed his neighbor. Now you understand how you can live heaven from this life? Whoever does good rejoices, is rewarded with divine comfort. Whoever does evil suffers and makes a hell from the earthly heaven. Have you got love and kindness? You are an angel and wherever you go or stop you share heaven. Have you got wickedness and passions? You have the devil inside yourself and wherever you go or stop, you share hell. From here we start living heaven or hell.

 

Source: Pious Paissios the Athonite, Passions and Virtues, Evanghelismos Publishing, p. 43.