I am in the midst of reading a book (well, many books, but I'm talking about this one) called Consciousness Beyond Life by Pim Van Lommel. It is a book written by an MD about the evidence for existence beyond the physical form. I like these kinds of books.
Growing up, I was raised in a non-religious household with parents who were very open to Science. I'm grateful for that. I was raised with an open slate as far as spirituality was concerned. They encouraged us to follow our own curiosity and beliefs - neither encouraging nor discouraging us in any particular spiritual direction. This has helped shape me greatly.
The one thing that this type of upbringing brought out in me, however, was a fear of dying. I had no religious belief to help guide me with regards to death. That's okay now, because I have done a lot of reading and soul searching, and have come to my own understanding of all of this. My point is that it drives me to read books like Consciousness Beyond Life.
In the book, the author relates stories from people who have had near death experiences (NDEs). Most people have a heavenly experience where they see a light or light beings, but of the research done, they find that about 1 to 2 percent of NDE-ers have a hellish experience.
One person with a hellish experience goes into detail about what he experienced. He was young at the time (21 years old) and was a medical student. His description is long and sounds like a typical Christian hell, but within it he says: "Whatever anyone thought, however fleetingly or unwillingly, was instantly apparent to all around him, more completely than words could have expressed it ... What was it going to be like, I thought with sudden panic, to live forever where my most private thoughts were not private at all? No disguising them, no covering them up, no way to pretend I was anything but what I actually was. How unbearable ..."
In the margins of the book, I wrote: "How tragic to feel that way".
I try to be honest - with other people unless it's going to hurt their feelings, but with myself at all times. I know I'm not perfect with it, and wisdom and age make it easier. But I can't imagine living in a way where you were that ashamed of who you were.
How terribly, terribly sad. To me, that would be hell here on Earth.