Buddhist cosmology divides existence into six realms, although earlier texts refer to only five (Gods and demi-gods in one realm) these realms are understood as psychological states of mind.
My picture shows the wheel of life carrying the X-ray of a newborn babys chest, in the centre are five spots symbolising the five realms with the descriptive terms; God & demi-God, Human, Animal, “Hungry ghost”, Hell.
To understand the value of the realms, the most important to us is the fifth, the Human realm, because of choice. The Gods are perfectly happy and so they have no choice, the Hell realm too is perfectly painful, and again no choice. The Human realm is in between, where there is a balance between happiness and pain that is governed to a large extent by choice. When you are not too happy, and not too much in pain what does it mean? – a step closer to normality of the mind. (Dzongsar Khyentse).
The choices we make to establish that normality are our own responsibility, and that is what creates our own human situation. If we get into a mess, we must extract ourselves from it, and the best way to do that is to prevent the cause through our own wisdom. External beings will not bestow grace upon us, nor will they pull our strings differently. We are freed through our own choices through wisdom, and through our own compassion i.e. not only compassion for others, but also for ourselves, to treat ourselves better and this brings the way of treating others with greater compassion.
In this image I have tried to move away from the darkness that has overshadowed many of the last studies and bring about some freedom of the mind through this.