Quotes Tagged "afterlife"
When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don't think I'll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about? Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don't believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart's content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.
Your faith is your conscience, and your conscience is your faith. You cannot have faith without a conscience, but you can have a conscience without faith. Man was designed to be good with or without religion, yet the challenge for many is staying good. Some people claim to be religious but have no conscience, while some people without religion are very much aware of their conscience. Therefore, a religious label does not define your character or validate your worth. In the end, all men will be judged by the amount of truth in them and the weight of their hearts. The heavier the conscience, the heavier the truth. The lighter the heart, the higher it goes. The only spiritual currency one has in the afterlife is amassed in the form of light, in that, the amount you have depends on the weight of your words and deeds in the living. Conscience is everything. Conscience is what connects us to the truth and light of the highest power source of all. God. The cosmic heart of the universe.
There is no such thing as fear until you allow it to enter your heart. If I told you what really happens to your soul when it is put to eternal sleep, you would not fear death; hence, you would never have fear — or fear Fear. But this is something I will share with you another day and time, in another story. We are taught to fear anything that can bring us closer to death — to keep us from taking huge leaps that involve risk. The only thing you should fear in this lifetime is not taking risks while you are living. I do not mean to go jump off a bridge. I mean, to go all out to reach your dreams, to dare to do things you typically would not do out of fear. Pain has a threshold and so does death. Fear neither, and never fear what has no right to be feared. Fear only the Almighty, for he is the only one who can terminate a soul forever. No man can do that. No leader can do that. Only the Creator can do that. As long as the heart is good, a soul can live forever. The body is simply a coating for the soul, and when you die, your soul takes the soul of your heart along with it. Love strengthens both, while fear cripples both. Starting today, train your mind and heart to reject fear. Once you reject fear, you will become the perfect candidate to receive and reflect Truth.