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Richard Carlson

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Our way through life should not be difficult but it is. The fact is that our lives are filled mostly with picking and choosing. "I want this, but not that." And because things are not anything other than the way they really are, we suffer. Nowhere is this more apparent and painful than when we are trying to find life after death. We so desperately want things to be the way they were. But they are not. So the longing itself becomes an additional source of suffering.
--
Finding Life after Death

 
Richard Carlson

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A normal human being does not want the Kingdom of Heaven: he wants life on earth to continue. This is not solely because he is "weak," "sinful" and anxious for a "good time." Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise. Ultimately it is the Christian attitude which is self-interested and hedonistic, since the aim is always to get away from the painful struggle of earthly life and find eternal peace in some kind of Heaven or Nirvana. The humanist attitude is that the struggle must continue and that death is the price of life.

 
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Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.

 
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