What is the Meaning of Life
Discovering the Real You 2
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 203 Discovering the Real You #2 by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life — and we have been doing this for about a year now. We’ve come to the point in our discussion where we have concluded that there is an intellectual mind behind the universe, and indeed that that mind is personal. And because of the remarkable human being that lived in the first century of our era and proved to us that he is able to overcome death and to do some things that no other prophet or teacher has ever done — overcome and destroy death in other people — we have concluded that He is in fact the son of the Maker of the universe and that he has actually been beyond the sky and beyond the stars.
And that when He speaks about His Father He is speaking truth. And He of course has explained to us that the meaning of life is this: His Father, the Creator of the universe, our God, made you because He wants you to be His child. He wants you to be His son or His daughter. He wants you to be friends with Him, He wants you to love Him, and He wants to love you. And that’s why He made you. And He made you like Himself so that you could have friendship with Him forever and could take part with Him in the development of the rest of the universe. And that’s why you’re here on earth.
And you’re here actually to become like Him because He wants free will agents who can love Him and that’s why He gave you a free will. That’s why He didn’t make you like Himself by force. He made you with the same capacities as He has, but you can choose whether you want to develop those along the lines that He wants Himself or not. And that’s why we’re here in the world. And of course most of us, we’ve said, have chosen to live as if there is no Supreme Being. And as a result we’ve got into grave difficulties with our sense of security.
We find ourselves on a spinning spaceship that has no visible means of support. And we ourselves have great difficulty establishing a financial security that will really stick even when times are rough. And so we have a tremendous sense of angst as we nevertheless dedicate our lives to trying to get all the food, clothing, and shelter that we need. And usually most of us spend our lives concentrating on that. We get it, of course, by trying to accumulate money but it seems very hard to hold the stuff — it seems to drain away so often. And then finally, of course, many of us even if we die rich, we die.
And so, there is really finally no security that we can find. And that brings us a great sense of angst. But another problem we have is that we feel we’re unique. And actually you are unique. There’s nobody like you, nobody has ever been like you, there will never ever be anybody like you because the Maker of the universe has only made one particular version of you. But nobody else notices it and you realize they don’t notice it, and that brings great frustration to most of us.
And so, we spend a lot of our lifetime trying to establish a sense of self-esteem and self-worth because we no longer have the sense of self-esteem that we would have if we believed that there was a Creator that really made us and made us unique –then of course you have no trouble with self-esteem. You know that there’s only you that is like you and that He thinks of you in a way that He thinks of nobody else in the whole world. But when you don’t feel that way then you sense that there’s no reason for you being here, and there’s no value that you have and no worth that you have.
And so you spend a great deal of your time trying to get people to compliment you on the way you bowl a cricket ball or the way you pitch a baseball; or complimenting you on the way you wear your clothes or the way
you put on your lipstick. You spend a lot of life trying to get other people to appreciate you, acknowledge you, and give you a sense of self-worth. And of course the poor souls — they’re after the same thing themselves and they can’t spend much time giving you self-esteem because they’re trying to get self-esteem for themselves.
And so many of us find ourselves in this world trying desperately to get a sense of self-worth but failing because nobody has the time, or the persistence, or the concentration, or the unselfish commitment to give it to us.
It’s the same, of course, with the whole idea of happiness. We conclude that since there’s no Maker of the universe then there’s no sense to the universe. And all we can do therefore is eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. And therefore we spend our time looking forward to Friday and hating Monday — looking forward to the weekend, looking forward to the next vacation.
You know the way we all do it. We all are constantly talking about the holidays. It’s so great to come up to Christmas because of the holidays. It’s so great to come into summer because there are holidays. It’s so great to come to anytime when you can possibly get an August bank holiday or any time off because we hope that somehow we’ll find that tremendous happiness which we feel we were made for — a combination of the excitement of the Arabian Nights with the serenity of Walden Pond. And somehow we never get it — we never get the happiness that we think we were made for.
And so that brings a tremendous sense of frustration to us. What we have been saying over these past months is that in our attempt to establish our own security and our sense of significance and some experience of happiness we have become monsters. We have. Many of us have lost the sense of who we are. We don’t really know any longer what we really are like. In other words there’s a part of us that has actually gone dead in all this wild pursuit of trying to establish a sense of self-worth, some feeling of security, and experience of a little happiness.
We have actually become monsters; we have become conformed to each other. It’s incredible but we who are created unique have become like each other, so like each other that we find it difficult to tell who we are at all. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling, but I think a lot of us have in these days. We’ve wondered, what do I really think? If I wasn’t so out and out to please my boss, or to get a smile from my secretary, or to get approval from my peers, what would I really be like? If I wasn’t such a little performing monkey anxious to get “cookies” of approval and praise from my fellow students what would I really be like? And so many of us can’t answer that question any longer. We don’t know. We don’t know.
There are odd moments in our lives when our mother dies or our father dies or something else happens, or we lose our job, when it seems that for a moment we touch reality. It seems for a moment we touch our real selves — that is, our spirit. There are times when we sense that our spirit is still there — it’s still half alive. But actually it’s virtually completely dead. From time to time it expresses itself through the conscience because the conscience is part of our spirit. And sometimes, an odd time, we do what we really think is right and then we sense that we’re a little alive again.
But most of us do that very rarely. And most of us are in the position where we don’t any longer know who we are and we have no idea what we really think or feel. Because the fact is we’ve virtually killed ourselves completely. It’s what Wordsworth says, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy, shades of the prison house begin to close around the growing boy; at length the man perceives it die away, and fade into the light of common day.” And most of us find that our insides have gone. We look inside to see if there’s anybody at home and we come out with the conclusion that there is nobody at home.
And that’s why we have difficulty when we’re asked what we would like to do. We usually want to do what the television has told us we should want to do, or what all our friends want to do, or what it’s supposed to be fashionable or swinging for people like ourselves at our particular stage in life to do. But we ourselves aren’t too sure what we would like any longer. And that is one of the great problems that many of us face in these days. We face the problem that we’ve lost ourselves. We can’t find ourselves anymore.
And of course nobody is too anxious for us to be found, because they’re all in the same boat and they’re not too anxious for anybody to be in a better state than them. So actually the whole of the society is organized to keep us pretty dead inside. If you say, well how? Is there any answer? Well that’s what we’ve been talking about. There is actually one Being that is very anxious for you to find yourself. It’s ironic. There is only one Being in the whole universe that is anxious for you to find yourself. He does very much want you to find yourself.
And He does very much want you to find yourself. He wants you very much to come alive inside and to be as unique as He has made you. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.