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What is the Meaning of Life

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Lesson 97 of 208
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Happiness and Fulfillment

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 97 Happiness and Fulfillment by Ernest O’Neill

It’s interesting how we can never get enough love, isn’t it? I don’t know how you interpret that. You may interpret it differently from me. You may say, “Yeah, that’s right! I can never get enough love.” Really, what you mean is the old lust thing. But, I mean from the point of view of ordinary, normal people, most of us would say, “Yeah, we never seem to be able to get enough love.”

We probably would admit we never seem to be able to give enough love, too. But primarily, we’re concerned with the fact that we never seem to be able to get enough love. That’s what we’ve been talking about on this broadcast for several weeks now — the fact that there seems to be an appetite for love which all of us have that never is able to be satisfied by our wives, our children, our friends, our paramours, our girlfriends, our boyfriends. We never seem to be able to get enough love.

We feel we were made for some kind of exhilarating experience in a love relationship that will enable us to experience continual ecstasy and a continual virtual orgasm in our own emotional lives. Somehow, we are not able to get that. We’re always, of course, looking for it. What we have been saying is, the reason is that you and I were made by a Being that has oceans of love.

He has so much love that He’s able to strew daffodils across hillsides with an extravagance that would shame even the most generous millionaire in the world. He is able to people the oceans with fish and with all kinds of life and colors that would put to shame the most glorious colors that the impressionist artists have ever put on canvas.

He has so much love that He is able to fill the space of the universe with so many planets that dwarf our creations as human beings, and yet leave so much space, that it is as if you sprinkled a quart of water on the surface of the earth, to compare the number of planets there are with the space that surrounds them. So generous, and so extravagant, and so full and complete is this Creator. We were made by Him for His love.

So, no wonder we find we never seem to get enough love; because you know instead of living in belief in Him and trusting Him and regarding Him as our friend, which is what He wants us to do, we have given up that idea as kind of infantile. We’ve begun to live our lives as practical atheists, who exist on an earth that is made by nothing but time plus chance and exist as individuals who seem to just appear in space for a brief seventy years, and then disappear forever.

So, we’ve regarded ourselves as little specks of chance. Yet, we are made instead by this infinite Creator for the experience of His absolute love and the happiness of His friendship. The result is, we have a great sense of lack in our lives, and are always trying to make it up. That’s why we’re always trying to get some kind of happiness that will provide the kinds of excitement and exhilaration, peace and stability, quietness and affection that we feel we were made for.

That’s why we go after the fast motorbike. That’s why we go after the Ferrari. That’s why we’re anxious for a car that will do the 10 second dash faster. That’s why we’re always looking for some personal relationship that will give us what our wives have not given us, or our husbands, or our fathers, or our children have not given us. That’s why we’re always looking for yet another experience. That’s why the old heroin thing has gone so well. That’s why crack has gone so well.

That’s why all the experiments with drugs have gone so well in our world, because we’re all looking for an infinite happiness. Somehow, it’s impossible to get it. Really, the happiness that we were made for is the happiness of an infinite relationship with an omnipotent person. I’d point out to you that you know fine well that that’s the greatest happiness you have in this life. It’s the happiness of a personal relationship.

That’s about the highest happiness you have, isn’t it? It’s not really that your wife is good looking. It’s not really that your children are the greatest in the world. But it’s the love that they have for you and the love you have for them. That’s the most precious thing you have in the world. It’s the love relationship you had with your mother or your dad that gave you the greatest happiness.

So, the most precious thing, and the most happy thing in the whole universe, is a love relationship. That’s really what we were made for — a love relationship with the greatest person in the whole universe, who is your Father, who knows you, and thinks of you, and knows your name and has counted the hairs of your head. It’s His love for you that will give you absolute happiness. But, of course, we’ve given up that old fashioned idea, so we’re left with this great dearth of love, and therefore, this great dearth of happiness in our lives.

So, we find ourselves with seventy or eighty years to live on this earth. We decide to ourselves, “Boy, we better make the most of it as we can. We’d better grab every ounce of happiness we can get.” So, we set about it with a will. We tie happiness to what happens. In other words, we tie it to circumstances. Even though old Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “If we would only realize that changing our circumstances will not make us happy. Despite that, we constantly believe if we could get the right set of circumstances, we would be happy.”

So, that is what we do. We think of an ideal dream world that we would like, like the right girl, the right children, the right home, the right neighborhood, the right job, the right vacations, the right combination of circumstances, and we will be happy. We never seem to be able to get them. But meanwhile, we become dominated by circumstances. Our happiness depends utterly on our circumstances.

For instance, you get up on a rainy morning. How do you feel? “Terrible, terrible! It’s raining again today. Won’t it ever stop raining? Look! It just drips down and soaks through you continually. Look at the dark clouds. What? Yet again bright intervals? That’s all we are ever forecast — bright intervals. But mainly cloudy. It’s always cloudy. It’s always dull today.” We feel unhappy and sad because it’s raining outside or because it’s dull. You know the way we feel.

There’s a saying in America, ‘T.G.I.F.’, Thank God, it’s Friday. We say, “Oh, it’s the weekend! It’s Friday! Good! We have something to look forward to.” In fact, we arrange little happinesses, little circumstances that will make us look forward to things. We plan to buy a little thing at the fruit shop on Friday. We plan to buy a little extra booze from the wine store on Saturday, so that we’ll have a little bright spot in the weekend that we can look forward to.

So, we try to plan little serendipities, little unexpected pleasures and happinesses, little circumstances that will make things better for us. We look forward to our vacations. Many of us live from vacation to vacation. Many of us live from weekend to weekend. Many of us live from Friday to Friday, just looking forward to that circumstance that will make us feel happy. Of course, the problem is, it lasts just for a brief time, and then, we’re back into the old grind again.

The truth is that even when the circumstances occur we never seem to get that lift and that exhilaration and the satisfaction from the happiness that we thought we would. Of course, the reason is that the happiness we were made for is the love relationship with our Creator. That’s what alone gives us the excitement of flashing

through space at incredible speeds, flashing down snow slopes at tremendous rates, because He has all the excitement of the snow slopes and the ski slopes, and the excitement of space travel within Himself, and when we are close to Him, we share all that excitement.

But meanwhile, our search for happiness has tended to make us monsters. Let’s talk a little tomorrow again about what our search for happiness and circumstance has often done to the good personalities that we had when we were born.