What is the Meaning of Life
Our Mind is Dominated by our Body
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 170 Our Mind is Dominated by our Body by Ernest O’Neill
How are we meant to live day by day? Especially, how are our personalities meant to operate? That’s the kind of subject we’re discussing these days on this program. It forms the second step in a discussion we started some eight or nine months ago: What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Why do you exist? Why am I in existence?
Those of you who have followed the discussion know that we have come to the point where we agree we are in existence because of the activity of a personal, intellectual Being who is responsible for the creation of the universe. Whether He created it by an evolutionary process or not, He still is the one who is responsible for the design and order people like Einstein and ourselves have discovered in the universe.
We have concluded that His Son — who lived in the first century and showed us by the fully documented life He lived, is more than an ordinary human being — that the reason we were created was to be friends of the Maker of the world. This is why you were made. You were made to be a friend of the Maker of the world. You were made to love Him and for Him to love you. That’s why He made you. That’s why he made us in His own image, with the same capacities as He has.
That’s why you have a personality that operates on three different levels. You operate on the physical level, through your five senses. You operate on a psychological level, through your mind and emotions and will. You operate, or you can operate, on a spirit level, which is the deepest part of your being — the part where the real you actually exists.
That part, of course, we’ve said several times, few of us seem to contact at all, except in moments of great crisis, where we perhaps look in desperation away from ourselves and away from the world around us, and we desperately grope around to find if there’s any real being out there at all. It’s in those moments that we come back often from such fishing expeditions with a real authentic sense and conviction that there is something there, and we have heard from someone beyond space, even if we haven’t heard it in voices or seen it in visions or all kinds of dreams.
We’ve just sensed through the intuition of our spirits that we should do certain things. We’ve done them. Often, those things have become the basis of the whole direction of our lives. Many of us have come to moments of personal crisis, either financial or professional, or domestic, when we have in despair turned from all that we can see in the world around us and from all we can understand with our own minds and all we can feel with our emotions.
We’ve desperately looked down into the depths — we think it’s of ourselves, but it’s actually into the depths of the spirit life which contacts the Creator of the world. At those moments, some of us have come up with revelations, it seems, or certainly deep convictions that have become the basis for the rest of the lives that we have lived. So, some of us have experience of this spirit level. But, what we’re talking about today is how those three levels of our personality were meant to operate. What we have been saying, of course, is that most of us operate on the level of the body, that is as if the body was the uppermost of those three levels.
If you can think of a page divided into three, you’d print “body” on the top space, “soul” on the next space — soul being the psychological part of us, and “spirit” in the bottom space. Most of us live that way. We live from the body, dominating the soul and crushing, of course, the spirit to death. We hardly have any
awareness in our spirits at all, except for some of us who may have some kinds of experiences with spiritualists, or that whole world of the evil spirit realm where you are able to contact spirits that seem to imitate the dead.
That whole realm that is touched by Casey and others like him –that whole realm of evil spirit world that deceives you by imitating the real Spirit-of-God-world. Some of us have contacted that. But, most of us have no experience of spirit at all, either good or bad. Most of us simply live as if we have a body and a soul.
Indeed, most of us probably live as if we have a body. What I mentioned was that even those of us who do very cerebral work as university professors or as stock brokers often exist in our own personal lives purely on the level of our bodies. That is, on which wine we can get for the dinner on Saturday night, and whether we can go sailing on Sunday or not, and whether we’ll get a game of golf in, maybe, on Wednesday.
Most of us exist on the level of whether we can buy a bigger house, or a better car, or what kind of vacation we’re going to have next summer. So, we live like little animals that get their kicks out of whether the body feels better than it did last time or not, whether it feels rested or whether it doesn’t feel rested. That is usually the level and the limit of our experience of life.
Some of us do, at moments, sink into the level of the soul — that is, the mind and emotions. Some of us do get some satisfaction from the operating of our minds, but usually for a very small portion of our lives. Most of us use most of our mind’s ability to get more shelter, food, and clothing for the old bodies — to keep them alive, and to stay in a state of survival. Indeed, most of us use our minds simply to ensure that we’ll be able to retire at the same level of physical comfort as we have at present.
From time to time, we do delve into the emotions, of course, as you know so well. Primarily, there again we use our bodies to stimulate our emotions so that we have feelings of elation, because of the bodily experience we are having at that time, or, at least, an experience of peace and rest through again the bodily relaxation or rest that we’re experiencing. But, most of us live on that level of the body dominating the soul.
That, of course, wasn’t meant to be the situation at all. The soul, the psychological part of us, is the part of us that makes us unique. We’re not angels. Those are spirits. We’re not animals. Those are just bodies. We’re human beings. We have souls. But the soul is there as a neutral instrument. The mind, you remember, as we said several days ago, can actually defend what you choose to make it defend. It can find reasons for anything.
So, if you are a barrister and you decide, “This guy is guilty”, then you can use your mind to find the reasons for supporting that conclusion. Similarly, if you decide he’s not guilty for some reason, you can find reasons that will support his acquittal. So, our mind and actually our emotions are pretty neutral instruments and need to be stimulated by something else.
They can either be stimulated by the body, or they can be stimulated by the spirit. Most of us, of course, live with them utterly dominated and enslaved by the body. The body experiences tiredness, so we feel tired and we feel we can’t do another moment of work, and so we should go to bed. We determine to go to bed purely on the basis of our physical feelings.
It’s the same when we are stimulated to action. Usually, it’s not because our mind has thought through the thing and decided it’s the wise thing to do, but we are driven to action. Many of us who think of ourselves as very sophisticated and very cultured find that we do all kinds of things simply to keep body and soul together.
We get up in the morning and go out to work not because we have some high minded desire to build something worthwhile or to leave the world a better place than we found it, but simply because if we don’t, we’ll have no money. If we don’t have any money, we’ll have no food, and we will not be able to do and see the things we like doing and seeing. So, it is surprising how many of us operate not on a high-minded, noble level of the soul, but on the level of the body driving the soul to certain actions that are necessary and essential.
Many of us operate our minds and emotions directly under the driving power of the body. Now, of course, it was not meant to be that way at all. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about how the soul was meant to operate.