What is the Meaning of Life
Striving for Security in Life
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 187 Striving for Security in Life by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever wakened up and wondered, where have I gone? Where have I gone? That is, where have you, yourself gone? You’ve lost yourself; you can’t find yourself anymore. The person that you’ve become is some kind of auto motion that is governed by the many responsibilities that you have to face in your job or your family or your school. But, you, yourself seem to have flown. You can’t find who you really are anymore.
And what we have been sharing on this program over these past months — this is probably about the 187th time we’re talked together this year – is how many of us in this present life are finding it more and more difficult to remember who we were, or what we’re really like inside — because we’ve been governed increasingly by the tremendous drives from without. The drives for security, and for significance, and for happiness. And those drives become overwhelming. So that many of us have become just little animals.
We’ve discussed how we live on three different levels in this present life. But most of us live virtually on the physical level. From time to time we might delve into the psychological level, or what we call the soul, where the mind and emotions and the will operate. But, most of us are governed completely by our bodies. That is, we see something nice on a plate in a restaurant — we want it — we reach out our hand and get it, we eat it. It makes our tummy feel comfy and so we feel happy. And that’s about the level we operate on.
Many of us are delighted when we see a certain coat that we think will make us look better than everybody else. And so we buy the coat and that becomes our delight, not only that day, but in future days and weeks and that continues until we buy something else.
But many of us are delighted just by the things that we see and touch and feel and hear. And our life goes no deeper than that. And so we become governed by those things. If the day is bright and the sun is shining, then we are happy. If the day is glowering and the rain is drizzling down, then we’re miserable. If somebody speaks brightly to us, we’re happy. If someone smiles at us, we’re delighted. If the boss frowns upon us, we’re miserable.
If the income tax comes back with a refund, we’re up in the air with joy. If it comes back with a hideous bill that we didn’t expect, we are bears for the rest of that week. Many of us are governed now, just by what happens to us. That’s why we talk about happiness, because it’s so often just what happens to us. It’s happy happenings. And if we don’t have happy happenings, then we’re unhappy.
And so, our lives are governed by the things that happen to us from outside, or by the attitudes that people take to us, or by the things that people say to us. Or by the things that we manage to obtain or possess, or the things that we lack or the things that we lose.
Think of us when we get a dent in the new car, think of us when a window is broken in the home. Many of these things can be fixed and repaired very quickly and many of us have no problem with getting the money to do it. But just the very thought of the thing happening sends us into all kinds of manic depression that we can’t control. So, many of us are in that position where we have become almost perverted by this preoccupation with what happens to us on the outside — with the circumstances that we’re passing through, with the things that we have or have not got, and with the experiences that we have or don’t have to.
Many of us are utterly governed by our drive for security, significance and happiness; by our preoccupation
with the things and the people, and the circumstances that provide those or fail to provide them. And so, we have, in fact, become perverted. We no longer act from inside as we were meant to. And that’s what we’ve talked about over these months — how we were meant to work from the inside out. But we now work from the outside in. And we find, of course, that as we do that the inside seems to have kind of died on us.
And you remember how we discussed that the Maker of the world had created us on three levels of life: the physical — that is the body by which we relate to the world of things, and circumstances and people. Then the soul, which is inside of us. It is the Greek word “psuche” which becomes our word “psyche”, which becomes psychological – the psychological part of us: the mind, the emotions, and the will. And then, inside that again, He made a spirit: the very essence of you. That’s your spirit. It’s you as you really are. And that’s the only place that you can communicate with the Maker of the world.
But that’s the thing that with many of us has died. Long ago, we died inside! Long ago we lost the sense of who we were. And few of us actually today know who we are and know inside what we’re like. Even those of us who think that we do, look inside and we see a huge ego — a massive ego — that is utterly preoccupied with itself and despises everybody else. A massive ego that wants its own way and insists on its own rights and wants what it wants. So even those of us who think we have discovered who we are, when we look in we see a horrible, grotesque monster that is anti-social and is so filled with egotism that it has no time for anyone else.
So, whether we look in and see nothing or whether we look in and see a grotesque monster, the situation is that many of us find now that our personalities are utterly perverted. And we have become an empty shell — virtually a body that operates in relationship to the material in the universe and never goes much deeper than that. And of course, our spirits, who we really are, have really disappeared altogether. Now, that’s what this man Jesus of Nazareth said would happen.
He said, if you keep going the way you’re going, regarding the universe as a chance result of a blind evolutionary process with no personal mind governing it at all, then you will regard yourself as on your own. Just on your own, Jack, and nobody to look after you. And as a result of that, you will develop a personality that will become not independent, as you’d hoped it would be, but will become utterly dependent on the world of things and circumstances and people that seem to be able to feed you with what you need.
What you really need is love. That’s it. Love. Not mushy love, not sexy love, just love. You really need love. You need someone who wants the best for you more than he wants the best for himself, even if it cost him to give it to you. You want someone who is willing to give himself to you, whatever the cost; someone who puts you in the place of himself, who wants your welfare more than he wants his own. That’s what love is. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That means a man regards your life as worth more than his own.
And he’s willing to lay his own life down so that you will preserve yours. He’s putting himself in your place. He’s walking in your moccasins. He’s putting himself in your shoes. That’s really what you and I were made for, except that we were made for the love of the most powerful, mighty, Significant Other in the whole universe. That is, our God, our Creator. That’s why He made you, because He loves you. Yes, don’t turn off — that’s why He made you. He loves you; that’s why He made you. And that’s really what you need. And that love brings with it all the security, and the significance, and happiness that you could ever want.
But many of us have declared our independence of Him and have determined that we will get that kind of security and happiness and that kind of satisfaction from the world of things, and people, and circumstances. And as a result we have died inside. We have become, not independent, we have become utterly dependent — in
fact slaves — to the very jobs that we think we do. Slaves to the very people whom we think we govern.
And we have, in fact, died inside. And there’s nothing there anymore. We’re just little robots. And of course, this man Jesus of Nazareth said that it’s impossible for you to recreate yourself. You can’t! You can’t get yourself alive again. Once that inner part of you is dead, it’s dead. There is only one that can do anything about it. Let’s talk a little about that tomorrow.