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We Are God’s Friends -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We Are God’s Friends
by Ernest O’Neill
What’s the most valuable present you’ve ever received? Can you think through it, all your birthdays and
anniversaries, and the special rewards you got for achieving different things? What would you say was the most
valuable present you’ve ever received?
I don’t know, we’d all have different answers. You might say, “Oh, the bicycle I got when I was nineteen”, or
“The motor bike I bought when I was twenty two”, or “The first new car I got”, or “Really, a present has meant
more to me than even what I’ve bought myself”. “The gift of books that I got when I was eight years of age”,
or “The silver watch I was given when I was twenty one”, or “The gold earrings with diamonds that I got when I
was twenty five.” We probably all have different answers to that question. But, what is the most valuable
thing you’ve ever been given?
What would you say it is? You know when we put the question like this, we answer, “Well, life. Life is the
most valuable thing I’ve been given. Without it, I couldn’t see the earrings. I couldn’t ride the bike. I
couldn’t smell the flowers. I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have consciousness. I wouldn’t even be able to
think and answer this question if I didn’t have life. That’s the most valuable thing I’ve been given, and
that’s the most valuable thing I’ll ever lose.”
If I ask you, “Well, are there other things connected with life that you regard as valuable?” Then, you begin
to think of the things you couldn’t replace, however much insurance money you got. Of course, you begin to
answer, “Well, yes, I mean the eyes that I have, the ability to see colors and shapes and forms; the sense of
touch I have. I cannot only feel the Venus de Milo [statue], but I can feel the grass and I can feel the
smoothness of water.
Touch and smell! There’s the ability to smell the daffodils and smell the roses, the ability to smell a spring
morning in April. Those things are the most precious things I have ever been given. Also, there’s the ability
to think, to connect up a sense of smell with a sense of shape and a sense of color. The ability to think and
reason. Those are the most valuable things that I’ve ever been given. But, I don’t think of those as things
that I’ve been given. I mean, I’ve been born with them.”
If I said to you, “Well, where did they come from?” You know that you have to draw the same conclusion that
we’ve been drawing over these months as we’ve been talking about the meaning of life. These things did not
If you went into Tiffany’s in New York, and you bought a pair of silver earrings for your wife, and you said
to the clerk, or you said to the assistant behind the counter, “Where did these come from?” and he said, “I
don’t know where they came from. I have no idea. They just happened! They just happened.” You’d say to him,
“Well, good! I don’t need to pay for them if they just happened.”
No, you’d look across at him and say, “You are dumb! Of course, these came from somewhere. They didn’t just
happen. Look! You can see how intricately they’re made and how carefully they’ve been designed. You can see
the silver, the way it’s been formed and shaped. You can see the way these things have been put together. Only
hands, human hands could put these together. Only a human brain could think of this. There’s an intelligent
being of some kind behind this.”
Of course, that’s what we’ve said about incredible cameras like the eyes that focus far more efficiently than
even the latest electronic device we have implanted in our most recent cameras. We’re bound to conclude that
these things have not just happened. These have been given to us.
And of course, that is what we’ve been talking about over these months, you remember. We’ve been saying it’s
obvious that these things have been given to us. Somebody has given us these gifts, these presents that are
among the most precious — indeed, are the most precious that we have ever received in our lives. So, we have
been saying that the presents we have been given are evidence that there is an intelligent mind behind the
You remember how we’ve followed that down through the evidence in history, especially in the first century, of
there being a remarkable person called Jesus of Nazareth, who really obviously knew more than this present
world. He had seemingly been beyond this world into outer space and returned to tell us what kind of being was
out there. He said this being was his Father and had created all this, and had given us all this.
Of course, what we’ve been sharing over recent weeks is, the reason all these presents were given to us is
because the person that gave us them thinks about us and cares about us. Indeed, what this man, Jesus, said
about the Creator is that He has numbered even the hairs of your head. So, the Being who made you, and that
designed your eyes, and that designed your arm and your leg — that Being has counted even the hairs of your
head. That’s how much He thinks of you.
He thinks so much of you, that He has done what nobody else in all creation, even your mother, has done. He
has counted the very hairs of your head because He cares about you, and He loves you. That’s why He’s given
Actually, you know that. The reason you give a person presents is either to get something out of them, or,
really, usually it’s because you love them, and you care for them. You express your concern to them and your
appreciation and your value of them by the presents you give to them.
So, it’s the same. The Being behind the universe has not given you your eyes just because He likes to see eyes
working, or just because He likes to see a nose smelling, or because He has some impersonal, insane delight in
seeing an arm lift a suitcase. He has given you those abilities and those powers because He wants you to enjoy
the things that He enjoys. He wants you to be His friend, and to know Him, and to understand the universe the
way He understands it, and to begin to enjoy what He has made with Him.
That’s why the Creator of the universe made you. That’s why He has given you these gifts. His desire has been
that you and I would live our lives in friendship with Him. That is, we’d start each day — you remember the
way we illustrated it, as if it was Adam — we’d start each day listening to Him, and knowing His mind and
understanding how He was looking at our world, how He regarded our office, how He regarded the factory that we
worked in, how He looked upon the home where we spent our whole day.
We would begin to see things the way He sees them and would have such an intuitive oneness with Him, that not
only like Einstein would we begin to think His thoughts after Him, but we would know what He wanted us to do
day by day and moment by moment. That is His will. That’s why He gave us these presents. His plan was that we
should walk through the world with Him beside us, as our friend — that we would know Him intuitively in our
thought life, and that He would feed His ideas down to us — not as if we were robots! That’s why He made us
with free wills. He doesn’t want robots.
But He made us with our free wills so we could be His willing friends. That’s the purpose of giving us all of
these gifts. Now, what have we done with those? Well, you know yourself what you’ve done. I know what I’ve
done. We don’t even need to go back to the early chapters of Genesis in the Bible to find out what we’ve done.
We know what we’ve done. We decided, “Forget it!”
We don’t need to depend on some invisible Creator, who may not even be there. We don’t need to depend on
somebody else telling us what He thinks. Ever since we were kids or children and rebelling against our
parents, we know we want to be our own men. We want to be our own women. We want to use this world as if it is
our particular oyster shell, and we want to choose the oyster that we need from it.
So, we’ve decided to go our own way. And because we’ve gone our own way, we’ve started to miss the great sense
of love that our Creator made us to experience. He did! He made us for love. That’s it. It’s not just a ploy
by a psychologist or a psychiatrist. It’s not just the old story, “Oh, you don’t want to be dependent or need
a father figure.” The fact is, reality is reality. We are not independent creatures. You’re very dependent.
You’ve been carried into this world. You’ll be carried out.
You’ll be looked after while you’re in it, and things will happen during this life that you can’t explain, and
incredible things take place that enable you to go on living that you cannot understand. So, we’re very
dependent. We’re obviously dependent if you think of the people in Australia, who are utterly dependent on the
power of gravity that holds them on the earth.
In so many ways, we’re absolutely dependent on this Creator. He has made us for His love. Let’s talk a little
more about that tomorrow.
Fill up the Void in Your Life -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Fill up the Void in Your Life
by Ernest O’Neill
Do you have a camera? Yes, a camera. A Nikon, or a Canon, or some other kind of camera? Do you? Would you sell
it to me? I’ll give you $50.00 for it (30 or 35 pounds). I’ll give you a $100.00 (60 or 65 pounds). What would
you sell it to me for? You’ll settle on a price, I’m sure, and make a little profit.
Now, would you sell me your eye? You say to me, “My eye! No, I’ll sell you my camera if you give me enough for
it. But my eye! I can’t replace my eye. No! I wouldn’t dream of selling my eye.” Why wouldn’t you sell your
eye? “Well, I need it.” Well, couldn’t you get another one? “No, probably not.”
Even with transplants? “No, I wouldn’t risk exchanging my eye for another eye. No! It’s too valuable for me. I
depend on my eye. I don’t depend on my camera the way I depend on my eye.” But your eye is just another
camera. It just has a focusing mechanism, the same as a camera. Why wouldn’t you sell me it? You’ll say,
“Well, I wouldn’t dream of selling it. I mean, first of all, it’s far better than any camera. Yes, it has a
focusing system, but it’s far more advanced than the latest electronic focusing system that we have invented.
I couldn’t. It’s invaluable! My eye is beyond value.”
Well, where did you get it? “Where did I get my camera? I got it in the photography shop. Where’d I get my
eye? It came with the territory. I just got it. It was with me. I wakened up and there it was. Well, it came
from my mother’s body.” Well, where did your mother get it? “Well, she made it.” Well, did your dad and mum
make it? Do they know how to make –“No, no, they’re not in the eye business, they’re in the child — well,
they’re not in the child business.” Well, how did it come about? You know that you’re forced to say, “Well, I
don’t know. It’s kind of a mystery.”
If I said to you, “Well, can you explain where the things like your eye and your ears came from? What about
your brain and the other gifts you have? Where did they come from?” The best you can kind of mumble is, “Oh
well, well, evolution, you know, evolution. Ã‰lan vital, Big Bang Theory, explosion in the universe,
decomposing substance, that’s where it came from.”
Of course, if I said to you, “Your camera — where did it come from?” and you mumbled, “Evolution. Ã‰lan
vital. Decomposing substance. Big Bang Theory. Explosion.” You know you would begin to feel that I was looking
at you strangely, and you would begin to feel stupid. I would say to you, “Now wait a minute. You know the
camera didn’t come from an explosion. You know what explosions produce, and cameras are not some of the things
that explosions produce. Now, be sensible. Where did the camera come from?”
You say, “Well, it came from the factory in West Germany,” or “It came from the factory in Japan.” You mention
the maker, the Nikon people – they designed it. You can see that it’s carefully designed. You can see how
cleverly it’s done. You can see it must have had very intricate hands and very clever minds to design it.
Then, I say to you, “What about the eye?” You say, “Well, it is cleverer than the camera. It is more cleverly
designed. It is more compact. It is more spontaneous and natural in its operation. It does last longer. Yes,
it must have had some kind of design or designer behind it.” That’s, of course, what we’ve been saying over
these past months on this broadcast. All the evidence points to the fact there is an intelligent mind behind
the universe who has made and given you the presents that are the most valuable presents you have ever
You remember what we said yesterday that the Being behind the universe has shown Himself in this Son of His
who lived over 1,960 years ago. This Son of His, who is known, you remember, as Jesus, said that his Father
gave us these presents because He loves us. That’s why you have an eye which is better than your Canon or
Nikon camera. That’s why you have hearing that is better modulated than the best Bang and Olufsen sound system
you could buy.
That’s why you have hands which are cleverer than the most recent thinking robots that we have produced.
Because you have a dear Creator who knows you and who has counted even the hairs on your head, and loves you.
That’s why He has given you these things. He’s given you these presents not just so that He could see roses
being smelled, or so He could see your nose smelling. He gave you these presents because He really thinks a
lot of you, and He loves you.
He wants you to be His friend. He wants you to live life with Him beside you as your friend. He wants actually
to take part in it. He knows why He put you here. He has thoughts to feed down to you, if you will just listen
for them. This is what we’ve been saying. Of course, we shared yesterday that what we have done is refused
that whole plan.
We’ve said, “No! We’re not going to depend on Him feeding us thoughts down to us. We can decide for ourselves
what to do!” So, we have determined to live life on our own in this world. The result is, of course, we’ve
missed something that is vital to us. That is, love! We were made for His love.
That’s why we were made. We were made for the love of the Creator. That’s what gives us our sense of meaning
in life. That’s what gives us our sense of value — when we know that He, the Creator of the world, has not
only made us as another of the billion little flies in the universe, but that He loves us personally.
That’s why His Son said, “Look! There isn’t a sparrow that falls to the ground –not a little sparrow — that
falls to the ground but your heavenly Father knows. Are you not of much more value than many sparrows?” So you
are! When you are without that love through ignoring the Creator and living life as if there were no God, and
as if you were god, then you miss that love. You have a great lack in your life, a great emptiness.
As somebody has said you have a “great God-shaped void” in your life. There’s a great emptiness, a great lack
of love. It doesn’t matter how you go through the machinations of your mind, saying, “Oh! I’m not a dependent
creature. I don’t need love.” You do need love. This is why you were made. Of course, we have to fill that
space somehow, and that’s what we have done from the very beginning of the world. We men and women have tried
to fill the void that is left by that lack of love from our Creator.
Because we have ignored Him, He’s been unable to communicate Himself to us. He doesn’t force Himself upon us.
This is why He gave us free wills. So, He doesn’t force Himself upon us. If we ignore Him and reject Him, He
has to accept that. So, we have lacked His love, and we have a great sense of a need of love. What we have
done, of course, is we’ve turned to the world itself to try to get a substitute for that love.
I don’t know if you understand anything of the record of history that you find at the very beginning of the
Bible. There’s been so much cynical talk about those early stories being myths, that of course we’ve kind of
ignored them. We can talk about that whole charge of being myths in these coming broadcasts. But it is
important to see that they actually are the deepest explanation of reality we have.
They’re a very good description of what we’ve done in order to find a substitute for God’s own love. Actually,
it’s put there in the form of a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you remember. God presented it that way
because He was presenting it to mankind in his childhood. It reads like this, “So, when woman saw that the
tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one
wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.”
That explains where we looked for to find a substitute for the love we were made for. I’d like to try to
explain that tomorrow. Maybe you’d think about it yourself, until we talk again tomorrow.
Why we Need Love and Significance -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Why We Need Love and Significance
by Ernest O’Neill
One of the great arguments against the idea that there is a God which was shared with us at college, was that
it was the expression of man’s desire for a father figure. That’s all the belief in God really was. It was
just wishful thinking. Of course, this kind of comes round the back of you and has the appearance of a kind of
esoteric insight and an inside knowledge, and a reasoning below the usual level of thinking that people do.
So, it impresses you at first.
You think, “Yeah, maybe that is what the belief in God is. It’s just a sublimation of our desire for a father
figure.” Of course, if you come around from the other angle entirely, the fallacy of the whole argument is
exposed. Because, if there is, in fact, a God, and if, in fact, He is a father-like figure, and if, in fact,
we owe to Him all our existence — everything we have, and our ability to see and hear — and if, in fact, He
has made us so we can be His children, and so that we can be His friends, and so that we can enjoy His
company, and He can enjoy our company, then, it is very reasonable that we will have within us a sense that we
have a Father. We ought to depend on him, and we ought to love him. We will have a feeling of need for a
In other words, it’s a bit like coming to a child who wants to jump into his father’s arms and saying to him,
“No, don’t jump. Don’t jump. That’s just a sublimation of your desire for a father figure in your life.” The
little child wouldn’t have the sense to say it, but if he had, he would say, “You know why that is? That’s
because I have a father! I have a father, and I am his child. That’s why I feel the need for a father figure,
because I have a father who loves me and I’ve been made for him. I’ve come into existence so that I could
enjoy his friendship and so that he could enjoy mine. So, naturally, there’s a sense of need inside. So,
because the need is there, it’s evidence that there is an answer to that need.”
So, of course, you soon begin to see those old chestnuts we tried to feed ourselves with at University and at
school when we were younger, were just old chestnuts. They’re just old explanations of a cynical attitude we
want to take towards reality. It’s an expression, really, of our desire to be on our own. Of course, this is
what we’ve been sharing on this broadcast over the past weeks.
We do actually have an intelligent mind behind this universe. That’s the explanation of the order and design
we see in it. That intelligent mind expressed Himself in a remarkable man that lived about 1,960 years ago
here on our planet, called Jesus of Nazareth. He explained to us, “You have a Father. My Father is the Creator
of the universe. He actually made you because He wants you to share His friendship and His love.
That’s why you exist. That’s why He gave you all the presents He’s given you, like your ability to see and
hear and think. That’s why He’s given you these things.” What we shared yesterday was, of course, that we’ve
rejected that idea. We don’t like it. We haven’t wanted to be dependent on Him for His thoughts and His
guidance for us in our life. We’ve wanted to live our own life for our own sakes. The result is we’ve felt a
great need, a great lack in our lives. The lack is, of course, His love.
We were made for His love. We have a great need for that love. When we refuse to believe in Him, or refuse to
have any attitude of trust towards Him, there’s a great emptiness that comes into our lives. Actually, all of
us feel that. I mean, you feel it yourself, don’t you? You feel you were really made for the kind of heavenly
experience that is found in a cross between The Arabian Nights and Walden Pond. You feel you were made for
that combination of peace, solid peace and exhilarating excitement.
You feel you were made for stability and security — the security of having a million dollars or a million
pounds at your disposal, and yet the security of having someone who looks after you all the time. That’s where
we felt so much sympathy with Eliza, you remember, Eliza Doolittle, in “My Fair Lady”, when she talked about
all she wanted was chocolates and comfort and a sense of being at home.
That’s where we felt so close to her father when he talked about opening up the castle at Capri. We always
dream of a place of security and stability, like the riches we imagine have. We always feel we are made for
that. That’s because we were made for it. But it’s made not for those individual things, but for the love of
the infinite Creator of the universe, who with His love is able to give us all those things. Now, of course,
we feel the need of that love.
We feel not only the need of it, but we feel the need of the things that that love gives us. Of(cid:9) course, we
determine we must find it elsewhere. That’s what we have really done. Most of us have tried to find it in the
world itself — in the world of people, the world of things, the world of circumstances. We try to find in
that the characteristics of the love that the Creator has for us. We try to make up for the Creator’s love by
getting it from the world of men and things and circumstances and events.
So, we feel a great need of significance. You know, we look around and we say, “Oh, five billion others in
this world! I’m only one of five billion. Yet, I do feel I’m unique. I feel I’m different from everybody else.
But for some reason none of the rest seem to notice that I’m different.”
The funny thing is the whole five billion of us are saying that. We’re all saying, “I feel I’m unique.”
Actually, you are unique. There’s nobody like you in the whole universe. But we feel, “I’m unique. There’s
nobody like me. Yet none of the rest seem to notice that there’s nobody like me.” Of course, this is because
all the rest are thinking the same thing.
So, we start trying to get the rest to notice how unique we are, because we feel that that is what we need. If
we could only get someone to notice us, notice how unique we are, and how different we are, then maybe we
could fill that sense of emptiness that we have deep down in our hearts.
It’s really a need for the love of the Creator. But we can’t identify that, because we’ve given up believing
in God and all that stuff. So, we think, if we could only get people to think of and value us as we really
are, that would maybe give us some sense of fullness in our lives that we feel we need. So, we go to it. You
know we do.
We dream from when we’re little children of being Hopalong Cassidy, or Gene Autry, who gets the girl. Or we
dream of being some wonderful prince or king. Or later on, when we get out of grade school or primary school,
and we get into high school or grammar school or comprehensive school, we begin to think, “Maybe we can be
somebody. Maybe we can be somebody! Maybe we can be a Murdoch. Maybe we can be somebody important. We can’t be
obviously the king or the prince or Lady Diana. But maybe we can be somebody worth something.”
So, we begin to work to try to get people to notice how unique and how different we are. You know the kind of
clownish activities that that puts us into. How we suffer in sports and suffer in academics. How we struggle
with our appearance. How we try to buy the coolest looking clothing that we can get our hands on. How we try
to get the most unique haircut we can find. How we will dye our hair and stick pins in our cheeks. We’ll do
We’ll put earrings in our nose. We’ll make ourselves look dumb and stupid looking, if only somebody will
notice us. “Please, somebody notice me! Somebody appreciate that I’m different!” So we get into the most
hideous antics in order to try to get the sense of uniqueness that the love of the Creator alone gives us.
That’s the kind of life many of us live in these days.
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about some of these things, because we’re all in the same boat, you know.
That’s one advantage we have. We can sympathize with each other, because we’re all doing the same thing. Let’s
talk a little more tomorrow.
Are you a Man Pleaser? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Are You a Man Pleaser?
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever stuck an earring in your nose? Have you ever shaved half of your head and dyed the other half
green? You say, “Don’t be ridiculous! I’m not a punker! No! I wouldn’t dream of doing that. That’s for the
half-integrated people. That’s for the people who are immature. That’s not the kind of thing I would do. No! I
wouldn’t touch it.”
Have you ever bought a car because it looked the coolest thing on the road? Have you ever bought a winter coat
because it would make you different from the other people in your office, and they would notice you? Have you
ever bought a lipstick because the color was rather different, and set forth the difference between you and
others, and the uniqueness that your appearance has over that of others?
“Well, yes, I have, but I mean, that’s just personal taste. Of course, everybody buys things because it
enables them to be themselves. That’s all I’m being. I’m just being myself.” But don’t you see really that
whether you stick an earring in your nose, or whether you dye half of your hair green or not, or whether you
buy a car that just looks different from everybody else, there is a lurking tendency deep down in all of us to
do things primarily to get attention, primarily to get people to notice us, and often just to express the fact
that we’re different from everybody else.
If you say, “Well, I am different from everybody else. I mean, I am. I’m unique!” Yes, I agree. You are
unique. There’s nobody like you in the universe. There’s never been anyone like you. There never will be
anyone like you. You say, “Yeah, yeah, I know that. But everybody else doesn’t seem to know it, so I want to
get them to know it.” Then I say to you, “Well, why do you?” You say, “Just because it’s true. It’s right.”
But really, isn’t it a fact that the reason we do it is because we feel we are unique but nobody else notices
it, and we feel that we need it to be noticed? We feel our uniqueness is there to be noticed, that we were put
here in this world for somebody to appreciate us, for somebody to acknowledge us, for somebody to notice the
little private things that we have that nobody else has. We feel we were put here for someone else to be aware
In fact, we were. We were put here by a dear Creator who made us, who does love you, and who does know you,
and who knows better than even your mother knows how unique you are. But, of course, we have given up
believing in Him, and we have given up even trusting Him. So, we have determined we’ll live this life as
practical atheists. But what we lack is this sense of acknowledgment from Him, this sense of love that He has
for us. So, we have to get it from somewhere.
Most of us have committed ourselves to trying to get it from other people. That’s the origin of a great deal
of the antics we get up to from when we were little children wanting our mother to be impressed with the way
we have stuck all the little pins into our clothing, or the way we have messed up all the porridge or the corn
flakes she gave us. Or the way we have beaten our spoon on the chair so that the people who were visiting our
parents would see that we’re there.
Right from those early antics, right up to the time when we get our gold watch after 30 or 40 years of service
to our firm, we have been anxious for somebody to notice us, to see that we are different and that we are
unique. We have a great sense of a need for love, a need for somebody to love us and to value us. So, we have
started to try to substitute for that love the approval of other people.
That’s why we get into this business of preoccupation with self esteem and self worth and why we go into these
psychological deep discussions and all these sensitivity groups and all this therapeutic attention that we
give to each other, because we’re all intent on trying to get the love that we need and that we were made for.
You were actually made for that love.
But it’s a love that is the love of the one significant “other” in the universe, not the love of all the other
insignificant “others” in the universe. But, of course, we try to find that. You know it makes us into
monsters. You know that those of us who are husbands and fathers, how we insist that the wife treats us, as
maybe not the lord of the manor, or the king of the kingdom, but we certainly demand that she treat us as the
head of this home and as somebody important. Often, we get very irritable with her because she does not seem
to give us our place.
Indeed, it’s funny how that phrase would come up in many of our homes. The children would often say it. The
wives would often say it. “Well, I’m not given my place. I’m not given the place of respect that I should
have. People, the others in the home, don’t really value me. They don’t really appreciate me.” So often we cry
ourselves to sleep, or we grieve ourselves to sleep, through feeling that other people aren’t giving us the
attention we ought to have.
It’s the same in the office. You know how in the business, whether we’re bosses or whether we’re sub-bosses,
or whether we’re little nothings trying to wield our little bit of power, we’re intent on trying to get people
to notice we are something. We are something. We control this office. We control these forms.
If we’re bureaucrats, you know how it goes. We feel we’re part of an impersonal system anyways. The only way
we can get any personality into it is if we wield our little bit of influence. Often, we make life intolerable
for other people. We’re so anxious to get our little bit of attention. So, it makes us into clowns; clowns
that become the play things of other people. Other people can play on us like a violin. They can treat us like
puppets and marionettes.
If they just give us our strokes, if they just give us our little bit of attention, we will stand up and beg.
We will go through all kinds of silly activities, and silly performances, just to get another little cookie of
love from them. We become, really, cookie monsters. We just will gobble up cookies. We’ll gobble up any little
bit of praise or attention that they will give us.
So, of course, we have become very perverted in our personalities. We’ve become like little actors and
actresses who are always on show. We are always on. We’re always trying to get people to love us. We’ll do
anything for that. We’ll actually compromise our principles. We’ll act against our own best understanding of
things. We’ll act against our own best interests at times, just to get people to attend to us, and give us a
little bit of that love that we were made for. So our personalities have become perverted.
We’ve become utterly dominated by man fear. It started off as men’s approval. It started off as a desire for
men to acknowledge us and approve of us. But as we become dominated by that desire, then we begin to fear
their disapproval. We begin to fear their frowns, the bosses’ frowns or the wives’ frowns. We begin to hate
and fear disapproval. We begin to come under men fear. Our lives become dominated by fear of men.
We become driven people, who are driven to do things just to avoid other people disapproving of us. Our lives
come under not the love of men, but the fear of men. We’re afraid to say what we believe is right in the
office, lest people think we’re square or stupid or old fashioned, and we begin to be the very opposite of
what we are, because of men fear. So, this is one of the ways in which we have become perverted in our
personalities: through depending on people and their love, in place of the love of the Creator, in whom we
have stopped believing and trusting.
There are some other consequences of this turning to the world of things from the world of God Himself. Let’s
share a little more tomorrow about it. It will perhaps give you some insight into yourself.
Where Does Your Happiness Come From? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Where Does Your Happiness Come From?
by Ernest O’Neill
What would you do if you won the pools? Or, if you won the State lottery? What would you do if you won four
million dollars, or two million pounds? All of us, of course, like to think of what we would do. We think,
“Oh, I’d buy my Aunt Joan this, and I’d buy my father this. I’d take this kind of a holiday or vacation. I’d
buy this kind of house, and I’d love this kind of car. I might even learn to fly.” We think of all the
wonderful things we would do.
All of us rise to that because we feel, deep down, that we were actually made for that kind of thing, don’t
we? We may smile at each other when we say that, but we deep down do feel that this is something of what we
were meant to have. If we could experience that, that would be absolute happiness and perfect fulfillment.
Deep down, of course, we know from observing other people that, in fact, it isn’t absolute happiness or
complete fulfillment. But still, we feel there’s something there that makes us excited. There’s something
there that satisfies a need that we have and that we know is real.
Of course, it is true. There is a need deep down for the security that that kind of money would appear to
bring us. So, all of us work and slave during our lifetime to try to get something of that kind of security.
We never reach that degree of material security, but we try to head towards it. We feel we were made for some
kind of stability. We often express it this way. We say, “I want my children to have what I did not have.”
That’s a well known saying. We all know that. We all rise to it, and say, “Yeah, that’s a very laudable and a
very human and reasonable motive to have in your life. I want my children to have what I didn’t have.” We all
feel that’s right to do that. But, deep down, of course, we feel that if our children can have what we didn’t
have, maybe we will have some of it also.
Maybe if we work hard and get some kind of material security that we can pass on to them, we can enjoy a
little of it on the way as it’s going through our hands. Indeed, who knows? If they’re good children and
faithful to us, they might even take some care of us when we get past the stage of caring for ourselves.
So, we are all very conscious of the need for some kind of security. The reason for that is, we were made for
absolute security. We were. We were made by a dear Creator. That’s why you have an eye that is able to focus
better than your Nikon camera. That’s why you have a sound system that is better than the latest that the
Japanese have produced in stereo sound systems. You have a better one inside your ears than they will ever
It’s because your ears and your eyes were made by better manufacturers than your cameras or your stereo
system. They were made by an intelligent being who lies behind our universe. We’ve been talking about that
intelligent Being and about the fact that He had a Son who appeared on our planet about 1960 years ago. That
Son assured us that His Father, the Creator of the universe, made you and made me because he wanted to love
us. That’s it. He wanted to love us.
He wanted us to be His friends. He wanted us to be His children. He wanted us to walk through our lives with
Him beside us. He’s invisible. But He’s able to feed thoughts through our minds to us, and He wanted us to
walk in that kind of relationship with Himself. As we did that, He would provide us with all that we needed.
That’s what this man, Jesus said. He said, “Why are you anxious about your life, what you’ll eat or what
you’ll drink, or what you’ll put on? Is life not far more than clothing? Isn’t the body more than just
raiment? Look at the lilies of the field. They don’t toil and they don’t reap, and yet Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is and
tomorrow is cast into the fire, will He not much more clothe you? And look at the birds of the air. They
neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value
than they? And why are you anxious? You, with all your anxiety cannot add one cubit to the span of your life.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these things.”
So, He assured us that our Father loved us, and knew we needed material security. He knew we needed certain
clothes and certain houses and shelter and food, in order to continue to live the span of years that He had
planned for us in this life here on this earth. He knew that. He would take care of those things.
Of course, if we had lived believing in Him, and not become practical little atheists, as we continued to
trust Him, as of course, we came to trust the ground under our feet. You don’t worry all the time whether it
will fall away from you or not. Even if you do live in California, you still accept that the ground is pretty
solid. The people in Australia aren’t all worried about whether they’re going to fall off the bottom of the
world or not.
Just as we trust those things that are all created by Him and held in place by Him, so it’s reasonable to
trust Him and depend on Him for the things that we need in this present life. But, we, of course, have
decided: “No, we’re not! We’re not going to do that. We don’t know who holds the world in place. We don’t know
why it stays in its regular orbits, month after month, and year after year.” We don’t really know what the Law
of Gravity is. We just give it a name. We don’t explain it.
We don’t really know how our heart beats. We know that it beats. We don’t know what keeps our blood chugging
around our body thousands of miles every week, but we’re going to believe that we are self-created; we’re
self-dependent. We’re self-created and we can get from this world what we need from it ourselves.
Except that we are left with a great sense of emptiness. Because, of course, what we get from our Creator is
not just an assurance that the world economy and our own national economies and, indeed, our own
mini-economies in our own neighborhood will work in such a way that we will be supplied with everything we
need — but we get beyond that a sense of the reason why He’s providing those things for us.
Behind that sense of why He’s providing things for us lies His love. That’s really what we need. Of course, we
know that so well in our own lives. It’s not your dad’s ability to provide money to provide you with clothes
that matters so much to you. There comes a time when you pass beyond that need, and yet, you still need his
love. It’s his love that is dear to you.
It’s not your mother’s ability to wash your clothes or to supply you with food each day on time that counts
most to you. It’s her love. Those things just express her love. So, we in stopping believing in this Creator,
in giving up any conscious dependence upon Him day by day for His supply of our needs, we cut ourselves off
from a sense of His love. So, we feel the need to get that love. The only way we know to get it is to try to
substitute some of the characteristics of that love for the love itself.
One of those characteristics is the supply of all our physical necessities. So, we end up trying to ensure
that we can get from the world of things the security and the stability that the Creator of the world alone
can guarantee. So, you know what we do. We get the best education that we can, trade it in for the best
possible job that we can get, buy the best car that we can get, trade it up at the earliest possible moment
for a better car. Buy the most secure housing that we can find, try to pay the mortgage off as fully as we
can, try to begin to invest our money and set up a pension fund, so that somehow we can establish that sense
of security that the Creator alone can finally give us. And He can give it to us not only because He can
supply us with the physical necessities, but because He can give us that sense of love from the infinite Being
behind the universe.
So, we end up trying to establish a security for ourselves from things that we can finally only get from the
love of the Creator. But that we lack. So, we are bound on a course of futility. Let’s talk a little about
Selfishness vs. Selflessness -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Selfishness vs. Selflessness
by Ernest O’Neill
It is said that someone questioned Rockefeller and said, “What else do you want?” He said, “Just another
million.” Now that story may be apocryphal, but that’s often the attitude many of us have. We never have
enough. We just need another pound, or another twenty pounds, or if we just had another thousand dollars, or
another five thousand pounds invested. Or just another twenty thousand dollars invested. If we just had
another pound, another hundred, another thousand, another million. Why is it we never seem to have enough?
Why is it we never seem to reach the point where, materially, we feel absolutely secure? What we have been
sharing together at this broadcast time for several weeks now, is because it’s not actually physical and
material security that we’re after. What we’re really after is what that expresses. Material and physical
security expresses for us what we were made for: the love of an infinitely powerful Father who has at His
disposal all the resources of the universe.
That’s what we were made for. That’s what we’ve been saying, that the evidence of an intelligent mind behind
the universe, and the evidence that we have from the remarkable life that was lived by a man in the first
century of our era, suggest to us that there is a Creator. There is an intelligent mind, an intelligent person
behind all of this, and that He in fact created us because He wants friends. He wants friends.
He just wants people who will be close to Him, and will love Him, and will understand Him, and whom He can
love and understand. He gives us this sense of love, and with that sense of love gives us the assurance that
if He thinks all that of us, then He will certainly supply us with all we need in this life in the way of
food, and clothing, and shelter. That’s what we were made for.
When we determine to live as if He doesn’t exist and to live as if there is no God and there is no Creator, as
if that’s all old-fashioned myth stuff, then we miss that love. We miss that security. Of course, what we do
is, we try to establish the security for ourselves in this present life, thinking that that’s what we need.
But, in fact, it doesn’t matter how many millions we amass. It doesn’t matter how secure our job is.
It doesn’t matter how sure we are of our pension and our retirement. Finally, it’ll get us — the cancer, or
the incurable disease, or something will get us! We’ll be thrown into that realm of darkness after this life
is over, where we cannot trust anybody, because nobody has power over that, except the Creator of the
universe. So, finally, we have to come down to it that security (physical, material security), will not supply
us with the reassurance that love supplies us with; the love of a Person whom we can trust as the absolute
ruler of the whole universe.
What we end up doing is trying to substitute for that love material security. So, it doesn’t matter what we
do. You know the way we go at it. We try in all kinds of ways to build up our investments, to build up our
pension funds, to build up our investment in real estate, to build up the equity that we have in our homes, to
build up the plans we have for our retirement, to ensure that we have enough health insurance to cover even
We even have children, many of us, to ensure when we need looking after, we’ll have someone who has a sense of
obligation to us. Or, we marry for the same purpose, to ensure that there will be a provider when we are no
longer able to provide for ourselves. We end up in all kinds of situations that are meant to supply us with
that sense of security. Of course, in the doing of it, we become monstrosities.
You know how dominated we become, how driven we become in our desire to get financial security. Many of us
have become the very opposite of what we started out to be. Some of us had great artistic ability. Some of us
had real musical abilities. Some of us had talents that we knew our teachers were right in saying that we had
them, but we decided, “We’ll cash them in. We’ll cash our chips in for hard cash.”
We decided we’d go some other way, and we ended up in a job that makes more money than we would otherwise make
with our talent, but we no longer have satisfaction from life. We’re just going through the motions. We’ve
been going through the motions for years, until we’ve almost forgotten what we started out to be. We find
ourselves in the same position as Wordsworth described;
“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.”
Many of us have found that to be true. We’ve found that in trying to establish this security that we want,
we’ve become monstrosities.
We become consumed by greed, consumed by envy and consumed by anger and bad temper when we can’t get the food,
shelter, and clothing we need. Indeed, some of us, as we proceed through Shakespeare’s “Ages of Man”, become
more fascinated by clothes, more fascinated by food, more fascinated by our homes. We polish and clean until
we seem as if we’re fit for a mental asylum or a psych ward — so consumed are we with the need to establish
We worry and are anxious and fret at night, are unable to sleep so often, because we’re preoccupied with
getting just one more pound, one more dollar. That’s part of the perversion that takes place in our natures,
because we become driven by things, preoccupied with things, driven by the need for things, driven by the need
to accumulate things, irritated when we don’t get things.
We become thing dominated, so that our whole personality, instead of working from a consciousness of the love
of the infinite Creator who rules the universe for us, we become dominated by these intractable things that
will not yield to our manipulations. Our personalities have become perverted. We have become the very opposite
of what we once started out to be when we were teenagers or when we were children.
That’s what takes place with many of us, because we have started to live as if there is no Creator, as if
there is no Maker of the world, as if there is no one who is our Father, no one who cares about us. After our
dad dies, it seems as if there’s nobody to look after us, and we’d better start looking out after ourselves.
So we become driven by that need, that there’s nobody to take care of you outside your own, so you better take
care of yourselves. We become that autonomous, independent being who was all the time made to be a dependent,
So, our personalities become dreadfully perverted. There is another consequence of this way we live. Maybe it
will shed more light on your own motivations, if we talk about it tomorrow.
Happiness and Fulfillment -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
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
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.
Happiness in Your Circumstances -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Happiness in Your Circumstances
by Ernest O’Neill
Do you want to be happy? Yes, that’s it. Do you want to be happy? I can hear you thinking, “What kind of line
is this guy going to take?” But really, I’m just asking you as an ordinary human being, like yourself, do you
want to be happy? You know the answer that you or I would give to this question, “Of course, we want to be
happy! That’s the point of living, to be happy. I do want to be happy!”
Yet, there’s another thought which comes in right behind that one, “But I don’t know if it’s possible. Indeed,
as the years pass, I grow increasingly doubtful as to whether it is possible to be happy. But, yes, I do want
to be happy.” If I ask you, “Can you remember ever being happy?” you’ll say, “Well, yeah, yeah I can! There
have been moments when I’ve been happy.” If I ask you when those were, maybe you look back to some time when
some circumstances occurred that seemed absolutely right.
You met the right girl, or you married the right man. Or you remember a vacation where the weather was just
perfect. Or you look back to a party where the people at it were just exactly the ones you wanted to be with,
or you look back to an experience that had an excitement and a thrill to it. Or you look back to some
beautiful painting or piece of music that you heard. You look back to something that happened. Happiness is
with the right happenings.
You look back to some circumstances that were exactly right. Of course, the reason for the importance of this
question is that we’re all concerned with happiness. We feel we ought to be happy. We are losing hope of being
happy, but we feel we were made to be happy. We tend to look back longingly to days when we were children,
when we seemed to have last been happy. It seemed there was a time when life was simple enough so that you
could be happy. But it’s years ago, and we’ve almost lost hope of being happy.
That’s why so often we try to blot the whole thing out, if we can blot it out with a couple of sherries, or a
couple of whiskeys and soda. Or, if that is no longer working anymore, maybe we can blot it out by smoking the
right stuff, or by injecting ourselves with the right stuff. Somehow or other we can reach that point of
nothingness, and of non-existence, or of unconsciousness of our existence, that will provide a kind of nirvana
for us. It will, at least, blot it all out.
Maybe we will not be happy, but we will not anyway be overwhelmed by the anxieties and the worries and the
pressures we have now. But deep down underneath all that old cynicism is the vague hope inside that we would
be happy sometime. That’s why we listen from time to time to religious people, because when they talk about a
kingdom of God, we kind of long for that. We feel, “Yeah, we were made to be happy.”
Of course, what we’ve been sharing over these past weeks is that we were made to be happy. You were made to be
happy. But, the happiness that you were made for is a deep happiness. The greatest happiness you know you can
experience in this world is that of a real relationship of trust and love with another person. That’s why the
marriages that are successful are successful, not because everything has gone right, not because all the money
is there. But because you’re related to some person whom you can absolutely trust, and whom you know
absolutely trusts you and appreciates you and will stay with you through thick and thin.
That seems to bring a happiness that nothing else will bring. What we’ve been sharing is that that’s the
happiness we were made for. We were made for the happiness of a love relationship with the greatest Being in
the whole universe, that is, the Being that created it — the God that made it. He actually made you to be His
friend, to be His child, to be someone whom He could love and for you to love Him and know Him. That brings
complete and absolute happiness.
Of course, we’ve given up all of that old stuff. So we’re left on our own with a kind of Godless universe
around us, and ourselves very much on our own, isolated pretty well, and searching for the happiness that we
feel we were made for. It is true, that we feel deep down we somehow some day will find that happiness. That
why the gold pot at the end of the rainbow is so fascinating to us.
That’s why the hope of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” — we always feel that somewhere there is happiness, and
we ought to be able to find it. That’s why Utopia, and the dreams of an ideal society have such a fascination
for us human beings. That’s why we’re always talking about the “elixir of life”, that perfect essence or
substance that you will find that will be the meaning of life and bring happiness to us.
The unfortunate thing is that our fascination for happiness drives us to all kinds of resources and all kinds
of activities in order to obtain that happiness. You know some of them that we have got into. We are
absolutely convinced that the only thing that will make us happy is circumstances. So, we find ourselves
dictated to by our circumstances. If it’s a nice day, if the sun is shining brightly in the morning, if it’s a
spring day and the crocuses are coming up, we feel happy! We feel happy.
If it’s a dull day, and raining and cold, and windy, we feel miserable and depressed. If it’s the Christmas
Eve, we’re all happy and excited at the office party. If it’s the dull, dog days of summer, or the dull days
of the depth of winter in February, we feel down and depressed. So, we become utterly dominated by external
circumstances. We are like little dogs. We are dominated just by what comes into our eyes and through our ears
It’s so with even the things that we eat. If we eat something that makes our tummy feel nice, then we feel
happy. If we drink something that makes us feel nice, then we feel happy. If somebody smiles at us, we feel
happy. If somebody glares at us, we feel down. It’s the same with the economy. If the economy is going well,
we feel a little more uplifted. If it’s down, we feel a little more depressed.
It’s amazing how we’ve become puppets, marionettes, that are controlled by the strings of circumstances. So
much so, in fact, that our personalities have become perverted. Instead of a happiness that rises from within
because of the love relationship with the infinite Being behind the universe, we have a happiness that is
dominated from without, from the circumstances around us, from the events that occur, from the things that
happen to us.
So, we go up and down in our lives. We’re up one day and down the next. It’s interesting, because the
circumstances change so quickly. The things that make us unhappy yesterday have changed today. So, we’re
happy. The things that make us happy today have so often changed the next week, and we have every reason for
being unhappy. So, we go up and down like yo-yo’s with little stability, and above all, little happiness in
our lives, because our happiness always is dominated by what happens to us, by our circumstances.
So, in so many ways, we have become like little robots, little marionettes that are tugged by strings — the
strings of events that happen to us. So many of us find and feel, therefore, that our lives are governed by
chance, by sheer chance. We talk about being lucky. We talk about luck. We talk about “the Force being with
us”, or luck being with us, or us being lucky today or something nice happening to us today. But, all in all,
we feel less and less in control of our own lives.
We feel more and more that we are not people or individuals. We are just the chance effects of the events that
occur in our lives. This gives us great insecurity, great lack of happiness, great uncertainty, great
discontentment. So we have in a way become monsters that are governed by the events that happen to us. Yet, we
still have not found the happiness that we were made for. That happiness, of course, comes from a relationship
that is far greater and far more stable than the passing events that occur in our lives.
Wouldn’t it be great to be independent of whether the day was dull or sunshiny, whether the events were good
or bad? Is such a life possible? It is. But we have undoubtedly a problem of a personality to take care of in
order to enter into that. Let’s talk a little about that tomorrow.
Knowing God’s Will for Your Life -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Knowing God’s Will for Your Life
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question that we are discussing on this station at this time each day.
What we’ve been saying is that part of the meaning of life comes from the fact that it is made by someone for
a certain purpose. That is, life itself is made by someone for a certain purpose. It hasn’t just happened by
All the order and design that we see in the change of the seasons, in the organization of the planets and the
stars, all the order we see in the DNA structure of the molecule, all the order that we see in our own bodies,
does not come by chance. It is evidence, as Einstein said, of an intelligent mind behind the universe. This
whole life of ours is made by that intelligent mind.
What we have been saying is that that intelligence showed itself very vitally and very vividly in the first
century of our era. A man appeared here on the earth, born of a human mother and a human father, but different
from all other human beings. This was a man who was able to break through the barrier of death and give us a
sense that he was, in fact, able to pierce beyond space and to come back to this earth after having communed
again with the Person who made the universe, whom he said was his Father. And that is, of course, the man
Jesus of Nazareth.
Now I ask you not to go to sleep, and not to say, “Oh, another religious broadcast.” It’s not. What we are
trying to do here, day by day, is to talk sensibly and plainly and intelligently about life and to share with
each other the thoughts that we have, so that you’re stimulated to think different thoughts yourself, or to
work out things for yourself, to work out a philosophy of life.
So that’s what we’re trying to do. What we’ve said is that the indications of this man Jesus are that you and
I are meant to live a life that is in friendship with our Creator. That is, a life that is lived in
conjunction with Him, in cooperation with Him. He did not just make you and put you here on earth to make your
own way through life as best as you could. He put you here to fulfill a certain purpose that He had in mind
that only you can fulfill. He wanted you to fulfill that in conjunction with Himself.
Now, if you say to me, “Ah, how can I find out about Him? I mean, He’s invisible. I’ve never seen the Creator.
I’ve never seen God.” Well, He feeds thoughts through your thoughts. That’s it. He would feed His thoughts
through your mind and through a deeper part of you called your spirit, if you began to treat Him for real.
That’s really what it’s all about. But, of course, if we would do that, then we would have a guidance system
in our life that would give us wisdom.
We’d have wisdom as to what job we would take, as to how we would do it; as to who we would marry, the kind of
things we would do with our family. It is not that we would be robots, because He wants free-willed people who
will love Him freely. We would have a dear Father who cared for us and whose advice would be invaluable to us.
That’s the way we were meant to live our lives. Of course, we have not lived them that way. You know from the
very beginning of the world, we began to live by our own resources.
In fact, you remember we talked about it some time ago. It was pictured by our Creator in His explanation of
the beginning of the world as two trees. He pictured it that way, because He was dealing with our human race
in its childhood and so we understood things that way. He said, “Look, I’ve given you a Tree of Life and Tree
of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life is really me. It’s really Me and my Spirit.
So, instead of His love and the provision that that would give us of all the food, clothing and shelter we
needed, we decided we would live off the world itself. We decided we’ll eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of
Good and Evil. That’s how it’s presented, you remember. It’s a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Really what
it means is that we’ll note what is good to do in this world and what is evil. What is good to do and what is
bad to do. What is right to do and what is wrong to do in order to get from the world food, clothing and
shelter, and happiness and the sense of significance that we need in our lives.
So we began to set down our precedents, our business laws, our psychological laws, our human relationship
laws, our family laws. We set up a whole system of what we should do and what we shouldn’t do in order to be
happy and fulfill ourselves. We substituted that, our knowledge of good and evil, for a dynamic and intuitive
relationship with the Creator of the universe. Of course, in doing that, we became perverted creatures.
Instead of getting from Him what we needed from His love, which included our food, shelter and clothing, our
sense of value and importance and our worth and self-esteem and happiness, we decided we’d depend on the world
for these and we’ll substitute for these things that we thought we needed, we’ll substitute what the world can
What we needed was not those things. We needed the love that lay behind those things. But of course, we didn’t
realize that. So we turned and tried to get from things the security that God’s own love alone could provide
We turned to circumstances and we tried to get from them the happiness that a love relationship with the
infinite Being behind the universe alone could produce. We began to depend on people for the sense of value
and self-esteem and worth that the love of the infinite, one significant Other in the universe alone could
provide. In doing that, we became perverted personalities.
Instead of living from a quiet, restful center that we had in the heart of our beings, because of our
relationship with Him, we began to live from the outside in. We tried to get from the world what we were meant
to get from the Creator of the world. In fact, it’s put in those terms in the early chapters of Genesis, you
remember, in Genesis 3, which tells of the fall of mankind which is just the fall of man from this close
relationship with God.
The verse runs like this, in Genesis 3:6;
“When the woman saw that the tree (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) was good for food”, (that is by
using the knowledge of good and evil that was built up by human beings over the years, she would be able to
get what she needed for food, and for clothing and for shelter) “and that it was a delight to the eyes…and
that the tree was desired to make one wise…”
…When she saw that by using a knowledge of good and evil, by using this chemical substance called heroin in
this way, I can get delight for my eyes, get happiness. I can begin to get exhilaration if I use the ski
slopes in Nevada, or the ski slopes in Switzerland this way, I’ll get this kind of exhilaration from them. It
would be a delight to the eyes.
If I begin to use the accumulated wisdom that is built up over the years of how to manipulate things for my
own success, then I can become significant and important and gain self-esteem in other people’s eyes. So
that’s the way we began to live — trying to get significance and security and happiness from the world of
things and circumstances and people, instead of from our love relationship with the Creator who is our Father.
In doing so, we became infinitely perverted personalities. It’s those personalities you and I now live with.
Let’s talk a little tomorrow about some of the consequences of that for us in our everyday lives.
Slave to People’s Opinions -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Slave to People’s Opinions
by Ernest O’Neill
Why do you find it difficult at times to say what you really think? You may answer, “Oh, well, I’m just not
very good at expressing myself.” But I think at other times you’d answer, “Well, I don’t know how it will be
taken. I don’t know how people will take it. I frankly don’t know what attitude they’ll take to me after I say
what I think. So I tend to keep quiet about things till I see the drift of the conversation and the kind of
people I’m with.”
“If I’m in a pub, or if I’m in a coffee house, or if I’m in a home or at a party, I tend to keep an eye out
and see the way the wind is blowing and then in the light of that, I express the part of myself that will fit
in with that.” That seems to be the case with many of us, doesn’t it? We have ourselves inside the being that
we really are, the person that we really are, and then we have all our relationships and our associations
outside and “never the twain shall meet” almost.
At least it seems to be rare that we get into a situation where we can really be what we really are. Of
course, the upshot of this fact is we tend to become what we are not. We tend to lose ourselves. We tend to
lose our own identity. Often, that’s what creates an identity crisis for us. We begin to wonder, “Who am I,
anyway? I seem to be just a little chameleon that fits in with the surrounding environment and that changes my
colors according to the vegetation that I find myself in.”
“I seem to be almost like a disguised person who is always trying to fit into the background so that I won’t
be noticed. Yet, I definitely want to be noticed.” So we find ourselves a strange combination, as Shakespeare
said, of opposites, of contradictions, of wanting to be noticed and not wanting to be noticed, of wanting to
be ourselves, of not wanting to be ourselves, of wanting people to see that we’re different, of not wanting
people to see we’re different.
We are contradictions. We are enigmas, even to ourselves. Where does this problem come from? Well, what we
have been sharing is that it comes from the fact that most of us are living the wrong way around. We’re living
outside in instead of inside out. We were meant, originally, to live from the inside. That is, from what we
really are inside. We’re meant to live from the inside out. In actual fact, most of us live from the outside
in. We were meant to live in friendship with the Person that made us and put us on this world.
You have a Creator that made you. That’s why you have those remarkable eyes and that incredible brain that you
possess, better than any microcomputer that we have yet created or invented. It’s because you were made by a
Creator who actually knows you, knows your name and loves you and wants to live your life together with you.
He intended to have such a close friendship with you, that you would have direction within yourself. You would
be able to act from within, from the person you really are in Him.
In that way, you would begin to act out through the rest of your personality to the world and would begin to
contribute things to the world. But, of course, what you and I have done is forget all that stuff. We have
decided there is no Creator; there’s just ourselves and the world and we have begun to try to live off the
world itself. Of course, we have such needs inside ourselves for value, for self-worth, for purity, for
happiness that we end up slaves to the world and to circumstances to get those things.
That’s why we end up in that position where we cannot be ourselves with people. We end up trying to fit in
with the environment, trying to fade into the background, trying to say in a conversation what will please the
rest and we end up not being ourselves at all. We end up, actually, being dominated by the world of people
around us and the world of things and the world of circumstances. So we become these perverted little
personalities that were made to work from the inside out, but now have become so enslaved by habit and by
practice that we can only work from the outside in.
That’s why when you try to be yourself, you can’t. That’s why, when you want to express what you really think,
you can’t — through fear of what other people will think. It’s because you actually still want to live the
way the Creator made you to live, but your personality itself becomes so trained and so tamed and so dominated
by the things and the circumstances and the people in the world that it works from the outside in. That’s why
you feel such a clash. You know how it goes.
You come into a situation in the office where there’s some discussion going on and you have a viewpoint and
you want to express it. But your little eyes are so trained to look at other people’s faces and see what
they’re thinking of you, and see whether they approve, that you’ve hardly begun to open your mouth on your own
opinion, but you’re looking to see if they’re approving of it. Are their eyes hearing what you want them to
hear, or are they hearing what they want themselves to hear? Are they pleased or displeased with what you’re
saying? Before you know it, your convictions are being suppressed by your desire to please them and to be
So often it’s the same with our worries and our anxieties. You want to be free from worry; you want to be free
from anxiety. You’re made, actually, to be absolutely confident that your Creator, the Father of the Universe,
will provide with all the things you need.
That’s what His Son said, “My God shall supply every need of yours from His riches”…everything you need! We
want to believe that. There’s something inside us that says, “Yes, life will work right. And our God will
supply us with what we need.” But word comes to us that we’re in overdraft in the bank, or word comes to us
that we need a new engine for the car, or word comes we’ve had a disaster at home, or that we have a sickness
that has to be treated by expensive drugs, and suddenly we’re thrown into anxiety and fret and worry that
keeps us awake at night.
It’s interesting. We find that we want to rest. We say to ourselves, let me go to sleep. Let me rest. Let me
hand these things over. Let me let them be, until tomorrow. I can’t do anything about tonight. But there’s
something in our personality, there’s almost a law in our personalities that makes us operate the other way,
and makes us worry and we say to ourselves, “Now, work it out! Work it out! Think through it. Think through
it. If you can only think through it, you’ll find an answer.”
So we find a battle that goes on inside ourselves, a battle in our own personalities. It’s almost as if we’re
going through that Jekyll and Hyde experience, you remember, that is talked about in that novel. That Jekyll
and Hyde that Robert Louis Stevenson described where Dr. Jekyll has a certain responsibility and a certain
respectability and a certain character of integrity, but Mr. Hyde was like a monster that seems to overcome
So we find in ourselves there is an urge within us that still operates the way we were meant to operate, but
it is increasingly overwhelmed as the years pass by, by a Jekyll-personality, a savage being that seems to be
what we have become. In other words, it’s interesting, but our personalities seem to work against us. It seems
as if we’re divided people. It’s as if we’re schizophrenics.
There’s part of us…there’s the real us that wants to be or do something, and there’s a personality that we
have developed that we wear like a coat that seems to suppress and work the other way. Let’s talk a little
tomorrow about this enigma, this Jekyll and Hyde personality that we have in our lives. Is there any way to
get free from that? Yes, there is. But we need to discuss it and to understand it. Let’s do that tomorrow.