Description: We're constantly trying to please people
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever felt that you were becoming a driven man or a driven woman? I think you know the phrase that we
use of people who seem utterly dominated and constrained and compelled by some external purpose so that they
are virtually nonexistent themselves. They seem to have become robots.
I would ask you the same question. That is, have you ever felt that you are a driven person? Maybe you say
that it’s just at times when you are under financial pressure, or when things at home are a little hectic.
Maybe it’s when things at the office get a little tight that you become preoccupied and driven. At times like
that you become preoccupied and you feel like a driven man or a driven woman, but, you would say, not all the
If I ask you, then, what makes you feel good, you would probably say that lots of things make you feel good.
You might say that when the family is happy you feel good. Perhaps when you have a good game of golf and have
a good score at the end of the day, that makes you feel good. Maybe when your friends are around you and they
say they enjoy and appreciate you, that makes you feel good.
Of course, as you outline all those examples, you can see that, in a way, they still drive you. It may not be
driven in the sense of an intense, driving or forcing but so often what we feel inside depends on what people
are doing or saying about us, on the outside. Or, what we feel depends on the external circumstances on the
Of course, you may say that that is life. You may say that life is dependent on what happens on the outside.
In other words, if it is a good day, then you tend to feel better. If you have a good game of golf, it makes
you feel better. If your friends say nice things about you, you tend to feel better. You might say that that
is what life is all about.
Yet you know that eventually that spells doom for us because there comes a time, sooner or later, when we can
hardly see anyone. Or, there comes a time when all we can see are tubes dripping blood and fluids into us or
the faces of the doctors looking down at us on the operating table.
Eventually that spells doom for life if we are dependent for our inside happiness on what happens outside of
us. Yet, so many of us would admit that we are that way. In that sense, it is true that most of us, in some
sense, are driven people. That is, our inside experience is dictated to and dominated by the external or
outside circumstances or the people that we are involved with.
Now, that’s all right for awhile, but there come moments in our lives when we think to ourselves that it would
be nice to be free from always being dictated to by outside circumstances or people around us. It would be
nice to be free to be ourselves, to be what we really are. That is the moment of truth for many of us. That’s
because we look inside to see who we really are, and we seem so often to find nothing.
We find that there is nothing in there, because what we have become is a little programmed robot dictated to
by the external circumstances and people around us. We are almost a reflection of others. We discover that
there seems to be nobody inside of us. There seems to be nobody home when we look into our hearts.
We begin to realize that if there ever was anybody in there who was unique or different, then they died long
ago. We do feel the words of Wordsworth in his poem, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy. Shades of the
prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length a man perceives it die away, and fade into the
light of common day.”
Many of us have found that the “you” that we once knew — the spontaneous, fresh little human being that used
to be there, that had thoughts and ideas about what he should be and what he should do — has now grown up and
matured and has put away those silly little ideas.
Yet there is a melancholy in it. We feel that indeed a glory has passed away from the earth. The wonder and
excitement of life is gone, but we say that life is like that. Well, that isn’t life. That’s only half life.
That’s life going on two cylinders when you should be going on three. That’s only partial life. And what we
have been sharing over these months is that that comes from the fact that we so often live on only two levels
of our personalities.
We live on the level of the body which can see the friends and enjoy the golf game, and can see the
circumstances around us. Then we live also on the level of the soul, or our psychological being. Our soul
contains our mind, emotions, and our will.
So the eyes see the friends and their approval. The eyes send a signal to the emotions and they become happy.
The emotions send a signal to the mind, and the mind smiles back at the friends and approves of them. So we
live in that vicious little circle that goes around and around between the body and the soul.
But the level of our being that contains “us” — that is, the real you, your spirit, the part of you that is
really you — the part that was made by your Maker and Creator unique among all the human beings that He has
created over the centuries — has died years ago through non-use. You have ceased to use yourself. You have
ceased to be what you felt you should be.
So, over years and years of compromise and the pleasing of others and years of being stimulated by external
circumstances, the real “you” inside has died. You can no longer find that “you”. You can’t find that spirit
because, in actual fact, the Son of the Maker of the universe said that you’ve died and that’s what’s wrong
with you. He said actually that you are dead in your sins.
We always think of sin as some terrible, immoral act, but sin is just acting independently of your Creator. It
is acting as if there were no Maker, and there were no person who knew what you were to do here on earth, or
who had plans for you. That’s what sin really is. That’s why Jesus of Nazareth said that we were dead in our
We are dead through our independence of our Father. He said that the Father is the only one who knows what we
are to do here on earth and He made us to achieve that. So, He is the only one who knows and, Jesus said, we
have acted independent of that for years, and we have become dead inside. The result is we can’t find
Now that’s why you have become a driven person. A person driven by external circumstances, and without any
real originality inside you. So, how do you ever find yourself again? How do you ever come alive again? How do
you ever find that spirit beginning to live inside of you again?
You must remember that the Maker of the universe has a great interest in that happening. He wants that to
happen. He doesn’t enjoy seeing you like a little animal. He doesn’t enjoy seeing you like a little monkey who
throws nuts to the people at the zoo, because they all clap when you do it. He doesn’t like seeing you be a
He wants you to be a real person. He wants you to be the person He made you to be. He wants you to be the
unique man or woman He created you to be. There is nobody else like you in the whole universe. He wants you to
be that person. He wants you to discover yourself.
Now, if you ask, how is that done — you simply ask Him. That’s it! That’s what His Son Jesus said. Jesus said
that if any good father is asked by his child for bread he will give it to him. He won’t give him a stone. He
loves him, so he will give him bread.
Now your heavenly Father loves you more than all these and He will give the Holy Spirit to whoever asks. Your
Father and Creator will give His Holy Spirit, His own original life, to your spirit to make it alive again.
You need only ask Him. That’s all you need to do. That’s just the beginning.
We will talk about what you do next, after that, over the next couple of years. But to begin you need only
say, “Father, give me the Holy Spirit to make me alive again so I can sense what I used to sense when I was I
was a child. Will you bring me to life again so I can begin to find out why you put me here?” He will give you
that Spirit and you’ll begin to sense a new life inside you.