by Ernest O'Neill
Many of us today feel there is a hollow emptiness in our lives. We watch television, go to movies, attend concerts, and go out with friends, but still feel an emptiness in life that we cannot quite explain. On the other hand, many of us have experienced moments when we seemed to transcend our own limited personalities by bravery, endurance or kindliness that seem to come from outside ourselves. The explanation of both of these opposite extremes is that there is available to us a superhuman life or energy that we are intended to experience in our normal everyday lives. Though it has been observed in the lives of various people throughout history, it was expressed most consistently in the integrity and wisdom and power over death that is found in the life of Jesus of Nazareth around 28 a.d..
This life is an energy that is different from our mental, emotional, and physical life: it is the actual life-power of the Creator Himself and is manifested by Him in the lives of those who acknowledge Him. The created life that we have when we're born was also given us by our Maker but it was intended only to maintain our existence on the earth long enough to enable us to consciously choose to recognize Him. As we began to live in conscious friendship and obedience to His plans we would "shift into overdrive" as His creative life lifted and extended our mental and physical powers. The Creator still expresses this "creative" life unconditionally in outstanding human beings irrespective of their own attitude to Him -- FOR JUST ONE BIG REASON! So that you and I will see how we ourselves can live!
Our Created Life
But so dominated have we become with "knowledge" (Gen. 2:17) that we look at these "outstanding" people as simply having more ability than ourselves. If this were real ability in the sense of "being able to change situations in the world" we might be more justified in our own resignation. But usually these "outstanding" people do not effect permanent change in the course of history; they simply express a life that is more vibrant and alive than natural created life. The real changes in the world usually come not from such outstanding individuals but from inexplicable and often untraceable, gradual movements by lots of 'little" people. In this way, the Creator demonstrates down through the years both the visible expression and the effectual power of His uncreated life.
However, He does this so that we will see that our present "flat" and "relatively ineffective" created life is nothing more than a temporary "battery" until we "plug into the main power supply." While we fail to do that, we find an emptiness in our lives. This feeling of futility comes from the fact that we are not living the life we were meant to live and are not living off the life we were meant to live off. No wonder we wonder who we are or what we're doing here!!
Who Am I?
That's the question that increasingly eats at us inside as the years go by. We fill up our time with little jobs and temporary purposes that our underpowered capacities and our human relationships present to us, but always we are wondering "why am I doing this?" "What am I here for anyway?" Even when we are presented with the gold watch after 30 years of service, we still wonder who we are or what we're meant to do here.
But the real agony of this identity crisis is not in the external question of what we're doing with our lives. Our identity crisis is most intense inside us -- in our "losing touch with our selves".
Loss of Identity
Because we are out of touch with the Creator and His creative life we are unable to fulfil our part in completing the creation. Instead, we look at the creation as a source for maintaining our temporary created life. The result is that we become utterly dependent on the world of people for our own self esteem. If someone praises us we feel we're worth something. If someone criticizes us, we face a crisis of self worth. In order to keep the praises coming and evade the criticisms, we become little performing monkeys who will do anything to get the boss, our peers, or our mates to praise us. So deeply ingrained do these reflex responses become that we quickly develop into "social machines" that respond the way we're expected to respond. In place of the creative, spontaneous, original individuals we were created to become, we turn into robots that can no longer find their own souls
So, without the uncreated life expressed pre-eminently in Jesus of Nazareth, we knock at the door of our hearts in vain -- because we cannot find anyone in. As Wordsworth wrote:
"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."
If we miss the purpose and life-power we were made for, we are bound to have a problem with our identity.
Let's look in the next article at the impact this lack of superhuman life has on our happiness.
Read Superhuman Life No. 17
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