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Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life

The following excerpts are taken from Fulton Sheen’s talk: The Philosophy of Life.

Breaking the anxiety of life

“Some years ago there was an Indian who went into Tibet. He went in to do a little evangelizing and he took with him a Tibetan guide. In the course of the trip they got very cold crossing the foothills of the Himalayas and they sat down, exhausted, almost frozen. And this Indian, whose name was Singh, said, “I think I hear a man moaning down there in the abyss.” And the Tibetan said, “Well, you are almost dead yourself; you can’t help him.” And Singh said, “Yes, I will help him.” So he went down, dragged the man out from the abyss the best he could and carried him to the nearby village and came back completely revived, revived by that act of charity. And when he came back, he found his friend, who refused to aid the neighbor, frozen to death.”

Step 1: Help your neighbor

“First, go out and help your neighbor. Those who suffer from an anxiety of life do so because they live only for themselves. Their mind, their heart, each has been dammed up and all of the scum of the river of life makes of the heart and mind a kind of a garbage heap. And the easiest way out of this is to love people whom you see. If we do not love those whom we see, how can we love God, whom we do not see? Visit the sick. Be kind to the poor. Help the healing of lepers. Find your neighbor, and the neighbor is someone in need. Once you do this, you begin to break out of the shell. You discover that your neighbor is not hell, as Sartre said, that your neighbor is part of yourself and is a creature of God.”

STEP 2: Be open


“The second way is leave yourself open to experiences and encounters with the Divine, which will come to you from without. I say leave yourself open. Your eye does not have light, your ear has no sound or harmony. The food of your stomach comes from without. Your mind has been taught. Your radio pulls in unseen waves from the outside. Therefore, allow this hole in your head, this hole in your heart, to receive certain impulses that come from without that will perfect you, no matter how far away you be, and what I’m talking about, they will still come.”


Listen to his talk HERE (25 mins).


Life is Worth Living
By Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Man's Search for Meaning
By Viktor E. Frankl