How to see the meaning in every action you take

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Do you ever wonder, what’s the point to all this?

Do you ever see all that’s going wrong with the world and feel helpless and hopeless?

Do you ever feel like life is crashing down around you with no end in sight?

There’s no sugar-coating it: life is fucking tough. We struggle to find commonalities with family, friends, and strangers, alike. We struggle to find purpose for ourselves. We struggle to open ourselves up to a world that is at once both terrifying and awe-inspiring.

And while it might sometimes feel like what you do has no meaning, it does.

It does because every choice you make brings about a better or worse world, either for you or someone else.

Our responsibility

Don’t we cling to the irresponsibility of youth while simultaneously grasping at the freedom and purpose promised by adulthood?

But, being an “adult” requires us to take responsibility for our lives. If we don’t, we are pulled in two directions. Our minds are divided. Fissioned. Split.

When we don’t take responsibility, we try to walk a tight-rope between childhood and adulthood that doesn’t exist, and never has.

So, we fall into oblivion.

It’s true, responsibility can feel like a heavy burden. It’s understandable that we flee from this burden, at least sometimes.

But, there’s no escaping it. Because what you often don’t realize is that every moment is your responsibility. You’ve just convinced yourself that your responsibility lies elsewhere, in other things.

Society teaches us that responsibility lies in doing well in school, getting and maintaining a job, doing your taxes, buying a home, getting married, taking care of your family and house, and so on.

Yet, our true responsibility is much more subtle and pervasive than that. It’s our responsibility to forgive ourselves for mistakes. It’s our responsibility to always give our best effort. It’s our responsibility to treat others and ourselves with respect. It’s our responsibility to act in spite of fear.

Responsibility is everywhere. Not just in the big things, but in the little things, too. It’s in everyday actions, and these actions matter.

Why everyday actions matter

If you think that you generally go about your day making meaningless decisions, you’re wrong.

Yes, the human understanding of morality is highly varied across nations and cultures. But, what must underpin all of it is conscious experience. Without conscious experience, there could surely be no morality — at least, not as we understand it.

Without consciousness, there would be no one perceiving any action, good or bad. Without consciousness, there would be no perception of emotion or sensation. Without consciousness, there would be no perception of thought.

If consciousness is the basic building block of morality and morality concerns our behaviour, that means, to be moral, our behaviour must be directed toward improving the conscious experiences of all creatures.

What does this mean for us?

Every action you take affects the consciousness of either you or someone else. Therefore, every action you take shifts the moral balance of the entire universe, for better or worse.

This means you must be careful. The human condition is fragile. We are easily seduced by nihilism — meaninglessness and purposelessness. We are captivated by empty pleasures. We are susceptible to devastating addictions. We are tempted by quick “fixes”.

Each decision you make matters because your life and the lives of others hang in a precarious balance. In each decision you make is the opportunity for you to bring about a better moral state than existed a moment ago.

That is a heavy burden to bear. But, bear it you must.

And by acknowledging and accepting this burden, you might find the meaning you’ve been seeking.

Written by

Following my curiosity and hoping it will lead me to wisdom. I write about science, meditation, and spirituality.

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