Credit: Jason Weiss for Fredi
"The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves." -Alan Watts
My insights today are inspired by this message from Alan Watts; it’s about how simple and meaningful life can be if we allow it.
Just being here, existing in this human experience, is enough. The duality to this is that merely living and not trying to achieve something beyond yourself doesn’t mean you don’t need or want to. I believe it’s possible to do both, in fact, I think more good can come when we’re simply being instead of trying to achieve. Let me explain.
What we accomplish doesn’t need to be solely based on receiving accolades, or even making money (unless we’re using that money to give back and do more good, of course), it just needs to come from an honest place within us. It’s that simple. When we take action from that honest part of us, accolades and money become a bonus, but they’re not what’s going to lead to a meaningful life.
I believe I can achieve great things for myself and others the more I accept that I’ve already achieved and succeeded by purely existing. Read that again.
It takes the pressure off and allows us to live fully and give our energy to the most important things.
Credit: Jason Weiss for Fredi
Being here on this Earth—being human—is not always comfortable. All of us are experiencing something deeply personal and valid to our human existence. I hope that wherever you are on your journey—even during your most devastating, exhausting, or anxiety-provoking times—you can exist in this moment and know that it’s good enough, you are good enough.
However, the dualities of life and the suffering we witness makes it so being alive isn’t the only thing that matters. Again, I believe we can do both. I still get frustrated with myself at times, thinking that I’m not doing enough in the areas I care most about, but I’m starting to realize that what I’m doing now is preparing me for what I’m going to do later. The fun (and nerve-racking) part is that I don’t quite know what that looks like yet. If you feel this, too, remember that in addition to working toward positive changes, we also have to allow it to happen.
We can’t always expend our energy into all the things we wish we could, and sometimes we’re not ready to. I want to do more to support communities who don’t have equal access to resources and to help children who are lacking access to education due to this pandemic (and in general). I want to do more for women who are (and have been) experiencing sexual and verbal abuse, as well as heal the misrepresentation of women in the media. I wish I could fix the contaminated water that is poisoning our people and systemic issues like racial inequalities in our prison, health care, and education systems.
"I believe I can achieve great things for myself and others the more I accept that I've already achieved and succeeded by purely existing."
These are issues I want to focus more of my energy on, and I will in time. To be able to do that, I have to remember that I’m doing what I can with the strengths I have right now. I’ve chosen a career that is about serving individuals who need emotional and mental support, and I trust that eventually, I will have the tools, resources, connections, and knowledge to substantially help in these other vital areas. Maybe you feel this way too, maybe you’re already doing some of this work and want to do more, but until then, what if we keep Alan Watt’s in mind? Maybe to achieve something beyond ourselves, we must first be willing to make the most of where we are right now, acknowledging that being alive is enough.