The need for meaning

I don’t personally think the universe offers us absolute meaning beyond the remarkable fact of our own existence. However, meaning is something that humans crave, and often need. Having an understanding of what’s meaningful helps us navigate choices. A sense of meaning and significance puts our lives into helpful perspective and can inform our sense of self worth.

I think it’s down to each of us, individually, to find and create meaning in our lives. This is an existential perspective and I find it comforting. I know that for some people the idea that there is no external source of ultimate meaning can seem threatening. This is no doubt why so many humans – historical and contemporary – have been drawn to religions that offer clear explanations about what the point of life is and therefore how you should live. We don’t have that kind of authority in Druidry and people are free to approach the issue of meaning on their own terms.

When we know what we find meaningful, we have something to hold at the centre of our lives. Community spaces that enable people to flourish have always been really important to me. I’m here for the love of wild things, for creativity, inspiration and beauty. I believe in restorative justice. This leads me to a sense of personal honour that involves how I take care of the people in my life, what I can do for the wild world, and how to act justly and with compassion. On the days when I struggle to get out of bed in the morning, knowing that I might be able to do some small thing on these terms helps me get moving.

Existence offers innumerable opportunities for meaning on a personal scale. Just not ultimate definite meaning. We don’t have to wait until we find meaning, we can set out to choose it and create it. We don’t have to wait for some external source – be that a deity, a book or an institution – to hand us meanings or validate the ones we have. We can simply decide what’s meaningful and choose to live accordingly.

It doesn’t fix everything. Having a sense of meaning doesn’t magically cure depression or stave off anxiety. But it does give you something to hang on to. It means there are stars in your night sky you can use to plot your course, and often, that’s enough.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

2 responses to “The need for meaning

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