Our generation faces challenges that our ancestors could not have anticipated and our forefathers never experienced this way of modern living. The importance of spirituality has grown exponentially due to this change as there are no other support systems for today’s generation apart from ourselves. Our attention spans have dwindled and we’re not ready to step out of our logical frame of minds and we shouldn’t. Therefore, it’s essential for the modern human to evaluate the meaning, purpose and direction of his/her life before we lose further time spent in confusion, frustration and hopelessness.
Why is the struggle for today’s generation so unique?
Every generation says they had more to struggle than the previous one but in our modern world, the youth is actually facing interestingly unique and bewildering predicaments that our fathers and grandfathers didn’t. Our ancestors generally lived, ate, worked and died in the same place but we have the option to move around, change religions, jobs and our identities based on our own will and conviction. We’ve got pretty cool jobs and even better job titles. Our careers are not only widely different from what our fathers/mothers pursued, but we now have the freedom to change careers every few years. This poses a serious identity crisis and the more choices we have, the more anxiety it brings about picking the best one. In reality, all choices have pros and cons and no choice really is the best one as it also has drawbacks one has to be willing to accommodate. Here lies the issue that each one of us faces; What should I do with my life? Where should I live? Should I marry or stay single? Does God exist? Why am I alive?
Why are we so confused?
When a teenager faces this decision as to what he should do with his life, a smart individual would obviously give a lot of importance to this most crucial of all questions. After all, this one life is all we have and to live it in the best way so we can be happy with it is of most importance. Confusion is a natural consequence of this and a young mind is hardly equipped to handle this question at that age. Some jump into a certain choice out of the need to just pick one and others do so without much research regarding it as it is their childhood dream to do so. The sources of fulfillment are not questioned at this phase and so we’re left to just pick something, something we might or might not enjoy.
Why has religion failed this generation?
The fundamental root of religion out of which a way of life grows is belief. We are taught of heaven and hell and how we must do good in order to avoid being tortured by Satan and his minions. For this generation that’s based on logic and scientific proof, these promises and folk tales hold no existential or logical importance as they are based on things we can neither see, hear , touch or confirm in any way. If there is a heaven, where is it? If God is everywhere, why don’t I see him anywhere? How can I just blindly believe in something if my mind protests at its gross irrationality? For this generation, religion is not far from mass madness and unfortunately, it’s almost regarded as a disease that leads to stupidity. Hence, the support system that held together the previous religion has now been shattered by the spokes of undeniable logic and truthful questioning. Without answers, we’re pondering endlessly and soon we are plunged into a pit of hopelessness and stress. Without these answers, we’re like wise men trapped in an endless maze. We know we’re smart and hard working, why have we still not found what we’re looking for?
The unsuspected merging of the modern man and the monk
A monk is a vagabond, a traveler who’s seeking his salvation by traveling to different towns in search of answers. He survives on whatever he can find and this mind accepts nothing but complete authenticity and extreme logic. He will not believe anything just for the sake of believing, he simply wants to understand and wants concrete proof. Having given up family life and other attachments, a monk lets his spirit rule his being as the soulful bird within sores from one magical branch to another. In many ways, our generation is turning into this definition of a monk that originated a thousand of years ago. A seeker taking endless flights, spending most of his time in transit and looking for meaning in moments of restfulness. The conventional family life no longer gives lasting relief and every person has art and nature within him, whether he has made a career out of it or not is irrelevant. There is a noticeable shift to jobs that feed our passions from those that fed industrial giants. We’re comfortable and well fed but we’re still searching. This is not a coincidence, but the nature of being human. We are seekers and we don’t settle in one place. In these times, the only relief is within and finding answers in our minds has become the only source of belonging. What are we doing if it is not a unconscious move towards spirituality? Isn’t spirituality not the art of seeking for happiness? Are we any different from a man who left his palace thousands of years ago to look for real answers to what life really is, the great Buddha?
How to turn confusion into consciousness, go from hopeless to happy and from monkey to monk?
In is the only way out. For lasting happiness, our jobs, families or achievements wont help. Today’s generation earns to travel and even if we don’t realize it, we essentially travel to seek. If seeking is the nature of our existence, why not start with ourselves? If we know ourselves, we know the entire world by default. Spirituality does not believe, it asks. It does not find, but seeks. The only solace to the modern predicament of absolute freedom and the choice conundrum is to find this happiness within. According to ancient Yogic wisdom, this happiness not only lies within, but there’s no other place one can find it other than within ourselves. The need for spirituality is more now than ever before and what we need is fearless and strong individuals who possess the conviction to not only walk on this most beautiful path, but have the grit to go all the way.