Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why meditation is good for we twentysomethings

A little while back my friend Ryan showed me a blog by a guy named Ronnie Nurss, entitled "Why Gen-Y Should Practice Mediation."

Ronnie has some good points. It helps you focus, control your thoughts, etc. And, of course, all of the good things I listed in my last post.

But aside from the obvious, all the usual benefits and reasons why everyone should meditate, there are some good reasons why our generation specifically should consider meditation:

Generations X and Y (I'm never sure which one I really identify with more) have been raised in an incredibly technological, fast-paced era. We're used to watching TV while texting our friends and surfing the internet. We're great multitaskers, and can be incredibly efficient when we want to be. But it also means a lot of us have trouble slowing down. With all of the thoughts whirring through our heads, we lie awake at night because we can't stop thinking. Meditation helps us to slow that down (when we want to) and have more control over what we think about, when, and how much.

For example, consider a time in your life when something happened and stuck with you all day - someone was rude at the grocery store, a friend got mad at you over a misunderstanding, etc. -  and it's all you were able to think about all day. You ruminate over it. Whatever the emotion tied to that interaction was, such as anger, sadness, or anxiety, it stays with you all day. Maybe it ruined a night out because you were thinking about it. Maybe you jumped on someone else because you were still angry about it. It's not a very easy way to go through life. 

When we meditate, we learn to control our thoughts so that we can leave those things behind and not be affected by them (at least, not as much) as we go through our day. So meditating can actually make you more efficient and increase your ability to deal with stress and other sorts of emotionally charged situations. 

Another defining feature of our generation(s) is that we are stuff-oriented. We get a lot of joy out of having things. We all know that wanting things requires money, and a lot of stress gets created around earning the money to get the thing, or about getting the thing if it's in high demand. Not to mention all of the usual angst of being a young adult - feeling like we're not good enough, agonizing over relationships, not being sure of ourselves... Meditation helps us learn that fulfillment comes from within. It can help us achieve that fulfillment and recognition within ourselves. It helps us to become more balanced, even-keel people.

A lot of people our age don't sleep well. I don't have any facts to back that statement up, but anecdotal evidence from my peers supports it. I think it's because of the ruminating, the over-stimulation, and the fact that we have all the tech stuff to stay up and play with (think of the nights you've stayed up a little later than you should've chatting with a friend online, playing a game, or even just surfing facebook) that we don't sleep. Meditation helps with that, too - it slows the thoughts, helps calm us down and relax, and can easily guide us into a deep state of rest. 

Meditation brings us into better alignment with our inner knowledge - our deepest self, intuition, and spirit. Many people in their twenties go through the "quarter life crisis" of not knowing what to do, where to live, or what will bring them joy. When we get quiet through meditation, we are more able to get in touch with the deepest part of ourselves that knows what will bring us the greatest fulfillment. Once we are able to connect with that inner knowingness, it becomes much easier to make decisions about our lives - to know what it is that we want to do, what kind of people we want to be with, and what will bring us the greatest joy. 

1 comment:

Cameron said...

Hey Nicole,

I find myself in the same situations, having trouble slowing down amidst the daily hustle and bustle.

Alisha gave me a book a while back, 'A big new free happy unusual life' by Nina Wise, which echoes some of what you are saying, though she focuses on self experession (art, music, writing, dance, etc...) as a path to a 'good place'. (I'd loan you my copy if I weren't on the verge of moving)

I guess it is all a form of meditation, as it can help one thing about themselves in a larger context, or just provide an avenue for releasing energy. Good luck with your pursuits.

-Cam