Today's Youth and Spirituality

The words "God, Religion, Spirituality" all have a negative connotation in modern youth. When asked, "Do you believe in God?" you get the typical answer: "Kind of. I guess. Sure. Maybe." Agnosticism is very popular within youth because they want to believe in something more, but they are so uncertain what to believe in, or if there even is something to believe in. What causes the uncertainty? I'll tell you.

We live in a very materialistic, superficial age right now. An age where there are thousands of religions in this world; and millions of beliefs. An age where social media is huge, and every single belief is exposed. An age where young people are vulnerable, easily influenced, and often lost. As we exit childhood, and begin to grow older: it is very easy to lose our spirituality. It is very easy to be cynical opposed to being that happy child full of wonder. Don't let this happen to you. Remember your inner essence.

Christianity, very popular within Western culture, is losing young believers. Let me elaborate a bit more.
"I'm gay, and christianity hates gay people. If there was a God, he wouldn't make me this way."
"There are so many contradictions in the Bible."
"God hates women and believes they should submit to a man. I'm my own person."
"The Bible is all for slavery. I don't want to believe in a God that thinks slavery is okay."
"According to the bible, wearing polyester  and playing football is wrong. What the hell?"
"You expect me to believe the fairytales in the Bible?"

I could go on for quite some time. Here is my message for you: DO NOT TAKE RELIGION SO LITERALLY. The Bible is one of many "holy books." The reason I decided to speak about the Bible is because it is the most controversial in our modern American culture. Keep in mind...these books were written by people. Edited by people. A lot of the things written are supposed to be metaphors. A lot of the things written in holy books are interpreted in different ways. Do not base your spirituality off of what a book written thousands of years ago by people, just like you wrote. There is probably not a man with a beard sitting on a cloud damning us to hell, but just because certain beliefs in certain religions do not seem valid to you, does not mean you need to dismiss spirituality entirely.

  • 'My Life Sucks' vs Soul Lessons: Now. "Why do bad things happen to me? My mom died of cancer. My boyfriend of 4 years left me. I lost my job. What did I do to deserve this? If God loved me, this would not happen." Ah, yes, the typical 'My life sucks. If there was a God, everything would be about unicorns and cupcakes.' Do not make this about God when you can't even define God. What is God to you? God is NOT a human. God is whatever you want it to be, whether it be love, a driving life force, the universe, or perhaps the creator of our souls. But do not blame everything on God. Here's a tip: negativity and doubt will not get you anywhere. If you throw those thoughts and feelings out into the universe, they will come back to you, only magnified. Bad things happen to all of us. They are meant to be felt, they are meant to be embraced. But just because bad things happen to you, does not mean the good things should be discredited. You probably aren't even acknowledging the good things. You let yourself feel the bad things, you let yourself complain, cry, and think about the bad things. Yet the good things just come and go. Do not let this happen. Feel, talk, smile, and think about the good things. Everything that happens to you is apart of your destiny. Everything that happens to you is a lesson. Everything that happens to you is for your souls growth.

  • Recognition vs Purpose: Purpose is something that today's youth sometimes lacks. Lack of purpose can cause doubt and depression. A spiritual guru when asked by a woman in his audience, "What is my purpose?" said, "Look at the person to your right. Look at the person to your left. That is your purpose. You aren't looking for your purpose, you just want fucking recognition." We all have a purpose. But we wonder...why is nobody praising me? Why hasn't anyone noticed my purpose? Validate yourself, don't wait for someone to validate you. Find your own purpose because sure, people will guide us to our purpose but no one will tell us our purpose, for that is up to you. Remember, not everyones purpose is to save the world and have 7 talents. Purpose isn't being recognized. Purpose isn't fame. We all are on an individual purpose for our soul's growth, but also...a world purpose: service.

  • Fame vs Service: In a recent survey with youth (10-30yrs), they were asked what they wanted more than anything. The answer was not fortune, love, or happiness. The answer was fame. I found this funny, because anyone can be famous. It's not about being's about how you get there. You can be on a reality show, you can murder 20 people in a shooting, you can eat 7 cockroaches in less than a minute, or you can eat a used tampon and post it on youtube. So, in all honesty, if you aren't doing something good with your fame: it's useless. Like I said before, our world purpose is service. Service to the customers at our job, service to our family and our friends, service to our significant other, service to the person that you open door for at the gas station. We are looking for recognition, not purpose. We are looking for fame, not service. That's why youth doubts so much: They are waiting for people to praise them! For everything to be perfect! For people to validate them! That is not how it works. We are here for other people. To make them smile. We all are given ethereal gifts, and we should embrace them to the world. They will make a difference in many lives. It does not matter if millions of people know your name. That will be erased with death. It doesn't matter. But service is not erased after death. When you touch a soul, that stays there forever. Serve other people. Find out your gifts and use them. 

  • Prayer vs Art: Prayer is often made fun of in the media. A lot of times, many people pray for something- and it doesn't work. People claim prayer is just talking to yourself, and has no benefit. Meditation and prayer are closely linked and actually, contrary to popular belief, help a lot of people. Prayer is basically letting out your deepest desires and sympathies, hoping somebody is listening. We are not aware if somebody is listening...but that does not mean prayer is bad. Hate to break it to you: but art is prayer. According to the Baha'i faith, art is prayer because we are creating. Just like the ultimate creator. In art, you unveil the depths of your soul. Your desires, your pain, your wonder. Art keeps many people sane. Art helps people. Prayer keeps people hopeful. In my personal belief, I believe in you really have hope for something, and you have faith, it can happen. If you keep being optimistic, the universe will help you. Who knows if there is actually some type of consciousness listening, but regardless, prayer helps us all. Prayer, to you, may not be getting down on your knees, bowing your head and talking to a God. But we all do it. And it helps us all.

Youth hates the idea of "fairytale" beliefs. I understand this, and science is making great discoveries. Sometimes it's hard to believe in something greater than us. But you can. In this materialistic, superficial age, it is your job to find your spirituality. To believe in something greater than us. That doesn't need to be a bearded man on a cloud. That does not need to be a God. But something greater than us. Lets face it: we all want to believe in an all loving, beautiful life force that flows within and without us. So why can't we? Oh wait, we can. You can. Being young is hard, I realize that. Remember: love is the universe's most power energy force. Love is greater than us. Love is the center of 99% of world religions. Love is within all of us. As the great Victor Hugo said, "To love another person is to see the face of God." Define purpose, define love, define God, define spirituality, define soul...and then maybe, just maybe- you can find your spirituality. I hope this post helped you reevaluate your spirituality. You may call me a dreamer, but I'm awake.

                         With Divine Love,
                                                 Maria Elena

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