Young People Have It So Easy These Days…

14/06/2010

A Little Perspective

Filed under: Meditation,Philosophy,Psychotherapy — davedoyle87 @ 23:23

People meditate in order to relax.

Everyone knows that, surely.

But what is the link between meditation and relaxation? And if it’s such a great tranquiliser, why aren’t millions of meditation addicts overflowing from rehabilitation centres worldwide for the positively sociopathic amount of time they spend alone (or indeed in groups) with their eyes closed?

It was a question which puzzled me too, as a particularly stress-prone young man, before I was introduced to this ancient and life-enhancing practice: what about all the time that you’re not meditating? Did meditation provide, at best, brief respite from… well, the world? Given that my anxiety generally came about as a consequence of exams or social situations, and not sitting with my eyes closed, this unanswered question seemed like reasonable grounds for scepticism.

Of course the way to learn about such things is not to avoid them, but to try them for yourself. And learn I did. The answer, based on my own experience of meditation, isĀ perspective. Focussing on one’s inner self, one’s own continuous, vital life processes (i.e. breathing) or the propagation of metta (universal loving kindness, very roughly translated) encourages a greatly improved perspective on the relatively trivial matters which can all-too-easily cause distress in even the most emotionally stable people in their darker moments. And you don’t have to be sitting down or have your eyes closed to have a perspective on something; it stays with you indefinitely, as long as you sit and foster it occasionally.

As such, little stuff just bothers you less. It’s as simple as that. It’s a beautiful thing, really.

For the ordained Buddhist who has pretty much devoted his life to meditation, it seems to be a ticket to perpetual contentment (judging by the content smiles they permanently wear, at least). To those of us still driven by more material concerns, life remains complicated. Just a little less so. Go on; give it a try.

Written in memory of the twelve Cumbrian individuals murdered by Derrick Bird on the 2nd of June and with metta for the families who survive them: proof that no matter how distressing your life may seem, it can almost always be infinitely more so.

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07/05/2010

Oh, The Irony…

Filed under: Philosophy,Psychotherapy — davedoyle87 @ 13:40

Just in case you hadn’t already guessed, the title of this blog is meant to be ironic. Not the most jaw-droppingly clever use of the English language, but there’s at least a reasonable chance that it was largely responsible for the fact that you’re still here and still reading.

But before you snort derisively at the cheap, attention-grabbing habits of the author and ‘Back Button’ him, please allow him a second to pitch his philosophy to you.

I began writing this blog for two reasons. The first reason is a personal, long-held and recently-resurfaced aspiration to be a journalist, coupled with the realisation that I had not written anything at all for some time and the sudden, accompanying dread that I might just have forgotten how to. If practice does indeed make perfect, then logic leads me to believe that my lack of practice must have rendered me virtually illiterate by now.

My second motivation is in some ways similarly self-centred, yet simultaneously more altruistic. I will be 23 years old this month. It has dawned on me, during the particularly turbulent and uncertain life period which has, so far, comprised September 2009 to May 2010, that young adult life is altogether more complicated and tumultuous than my parents, teachers, lecturers or other assorted role models could ever have prepared me for; the smooth transition from undergraduate to graduate to content employee never materialised for me personally, nor did it for my close friends. We’re all unemployed, we’re all in a monstrous amount of debt and we’re all more than a bit pissed off: that the degree parchments for which we toiled so hard and the diligent, polite, professional demeanours which we have conscientiously upheld through our various interviews (should we be lucky enough to be offered one) seem–at this point in time–to count for nought.

In short, I felt the need to vent. In addition, I felt the need to connect with other young adults who might be experiencing the same aspirations/frustrations as myself. Finally, I wanted to offer a supportive hand-on-shoulder to those in the same boat; as a current part-time student of counselling and psychotherapy, I’m feeling pretty empathetic, despite it all.

So please, if you wish to share any thoughts on the broad general topic of young adulthood, or if you have any pearls of wisdom for the rest of us who are struggling to navigate the minefield of our twenty-somethings on the long road to career satisfaction, home ownership and the other tantalising promises of middle age, then do. Or indeed, if you wish to read the same, please keep checking back for updates.

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