19 April 2006

Calling All Spiritual Youth

My daughter writes:
This is the culminating project for my World Religions course. I am collecting personal accounts and perspectives of people between the ages of 12 and 25 about how they are individually affected by their experiences of religion and spirituality. I am trying to find connections, similarities, and differences among youth from as many different religions and forms of belief as possible. I’ll be posting excerpts from the responses I receive, plus my analysis, comparisons, and my own reflections.

Please send me your reflections, stories, and thoughts on these questions or any other topics that you think would be important to share. Pictures that reflect your religious practice are also encouraged.
A chip off the old block(head)! Using social media to conduct research involving some interesting questions among a global peer group. If you know of youth in the right age range, please pass the word to them.

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Anonymous said...

Well I am a little over 25 (if you're restricted by strict sampling measures). I am a Hindu, from India. I come from a country where spirituality is like the life blood of a nation, connecting thousands, millions of people across myriad races, ethnicities, and ironically even religions. We fight over it, obsess over it, rejoice over it and sometimes are divided by it.

I have been brought up on vedantic principles by deeply spiritual (I prefer that to religious here) parents. My spirituality has been a constant source of inspiration for me- it is a constant reminder to me that I am not merely this body; that the human life represents infinite potential and it is the goal of every life to attain that potential. For me all of religion and all of spirituality is ensconced in this one story told by Swami Vivekananda:
Several droplets in a cloud were conversing with one another, each asking the other where they would want to fall once the cloud began to rain. One laughed and said, “I would like to fall in a fresh water stream, cool, clear and bubbling”; “Another said, “I would like to fall on a rose petal, soft and welcoming.” And so on and so forth. One droplet sat quietly aside till the others pestered him into answering, “Where would you fall?” The droplet answered, “I would like to fall on the sand in the blazing hot desert”. The others shocked, exclaimed, “But you will instantly vaporize in pain!!” The single droplet answered, “I know, but if for that moment that one grain of sand feel relief, my purpose is served.”

I don’t think I have told the story verbatim, and am quite the certain the Swami told it better. But that to me is the essence of Hinduism, of all spirituality. And in my very very very limited way, I try and put that into practice.

Mark Federman said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story, Astha. I've forwarded it to the project site, that can be emailed at spiritual_youth@hotmail.com.