Why Your 20s Are the Best Time to Learn Meditation
Youth’s best friend — meditation
In the midst of crashing worlds, when my professional life was coming to an excruciating halt, my personal life wasn’t going well either.
I’m talking about my startup coming to an end more than a year ago. Our funding deal was canceled at the last moment just as the investors got cold feet out of the blue.
I thought the paperwork was only a formality. That the deal was done. But I soon learned an important business lesson — a person needs to make you believe their word means something; if they don’t, it’s dog**.
Anyway, it’s not that it all came burning down. Just before the house of cards fell, I got out of the company and incorporated another entity to start my business anew.
As you can guess, this experience was hard on me. But what made it harder was the lack of a spine in my life.
Even though I was mentally doing good and my health was fine, my spiritual life was a mess. It matters because no matter what you believe, we need to cling to a higher reality to transcend life’s difficult experiences.
It’s not escapism as you might think. It’s about getting your strength from a higher source to continue fighting your battles in the future.
This, fortunately, was the time when I started meditating and joined Ananda to learn the yogic teachings to live a better life.
My new-found spiritual practices were like a blanket. They helped me heal from whatever was going wrong and bounce back in a short time.
As I reflect more on my experience, I realize this is what our 20s are often like — at least for the people who want to make something out of their career.
A-type, driven and ambitious individuals like me are hyped up by the concept of grabbing life by the balls. But as anyone knows, it brings a lot of dirt with it.
To endure these and many other challenges that come on our path as millennials, I’d like to posit an all-encompassing solution to our problems:
Why Your 20s Are the Best Time to Learn to Meditate
The 20s are a hard phase of life. It’s when we experience the common quarter-life crisis that isn’t talked about as much as the mid-life crisis.
This is when we start to doubt everything we do. We aren’t sure of what the next logical step is. Lost in a maze of a hundred opportunities, we don’t know which way to pick.
It’s also scary to think that this would be the defining decade of your life. And even if it’s not defining or not, it sure will have a great impact on what you do later in your life.
Packed with this knowledge the anxiety of making the right choice comes for free!
Yael Shy, author of ‘[What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond](https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/34262294-what-now)’ felt the same. She says,
The stress in my life peaked during my college years. My preoccupation with life’s philosophical questions felt like existential anxiety and translated into concrete symptoms for me and problems. I had panic attacks, trouble sleeping, felt lonely all the time.
Her experience seems justified. For someone who’s not grounded in oneself, the period of young youth and transition into adulthood can be challenging. This is the period where we leave a lot of friends and change environments like makeup.
We go from school to college and enter the ‘real’ world — these transitions can be painful.
Not to mention, your personal life can also be a roller-coaster. It may be a relationship that you’ve to leave behind. Or you may have to part ways with your friends and family.
In short, it’s filled with intense emotions and insecurity. What if you never fall in love? What if you can’t find work you’re passionate about? You miss home. You miss close friends. You’re lost in the noise of how you think you should be living and worried about wasting what everyone says should be the best years of your life.
Shy has found the same true not only for herself but even for current students,
When I work with students at NYU I’ve seen the same kind of thing happen. They think that the anxiety in their life is just part of life and it’s just terrible. I think it’s hard to appreciate how much of your mind is creating your reality, especially when you are young.
Now, there’s both good news and bad news for us.
The bad news is that these anxieties, doubts, and fears can’t be avoided. They’re just a natural part of life.
The good news is that meditation can help you ease these phases out and come out stronger.
Meditation Gives You Deeper Self-Awareness
Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. — Steve Jobs
Often when we’re confused about our future, we lookout for inspiration. We look at the people around us.
Even further, social media has made it even easier for kids to find people in their desired fields and emulate them to achieve their success. Or it seems so.
It can work. But it doesn’t give you the best chance of designing a life of satisfaction.
You see, lost in the noise of the world, it’s all too easy to forget to look in the most important place — within ourselves. What your intuitive, inner voice tells you is in most cases, the right path to tread on.
The problem is, we’re not attuned enough to listen to that voice. It’s easy to distract ourselves with outward preoccupation and not do the work required to nurture your intuition.
Meditation will help you do that.
In a 2005 Stanford speech, Jobs again credited his intuitive mind as having a significant impact on his work. “You have to trust in something,” he said. “Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Jobs added, “This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
“All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge,” Einstein once told a friend, according to Psychology Today. “At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason.”
I know it seems a bit new-age to you (or maybe not). But let me give you a personal example.
When I was 15, I watched a lot of legal drama serials — think of Suits, and other similar Indian series. Thus, I felt it was my life’s purpose to become a lawyer.
Thank god I dropped that. But the habit of looking outward didn’t leave me. From 17–20, I got obsessed with the entrepreneurship culture. There was nothing more seductive as a career than that.
And so I started companies, worked with clients all in hopes of building a great business. While I was successful to some extent, the success was hollow.
I wasn’t excited every morning. There was no fire in my belly every time I thought about the future. There was fear.
Fortunately, when I learned meditation, I listened to my inner voice and came to love writing and sharing spiritual teachings with others.
The surprising fact is that I was writing all along. But that desire was overshadowed by the other desires imposed onto me by entrepreneurship porn.
Does this mean I’ve left entrepreneurship? No. I’ve found a way to integrate what I like doing with building a business.
If I hadn’t meditated, I would’ve never had the strength to admit the truth to myself. I would’ve been stuck in the same never-ending loop of unhappiness.
No matter what you do your intuition will always be your best advisor. And it’s best to develop that early in life.
If your decisions are guided by your intuition from the get-go, you’ll be much happier.
It’s Easier to Integrate It Into Your Life When You’re Young
I’ve heard of and seen many people who’ve spent their lives chasing material success, only to reach midlife and realize that isn’t what they wanted.
They then switch to their spiritual practices but the regret of not coming earlier never leaves them.
They keep their legs in two boats and then the boats separate, they drown in the middle. Neither were they able to advance spiritually, nor get the material success they needed.
By having your spiritual needs clear from the start, you can work towards integrating them into your life. Why? Because it’s much easier to mold clay when it’s soft than when it’s hard.
If you develop the habit of getting your strength from meditation you’ll be able to draw on an infinite source of energy.
Think about it. When you’re 40, you would’ve had almost two decades’ worth of meditation practice while your friends may finally think about getting into “spiritual stuff.”
Another reason for getting started early is you get to integrate your career with your spiritual beliefs as well. For instance, if you feel strongly about meditation, why not open a meditation studio or become a certified teacher.
The possibilities are unlimited when you realize your true calling and potential.
Meditation Is the True Source of Wisdom
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” — Buddha
The thinking mind is amazing. But it has its limitations.
Think the last time you were pulling your hair out to make a decision. You probably had a lot of sleepless nights, trying to figure out different options you can take. But all of them lead to nowhere.
Suddenly, the next day, you go into the shower and the answer comes to you. We all love those ‘aha’ moments.
Well, taking ten showers a day will not help you produce that state at will. But meditation can.
When the thoughts quiet and the mind starts to become still, amazing things happen. You start to see your thought patterns from a state of detachment. The voices of society, parents, friends, teachers, etc, become clear. You realize that these are not your own.
You can then zoom out of the situation and figure out the best solution — without ever consciously working out the problems.
All of my best insights come from meditation. This is what wisdom is.
I don’t know about you, but during the most important decade of my life, I would really want that!
It’s safe to say that meditation has turned my life upside down. I feel clear on my purpose more than ever and have absolutely no fear about what my life is going to be.
There are many other benefits of meditation that I can’t possibly talk about in one post.
All I know is the earlier you get started the better it is.
Don’t start today, start now.
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