By Chelsea Werner
I grew up with a mother who was “spiritual.” I never understood exactly what that meant and I constantly mocked her “spiritual ways.” But then out of nowhere it became a Hollywood trend. Stars like Madonna and Britney wore their red kabbalah string bracelets; OM sign medallions were worn as necklaces; and the Buddha emblazoned on their t-shirts made being spiritual cool. All of a sudden my mother’s spirituality was in style.
And we insist on being spiritual on our terms. Another article in Newsweek, this one by John Leland entitled “Searching for a Holy Spirit,” quotes one teenager who describes our generation’s dominant attitude as: “Whatever you think is OK. Just don’t tell me what to think. I’ll figure it out for myself.”
I personally have come to realize that spirituality is a way of being. It is about being connected to a higher source and understanding that you have that within you. It is about having faith in not only ourselves but in something greater.
Generally we don’t talk about spirituality or our beliefs; whether people feel connected or what they do to stay connected. Only when I asked did I find out that some of my friends pray daily while others make “deals” with God. There are the select few who don’t even know if they believe in God.
There is another trend to note here. In an article by Jeremiah Creedon published in the Utne Reader called “God with a Million Faces: The new mix-and-match approach to faith may be the truest quest,” Creedon points out that there are those teens who design their own God in a “cafeteria tray,” New Age manner. The article says that this generation has grown up in a post-Christian era, surrounded by various religions and traditions from which teens often borrow while trying to define their own spirituality.
People are creatures of habit and prefer things in life that are familiar and concrete. As such, there is no right or wrong when it comes to spirituality because there are no definitive answers. As Albert Einstein once said, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
Within the realm of spirituality there is the conversation of whether life is predetermined or whether we create it as we go along. Most of us like to believe that we are the creators of our own lives; why else would we be working so hard to get into our first choice college or be hired for our dream job. Everyone has to find what works for them. Samuel Butler said, “You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.”
I know for me the idea that there is something greater out there reassures me that in the end, everything has a way of working out. This belief is what motivates people to work towards their goals and dreams. And believe it or not, one of my favorite quotes is one I heard from my mother. I like it because it reminds me to have faith in what’s next:
“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”- Charles DuBois