We were the generation that was always looking for something else, a higher power, peace, contentment, Zen.
After all, it was the Beatles who introduced us to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. I certainly can’t see parents of the 50’s questioning the here and now, wondering if there was more to life, spirituality. They were too busy coping with day-to-day life. For most typical 1950’s families, the father earned a living, the mother took care of the children, grocery shopped, managed the household, prepared the meals. Who had time for philosophical discussions with oneself!
We started the exercise craze with running, walking, stretching those limbs, bicycling, roller blading. We wanted to keep moving, get our figures back fast after childbirth, be relevant, be vital,be in touch, be present, mindful.
Suddenly, yoga mats were everywhere, apps for meditation, supplements for de stressing one’s life, retreats to get in touch with yourself, spas to unwind, massage therapy, aromatherapy, pet therapy, …
A newly released study conducted by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that U.S. yoga practitioners increased to more than 36 million up from 20.4 million in 2012. That’s a lot of rubber mats being sold!
Many Baby Boomers returned to the religion they were raised with, having veered from it as young twenty somethings. It answered that need for more. Maybe we couldn’t do it all without a little help from a higher being? Maybe praying brought peace and hope. It all makes sense when you think about the tumultuous times we grew up in and the rapid changes we were witnessing.
A 2000 New York Times poll reported that 70% of Americans described themselves as more or equally observant of religion as their parents. 81% expressed a belief in the after life, and 30% say they meditated regularly. To cap it off 90% participated in private religious experiences and a majority believe in miracles. Wow, is the life we lead on a day-to-day basis not fulfilling enough, lacking in someway? I ask myself these questions because I have the time now! I didn’t before and so while they may have entered into my head, they were tucked away for a later date. Retirement!
I remember my father in law’s wife (whom my husband and I never liked -another family story for a future blog) reading books on Buddha and Hinduism. I thought it odd, but now that I reflect back, I realize she was seeking something too. Though not a Baby Boomer herself, she was a person searching for more, not content with the present. This being about twenty-five years ago, it became clear to me that I am the age she was then!! So my conclusion is that we push these big thoughts aside until we have the time to reflect on them. This desire to achieve contentment and peace of mind is in our DNA. How could we, the doers, the activists, the advocates, be anything but searchers in this next chapter of life?
Following in our footsteps, but getting a jump on the future, Millennials are not waiting . They are seeking happiness from the get-go. I’d like to think it’s because we were good role models, but maybe it’s because they see how stressed out we are (were) and how we cope – in this technological world of split second decisions and expectations of immediate gratification,
Interestingly, more Yale undergrad students registered for a first class on happiness than any other course in the university’s history. Nearly ¼ of Yale’s undergrads enrolled.
Now, if that doesn’t give us hope for the next generation, nothing will!
.Be a searcher, a seeker, always look for that place that gives you peace and contentment. Don’t accept things the way they are. Unless you are in Nirvana already, there’s always room for improvement!
.Don’t judge other people’s practices, whatever they may be. What’s right for one person often doesn’t work for another. Find your Zen and embrace it.
Enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy