And, cringe, you have been given some intensely negative labels. People profess that you have an out-of-proportion level of self-esteem, carry a sense of entitlement larger than a Big Gulp and have a lamer work ethic than the slackers of my generation. On the other hand, there are some equally potent positives. Your group is categorized as the most racially diverse in U.S. history, the best educated, digitally proficient, you work well in groups and are socially liberal.
From my meditation teacher/practitioner perspective, I see ALL of these aspects as incredibly good, good, good and believe that meditation, dear millennials, is not only something that gels with what you already got goin' on... but it can help you navigate some of your biggest challenges. Let's get to it.
1. Meditation complements the millennial perception of being "special."
I find it incredible that this is listed as a continual negative for millennials. Meditation aligns with this statement and teaches that each person is highly unique; that we have a purpose here on Earth that is indeed one-of-a-kind. If I lived my life thinking I was like everyone else, it would equate to having my brains voraciously eaten and then existing in a zombie apocalypse. I must have value. I can't be here simply to take up space.
So, yes, yes... I believe wholeheartedly that I am special and somehow necessary... and SO are you; WE all are. And it makes me feel yummy and alive proclaiming that and feeling that.
Meditation also teaches us how to carry this presence of individuality and be it with grace, harmony and humility. Realizing that this is everyone's gift; so the paradox is that we are unspecial in our specialness. We must hold our spark dearly but not too tightly as to suffocate its beauty.
2. Meditation challenges millennial multi-tasking and emphasizes the balance of technology and humanity.
Facebook, text, tweet, repeat. Millennials use multiple screens simultaneously. They love companies/products that are so innovative that they are soon obsolete.
This is going to present a severe conundrum for millennials... how to find balance, how to find peace in a continual swirl of rapid change, constant communication and buzzing updates. And, to embrace that multi-tasking, in all of its glory, not only decreases performance but also IQ.
How will you slow down when nothing around you ever stops? In my honest opinion, I believe that this is going to be the biggest challenge for this generation and generations to come.
Because here is what's important... at the heart of it, our human face-to-face, voice-to-voice, body-to-body connections will always be the most powerful and meaningful of all interactions. A meditation or mindfulness practice propels this truth to the forefront of you brain and soul and continually keeps you connected - yet unplugged - to the power of existence.
3. Meditation agrees with the millennial concept of work/life balance and doing work for more than just a paycheck.
Millennials don't want work/life balance. They actually see the working world as it should be seen -- as an aspect of their whole life experience. Yes, it is true, the two cannot be separated and should not. Finally, a collective of individuals that not only gets it, but demands it and accepts nothing less. That is exciting!
And, I can say this because I am, in my opinion, living the dream. I run my own business (mostly while wearing workout clothes), I absolutely love it and wouldn't settle for anything less. My meditation work is an extension of who I am and what I believe. On the flip side of "being one" with my job, I must also embrace that I don't know everything (I have several wise teachers), that there will be ups and downs and there will be continual mundane aspects. I also choose to see these growth and/or "boring" components as beautiful and necessary attributes. Can you?
4. Meditation expands the millennial notion of tolerance.
Finally, I'm going to end with one of my favorite aspects of Generation Y. As I stated earlier, millennials are the embodiment of diversity that wonderfully equates to their accepting nature. Meditation is something that can lift this unifying spirit to the next level.
When you learn to love yourself through meditation (which, in this vein, isn't narcissistic but "realistic" and with humor)... it expands your love for everything and everyone else. Millennials, if you feel you are compassionate now, think of what you could be. This could be your greatest gift.
My last words. Meditation has granted me access to aspects of the bigger picture. It has taught me to embrace the past, commit to the now and play a role in what will be. Everyone is a teacher -- no matter what age, background or proficiency. Limit no one, including yourself. Millennials have many goodies to share that could help lift us all... if they are willing to look at themselves in quiet with humility, bravery, excitement and balanced discernment.