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07 November 2014

Follow the call of your heart

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These days many kids come to my classes feeling lost. I am saddened by how many exceptionally gifted and fortunate kids turn up with hollow eyes and a prescription for anti-depressants. [groups_non_member group=”Registered”]They are often burned out and yet they haven’t even begun to really live life. These are not the casualties of living too large. They are the casualties of not living at all.

The drugs are stronger, they are starting to take them younger, and it’s not a celebration of life they are engaging in but an effort to numb themselves and stop feeling what they do. There is no real rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood these days and no mentors to show them the way. In years gone by we came of age in the forests and fields beside fathers and elders, but many of today’s kids are doing it in rehab as they get over their first round of addiction or detention centres after they draw first blood in a gang fight.

 

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[groups_member group=”Registered”]They are often burned out and yet they haven’t even begun to really live life. These are not the casualties of living too large. They are the casualties of not living at all.

The drugs are stronger, they are starting to take them younger, and it’s not a celebration of life they are engaging in but an effort to numb themselves and stop feeling what they do. There is no real rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood these days and no mentors to show them the way. In years gone by we came of age in the forests and fields beside fathers and elders, but many of today’s kids are doing it in rehab as they get over their first round of addiction or detention centres after they draw first blood in a gang fight.

So when they turn up on retreat and hear the Dharma for the first time it cuts deep. Somewhere deep inside they recognise it as their invitation to set themselves free. They realise quickly enough that just being angry or disappointed or feeling let down isn’t going to get them anywhere. They know in their hearts that the victim never comes out victorious. Having pointed the finger of blame everywhere they can, suddenly they are left naked and asked to look inside for the answers. Somehow they sense that finally they are being recognised as adults capable of working out their own stuff.

“Work out your own salvation with diligence.” Those were the final words of the Buddha. And today they are calling, loud and clear, to those kids whose hearts are still connected enough to recognise that something has gone astray. In the world they are growing up in, self-expression has been squeezed into the virtual world of their laptops and iPads. On Facebook they can reinvent themselves to win admiration from their peers, but they know somewhere that the person that puts their head on the pillow each night is finding it harder and harder to uphold the image they feel they need to project.

They know it isn’t enough. Many numb themselves, often with drugs, both prescription and recreational, but more and more have had enough and are asking new questions and looking outside the box for their answers. In the deeper part of their hearts they understand the law of karma and realise finally that the real life work is not done on the floor of the stock exchange or the boardroom, any more than it is in the quest to win the most friends on Facebook or the most hits on Twitter.

Today, twenty five centuries after the Buddha died, the age of the yogi has come around again, as we realise that the modern age has brought much wealth but little contentment and much numbness. We all have a longing to find something of meaning in our lives. We have looked deep into the world of sensual pleasures and are finding it both lacking and costly at far too many levels.

It takes true courage and a pioneering spirit to truly embrace change. We all know that a little part of us dies quietly each day that we do not heed the call of the heart, and that there is no peace in knowing that we did not do what we longed to do. This life doesn’t come around that often, so if you feel the call, follow it, lest you regret it later.[/groups_member]

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