By Julia Drewniak
It really doesn’t matter whether you believe in a higher power or not; sometimes what religions are preaching makes common sense. And as hard as it may be for Millennials to accept that we aren’t invincible (WHAT?!), it’s time for us to take a look at some world religions and see what they proclaim will help us live longer, happier, more fulfilling lives.
Belief: Abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea.
Let’s start off easy. It may seem crazy to give up a lot of this stuff. I mean, I know plenty of young adults who can’t start off their day without their morning cup of brew/tea. But there’s of course plenty of medical evidence to back up how drinking/drugs aren’t exactly what should be going into the body either. Am I promoting that we should give it all up? No. But as Millennials working to discover ourselves and grow into happy adults, the most RESPONSIBLE way is to do everything in moderation. Just think before you do, because it’s gonna effect you somehow, either now or tomorrow, and the results may not be pretty.
Belief: Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Fasting, Pilgrimage
Let’s go one at a time with these pillars:
1. Faith – Again, you don’t necessarily have to believe in a higher power, but having someTHING (even a spaghetti monster in the sky) is always of great comfort in times of trouble.
2. Prayer – From personal experience, I find prayer/collecting my thoughts very relaxing. It could be as simple as turning off your car radio as you’re driving, or recounting the positives and negatives at the end of the day.
3. Alms - Especially with the holiday season in full swing, giving back is pretty big right now. But as George Clooney pointed out, why does giving only have to occur after a disaster or when it’s the “time to give?”
4. Fasting – This goes hand-in-hand with the last one. For the religious, fasting usually has special meaning. If you’re not, fasting can be a way for you to give alms. Give up a few “special treats” a few times a week and you could be saving the world. Plus, do you REALLY need those empty calories? Also, go and do a Google search and see all the free/easy ways to give back as well! This whole article was written using Google Chrome, and I’m working on giving books! Woo!
5. Pilgrimage - No matter how far you go in life, always remember where you came from and respect your past. Friends, even the closest ones, may come and go, but family is forever.
Religion: Catholicism (Christianity)
Belief: Abstinence Only Sex
Oh yeah, I’m sneaking this one in the middle. No matter how much protection you use while doing the deed, there is still a chance you could a.) Get pregnant, or b.) Get an STD. Yeah, there are fixes and special circumstances, but go out and watch Juno or Bella and you’ll see what good can come from a “bad mistake.” Or you can watch Teen Mom or Jersey Shore and see what a bad idea it is for Millennials to be “hooking up.” As a good friend of mine once said, “The only 100% protection is abstinence.”
Religion: Baha’i Faith
Belief: Hard work, education, work for social justice and equality
In order to get ahead in your chosen career, you must have the first two qualities; and because many companies now seek out “real caring people,” you must have the latter. Plus, doesn’t it feel GREAT to work hard and get what you want to achieve? Power to the Millennials? YES! Dear John Mayer: We are no longer “Waiting on the World to Change,” but rather doing it ourselves. Thanks!
Belief: General attitude of detachment and non-struggle, “go with the flow” of the Tao. Pantheism – the Tao pervades all. Yin-yang – opposites make up a unity.
This one might be the toughest stretch, but I equate it all down to BALANCE. We live in a world constantly bombarded by media and immediacy. We spend so much time surrounded by media we must work to find that balance between being “on the grid” and “off” and taking that time to just shut down for a minute. So take that 30 minutes to close the laptop and close your eyes. Studies show that naps help make you more productive!
So, I call out to you, Millennials. Are you ready to open your mind and see that sometimes religion isn’t your “Papa Tryin’ to Preach,” but really just some things that make common sense in general? I’m tellin’ you, it’s a pretty radical experience.