Finding Your Light: How Spirituality Can Help Young Adults Shine

May 23, 2024

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

-Mary Oliver

Do you sometimes feel crushed under the weight of expectations? You’re definitely not alone. Young adults today face a lot – from figuring out what they want to do with their lives to dealing with stress and anxiety. But what if there was a way to navigate these challenges and find more joy? That’s where spirituality comes in.

Finding Your Purpose: Moving Beyond Suffering

So how can spirituality support young people? Coacharya’s recent ICW 2024 webinar, “Youth Spiritual Wellness,” saw an enlightening conversation between Coacharya co-founder Ram Ramanathan and Dr. Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California around this. Together, they discussed the importance of spirituality for young adults and how we all have a natural desire to be happy and free from suffering. This desire is called the “First Noble Truth” in Buddhism.

Dr. Soni says the world throws a lot of challenges our way – war, poverty, climate change, and even the constant pressure to be busy and productive. But the biggest challenge of all might be the lack of joy.

Joy vs. Happiness: What’s the Difference?

We often use the words “joy” and “happiness” interchangeably, but there’s a key difference. Happiness depends on external factors, like getting a good grade or winning a game. It’s fleeting and can disappear when things don’t go our way.

Joy, on the other hand, comes from within. It’s a deep sense of peace and contentment that doesn’t depend on what’s happening around us. Dr. Soni says joy is like a protective shield that can guard us from fear, anxiety, and depression.

Finding Your Inner Compass: Religion vs. Spirituality

Traditionally, religion has been a source of comfort and guidance for young people. But times are changing. Many young adults are less interested in organized religion and more curious about   finding their own spiritual path.

Spirituality is about exploring what gives your life meaning and purpose. It’s not about following a set of rules, but about connecting with something bigger than yourself. This could be anything from spending time in nature to helping others to getting lost in a good book.

Dr. Soni says it doesn’t matter what your “sacred” thing is, as long as it gives you a reason to get up in the morning and face the day with excitement, you’re good This “North Star” can help you navigate life’s challenges and find your own unique path to joy.

Building Your Community: Finding Your Tribe

Spirituality can also help you connect with others who share your values. These people can be your support system, cheering you on and helping you through tough times. You might find your “tribe” through a club, a volunteer activity, or even online forums.

The important thing is to find people who inspire you and make you feel good about yourself.

Redefining Success: It’s All About You

Society often tells us that success means getting good grades, getting a high-paying job, and living a certain lifestyle. But Dr. Soni suggests that we redefine success on our own terms.

Instead of focusing on external validation, create an “internal resume” that celebrates your strengths and accomplishments. This could include things like overcoming a challenge, making a new friend, or simply being kind to yourself.

Spirituality can help you focus on what truly matters to you and find your own unique definition of success.

Finding Your Light in a Changing World

The world is a complex place, and it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed. But by cultivating joy, finding your purpose, and connecting with others, you can navigate life’s challenges and shine your light brightly.

This journey of self-discovery is a lifelong adventure, and spirituality can be a powerful guide along the way.

So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring your own spirituality today! Coacharya’s programs can help you connect with your inner wisdom and cultivate joy. Learn more and discover upcoming events on our events calendar.

ICW 2024 Webinar: Youth Spiritual Wellness


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Cover Photo by Warren on Unsplash


Silvester Jacob
Silvester Jacob

Silvester Jacob

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