Personal Development

To Seek the Force of Youth

There’s a force that permeates the time of our youth. A feeling that colors the world.

I’m not sure if we feel it in the moment, or if we add it to our youthful memories much later. Does it matter? The decline or absence of this force in present life strikes the soul like hammer. There is something that fades, and we miss it horribly.

Breaking Meditation

I’ve practiced awareness meditation for a decade. In time, that meditation has branched and evolved. It’s allowed me to experience the amazing heights and depths of the human heart. It became possible to look candidly at what I am, and make effective changes to my being.

Recently I asked myself the question: what laws of my reality are actually circumstances I’ve chosen?

It’s amazing what parts of the world you can change with your mind when you have the huevos to call Reality a big fucking liar.

The answer, for me, is my concept of age and purpose. I “lost” six years by not pursuing my dream. Part of me resents it bitterly. Sometimes I think: I missed my chance. I mourn for a twentysomething who never was, but whom my 14 year old self was convinced he could create.

How sad would it be if I spent the next 10 years grieving for how I spent the last 10 years? A wasted life. Avoiding that fate requires a choice.

Do I do what I’d always dreamed of then, now? “Better later than never”?

Or settle upon different goals for a different stage of my life—leave behind youthful endeavors as the stuff of a different age?

It’s a question of fatal struggle versus stoic peace. I always side with fatal struggle, and there I find my serenity. To me, struggling against the odds represents knowledge: it’s the only way to know your true potential. Stoic peace seems like fake peace, an artifice to comfort us in our defeat.

Rekindling

So this is the project I put before myself: cultivate youthfulness.

Today I began to meditate on fond youthful memories. I paid attention to that force that colors them. What is this force? Where does it come from? What about then-me is so admirable?

How do you feel when you feel young?

And can you sow that feeling?

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11 thoughts on “To Seek the Force of Youth

  1. I refound my youth 7 years ago. Each day, I am granted the blessed choice of seeing the world through a child’s eyes- even as I go about doing all the tasks I must do as an adult and parent- or ignoring that world. I choose to embrace it, to see the beauty of a ladybug crossing the wall and imagining what it’s like to be so small, to say to myself “fuck the dishes; they’ll wait” and go outside to play in the sandbox on a 57 degree January afternoon with my children, to dance outside in a spring rainstorm and laugh into the thundering clouds because it’s fun, pretend to be villagers protecting our lands from invading armies as we charge into the Lake’s waters during the summer- yelling and flailing our arms against an invisible foe, to just be.

    I do feel youthful, once I get that morning cup of coffee. I just hope that I don’t lose it again. The mundane world is so overrated in comparison to the one my children have reopened my eyes to.

  2. I guess I must have always had some kind of Peter Pan mentality because I have always stubbornly held onto having a young heart. This means I may act silly sometimes which will cause some other adults to roll their eyes at my lack of maturity, but it also means that I think I am alot freer with my laughter, with my love, and with my compassion. I really think that part of keeping your youth is to not let bitterness seep in…for when we allow ourselves to be weighed down with bitterness we can find ourselves transforming into the grouchy elderly person stereotype. For me I would rather be young…and surprisingly alot of people think I am anywhere from 5-10 years younger than I actually am which may be due to a combination of good genetics and just being young at heart.

  3. “What is this force? Where does it come from? What about then-me is so admirable?

    How do you feel when you feel young?

    And can you sow that feeling?”

    I think the force is more or less Believing that the impossible can happen, and believing that you can indeed do it.

    I never really thought I felt old to begin with lol! But to feel young, makes me think of the goofy carefree youth that throws self at life with wild abandon. And I do think you can sow that feeling, starting with the belief that you can do what ever you want to do and don’t let your worries hold you back. Mind you, that is how a lot of physical accents (and potentially other kinds too) happen. I think your ankle is a testament to that. So I think wanting that vivacity of youth is fine, but we past that phase into adulthood able to reason that that kind of approach to life has its risks. You seem to be at a point of both, and that is okay.

  4. I don’t know. With me the youth/age divide is very yin/yang. I wouldn’t be me without both.

    People who know my age, particularly if they knew me when I was younger tell me how mature I am. What they call maturity, I view as an outgrowth of self-respect and integrity, and is irrespective of age.

    My own mental image of myself, though, is of a cheerfully enthusiastic and curious four-year-old. I think that inner reality is mostly what’s responsible for my joie de vivre, although who’s to say which is the chicken and which the egg?

  5. Shanna said something important about curiosity, and I love what Miya said about play. Curiosity and wonder are central to a childlike outlook – that and a willingness to play. I’d italicize that if I could. :) Play. Wonder. Be curious. These verbs keep us young, no matter how much age and grey hair and wisdom we acquire. And they balance the hard stuff that life includes. They keep me young.

    We stop being curious when we start thinking we know. But youth is all about learning and exploring.

    One of my favorite quotes – I don’t know where it came from – is: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” That’s not about re-writing history; it’s about now. (Italics on NOW.)

    Play. Wonder. Be curious. Explore. Laugh. Cry. BE.

  6. Pingback: Death, Pride & Youth « Rogue Priest

  7. I’ve really took a long time thinking about that question, Drew. I have dozens of notebook papers filled with notes about it and have started to meditate upon it myself. Many teachers of mine have encouraged me to let myself be the girl I once was again. The girl I once was was an avid explorer who had no fear, loved to climb, and crawl through tunnels.

    The woman I am today is much more cautious and self conscious to let herself do those things again. Now I feel the need to write my thoughts on this. Do you mind if I link to this article about cultivating youthfulness? I also promise to link to altmagic.com as well! I have a whole lot of link love to share, buddy. Let me know if you want me to first send them as short previews via gmail. Okay? Okay!

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