An antidote for our materialistic culture: Animated with meaning and purpose.
I recently participated in a workshop sponsored by the local Baha’i community (www.bahai.org) titled ‘Animator Training for Junior Youth’. I was expecting a religious-based program with a narrow focus on the spiritual development of adolescents. I showed up to the program, and took my seat with the worries of a full day of psychiatric practice still running through my head.
As the program progressed, I soon found out that the seminar dealt with the very foundation of what it is to be a human. No real world topic was off limits.
These are only a few of the issues addressed:
- Staying focused and peaceful when faced with injustice
- Cultivating an orientation towards inner development in the context of reliance on a Force greater than oneself
- Awareness and combating the tensions of materialism and moral decline
- Managing sensory input
- Achieving excellence in the face of life’s tests
The purpose was not to create a utopia, but rather to work collectively towards a better world. The bonus was to find out that these programs and activities are going on all over the world! Reports of the success of these wonderful young people were coming from places as varied as war-ravaged African countries and the neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the U.S.
I left the gathering feeling hopeful about the future of our world. I also felt rejuvenated to approach psychological conflicts and deficits in my patients within the wider context of the meaning and purpose of our lives.