Counselor's Corner: The crisis of rushing through life

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Fred Cavaiani

We live in a culture of speed and immediate gratification. I want what I want and I want it now. I remember when I had to turn on the radio or lights. Now I just have to say “Alexa, turn on the music. Or Alexa, stop.” I have an app to turn lights on or off. I can quickly play a word game on my phone. I can research anything with a push of a few buttons on my smart phone. Watch your kids, grandkids, even your parents and grandparents. We are accustomed to getting what we want as soon as possible which is like this moment, today or tomorrow it will be delivered by Amazon and in some cases, within two hours. This convenience is very helpful. In fact, I would rather read a book on my smart phone or my Kindle because I can see the print much better. With my Kindle and phone always with me it is easy to be quiet and read. But it is also easy to keep my mind busy with so much to do and think about that I forget about being quiet and listening to others.

We are bombarded with news stories at every moment. I am often bored by how much a television or radio station can say the same thing over and over again in so many different ways. We are becoming programmed to listen to the same issue being over analyzed by opinions of other people throughout the day. Our minds can be filled with a few elements of truth and an abundance of opinions. This is life today.

Of course, there is much good in getting immediate information and in having a chance to research people and things so quickly. But I think we can easily get caught in a crisis of information and forget about listening to our hearts. We can rush through life with an overload of information and easily miss the tranquility and wisdom that results from being quiet and lovingly listening to others.

So often we observe people sitting with each other, but not talking. They are just sitting there on their phones, reading, texting or playing games. We all can do this each day. Nothing is really wrong in doing this. But when we allow this to fill time so we don’t have silent time and listening time and meditative time, we can become engrossed in too much intellectual analyzing and too many details of non-factual and factual opinions. We can become addicted to information and escapism from ourselves.

Wisdom comes from careful listening and observing. It doesn’t come from an overactive brain or overdose of playing word-games or becoming mesmerized by news stations.

Lately I have been playing a word game on my phone. It certainly keeps my brain active and fuels my competitive spirit. But it is so addictive. I have found myself playing this game while my wife is talking to me or our adult children and our grandkids were saying something.

There are so many easy addictions that can deter us from experiencing internal freedom. Legalized marijuana, prescription drugs, alcohol and whatever food could become addictive, can all cause us to stop being reflective with ourselves. We will not be able to legislate these addictions away from us. They will always be there.

Modern society can be in a rush to destroy itself socially, morally, spiritually and physically. Formal religion and religious practices will not be the cure for this. But a spiritual and religious silence and a compassionate listening to those around us can be a tremendous cure for the crisis of rushing through life. Silence causes us to face our internal and physical addictions. Meditation and contemplation can help us to become more caring and less judgmental.

People will listen to caring and compassionate people who only have an agenda of being more caring and compassionate and only want others to be quiet and appreciate what happens when silence and reflection become a permanent part of a person’s life.

For a number of years now I have sent out a daily reflection of my personal journey with God to many people. Some people respond with their own personal reflection which is always inspiring. I do this to make sure that I start each day with enough quiet time to listen to God and share this experience. It has become life giving for me. I have long ago given up arguing, proselytizing or trying to convince others to think the way I do. I realize that God is much bigger than anyone or any universe and I am only going to have a positive experience when I can shut off my mind and stop analyzing people, places and things. In this quiet time, I become filled with a universal feeling of love and compassion for all. Every time I become very quiet, I can see the uselessness of condemning or judging others. But I can see the benefit of sharing my inner self with others and listening to others share their inner selves with me. This can be the benefit of modern technology.
But then I am using it to deepen my own silence and deepen my own experience of God, Love and Wisdom. That I can share with the world. But judgments and condemnations are no longer necessary.

It becomes so refreshing not to rush through life but to simply experience life in this present moment. It really is all about now. THIS IS WHY I NEED SILENCE AND I NEED TO SEND OUT LOVE. Silence and love cause us to slow down and bring a loving, positive energy into the world. So I will continue to be silent with God and more loving toward you.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.