Counselor's Corner: Going deeper in life

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Everyone needs to go deeper in our personal life. Reflective silence is so very important for every person. The people who bring peace into the world are women and men of reflection. The time spent in reflection helps a person embrace the positive elements of psychology, religion, and positive movements. These positive elements are always based on humility, compassion for others, and a positive and uplifting experience of a God who is always loving towards everyone.
If we all would take an hour a day to become quiet and simply listen and experience God in quiet time, dramatic, positive changes would happen in each person throughout the world. We would all be listening to God and discover a better self.

Exercise clubs are designed to help people get into good physical condition. There are many positive movements all designed to help people live better lives: Yoga, running clubs, meditation groups, support groups, therapy groups. Then there are the positive anonymous groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous and so many others that come together to help people improve their emotional and spiritual lives. Many people have improved their personal lifestyle by belonging to a group. It is an opportunity to meet with other people and share feelings, failures, experiences and a desire to go deeper in life.

One liability in psychology, religion and self-help groups is when a group becomes condemning and judgmental and begins to believe that this particular group has all the truth and is better than others. This can be called emotional or spiritual narcissism. When I think I have all the truth and you must believe and act in the way I think you should act, then my psychology, religion or self-help group might just be in the wrong place. Each group mentioned above has many positive aspects. Each group wants the members to go deeper without any judgment of others.

But how does one know if they are really going deeper emotionally and spiritually? That answer can be difficult to verbalize. There are some basic principles in which all of us can go deeper and find some positive and peaceful answers for our personal self.

When a person embraces a religion, a psychology of life, a self-help group, it is important that this group helps motivate a person to spend a lot of quiet time in experiencing something bigger than themselves. For most people this will be a profound relationship with a God of love. An abundance of quiet time with God forces every person to admit and accept their own faults and foibles. It creates a humility in a person and a compassion that reaches out to all. Religions that are not profoundly reflective will evolve into a spiritual narcissism that become condemning and judgmental toward others. A genuine relationship with God helps a person realize that everyone is loved and there is goodness in everyone and everything.

It is only in silence with God, higher power or whatever one might call God, that a person begins to experience something deeper. But this silence cannot be filled only with words and study. It needs to be filled with an openness of heart, a reflective receptivity to experience an unconditional love of God. My refusal to admit my own mistakes, selfishness, judgments will put me in a blocked stance that will prohibit me from a deeper experience of God and self. So, I then need more quiet time to listen carefully. Any movement, psychology, religion or group that invests in how terrible and flawed other people might be ends up justifying violence, resentments, and punishing actions.

Over the years I have come to appreciate what I have learned in religion, psychology and positive group movements. I also have learned to realize the crazy and judgmental aspects of religion, psychology and positive movements. These I have learned to drop and let go. No one has to belong to whatever religious group I might be part of. Growing up I was taught that if someone wasn’t part of my faith system, they “would not be saved” or could go “to hell.” The need for authority and absolute truth seemed so important. As the years have passed by, I have come to realize that God is always loving and caring. My purpose in life is to simply bring more love into the world. Everything and everyone are loved and created by a loving God. Everyone is created to live forever in joy and love and it all begins at this very moment. But to experience this, I need a lot of quiet time with this God.

What a person believes is irrelevant to me. But what is relevant is that I love everyone. If there is a God, that God must be bigger than any religion. I must continue to go deeper each day so each day and each moment of the day becomes a profound experience. So, a lot of quiet time is very important. It makes no difference if I am Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, or whatever. But what makes a difference is that I am loving and reflective and allow myself to experience this loving God, Power, Energy, Force. It is in this quiet time that things begin to become clearer and simpler. In this quiet time, I can take the best out of life and let go of whatever is not loving and caring. I learn to admit and accept my mistakes and faults so I don’t have to impose these on others. I also learn to experience profound peace and meaning in every moment of life, regardless of what is happening around me or to me. I must always go deeper in life.

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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. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.



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