Counselor's Corner: The wisdom in the now

By Fred Cavaiani

In the school of life we learn many things. In the official schools that we have all attended we have learned much. To learn English, Math, History, Social Studies, Science, Law, Psychology, and the many other subjects of grade school, high school and college we often asked ourselves, “what am I supposed to learning right now to take with me through life?” Sometimes the classes may have seemed so boring and uninteresting that we thought there was nothing valuable in sitting there listening to a droning teacher or professor. Yet as the years went on we discovered that what we learned has had some positive value in helping us cope with life and learning.

I am often amazed at observing golfers who start playing the game without any preparation. They play the game in an awkward, frustrating manner both for themselves and those around them. Yet after a few lessons on how to swing the club these same neophyte golfers improve dramatically and begin to enjoy the game of golf and find it challenging and energizing. This is probably true of anyone who has become proficient at a sport. Those who become good at something learn from others who have already reached an expertise in the sport either as a player or a manager or both. We learn from others.

In the great scheme of life we have things to learn from the daily moments of struggle and success. What comes our way is the greatest teacher of life. Those who ask the profound question “what am I to learn from this experience, encounter, success, or diminishment?” discover a wisdom that is profound and peaceful. Life is filled with synchronicity. (Things that happen to us in such a way that we see a lesson to be learned.) In synchronicity similar things seem to repeat themselves in different ways so as to teach us a lesson. We meet a total stranger and they say something that resonates a familiar feeling or inspiration to do something that we have been having.

Successes and tragedies always teach us something new about life and love, about God and self. Joys and sorrows do the same thing. I can learn something from every feeling and from every circumstance. Every event that happens to me and every relationship teaches me something about life. I simply need to ask the question more often, “what am I supposed to learn from this?”

There are no empty moments in life. But we can dull ourselves to the wisdom of the now by refusing to be reflective. For many years we attended classes in school because we had to and then later because we chose to attend. In all of those years we learned and experienced so much. Then we leave school and carry with us what we thought we learned. It is in the daily events of living that we discover what we can keep with us and what we can let go. Yet it becomes important to pay attention to these daily events of living. There is always a message in the present moment that is teaching us something. We need to listen carefully to this moment.

Remember to learn from the now and from the experience of one another in the now. The present moment is a stepping stone to wisdom and peace. The wisdom of God, Higher Power, Allah, or whatever name we attribute to the Power behind everything, is always inspiring and calling us to a deeper meaning and union.

Most of us fear change because change challenges us to look deeper and ask more questions. It becomes fearful to learn how to live on a deeper level because it means we have to embrace many things within ourselves that keep us prisoners. We imprison ourselves from success and joy because we may have to become more honest with our own personal self.

I heard someone say this last Sunday, “what am I to learn from this?” This question challenged me to realize that each moment is a learning experience of something deeper. Each moment is an opportunity to challenge myself to reach for new depths and new meanings.

It becomes so easy to let wisdom pass by me by refusing to allow myself to learn from the now of life. Whether I am giving a talk, listening to a client, playing with my grandchildren, or simply watching the setting sun, everything and every one is teaching me more about life and how to live it better.

This Sunday I visited a friend in the hospital who has struggled much of his life with chronic pain. Yet he doesn’t complain. He takes his diminishments and pain in stride and looks deeper at life and asks himself what more he can bring to life. In his senior years he continually goes forward with new ideas and fresh thoughts. In one sense his pain and diminishments have propelled him to look at what is more important and he eagerly reaches out to what is important for improving life for others.

The wisdom of the now is right before each of us. What can you learn from what you are doing right now and what can you learn from the person you are with at this very moment? The wisdom is there. Pay attention to it. Pay attention to her. Pay attention to him. In your silence pay attention to the Power that is calling you to a new depth.

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: and his website is