The Counselor’s Corner
THE FEAR OF QUIET TIME
Last Friday I presented a program for 60 couples in Midland, Michigan. It was a very powerful and inspiring program to see these couples come out on a cold and snowy February night to learn how to better connect with each other. It was an amazing turnout thanks to the Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Midland, Michigan. I started the evening with a meditation as I always do. With such a large group I often worry how well this will go over. There was complete silence in the room. You could hear a pin drop. Afterward I asked how they liked this silence. The response was positive, most saying, how peaceful and reflective this quiet time was. Of course, most admitted that they seldom do this. On Sunday evening I had another program at Capuchin Retreat in Washington. The response was the same with a few admitting like in Midland, that silence is very difficult because anxiety and so many thoughts keep rushing through minds.
It is difficult to be quiet and listen to ourselves. It is difficult to be quiet and listen to God. It is difficult to be quiet and to listen to another person. In each of these quiet times feelings will surface that need to be embraced and experienced. We are so used to doing things, focusing on external events, thinking about what we must accomplish next and pondering over how the future must go and how other people should be. Our minds become obsessed with the future and how life must go in the next minute. It is difficult to experience the present moment and the feelings and desires that surface in the present moment. What will surface for everyone are the blocks in our life that stop us from feeling and experiencing the inner goodness inside of us and the deep desire we all have for a relationship with God. What also surfaces in quiet times are the emotional wounds of the past.
So quiet time can be a fearful time. Things we have buried long ago keep surfacing in our lives. Our busy lives can distract us from experiencing these wounds that need to be experienced so we can heal. Joyful times can also surface in quiet time that we had long ago forgotten. The other day a friend of mine from high school told me that the first pasty he had ever eaten had been given to him by me. I was about fourteen at the time and he was fifteen. We were in a high school seminary together. Being from Upper Michigan I grew up eating pasties. My mother must have brought some down when she visited me and brought so many I could give some away. I had totally forgotten this joyful memory of being kind. He remembered this event which had happened over 60 years ago. In silence painful and joyful memories will surface and they need to surface. But we need to experience them when they surface. Quiet time and meditation time helps us to experience our inner and deeper selves.
Quiet time happens to every one in each and every day. But we often do not attend to this quiet time. We can get so caught up in cell phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagrams, and electronic games with our phones and Kindles, and IPads that our minds seldom get a chance to rest. Some countries now are having addiction centers for electronic addictions.
Five minutes a day of quiet time is not enough for us. But to take five minutes a day to be quiet and reflective and prayerful will be a good start. So, take more quiet time to be with God and with your own precious self. When we connect the deepest part of us with a God, amazing things happen. There are now alternate, electronic free schools now that has students who misbehave in regular school to not get punished but have to take time to meditate and be quiet. It has had marvelous results. Meditation replaces detention.
Increase your quiet time with God each day. It will have soul inspiring and heart enriching results. Life is meant to be lived on a profound, peaceful and loving level. Quiet time will get us there more than anything else.
What do we do when the crowd is gone? What do we do when no one is around? When there is no one talking to you, cheering for you, or simply socializing with you, what do you do? Most of us will try to find something to keep us busy. We will want to stimulate our minds with something. We may watch more television or find a game to play or something to read. Nothing wrong in this at all. But how many of us are willing to take some long needed quiet time to listen and reflect on God and Life. This should be a daily quiet time for each of us.
How wonderful it would be if our culture promoted daily quiet time as a fundamental priority in life. When I am quiet with God the enemies in my mind seem to melt away and I want to be connected in love with everyone. I can give up condemning and judging others and simply put forth more effort to be kind and loving to others. Quiet time helps me to realize that all if have to offer a hurting world is kindness and love and to share with others in a compassionate manner how I have experienced Love and how I have experienced the depth and joy of silence which seems to always result in a positive experience of God. For 19 years I have been meeting each week with a group of people who spend an hour together in meditation. It is a most peaceful and energizing hour. What a blessing to be able to do this. It has helped all of us to eliminate our fear of silence and to look forward to being quiet with God. Try it and see what happens in your own personal life.
Fred Cavaiani is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychotherapist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. Fred conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. He is also on staff at Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, MI. 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