THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The purpose of silence in our lives

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It can be difficult to quiet the mind. Noise and technology distractions surround us. When there is no music, no video games and no news, we realize that silence has become a stranger. I remember growing up in a small town on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. We didn't have television. Only the radio. Often, I would roam the woods behind our home. It brought great peace. For recreation I would play baseball, football, basketball and whatever other game we could make up. The world seemed to consist of wonderful silence and wonderful physical activity. Reading quietly also was a great past time. In those days, silence was not a stranger. In the silence I could reflect on many things. But even in those old days I am sure that I did not know how to use silence well. It took me a number of years to realize that silence is indeed golden.

When there is quiet time each day, we begin to feel things deeply. We also begin to have a desire for something permanent in our lives that will never leave us. That for many people is God. In quiet time we are challenged to look deeper within our own personal self. Our wounds can surface. Our joys can surface. Memories of past events both painful and joyful can surface. In silence we start looking deeper into what our life has been like and what it is like now and what we would like it to be.

There are many physical symptoms that happen to all of us because we haven't gone deep enough into an embrace of our feelings. We haven't gone deep enough into silence and discovered what it means to have a positive, open and honest relationship with God and with other people. Silence helps us see God in a positive, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner. Genuine silence means a careful listening to other. When we become condemning and judgmental, we are not very good at being silent with ourselves.

Many people that I know who are comfortable with silence live long lives and seem to walk through life without much inner tension. They take time each day to be quiet and silent and spend time in meditation and gentle listening to others.

If every school in the nation had a formal silent time in their schedule there would be much positive change. We live in a culture where silence can be ignored on a daily basis even though there are many groups and people who talk much about the power of personal silence and meditation. I would like to see every family take quiet time daily as a family and be taught how to do this.

We all have silent time, much silent time every day. It isn't the lack of silence that is the problem. It is what to do with the silent time that is right in front of us on a daily basis.

The purpose of silence is to discover ourselves and to experience God. It is to experience our foibles and experience our successes. It is to discover what we need to let go of and what we need to embrace. It is to have a humility with ourselves and with other people. Silence will help us to face our condemnations and our resentments of other people. It helps us to realize again the often-used statement: 'you can't heal what you can't feel.'

Thank God for silence. I must be the one to make good use of my silence. It helps me to become receptive to all the good things in life and helps me to admit when I am on the wrong road. Silence gives me the space to look at life in an honest and profound manner. I can better open up to my wounds and become more emotionally and spiritually free. So many good messages and insights come to me when I allow myself to become internally and externally silent. Silence is Golden. I will embrace this Gold.

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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. He 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.

Published: Tue, Apr 30, 2019

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