Carl Jung, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology, pointed out that many of us live lives based almost entirely on believing rather than knowing. This condition has been reinforced by an educational system that rewards mimicry over inquiry and some media companies that often seem to find it entirely acceptable to literally make up information and trumpet them as real.
It is no wonder then that our world is in such trouble; for what we have is not just “a failure to communicate,” it is a failure to be able to differentiate between fact and fiction, between ordinary and authentic, between virtual and actual, and between believing and knowing. And this, in turn, appears to be leading to a further strengthening of the position held by the God of Opinion. This “God,” of rather questionable values and virtues, as well as the God of Belief have, indeed, become the dominant Gods of our time while the Gods of Intuition, Imagination, Curiosity, Insight, Creativity, Perception, Revelation, and Discernment have been reduced to a small “g” status.
Indeed, one of the prevailing beliefs seems to be that if these small gods had their way, we would waste all of our time in the pursuit of idle pleasures and non-productive practices — things like daydreaming, reflection, meditation, and imagination — practices that are not considered of genuine value in the mechanistic world where the God of Economics is also faithfully worshiped.
Present Moment Distraction: The Shadows of Babysitter Technologies
One need only walk down the street of one of our towns or cities or enter one of our public places to experience some of the madness we accept as part of our daily lives. Like armies of somnambulists many of us spend the majority of our present moments preoccupied by our thoughts about where we have been or where we think we are going and facilitated in this by technological toys that re-enforce these practices. We walk and talk, but to people who are not present. In fact many times we are talking to their answering machines. When we are not doing this we are watching videos, reading our email, or texting.
We are, in fact, so seduced by this glut of mind noise and so tumbled and tossed about by the sirens trumpeted by the media that we avoid eye contact and interaction with our fellow walkers and instead settle for our relationships with iPods, tablets, and our smartphones. In fact, these toys seem to have literally become extensions of our ears, hands, and brains.
Life is not just about video games and text messaging, game consoles, and tracking the minutia of other people’s lives via social media. These technologies that have become the nannies and babysitters of the 21st century may bring us some benefits, but they also cast very long and significant shadows.
How Do We Get From There to Here?
So what choices do we have? How do we get from being conscripts in the Army of the Preoccupied Believers to Champions of Knowing and Present Moment Awareness? How do we as individuals demonstrate the value of living lives of greater purpose and meaning?
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Here are some suggestions you may find helpful:
- Re-learn to fritter and putter.
- Simply sit, listen, and watch in the silence — in nature and in your home or apartment.
- Reactivate your imagination.
- Surrender as completely as you can to what is happening around you.
- Communicate more in person.
- Talk less and listen more.
- Get out in the world — spend more time living actually rather than vicariously.
- Share and cooperate more.
- Substitute making your own news for listening to news about others.
- Learn to be comfortable with discomfort.
- Feel your feelings.
- Laugh more.
- Be grateful for all that you are rather than all that you have.
- Be very curious.
- Listen to your inner truth and trust it.
- Celebrate what makes you unique nor similar.
- Look for the hundreds of miracles that make your life possible each day.
Exploring The Willingness to Simply Be
Yes, if you are willing to explore some of these practices more often we can guarantee that you will actually enjoy your life more. If you are willing to deal with the discomfort of not doing and not even knowing how to “be” for a while, you will redefine your priorities and learn to acknowledge and value new goals, objectives, and abilities.
If you are willing to sacrifice some of what you call your material abundance, your addiction to self-medication, and your preoccupation with the past and the future and the technologies that encourage these practices you will discover that your life will change for the better.
So if you are willing to start doing some of the things listed above; if you use your time and energy to be more present and at ease in this moment and in the next one, the time ahead will be a great ride.
In short, you have the choice to spend your precious time doing more of the authentic, original work you have come here to this planet to do. And if this sounds a little overwhelming at first, we suggest that you simply begin taking some small steps in the direction of what really gives you lasting pleasure. “Follow your bliss,” as Joseph Campbell famously said.
Life Happens in the Moment of Direct Experience
Knowing comes from living in the present moment where life happens! Where we happen! Where truth happens! And with this direct experience, everything becomes possible. Without this direct experience, we are like rudderless boats, adrift on the sea of believing and subject to the manipulation of others who want us to believe what they believe so that we can continue to kneel to the God of Economics and to the other less-than-laudable political, social, and religious gods they worship.
And remember, no matter how overwhelming the task of reclaiming our world from the grasp of the techno-addicts may seem, one never knows when one individual action can become the final grain of sand that initiates a sea change to sanity.
©2013 by George and Sedena Cappannelli.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Agape Media International. Dist. by Hay House Inc.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
Do Not Go Quietly: A Guide to Living Consciously and Aging Wisely for People Who Weren't Born Yesterday
by George and Sedena Cappannelli.
Straight talk, valuable life strategies, practical tools and inspiring messages for the 150 million Americans who will soon be 50 years and older -- and for younger people who want to know more about the road ahead and be better prepared for the world they will be soon inherit. See how to chart a more harmonious, joyful, and successful course so that we'll be able to say with pride, "We have run the course to the best of our abilities, and we will leave behind a legacy of genuine value."
About the Authors
George and Sedena Cappannelli are popular authors; speakers; and co-founders of AgeNation, a digital-media company and social enterprise, and The Age of Empowerment, a nonprofit organization that supports people and organizations serving vulnerable sections of our aging population. They are experts on individual, organizational, and societal change and well-known consultants, coaches, and keynote presenters who have worked with thousands of individuals and hundreds of the world’s leading institutions in both the private and public sectors, including Boeing, NASA, The Walt Disney Company, Oracle, PepsiCo, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Navy, and more.