By Deborah Rojas, MA, Integrity Counseling Services — Could you handle a few technology-free days? No phone, no laptop, no music — power down the technological devices, and not because the word “vice” is in “device.” Stillness and true quiet are necessary for contemplation, the time and space for getting to know God and ourselves in relationship to Him. Contemplation is impossible when we are distracting ourselves to death.

I recently went on my first silent retreat at a convent. The hospitality of the sisters set the stage for a few days of prayer and rest, and the natural order and rhythm of the contemplative life provided a technology-free, sacred space to pray. Other than Mass and the Daily Office, I was left to myself with nothing that I had to do.

On an ordinary day, the tasks of the moment rule. It was in this space of having no tasks and freedom from technological distraction that I was able to be with God and get to know myself better. Different parts were able to emerge because I slowed down. Some of the parts that came forward are parts that I don’t like or would rather avoid but need love and the healing mercy of God.

In therapy, we often have to learn how to see ourselves before we can begin to do interior work. When parts of ourselves make us uncomfortable, the natural instinct is avoidance. This is easy with distractions like social media or video games. However, some distractions are internal: daydreaming, fantasies, worrisome obsessions, or over-spiritualization, for example, and more challenging to navigate.

When Jesus encountered suffering, he walked, not away, but towards it! He had compassion. He saw, and he had compassion. Then the healing began. I am grateful to work with the Great Physician and walk towards others who are suffering. It is much harder to embrace my own wounded parts. This might be one of the reasons why I love counseling so much!

I would rather distract, avoid and turn away from painful realities in my heart. This is not the pathway to life and love. Rather, it is death by distraction. Friends, make the meaningful effort to look up, look within and share the loving, compassionate gaze of Christ with each other. If it is too difficult to do on your own, seek the help of a qualified counselor to see you and walk with you.  May Jesus grant you healing in your relationships and a flourishing life this Easter season.