Emmy winning Comedian Louis CK had a great bit on Conan where he talked about kids glued to their smart phones and how we use technology/entertainment to run away from the darker things we struggle to face (like grief.)
Louis CK shared a personal experience about taking a break from technology and taking the risk to enter his personal “existential void.”
“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something, that’s what the phones are taking away — the ability to just sit there…”
The comedian recalled a recent time in which he heard the Bruce Springsteen song “Jungleland” while driving and he was deeply moved:
“I started to get that sad feeling and reached for my phone, but I thought ‘don’t’ — just be sad, let it hit you like a truck…I pulled over and I just cried…I was grateful to feel sad and then I met it with true, profound happiness.”
As Louis Ck points out, it’s so easy to remain connected, numb and distracted – continually attached to our devices.
To be fair, this is an inevitable part of trying to manage personal and professional responsibilities in a 24/7 society. But this continual connection to ever present technology does have the capacity to change our sense of reality and our relationship to others, as well as a connection to our deeper selves.
There can be a high price to pay for all that distraction, especially when there is some important stuff to sort out, to feel and grieve, new soil in our hearts and souls that we are being called to cultivate.
For some, the immersion in entertainment, media, and for many, pornography, have become addictions. These obsessions and addictions can keep us cut off from areas of our lives that need attention and healing.
When we allow ourselves to be still, to put away the smart phone for a few hours…are we afraid of the silence? That great emptiness Louis CK spoke of can lead us to contemplation of the deeper meaning of our lives.
I believe there is a great longing today, perhaps unconscious and unspoken, but a hunger to quiet all the hyper-activity and at least for a time let go of the gadget obsession. People want to give a voice to the deeper desire in their souls for reconciliation of past losses, to finally stop running from the pain and allow a healthy expression of the feelings and memories.
One very important caveat that Louis CK did not mention:
If you are going inward, and you encounter some complicated and painful areas of loss, such as abortion or abuse, please don’t try to go it alone.
Once you recognize that a painful experience like abortion has left a deep wound on your heart and soul, reach out for the help you need. This is especially true for men with abortion loss who may struggle to reach out for support.
As Louis CK points out, our bodies and souls will reward us if we can safely do that grief work because along with the necessary pain and grief are good for the body, and will cultivate life-giving emotions, new insight and understanding.
Best of all, when we safely open up deep parts of our hearts and souls that have been long ignored, numb and lifeless…this freshly tilled soil provides an excellent place for God to sow new seeds of faith, hope and love.
We can come to know in a deeper and intimate way the God who created us – and embrace him as our Heavenly Father.