Finding a moment of stillness can be really difficult in our crazy busy and energetic world. And if you have family or small children, to find the opportunity to pause and be silent can feel almost impossible.
However in practicing stillness and silence there is a richness to be found.
I once to insisted my husband sat still and quiet on a bench by the canal where we used to live for a full 5 minutes. I set a timer. If something popped into his head, reminding him of something he needed to do, then he could say ‘ok’ in acknowledgement but mentally lay it aside, trying to be present to the moment and what was right in front of him.
Apparently he spent the first two minutes having a conversation with himself, expressing his frustration at me and at how ridiculous this task was. However upon realising that he was being a bit silly, he surrendered to it, and found that the remaining two-and-a-half to three minutes, were a real blessing, bringing him a sense of peace and anchored-ness that he rarely allowed himself the space for.
We often speak of that occasion.
How you good are you at silence and stillness?
It’s something I’ve really had to learn.
At drama school I really struggled with it, and I remember a tutor telling me that despite my love of organising, I didn’t need to be general manager of the Universe. She was absolutely right, I don’t. There already is one, and frankly He does a better job than I do.
But to be able to sit still, letting all the thoughts that are flying around my head go – all of the things that I’m supposed to do, all of the stresses and challenges – allows me a few precious minutes to re-set and remember the old cliché that I am a human being not a human doing.
You can never switch off entirely, because unlike Eastern spirituality, which often suggests you should try to empty your mind, I don’t think that actually possible – plus I don’t want my mind empty, but full of what is good.
However it is possible to put things on mute, to recognise the thoughts and stresses you have, and then to choose to give them away to God to handle.
It’s freeing in fact.
Whether you specifically talk to God or not, invite him to join you.
Switch off your notifications and any other sounds you have control over, and set your timer for five minutes.
This is important because if you know you have a clear boundary, you are far more likely to be able to relax into the time, and give yourself permission to let go of everything you have to get done.
Five minutes is not very long at all, but don’t be surprised if you struggle with what feels like an eternity, at least for the first few times you do this. It gets easier.
Just be present.
Noticed the smells, the sounds or the lack thereof.
Notice how your body is feeling, are you tense or anxious?
Notice any anxious thoughts, and then offer them back to the one who loves and knows you.
Notice your breath, your heartbeat, and what is going on around you.
Just sit in stillness and silence, aware, softly alert, and give yourself that gift of time to quiet your inner self.
I promise you, if you enter in to this, it will refresh you.