Why Be Still?
Learning to be still is not a new idea. We’ve just forgotten what it means to be still. To be still means to take time, if only for a few moments, to rest and recharge.
How long can your smart phone go until the battery runs out? It needs to be recharged.
How long can your computer run until the memory, files and storage space is maxed out? Those files need to be cleared out to make room to not only continue to function, but to allow for new projects to be created.
How long can you drive your car without putting oil in it or maintaining it? If you did nothing to maintain your car your car would break down.
You too will break down too if you don’t learn to be still.
I love a particular meaning of the phrase, be still, that I learned during a sermon that my pastor delivered at church one Sunday morning. It made me laugh because it was so appropriate.
This particular translation is taken from the New Testament and is from the Greek. The situation that my pastor spoke about was after a long day of teaching and healing, Jesus was exhausted and took a boat across the sea. He was so exhausted that he fell asleep. A huge, frightening storm kicked up, yet Jesus remained asleep. The disciples were so distraught that they woke Jesus up fearing that they would perish.
This story is in chapter 4 in the book of Mark. It says, “He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
My pastor told us that the Greek translation for be still means shut up!
Why I find this so appropriate and funny is that there are so many thoughts that we have that we listen to when we should be telling them to shut up! Those thoughts include limiting beliefs like I’m too young, I’m too old, I’m never going to get this done. These are fearful thoughts.
Then there are all the cluttered thoughts of shopping lists, to do lists, text messages emails, conversations gone wrong with others, commitments we failed to keep that play over and over in our heads.
We need to say, be still or shut up.
Silence seems to be very uncomfortable. Many people need noise around them all of the time.
It is in the silence and the stillness that strength is renewed. Being still allows you to recharge your batteries.
When you are able to silence the chatter, you will enjoy the gift of just to be and not to always do. Learning to be still helps to build inner strength. There are so many outside voices that bombard us through the media, society, work, family, advertising, social media, invading our personal space. Listening to too many other voices drowns out being able to listen to our own still small voice.
I believe that everyone has a still small voice that leads you and guides you. It is a built-in GPS system. When you pay attention to this voice, it is the voice of truth. It is your soul, the true essence of who you really are. It is the place where you connect with your Creator – the Source of all that is. I call this Source God. God’s presence is best experienced in silence and stillness. Being distracted, running around, and frantic doesn’t allow you to connect to your powerful Source.
When you learn to be still, you build your inner strength. You can enjoy more peace, clarity, and direction. You are able to make good decisions. You can say no easily to people and to situations that don’t align with your values and how you feel and yes to relationships and activities that empower you.
Being still helps to eliminate stress by stepping away from those situations that are causing stress and retreating to an inner place of peace. It’s retreating within to receive guidance. It’s letting go and letting God walk with you through your challenge.
When you learn to be still for 10 minutes a day, the time that you’ve invested will start to ripple throughout all areas of your life like a stone being tossed into a lake. The more you can quiet your mind and find stillness in the midst of chaos and problems, the more inner strength and peace that you will develop.
Instead of feeling anxious, stressed and worried, you will be able to face challenges with strength, grace, and peace.
Being still leads to awareness and mindfulness. You will pay more attention to all of life around you.
How can you practice being still?
You stop. You can start right this moment. Nothing is more effective than focusing on your breathing to bring you immediately into the present moment. When you are truly in the present moment you are not thinking about the past and not thinking about what you have to do. You are here, right now. With each breath, you let go of the stressful, fearful or anxious thoughts that you may have.
If you can, find a place that is quiet. Close the door to your office if you have one. Go out to your parked car. Just find a place where you won’t be distracted.
Take a few deep breaths. Sit up straight and breathe through your nose. If you can, breathe as deeply as you can. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. Focus on your breathing. With each breath, you are clearing your cluttered and anxious thoughts away. It will also help to close your eyes to block out distractions.
Being still takes practice. With time, you’ll be able to retreat to a quiet place even in the midst of lots of people and tons of noise.
Personally, my favorite time to be still is in the early morning. Being still is how I start each day. That is the ideal time for me. By being still at the start of the day, it allows me to bring that clarity and stillness to the rest of the day.
For others evening may be the time after the day is done when you find time to be still. What’s important is just carving out that time of 10 to 15 minutes of sitting in silence and clearing your mind. It could be as simple as just stopping throughout the day closing your door and taking a few deep breaths as mentioned above. It’s amazing how calm you will feel by taking some deep breaths.
You’ll find lots of articles on this website on learning to be still through practices such as meditation, mindfulness, contemplative prayer, and contemplative writing. There is also a guided meditation CD called Be Still, that will lead your through the process.
Discover the peace, clarity and power of being still. I hope that this article has answered the question: Why be still?