How Do You Learn and Maintain Stillness
The question was asked of me by Lemuel on my Facebook page: How do you maintain stillness? It was such a great question that I thought it deserved a thoughtful response.
Benefits of Learning to Be Still
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” It is in stillness that we can experience God’s presence.
Learning to be still and maintaining stillness is the ultimate spiritual goal that will lead to producing fruits of the Spirit in your life which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Not experiencing stillness can result in restlessness, anger, jealousy, dissension, anxiety, fear, and aimlessness, just to give a few non-spiritual fruits! That’s why practicing stillness and making stillness part of your life is so important because it spills over into every aspect of your life.
Feeding your Body, Mind, and Spirit
A healthy body requires that you: feed your body healthy food (protein, fruits, vegetables), drink adequate water, exercise, and that you get the proper rest. Along with that, you “maintain” that healthy body by doing these things consistently along with visiting doctors and dentists, or other health practitioners to aid in being as healthy as possible. By the way, a healthy body also helps you to have a healthy spirit. : )
So, to have a healthy body, you avoid loading up on junk food, smoking, overeating, over drinking, being a couch potato, and not making necessary doctor appointments to check your cholesterol, blood pressure, have your teeth cleaned, etc. These poor habits make you sluggish and not feeling good.
Requirements for Stillness
Unplug from the Noise of the World
Stillness requires that you unplug from the noise of the world. While technology is great (us connecting on Facebook to have this discussion, for instance), our minds and spirits were never meant to be assaulted with so much information. There is being informed and there is being inundated.
Just as we need to feed our body with healthy food, we need to feed our minds and spirits with healthy food. Our minds and spirits need nourishment. To experience those fruits of the Spirit, we need nurturing seeds that will grow into being more loving, peaceful, joyful, and having a life that is much more meaningful.
Be Careful what you Feed your Mind and Spirit
Our society, on many fronts, has become sarcastic, cynical, and mean. I am supposed to come up with “memes” for my book God Notes. I was kind of familiar with what a meme was, but to fully understand, I looked up examples. My peaceful spirit was turned upside down when I saw examples of the most “viral” memes being shared on the Internet. A blog described them as, “Memes behave like a mass of infectious flu and cold viruses, traveling from person to person quickly throughout social media.” Infectious may be a positive word. But flu and cold viruses??? All that makes me think of is being sick. Many of the most popular ones are based on the misfortune of others, and as the same blog offered, “The irresistible appeal is that it is a powerful passive-aggressive way to make public judgments of other people’s life choices.” In other words, a stillness killer.
Exposing ourselves to this constant bombardment will disturb our spirits. I did feel sick after viewing all the most popular memes. Then there is our 24-hour news environment. A gruesome story is not aired just one time. It is aired over and over and over again. That repetition of horror (shootings, disasters, abuses) gets drilled into our minds and spirits. I used to wake up to the news each morning on my radio. I never watched any other news throughout the day. I thought of it as being informed. Each morning I heard about how many shootings happened the night before, followed by some other disasters that happened across the country. It was disturbing my spirit, so I don’t do that anymore.
Giving Stillness your Attention
Maintaining stillness is making stillness a priority. It’s a lot like maintaining a muscle. You go to a gym to work out and build muscle. Building muscle happens over time. Maintaining muscle takes ongoing exercise. Stillness is also like a muscle. It’s a spiritual muscle. You build it by unplugging from devices and spending time just being in God’s presence.
Physical muscles get stronger. Your stillness muscle will develop and become stronger over time as you spend consistent time in stillness. This can happen in as little as 10-20 minutes a day. So, just as you maintain your muscle mass, you can maintain stillness.
Making Stillness a Habit
Here are three tips to make stillness a habit so you can maintain stillness.
- It’s best to start your day in stillness. This stillness time will cause peace to flow throughout your day. Don’t watch or listen to the news first thing. Don’t check your email first thing. Leave enough time so that you are not in a rush. I start my day having my coffee and breakfast in my home office sometime between 5:30-6:30AM. I’m the first one up, so the house is still. It’s dark and still outside. This makes it easy for me to join the stillness that surrounds me. Set a timer for 10-20 minutes, sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, still your body and your thoughts. (I had to use a guided meditation to help me still my thoughts. Be Still was created for that purpose.)
- Avoid staying connected to email and social media all day. Instead, be conscious of being connected to God’s Spirit. Take mini stillness breaks throughout your day. Find a quiet place, sit down, then close your eyes. Getting out in nature is good too. If your mind wanders, say Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God” as a form of meditation.
- Avoid being connected to electronics before you go to sleep whether it’s programs, emails, the Internet, social media. Allow yourself at least 15 minutes to be disconnected. Read something that will not disturb your spirit. As you settle down to sleep, be conscious again of God’s presence. Give thanks for your day and set intentions for your day tomorrow.
Eating well, exercising, getting rest, are all good habits. Stillness is a habit too. If you follow these simple tips, and practice them every day, you will be able to maintain stillness.
Thank you again, Lemuel, for the great question. I hope that this helps you and will help others too!
Do you practice stillness? If so, what do you do? Have you never tried it? If not, why not? Leave your comment below.