Stillness quiets our minds and centers our hearts. It is the capacity to be present, in the moment – to be quiet, to be still, to listen. The world we live in is filled with busy-ness, noise, to do lists. It is easy to lose sight of ourselves, who we are and what’s important. We open all our gatherings with the life-giving nourishment of silence. It is in the stillness that we begin to remember who we are, and tap in to our inner wisdom.
We practice becoming a listening presence, a way of being in which stillness and attentiveness provide the space in which someone can speak authentically and know they have been heard. It is from this place that we can listen across diverse backgrounds, cultures, religions, opinions, beliefs. It is a way of being that listens to understand the other, rather than to judge. When we listen with a sense of openness, wonder, curiosity and attentiveness, we discover a deeper, sacred connection – we are in relationship.
How do we cultivate more stillness in our lives? It often seems like there’s no time to add one more thing to our days. Here are a few simple practices we have found that can help to nurture our souls, to reset our brains and to bring more peace to our days.
Practice being quiet. Take one minute a day to sit in silence. Notice what you hear and then let it go. Breathe deeply. Be aware and present.
Pause for a moment throughout the day to be aware of where you are and what you are doing. Some examples are when you get out of bed, or drink your first cup of coffee, or before turning on or turning off a light switch, or your computer. These small pauses add up and lead you back to your center.
Or take breath breaks while you are waiting in line, at a traffic stop or for an appointment.
When you find yourself in a rush or if you are in a quandary about what to do next, ask yourself this question: What wants to happen next? (rather than what do I want to do next or what should I do next.). You will notice that you have to pause for a moment, reflect and then look to your inner wisdom to respond. It is a practice in inner stillness.
“Our essence is revealed and refined in the practice of silence. It is that living, luminous core which in the end is the greatest gift we can give to one another. It is true inspiration…the breathing of life.”
Gunilla Norris, Inviting Silence, page 94
“Silence is the source of all that exists, the unfathomable stillness where vibrations began- the first oscillation, the first word, from which life emerged. Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace.”
Gunilla Norris, Inviting Silence, page 8
Martin Boroson – One Moment Meditation, Winter Road Publishing, 2009
Kay Lindahl – The Sacred Art of Listening, SkyLight Paths Publishing 2002
Mark Nepo – Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Atria Books, 2013
Gunilla Norris – Inviting Silence, Blueridge Books, Katonah, NY, 2004