Stillness is difficult to master in modern living, but there is a simple way to practice it that can lead to peace.
Throughout the Old and New Testament, stillness is presented as a key to effective meditation. For example, the psalmist proclaims, “Be still before the Lord; wait for him” (Psalm 37:7).
Furthermore, Elijah discovers the voice of God in “a light silent sound” (1 Kings 19:12).
Listening to God and meditating on his Word requires a certain stillness that is difficult to acquire in modern living. Our lives are full of noise, both visual and auditory.
How can we possibly achieve stillness?
In the 19th-century book The Glories of the Catholic Church, the author explains a simple way to do this.
This sort of prayer requires nearly the same dispositions as to go to sleep. In order to sleep, we must keep as motionless and tranquil as possible,without fixing our thoughts on anything. Thus, such as would be attentive and fervent in prayer, and have the divine Spirit to operate in their souls, should endeavor to keep themselves in a state of perfect composure of mind and body, and not allow any idea to obtrude itself, or any affection to disturb the operations of divine grace…The whole secret of prayer is attention of mind and affection of heart.
While it is simple, it is certainly not easy! Yet, this description does gives us a certain key to understand stillness.
Our minds are made to think just as our lungs are made to breathe, so we can’t expect that our thoughts will simply cease. Instead, we need to channel and direct them toward a disposition of calm, patiently directing away the thoughts that distract us from our purpose of prayer.
It requires a particular disposition and a place where there is true silence. Similar to how we can’t fall asleep with loud music blaring in our ear, we will never achieve stillness if we are bombarded by constant noise.
Also, we may need to wear more comfortable clothing, as we typically wear some sort of pajamas that allow us to sleep.
Basically, just as we have a routine that calms us down and prepares us to fall asleep at night, we also need to develop a routine that puts us in a similar state of mind.
If you would like to grow in your relationship with God, consider practicing this type of Christian meditation, clearing your mind and calming your body so that you can listen to the voice of God.