The transformative art of stillness

Those who find the positive changes they seek often find them in a state of utter mental stillness. Character shifts, healing, and decisive life choices all require stillness—a peaceful mental quietness that actively shuts out distractions, including what often feels like mental static.  

You can read about the need to be still in just about any sacred text. In the Bible’s book of First Kings, Elijah finds the presence of God and His powerful goodness not in the wind, earthquake, or fire but in a “still small voice” (19:12). Becoming mentally still enabled him to hear the voice of God, which revealed to him how to defeat those enforcing the worship of Baal and turn the Hebrew people back to their worship of God. 

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The events that ultimately resulted in Elijah’s hearing the “still small voice” of God were not unlike our struggle to relate closely with the Divine in a modern world. We each can find the peace-filled power of God’s love and guidance in our lives today, no matter how tumultuous our lives may seem. 

Character shifts, healing, and decisive life choices all require stillness.

I’ve found this true in my own experience. Here’s one example. I had dropped everything I was doing to care for two young boys whose dad had suddenly been hospitalized. I kept them busy on the playground and with their toy cars. This gave the mother of the family much-needed space as she cared for the needs of their week-old infant. 

However, after a long day of hard play, a late night of baking, and a night sleeping on the family’s couch, I woke up at 5 a.m. with symptoms of a severe and painful cold. As I sat up, I knew that in order to continue my new caretaking responsibilities, I needed to be healed of this cold or else find someone in good health to care for the boys. So before I made another move, I became both physically and mentally still. 

In this stillness, something very beautiful happened: My thought became entirely free of the distraction of the symptoms. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 15). 

I had closed the door of my thought on the material evidence in order to listen with my heart. With the mental noise quieted, I could reach out in prayer with all sincerity. I felt a tangible presence that I can explain only as the presence of God—speaking with warmth and in words I could understand—saying, “Don’t leave; just be still.” Reminded of the biblical directive to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10), it was in this silent space that I experienced pure divinity.

In this stillness, I recalled how Christ Jesus didn’t leave right away to go to Lazarus when he received the news that Lazarus was sick (see John 11:1–44), remaining where he was for two days. And when he knew that Lazarus had died, Jesus told his disciples, “I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe.”

We all can find the transformative, still, calm, and healing voice of God today.

I thought about how calm and still Jesus must have been in the face of all these circumstances—even death. Jesus was pressed for time, had some distance to travel, knew that Lazarus’s family members were depending on Jesus’ help, and yet he remained still. And then when Jesus reached the place where Lazarus had died and was buried, he raised him to life. 

To me, the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead shows God’s ever-presence. Jesus demonstrated the value of taking time to experience God’s presence through a calm insistence on being still and not getting excited by human circumstances—through a humble listening to God, whereby the noise of death was utterly silenced. The stillness Jesus experienced was a healing one. 

On the couch where I had spent the night, the healing insight from this Bible story came to my consciousness and opened me up to consider the spirituality that enabled Jesus’ stillness. And this became a radical experience for me—of God speaking to me. I rose from the couch without a trace of cold symptoms! 

I was so grateful for the quiet, spiritual state of being that completely changed my experience from sickness to the beautiful sweetness of divine presence. This presence healed me, but not just for my own sake; it was also for my “community”—the sweet family that needed help. The family was reunited shortly after I was healed of the cold symptoms. 

I experienced the profound presence of the Divine, which showed me my innate qualities of health, joy, and charitableness—qualities God is expressing in all of us all the time. I went from sickness to silence to a sacred story that inspired me and resulted in physical transformation … and then I experienced profound gratitude! 

For those seeking positive change, we all can find the transformative, still, calm, and healing voice of God today. 

Lost and found sheep: A life revised
September 16, 2019

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