“What are you afraid you’re going to hear once you turn off the noise?”
I’ve been pondering this question ever since I heard it asked from one character to another on the Netflix show Start Up.
In the show, this question is posed to a character who is swirling in chaos from tragedy after tragedy in her life. The question is powerful because it is challenging us to become still long enough to hear under the noise. Practicing this kind of stillness has merit whether we are in a time of chaos or not.
Seeking stillness is about creating space that is free from the work of reflection, imagining, or creative problem solving. Admittedly this is initially a heavy lift for most of us. Like strengthening muscles with exercise, it doesn’t happen overnight or after one attempt; it takes time and repetition.
Recently a friend reminded me of the wisdom of stillness from theologian John
“Stillness is vital to the world of the soul. If as you age you become more still, you will discover that stillness can be a great companion. The fragments of your life will have time to unify, and the places where your soul-shelter is wounded or broken will have time to knit and heal. You will be able to return to yourself. In this stillness, you will engage your soul. Many people miss out on themselves completely as they journey through life. They know others, they know places, they know skills, they know their work, but tragically, they do not know themselves at all.” [emphasis mine]
What I know to be true is individuals who cultivate a regular rhythm of ‘withdrawing to the wilderness’ live with a pronounced sense of clarity about who they are as they navigate the world.
Creating space for stillness is an incredible gift for ourselves and inevitably for others.