Friday, December 5, 2008


St. John of the Cross (1542 – 1591) says: “The soul must be attached to nothing, whether of sense or spirit, which would introduce noise into the deep silence, for it is there that God speaks to the heart, in this secret place, in utmost peace and tranquility.” And he adds: “The soul must keep a simple, pure and loving awareness, like one who gazes with the awareness of love.”

Stillness is a gateway to the spiritual. When we sit quietly long enough, stillness of body, mind and heart gradually develops. The body’s fidgeting, itching, and restlessness settle down as it becomes quiet and at rest. Often as we sit, waves of emotion and thought cascade one over another in our consciousness, but as we watch them pass, unmoved, not participating in them, they begin to slow, and may at times cease altogether. In that still place we can let go of our attachments and intentions, let go of our desires (even the desire to be still), let go of our willfulness. When we let go of our willfulness, our intentionality, then we are open and receptive to being touched by the Will of the Ultimate Source.

It has been said that “stillness is the language God speaks, and everything else is a bad translation.” Stillness transcends space and time. Becoming conscious of stillness whenever we encounter it, in ourself or in another, will connect us with the formless and timeless dimension, which is beyond thought, beyond image, beyond ego. It may be the stillness which pervades the world of nature, or the stillness in your room in the early morning. It may be the stillness on your bench or cushion or the silent gaps between sounds. Stillness has no form. That is the reason thinking cannot make us aware of it. Thought is form. Being aware of stillness means just being still. To be still is to be conscious without thought. This is our practice. You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself than when you are still. When you are still, you are truly your Self beyond temporal existence: conscious, unconditioned, formless, eternal.