January Practice: Stillness, Silence, and the Divine
Stillness is the altar of Spirit. Where motion ceases, Spirit begins to manifest. —Paramahansa Yogananda
Whether transitioning from a noisy and difficult year or traversing an ordinary day, finding moments of silence provide a way to dip below the cacophony within and around us into something more enduring, divine even. As we begin 2021, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the importance and power of stepping away from our screens, our to-do lists, the news, and other attention grabbers.
What you need, what we all need, is silence. Stop the noise in your mind in order for the wondrous sounds of life to be heard. Then you can begin to live your life authentically and deeply. —Thích Nhat Hanh
An important practice for spiritual growth across religions, stillness and silence allow for inner listening, create space and possibility, and the conditions to hear the voice of the divine.
In the video below from our “Spirituality & Community” series, Anjum Ali, consultant on international and Islamic affairs, reflects on how, in the silence after prayer, she connects with the divine. “It’s quite a moving and profound experience to sit silently and to actually be able to hear another voice give you another idea,” she says.
Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers and sisters for what they are, not for what they say. —Thomas Merton
Whether momentary breaks from the busyness of your day, or longer stretches, how might you create opportunities for silence and stillness? What practices welcome stillness and silence for you?
If you'd like to share, leave a comment telling us about your practice and/or what you hear or experience when you sit in silence.