The Practice of Stillness

According to the popular StrengthsFinder assessment, my top strength is “Achiever.” The report that summarized my test results says,

Person Sitting Quietly on the Edge of a Dock - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/epicurean, Image #7706240

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/epicurean

People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.”

This strength has served me well, but it also has a dark side.

It means I have a difficult time turning off my mind and just being still. I seem to be more of a human doing than a human being.

Recently, my wife Gail recommended that I read The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. She said, “You won’t agree with everything in this book, but I think it will really challenge you—especially the first chapter.”

Intrigued, I decided to read the book on my recent vacation.

The first chapter is entitled, “Nothing.” In summarizing the chapter, Beck says, “to begin the Joy Diet, you must do nothing for at least fifteen minutes a day.”

I was so challenged by this chapter, that I haven’t gotten beyond it. I have now read it four times. I have also practiced this discipline for twenty-two days in a row.

Honestly, this has been one of the most transformational things I have ever done.

What Is Stillness?

Beck’s premise is that “doing nothing is the most productive activity you will ever undertake.” By doing nothing, she means literally doing nothing.

  • This is not prayer (at least not in the sense of talking to God)
  • It is not problem-solving.
  • It is not planning.

Doing nothing is being still, quieting your mind (and the cacophony of voices), and simply being.

All the ancient wisdom literature points to the importance of this practice. Psalm 46:10 is representative: “Be still and know that I am God.”

This is tremendously difficult in our media rich, always-on, over-communicated society. Noise crowds into every empty space, leaving us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.

Mother Teresa expressed it this way,

We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… .We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Abba Poeman, one of the ancient desert fathers, taught his disciples, “If you are silent, you will have peace wherever you live.”

Why You Need Stillness

I doubt you need convinced that you need some measure of what I am describing in your life. As I have shared about this topic with others, they inevitably say, “Oh, I so need that in my life! How do I start?”

Nevertheless, here are three of my own reasons for practicing the discipline of stillness:

  1. I want to maintain perspective. If I don’t make time to be still, then I find myself in reactive mode—influenced by hundreds of little voices with big demands.
  2. I want to stay connected to my true self. I don’t want to get confused, thinking that I am the image I present to the world. They are related, of course, but I want to live from the inside out.
  3. I want more internal margin in my life. While I have been pursing external margin in my calendar and finances, I also want internal margin—more room to notice what matters most and be thankful for it.

How to Practice Stillness

This is not something I have enough experience with to write. In fact, I feel pretentious for even attempting it.

But perhaps that is the value I can add to the conversation. I am not so experienced that I have forgotten what it is like to be a beginner.

So in that spirit, let me offer a few suggestions for how you can practice stillness in your own journey and reclaim some interior margin.

  1. Schedule a time. For me, I schedule stillness first thing in the morning. It has become so precious to me, that I won’t want to start the day without it. I practice this first—before prayer, before Bible reading, before journaling, and before exercise.
  2. Find a place. When I was on vacation, I sat on the dock by the lake. This was ideal. But it is not my real world. Now I simply go into my study and shut the door. The main thing is to find a place where you won’t be interrupted.
  3. Set a timer. I am following Beck’s admonition to set aside fifteen minutes a day. In my limited experience this seems about right. It is amazing how my perception of this time changes from day to day. Sometimes it seems like forever. Other times, it goes by very quickly. I use the timer on my iPhone.
  4. Relax your body. I simply sit in a soft chair with my eyes closed. I then systematically relax my body and get quiet. Beck says that if you can’t sit still, then engage in any mindless physical activity, like rocking in a chair or watching some natural motion like fire or running water. I also play a recording I have of the ocean.
  5. Quiet your mind. This is the biggest challenge for me. Just when I get still, I have some random thought or a whole flurry of thoughts. But I am getting better. Beck offers several techniques for practicing “nonjudgmental observation,” a discipline that keeps your allotted time from being hijacked by an overly-active mind.
  6. Be present. Don’t be regretting or celebrating the past. Don’t be worrying or dreaming about the future. Instead, collect your thoughts and be present—in this moment. It is the most important time you have. In fact, it is the only time you have.
  7. Learn to return. This has been the most helpful component. In involves recalling a “place of peace,” where you had a particularly vivid experience of peace and stillness. For me, I go back to a time I stood on the balcony of a monastery in Greece, looking out on the Aegean Sea. I wrote about it here.

Perhaps the most important thing is just to start. It’s easy to blow the discipline of stillness off as something you don’t have time for. Don’t. The busier you are the more important it is.

You need this in your life more than you know. Even if you can only set aside five minutes a day, do it. And if you miss a day or two, don’t beat yourself up. Just start again.

Questions: Have you ever practiced stillness? If so, what was your experience like? If not, what is keeping you from starting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Melissa

    Two words: Jesus Prayer.

  • Lisa

    For 9 years, I have been on the journey to shift my mindset  from “human doing” to “human being”.  God started the realignment process by sending me on a short term missions trip to Sri Lanka in 2003.  Learning to just “be” has been the most challenging discipline of my life.  Learning to be still became a breaking down of so many habits of action and thought.  It is worthy work to get alone and be still. I love your honesty in this post and your heart to share with others some suggestions on practicing stillness. Along these lines I would encourage your readers to check out resources found here: http://store.renovare.us/
    for additional works by those who have gone before us in this discipline and others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Lisa. My brother-in-law is involved in this ministry.

  • WalkinginDestinyPaul

    Thank you for posting this – a great practice.  I always find the “Be Present” difficult.  In a society like ours, where things are always coming at you from every direction – it is hard to find those times where you can pause and just “be present” – it has to be a discipline. 

  • Cindi White

    I practice stillness when I go on a walk up a small mountain, and just sit at the top.  I just listen to the birds, wind, etc.  Very often I will hear a very distinct message from the Lord.  Many times it is simply, “Be still and know I am God.

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Our Pastor just taught on this same principle this weekend. I think it is becoming more important as we are constantly connected. Sometimes we need to get away from everything and be still. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Katie

    I needed this today. I think it’s important for so many of us to remember that if we stay TOO busy, we’ll look back and realize that our entire lives have passed us by and we never took a single moment to just be calm. I especially love the scripture reference, “Be still and know that I am God.” The Lord Himself has called us to shut up, sit down, and be okay with doing nothing. Pretty cool.

  • Serpas623

    I experienced stillness when I was a active member of AA. My sponsor told me that I needed to quiet my mind and be still. His instruction was to close your eyes and imagine my self sitting in a recliner on top of a mountain. This was a monumental task. I had never took the time to actually sit still and just sit. I always sat and my mind ran into tomorrow or even worse I rehashed the past. Stillness is very challenging for me and I appreciate your insight into this most beneficial action. Thanks

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  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    There’s a great book on stillness I think you would enjoy by Abby Lewis, titled “Living Still.” It’s a challenging book for someone like me and I often have to refer back to it. http://amzn.to/NQSsZZ

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Sundi Jo. I will check it out.

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    Michael, I am LOVING the recent posts on pausing, sabbath, and rest. As a coach to successful professionals (medical professionals in particular) I am encouraging my clients to pause, to rest, to listen. When you are used to pursuing success however, those are hard lessons. 

    As for my own experience with stillness, I find that it is most profound in my prayer life. Something amazing happens when I am still before God (and not just for a few seconds either). When I am alone, quiet and leaning in to hear God’s ‘still small voice’ that’s when it happens. There aren’t to-do steps for it…other than participation in REAL quiet.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Me too, Matthew!  “Nothing” time has become a great way to gain my bearings and helps me pray more effectively, rather than just jumping into prayer time.

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  • Mary Allen

    This was powerful. I read it immediately after I’d risen from trying to be still for 15 minutes. My motivation was that while moving in God’s will, I seem to be having a hard time lately listening for specifics. My life is faster, having included much online activity to my writing schedule and I wonder if the computer time is short circuiting my attention span. Lately, I’m finding it difficult to slow down. Yet am amazed at a resilience I’ve never experienced before. Reading your post reminded me that I have quit rising so early to get moving. I tend to lie there and listen to the birds, simply luxuriating in the peace and company of my husband before the craziness of the day starts and often simply sending God “I love you”.  When I put it like that, perhaps the stamina is flowing from the early morning stillness, and my forward direction is on course because I’m not needing a bullhorn to get my attention. Thanks for addressing this topic. I’m going to think on it more.  

  • Terry Bortz

    My absolute favorite time of my quiet time each morning.  It was so hard to learn but has been so worth it.  I now look forward to it every day.  And it makes a difference when I don’t get to it for some reason.  I love the idea of being “saturated with God’s peace so no fear, worry or anxiety can get in” (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young). 

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Jesus Calling is a great devotional!  The kids version is really great for children too.

  • Missusdoc

    This is beautiful and so helpful!  I am an avid believer in quiet times and quiet spaces.  Even so, I need reminders that it’s ok to simply be quiet befor the Lord without fist praying or reading the Bible or devotional materials.  Because I struggle with thoughts that try to demand my attention, I do find it helps if I at least begin with a prayer for help in this area.  My friend. and unofficial spiritual mentor, Rev. Marjorie Thompson, often guides her workshop or retreat attendees in how they might deal with such distractions.  One thing she suggests is to not get frustrated when thoughts begin creeping in, but to simply set them aside in your mind, knowing that they will still be there for you to pick back up and deal with once you’ve have finished with your quiet time.  This is another idea that works well for me when I remember to do it!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That’s a good point!  I keep a pen and paper next to me where I write down thoughts for later during my “nothing” time.  That way they don’t dominate my thoughts during this valuable time.

  • http://Thefieldgeneral.com/ Chris Coussens

    I’m lost. I get mediative stillness from an eastern theology of emptiness standpoint, but not as a Christian. I can be reflective or quietly thinking through an issue, or thinking while I’m walking or running. Perhaps I need to read the book…

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    Another name for stillness is meditation for me. Meditation is fixed in my daily routine. It helps you in gaining perspective for the next day and reflecting on the day spent :)

  • TroyD

    This would be one way for me to implement your Napping rule.  If I even slow down for 15 minutes I would be asleep.  I do agree both stillness and naps would benefit me tremendously.  Thanks for the post.

  • http://www.theworld4realz.com/ Andi-Roo

    This validates everything I’ve ever felt about noise. I tend toward anxiety & have major panic attacks if there is too much going on around me – too many people talking, or trying to get my attention at the same time – too many loud sounds – too many projects – too much stimulus. I have ZERO problem removing myself from noise & finding a quiet corner in which to collect myself. I am sometimes made to feel “crazy” or “dramatic” when I have to do this, but I literally cannot function if I am overwhelmed with all the business & noise that seems so normal to other people. Thank you for “permission” to continue trying to find silence, to engage in the peace of quiet living. 

    One more thing – a busy mind sometimes needs to focus on one thing before it can relax, so I have found that silently humming or singing a simple song (even if it’s just the alphabet) forces me to drop everything else so that I can slip into that “being still” mental state.

  • Jill

    Michael, I’ve been practicing this discipline. I wrote about it on my blog in April: 
    http://www.jillsavage.org/?p=3969.  I’ve found there are very good reasons God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s an excellent post, Jill. I like how you described sitting with a friend.

  • http://www.christianhomeandfamily.com/ Carey Green

    Great advice… and very beneficial for life.  Can often make the difference between a “crazy-hair-pulling” day and a “go with the flow” sort of day.  The LORD is faithful to us as we pause to redirect our thoughts and energy toward His honor.  Pausing in the day is a mini-sabbath that recharges, revitalizes, and helps re-direct our focus.  Great post Michael!

  • http://ClayWrites.com/ Clay Morgan

    Love this idea and wonder how hard it will be to just not think about all the stuff going on. I think if I tried it first thing in the morning like you I’d fall back asleep! But mid-day, yeah, sounds like a great practice to get into.

  • http://twitter.com/Totally_Taryn Taryn DiMartile

    Thank you for the reminder to do this. I have thought about it, but have never actually done it. I’m working on creating a new daily schedule and thanks to this well-timed blog post, I’m going to make sure I include 15 minutes of complete quiet time first thing in the morning. As someone who thrives on being busy, it’s going to take some discipline, but I know it’s going to be worth it. Thanks for the reminder!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. Let us know how it works out!

  • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

    Michael, after listening to you speak on this in last week’s podcast, I have started my morning quiet time with “nothing” time.  I’m still learning, but it has clearly made the prayer, bible study, journaling, and planning activities during the rest of my quiet time more productive. 

    Thanks for sharing your journey and helping to make the rest of us better!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, John. I’m glad it is helping.

  • Trillion_Small

    I have been practicing this concept of “stillness” for some time now. I actually call it “soaking” but it is the exact same concept. “Soaking” is simply allowing yourself to rest intentionally before God; doing nothing & thinking nothing! It is an awesome practice that truly has its benefits. Being still was difficult for me at first because it felt like I was wasting time. Just like you, Michael, I started off with 15 minute increments daily but I am now able to “soak” or be “still” for more than an hour (sometimes 2 hours). I feel that the more that is required of us as believers, the more time we should be spending in God’s presence. 

    “The more time…the more Mine [God's]” is what I have heard some say when discussing their time “soaking” before God. I am so happy that you have chosen to embark on this new journey of doing “nothing”! It is such a great time for restoration and peace isn’t it?!

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

       I’d be interested to know a bit of what helped you break through some of the difficulty and distraction that you encountered when you started out. Thanks.

      • Trillion_Small

        Hello Aaron, starting off was very difficult! One thing that I have learned to do is to not fight the thoughts that come but to simply allow them to pass just as quick as they came. Also, I “soak” when I am free from external distractions (i.e. when nobody is around me). I simply lie down in my living room on the floor with a pillow and a blanket with the lights dim and I play soft worship music (at times I have it completely silent if I am really wishing to hear from God on a specific matter).

        To avoid random thoughts and to keep myself from thinking about my “to-do list” of the day I just think about God’s love. I invite the Holy Spirit to rest with me and I love on Him and I allow Him to love on me.

        There will be times that you become so relaxed that you feel like you are falling asleep. I do not fight those urges either.

        What has helped me learn to sit still is seeing how overwhelmed I had become by trying to do so much without recharging! Your body, mind, and spirit will get very fatigue and this will not allow you to operate at your fullest potential.

        I got to a point in my life where God had to tell me consistently to “SLOW DOWN”! I thought I was doing great by staying busy busy busy…but for Him that was not what He wanted from me. He wanted my time…not my busyness.

        After doing it for a few days I began to see the benefit and the fruit of it…I was more relaxed, peaceful, and mentally charged to tackle the day. Once you see the fruit of sitting still you will have no problem taking the time out of your day to “soak” or be “still”. It almost becomes addicting so to speak :-)

        Start small and you will, without a problem, want to increase that time the more and more you practice it!

        I hope this has helped you get started, Aaron.

      • http://trillionsmall.com/ Trillion Small

        SImply doing it continuously is what helped me to break those distractions. Essentially it is making that paradigm shift and training our brains to “sit” still through practice. I let the thoughts go just as quick as they come. Hope that helps.

  • KeithFerrin

    My small group (and our whole church) walked through the book “An Invitation to Silence and Solitude” by Ruth Barton last fall. Developing this discipline is truly transformational. How can we hear from God or know who we are if we never listen to that “still, small voice?”

    The greatest lesson for me is that many of us “try” stillness and silence and get frustrated when it doesn’t “work for me.” I had to realize that it was going to take weeks before it felt natural to just sit and be still. It becomes easier…and better…the more I do it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is a really good point, Keith. Like so many spiritual practices, it’s called “practice” for a reason!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Keith,
      I am a big Ruth Haley Barton fan. Have you read Sacred Rhythms?

      • KeithFerrin

        No. I haven’t. I’ll have to grab that one! Thanks for the tip Barry.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I just bought the audio version of this from Audible.com. I was pleasantly surprised to discover they had it. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • KeithFerrin

        Great! Let me know what you think Mike. It took me about 3-4 chapters before the reading and the “practice” found a rhythm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julie-Swihart/100003908965783 Julie Swihart

    Thanks for the helpful post on the importance of resting and being.

    I’d love to see a post on your mention of “living from the inside out.” Not always easy, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can and should do this.

  • Karen Fenz

    Several years ago I did this daily for almost a year. But I felt like a lone evangelical in the practice, though I did find it beneficial, so it was hard to keep it up without being able to share my experiences without my friends wondering if I’d gone off the deep end.  This post has encouraged me to try again.  I’m not alone!  (also an “Achiever” per SF).  The Catholics call the practice centering prayer – there are excellent materials available on the web.

  • jacobsr73

    I have tried stillness with little success, I guess if I really wanted to I could do it, but I find it extremely difficult to unplug.

  • abby

    I was blessed, when two of my friends, passed
    along this post to me today. I was intrigued by the word “stillness”, so I
    proceeded to read. Michael I am so proud of you for taking this step…a step
    of “choosing” each day to be still…a step that sadly many will never take. I
    am the author of the book “Living Still.” My life’s work is to passionately
    encourage others to experience transformation of spirit, mind and body by
    learning to practice “living still.” You see I hit rock bottom 10 years ago, at the age of
    24. My rock bottom included complete chaos. I suffered from extreme anxiety, control
    issues, depression and numerous addictions. My marriage was falling apart, as
    were my relationships with my entire family. My thoughts and words were filled
    with negativity and lies, and I had accumulated major credit card debt. As my
    problems piled up, they began to manifest physically through severe neck and
    back pain, as well as numbness in my left arm and left side of my face. I had no
    love for myself, no joy, no peace and no happiness. My entire life was in
    complete and utter chaos. In short, my life was completely transformed, by the
    simple act of me choosing to be still each and every day..taking minutes, hours
    and sometimes even days. Hard to believe huh? In my book Living Still I share
    my incredible transformation journey.

    Quote from Living Still…When we make the choice to be
    still before God, recognizing our great need for transformation, we open
    ourselves to knowing Him more deeply. As you get to know God in times of
    stillness, your heart and mind will gradually transform, and His love, peace and
    joy will begin to character­ize your life. His voice will guide you, not just
    when you are physically still, but as you
    live each day. You will begin to walk in peace as you rely on God’s strength,
    wisdom and direction rather than your own. Learning to rest in and be
    transformed by Him has a profound effect on every part of your being. You will
    be changed from the inside out.

    Thank you for lifting my spirits today
    Michael. I am always filled with joy when I see a person choosing to be still.
    Not only are you choosing to be still, you are sharing with others the
    importance of it. You are a blessing.
     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Abby. Your book looks marvelous. I just bought it from Amazon. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Shakenshine

    I have been studying Christian desert monasticism for a few years now.  The practice of contemplation desperately needs revival in American church culture.  We can hardly even find moments of silence in our church services.  We are so entertained. Yet we have all heard that God is most often found in the still small voice, as Elijah found to be true.  Our ability to be still and confront silence is more important to the spiritual life than we realize, yet I fear, very realized by the technological powers that be as we have less and less access to stillness as we evolve.  What unconventional time we once used for reflection or meditation – as we waited in line at the post office, or pumped gas – has nearly all but disappeared.  I recommend the writings of Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington, also Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle.  The Christian mystics all taught quiet prayer.

  • Kevan

    lovin it mike

  • Kenny Ashley

    Michael, I’m a pastor in Lamke Wylie, SC. I have been telling our folks fo a year now to take just five minutes a day and just don’t do or think anything. Most people had a very difficult time, but I encouraged them to keep it up. Now I have people who can spend an hour in quiet and peace and it feels like five minutes. The practice is literally transforming lives. Thanks for your encouragement.

  • http://bobholmes.blogspot.com/ Bob Holmes

    I’m shocked and stoked when I saw this post.  Michael, I’m proud of you, getting out of your comfort zone. Stillness is like a trust fall into the arms of God.

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com/ steveborgman

    Michael, thanks for sharing this!  You’re right: we find God and ourselves in the space that stillness creates.  I tend to be so addicted to noise in the form of media, or on my iPhone, that I’m really starving myself of the emotional wholeness that stillness brings.  I’m going to use my first half hour in the morning to make my coffee and sit out on my deck, enjoying nature and being still for my 15 minutes.

  • Briank Ives

    Tough thing for achievers to do, no doubt, but I think I will let some of that sink in.

  • Michael John Cusick

    Mike, so glad you are speaking about this.  I think stillness is the single most important thing a leader can do. Henri Nouwen wrote in “In the Name of Jesus,” “the (Christian) leader of the future must come to terms with his (or her) irrelevant self.” In my experience there is nothing like stillness to bring me in touch with our irrelevant self. And personally, stillness is such a struggle because it’s in stillness that I encounter all the things my busyness holds at bay.

    More and more empirical studies are showing evidence that stillness grows and develops neuropathways necessary for the development of things like love, compassion, and other-centeredness. In therapeutic circles (I’m a therapist) this is often referred to as “mindfulness” and is a rapidly growing practice for emotional and mental well being, as well as for leadership development, sports performance, and mental acuity.

    The idea of stillness has been so important personally and professionally, I wrote a chapter called “Less Is More,” in my recently released book “Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle.” The big idea of the chapter is that stillness, centering, intentionally doing nothing, are necessary ingredients for overcoming our compulsions and addictions.

    Two books you may want to take a look at are: (1) Mindsight, by Daniel Siegel (the science behind stillness) (2) Into the Silent Land, by Martin Laird (Our mutual friend Ian Cron introduced me to this book and it’s the best book I’ve read in years).

    I look forward to hearing more about how you experience transformation. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Michael. Very helpful. I bought the Laird book yesterday. I am eager to read it. All the best.

  • Johan Odén

    Hi Michael,

    I have followed your blog for years now, and I have really enjoyed many of your post. The recent ones surprise me some, why? In all my years in leadership the most important things I do every day is be still, relaxing forat least 15 min, and I really thought that this was something that you did. But congrats to a disission that will change your life :) I totaly agree with you that this is very important, as well as spending time for prayer everyday. Thanks for all your post and your book.

    // Johan

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  • http://twitter.com/systhink Matthew E. Weilert

    Congratulations Michael, you’ve made one of the hardest decisions in our media-obsessed Western world. As you’ve so insightfully quoted, the saints and the early desert fathers provide sign posts and mile markers on the road to holiness. For until we can manage and lead ourselves, how can we hope to lead and manage others? Blessings to you on your inward journey.

  • Susan Ekins

    I find it difficult to be still, but after a long day of being “busy,” I often wonder what exactly I accomplished. Maybe if I took the time to be still, I’d have more perspective on life. I also find that doing morning pages (3 pages of freewriting a day) helps me get the chatter out of my head for awhile. 

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    A tough word to follow–Be still!  I appreciate the gifts you share. First, you admit this hasn’t been a long practice. Then you offer practical steps (and I understand them–yay!) to follow. It will be interesting to see what develops (and if I can be both still and silent) from this practice.

  • Tsimonson636

    Thank you for your advice on stillness. I usually wake up in the morning, read the Bible and drink a cup of coffee. Today I practiced stillness and fell back asleep. I guess I needed more rest. At first I had a hard time quieting my mind as it is very active like yours. When I woke up, I felt more at peace and  read the Bible with a clearer sense of purpose. Thanks again.

  • LivingStill

    God is trying to tell all of us something. If only we would respond to
    His gentle calling to be still in His presence, choose to climb up on His lap and just
    be.

  • Cathy

    I very much enjoy Insight Timer on my iPhone.  Love the journal feature.  I’ve wanted to keep a journal but finding time is difficult.  This encourages me to type a few sentences (or more) each day, and works well for my gratitude practice.  I’ve made some interesting friends, as well, for those who might enjoy a social aspect.

  • Michellebriggs99

    You are a Benedictine!

  • http://www.reachinghurtingwomen.com/ Tamara

    Great column! A hearty (I mean a whisper quiet) amen from my yoga mat! I regularly practice stillness and meditation followed by yoga each morning.  My day simply isn’t the same without it. I’ve found the more I seek silence and stillness the more I crave it. 

  • Robert

    Walking in the woods; near a stream is best.  Just listening to the sound of nature.  The wind, the birds, the water; a creature scurring in the bush.  It is calming to know that all this exist without me doing just being a part of what is.

  • Jlbryants

    Great stuff!  Finally, someone who is a healthy thinker.  Bravo

  • Jefferyjames

    A great word. Thank you Michael. Ruth Haley Barton in her book Invitation to Silence and Solitude wrote “…you are like a jar of river water all shaken up. What you need is to sit still long enough that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear”. I can’t believe that I have been a Christian for over 30 year and I am only just learning about things like “silence”. Great to see others are discovering it too. It has transformed my spiritual life and my leadership. The Transforming Center offers a leadership program called the Transforming Community. I can’t recommend it enough as a resource for Christian leaders.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I just started Ruth Barton’s book two days ago and am really enjoying it. Thanks.

  • Carolanncollins

    Quiet time is extremely important.  Quiet time enables you to know yourself and is the gateway to an examined life.   You must know that you are worthy and make a commitment to yourself before you are willing to claim quiet time for your benefit.
    It is easy to be distracted by the activities of our lives.  Fight for your time.