Thursday, December 2, 2010

Learning Stillness (Again)

“I have calmed and quieted my soul,

like a weaned child with its mother;

my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.”

~Psalm 131:2 (NRSV).

The psalmist’s status is sound. Their soul augments life; it’s no longer detracting. They’ve learned to calm themselves, as can we. How long will it take—for those chaotically busied by life—for the momentum to gather and the emphasis to shift to that end? It’s a question everyone prone to fretting must answer for themselves.


Time after time,

We’re brought to a place,

Life’s a spinning climb,

Never seems space.

Struggles the mind,

Burnishes the heart,

Trouble’s still not defined,

Not even in part.

Stillness—the desire,

Stands far off,

Hearts afire,

A disbelieving scoff.

Beckons the test,

Still not gone,

Challenged to rest,

To stop living wrong.


God brings us back to the same old ground, and as much as we ignore these cues of life we’ll stand to implement change only once it truly becomes important to us. God’s incredibly patient. Around the block again we go—it’s not bothering him.

Learning again to be still—or perhaps for the very first time—is made difficult in our time and culture, certainly compared with yesteryear, but it’s not impossible.

It must really depend on our grasp on things or, better, their grasp over us.

Looking for Instant Results?

The trouble with us generally is we’re often looking for ‘just in time’ results or even for change to have occurred yesterday. We don’t readily want to make the time or have the patience to get better at being still.

Stillness as an endpoint is a learned skill with much practise needed.

It’s the ability to not only take time out to be still but also to be able to still our hearts in the midst of pressure situations and stress. That’s when we know we’re genuinely ‘weaned’.

The best advice for stillness is to just simply do it. Stop regularly and just be still—even if the mind’s still spinning at a hundred miles an hour. Be prepared for several months or even years of practise to achieve mastery of it—for the mind to be tempered. Every step along the way is, however, going to be rewarding.

Envision peace; it’s ours with time and effort. That’s a compelling enough argument.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


  1. Amen! Thanks for this, Steve!

  2. Thanks Mike. God bless you mate, for stopping by and encouraging me.


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