King David reflecting upon the self-manifest stillness of patiently acceptant maturity:
“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).
As we consider the occasional number of people, including ministers, given to depression, burnout, addictions and isolation in their sin, we can discover via analysis the central cause of these maladies.
They all stem from a lack of achieved stilledness.
Hurry, the drive to achieve at all costs, and internal disquiet are among salient examples of the great nemesis — extrinsic bases for action; the tools of the evil one magnifying already virulent inner discord.
The Cause of Pain and Eventual Sin
From comparison-causing envy, to feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness, to the issues of substances used and abused and other addictive behaviours used to mask the pain, these all come; to stilledness.
The matter of stilling our minds and hearts become central to these things, if we’re to ‘fix’ them.
If we’re to be struck in life it’s usually an accumulation of things. Satan doesn’t just strike us on the left cheek, the right one’s mangled in too. The character of hurt causing a rift of life-threatening sin is masked in undealt-with baggage from the past, together with unreconciled issues — and the need to ‘hurry’ — in the present, as well as a vacancy of hope for the future. That’s a cacophony of trouble and little wonder serious life-contorting sins await the one so troubled.
The Character of Stilledness
Stilledness, the practice, both emends feelings of low self-worth — because of the felt trueness in honesty — and it generates the efficacy of power we were all destined to enjoy; the main blessing of which is tranquillity of soul.
The stilled human being — like that weaned child — is entirely happy in their reliance on God, like the child with its mother.
Yet, stilledness is a thing so individually defined. How can anyone tell us how to be still? They can offer hints; that’s all.
Stilledness, however, does have a general character about it.
It’s an imperfect mix of: accepting-come-what-may humility; the courage of honesty; the ability to sacrifice to the dogs much desirable distractible life content — the want for less; with the impassioned drive for the simple life, given to the unworldly corpus of love.
Being weaned from the myriad distractible elements of life — including the want to control time — is the key. Why should these things hold us? If we throw off these shackles how much freer are we?
Stilledness, out of weanedness, is available and possible even in deplorable pain and chronic loss, sorrowful as these states are. It’s the final adjusting corrective — and onward to emotional and spiritual maturity we go.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.