SILENCE, STILLNESS AND SIMPLICITY -- AND THE PRAYER OF
the prayer of the heart, silence, stillness, and simplicity facilitate the journey into the dimension of the
heart, where divine life, light, and love dwells.
Silence is absence of sounds which continually invade our lives such as
traffic noises, television, radio, phones, and people coming and going. Within our minds are also voices of
anxieties, fears and worries. When we retreat to a silent setting, the external noises diminish. This becomes
conducive to quieting the mind from its constant cares and concerns. An inner calm and tranquility begin to
Stillness can be linked with absence of activity. With a hectic pace of
life, we may have competing commitments and obligations. Internally may be contending voices of “should do” and
“must do”. Stillness can be experienced in solitude, in a place with minimal activity. This is favorable for
both body and mind becoming still. Through outer stillness we start to experience an inner stillness – the
ability to remain calm, peaceful, and centered, and to later maintain this equanimity amidst daily hustle and
Simplicity can help achieve, as well as emerges from, the experience of
silence and stillness. Externally, we try to limit unnecessary noise, activities, and distractions in life’s
routines. Internally, simplicity involves changing our habitual self-conscious and self-reflective states. We
learn to sustain attention away from the self (ego) and to understand our true Self as inseparable from God. We
recognize the tyranny of the ego that wants to continually compare, judge, possess, and control. This awareness
lessens yielding to the ego’s demands and leads to increased freedom from complexity and pretentiousness. Masks
worn to impress others are gradually taken off, resulting in greater ease and naturalness. As a result, we
become simpler in our approach to life, kinder to ourselves, and more compassionate toward others. Simplicity
also reflects itself in an ordered and uncluttered living environment.
In addition to
discipline, our part in the prayer of the heart is faith –
entering the stillness and silence of the heart with the assurance that Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to
dwell in our hearts (John 16:7; Romans 5:5). In doing so, we leave our human ego-consciousness with its
thinking and analysis behind, and by faith enter into the mystery of God. (Of course, there is a place for a
healthy ego.) It is a journey into a “beyond” that is infinite in its scope – a journey to the heart of God.
We then allow God to work in the soul according to his grace.
Photo credit: Intellimon