Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Working with Those Who Are Struggling to Believe: Teaching Stillness

I've long believed that one of the primary focal efforts of those who are struggling needs to include an understanding of "Be still, and know that I am God" - but, unfortunately, we live in an age when there is a constant barrage of messages focused on always thinking, talking, debating, conjecturing and otherwise "doing something" and being stimulated actively. So many people go to bed tired, wake up tired and spend their lives tired, rushed and thinking about the next important thing - and they forget how to be still and feel. They can be emotional, but I believe there is a big difference between feeling emotional and feeling spiritual - and it's a fading art for many.

I think miracles fade away as much from sheer, voluminous busy-ness as from other things that drive away faith - since busy-ness makes things accumulate to the point where someone just can't deal with it all at once. In an online forum, we can't get people to slow down by physical means, but we can provide a place for people to take a breath, breathe calmly and slowly and start to re-learn how to "be still". We can model calmness, rationality and spirituality, even in cases where we have to express disagreement.
I believe most people who overcome deep crises do so more by a change of mind and perspective (and even character) than by finding the right argument, so online communication can't be primarily about arguments. For that reason, I try to focus on attitude, character, perspective and charity rather than winning an argument.
At least, that's how I see it after working for years with those who are struggling to believe.


Howard said...

Well said! Be still, and know that I am God is quite a contradiction for a church that reveres being "active" vs. "inactive". Ponder? Okay pondering is a start but meditation is a much more spiritual way to be still, and know that I am God.

Paul said...

Teaching stillness is a challenge. Especially in a world where our children are exposed to nearly constant stimuli (and are driven to distraction without them).

Richard Alger said...

This speaks to my soul. My resolution of many shelf-issues has come over time. Because of the stabilizing influence of my wife and my willingness to give the issues time and space.

There is so much satisfaction in the coolness of the morning, feeling the breeze. Of quiet, stillness. A resolution of "what do I really want?" against "What does God or Goodness want for me"

There are times that I ride in the car and I purposely do not turn on the radio. In those cases I use my long commute to work out issues in my life. I let quietness be in my life.

I so love the passage, "Be still and know that I am God"