Listening to Sacred Stillness: Unexpected Depths of Stillness

Listening to Sacred Stillness: Unexpected Depths of Stillness January 9, 2018


Unexpected Depths of Stillness

It seems like most days we are not expecting to find depths of sacred stillness.

We have our list of things to get done and hope we have enough time to do them. Deep sacred stillness would just get in our way, an obstacle we would need to avoid.

Our underlying attitude seems to be we are doing fine by ourselves and do not need anything more. Could we please set aside depths of sacred stillness until they are more convenient? It would be really helpful if we could save that for special times of year.

We think of it as a problem of timing. If we could get deep sacred stillness to fit into our schedule it would be more convenient for us.

The challenge for us is not about timing or our calendars.

The deep sacred stillness we discover is not unexpected because it is so rare or unusual. It is not unexpected because it is difficult for us to find.

We run into unexpected depths of stillness because we never expect to find them. Deep sacred stillness is outside our way of seeing the world around us.

We expect each day to be about the same as the day before. Our understanding of life is shaped by our ability to keep things under control.

If we cannot control something, like sacred stillness, we try to ignore it. Maybe it will go away. When we cannot categorize and organize what we see, we look toward something else.

Deep sacred stillness is beyond our expectations.

It is not as if sacred stillness were a shock or a surprise. We spend each day surrounded by sacred truths. Sacred stillness is all around us and within us.

We are not looking for the sacred so we do not recognize it.

Recognizing Unexpected Depths of Stillness

How do we open ourselves to sacred stillness? Are there ways we can turn unexpected depths of stillness into something we anticipate?

We begin by appreciating the power of sacred stillness. Stillness is beyond our ability to organize or schedule, greater than what we can control. We may not be able to understand the depths of stillness. Listening may be the most active way we can respond.

Some of us begin to discover unexpected depths of stillness intentionally. We decide to start a practice which will help us be open to sacred stillness. It could be setting aside time each day to listen or asking someone else to help us. We may become curious about spiritual life and begin to contemplate deeper truths.

Other people discover depths of stillness almost by accident. We experience something which gets our attention. There may be a specific experience which sparks our desire for more. We begin to seek similar experiences or to encounter deeper aspects of spiritual life.

Whether we think our way into acting or act our way into thinking, we begin to listen.

The powerful attraction of unexpected depths of stillness draws us. We may begin to read about other people’s experiences or advice or visit places known for their depth. There are many ways we may try to explore. As we gain experience we become deeper listeners.

Learning to listen to sacred stillness teaches us how to listen better to ourselves and other people.

We begin to recognize the unexpected depths of stillness in ourselves and in each other.

Deep stillness in other people calls out to the deep stillness within us.

It is as if the stillness itself becomes our teacher and guide.

Exploring Unexpected Depths of Stillness

We become more open to sacred stillness as we practice listening. The unexpected depths of stillness become the truths around which we live our lives. Stillness becomes a welcome interruption in our schedules.

Exploring the depths of sacred stillness is not like exploring a mountain or a cave. We do not become familiar with its terrain or tame its wild spaces.

Exploring sacred stillness is an ongoing, never ending process of discovery.

I cannot decide whether stillness is always changing or it is a challenge to remember what I learn. There is always something new to explore in stillness. Stillness is always deeper and more fascinating with more to teach us.

There is always more depth, more stillness to explore.

Exploring our unexpected depths of stillness does not get boring.

Listening to sacred stillness deepens our perspective. We rest our minds and bodies while our spirits, our souls are set free.

Our eyes and our hearts are opened and we experience real life with greater insight. We ask a lot of questions.

As we listen and gain insights and questions we apply what we hear and see.

We become more comfortable exploring sacred stillness and begin to trust its power. Sacred stillness, though, never becomes about meeting our expectations.

Trusting Unexpected Depths of Stillness

Sacred stillness is filled with deep truths for us. We listen, patient for the lessons we need to hear.

It can be easy for us to presume we have heard the lessons stillness has for us. Listening to stillness may overwhelm us. Part of the reason we need to listen each day is the power of the truths stillness has for us.

There is no formula or set of rules for listening to sacred stillness. Listening changes our expectations of what we will hear, but we always experience more than we expect.

There is more in the depths of sacred stillness than we could imagine or hope to receive. The challenge for us is being open to receive what stillness has for us.

We pause our schedules and efforts to keep things in control. Listening to sacred stillness, we allow the stillness to be in charge. We receive what the stillness has to give us.

The depths of sacred stillness take us beyond where we expect to go.

When will we listen for unexpected depths of stillness today?

How do we allow unexpected depths of stillness to communicate with us?

[Image by stereogab]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and leadership coach in Southern California. He is a recovering attorney and university professor, and a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is, and his email address is

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