Listening to Sacred Stillness: How Stillness Helps Heal Us

Listening to Sacred Stillness: How Stillness Helps Heal Us September 4, 2018

When Stillness Helps Heal Us

Sometimes we push ourselves too far, or allow other people to push us too hard.

There are times when life takes a lot out of us and leaves us feeling battered and bruised. We may like to think we can keep going, continuing to push regardless of the obstacles we face. Many of us do not like to rest or take time to recover. We believe we are being strong and independent when we ignore our injuries.

Some of us like to see ourselves as unstoppable. Other people need to rest and heal, but we do not. We push ourselves to persevere, to overcome challenges no matter what they might be.

It is easy for us to assume we are responsible not to pay attention to our own injuries, our own pain.

We may see spiritual life as a force which inspires us to continue striving. Our heroes are people who persist in their struggles against all odds. Spiritual life, we believe, should be a force within us pushing us on.

I have come to appreciate spiritual life is more than a source of strength to keep pushing. When we practice listening to sacred stillness we learn how stillness helps us heal.

Spiritual life does not drive us forward without regard for our struggles. We are not unrelenting spiritual beings striving to meet sacred goals.

Our lives may be full of challenges and pain. The difficulties we each face have lessons to teach us, lessons we learn as we pay attention.

We listen to sacred stillness and we recognize how stillness helps us heal. Taking time to listen does not mean we are weak or lazy, undisciplined or not motivated.

Stillness helps heal us and become stronger as our struggles continue.

Stillness Helps Heal Us

Many of us have seen athletes who have been injured during a game. They take a time out and everyone watching becomes still. People who know what they are doing help the injured athletes determine what is wrong and what they need to do to heal.

Athletes who know their own bodies well can often tell when there is a problem. They may sense something in practice or in everyday life which tells them something is not right.

We do not expect someone who is injured to continue playing. An athlete who has been injured needs to stop, understand what has happened, and take time to heal. They may be eager to be able to play again and we look forward to watching them again. Staying on the field when they are injured is foolish and dangerous.

Many of us apparently hold ourselves to a different standard than athletes. We believe it is noble and unselfish to keep going without taking time to heal.

Some of us do not want to do what we need to do to be ready to play our best. It is as if we do not want to be bothered with what we need to do to be able to play again.

We will probably aggravate our injuries by ignoring them.

The people who rush out to an injured athlete are doing their best to help them. They are not trying to embarrass them or cause them more pain or injury. The sooner they can begin the healing process the more quickly an athlete can play again.

Listening to sacred stillness helps heal us. We cannot force ourselves to recover from the spiritual bumps and bruises and injuries we suffer. Healing is not about the strength of our will to feel better or play again.

How Stillness Helps Heal Us

No matter what kind of injury or wear and tear an athlete experiences, it takes time for them to heal. Whether or not they require surgery there is a specific course of treatment to support healing.

The same is true of our spiritual lives. While we respond to spiritual injuries in a wide variety of ways each one takes time to heal.

Some of us feel listening to sacred stillness is like being in traction, or at least like wearing a cast. We are a little intimidated by the need to sit still and not allow our minds to wander.

In some ways, sacred stillness helps heal us like a cast or a bandage. We keep still so spiritual life has an opportunity to work on healing us from within.

Listening to sacred stillness helps us remember to rest and allow ourselves to heal. We let go of all the thoughts and feelings which distract us from the healing taking place in us.

As we sit still, not paying attention to our own thoughts or feelings, sacred stillness helps heal us.

Most of us do not really understand how our bodies heal, knitting themselves into new strength. We may not understand how sacred stillness helps heal us, even as we recognize the results.

Sacred stillness within us and sacred stillness in the world around us helps us heal from the spiritual injuries of everyday life.

Sacred Stillness Helps Heal Us

The stresses and strains of everyday life can take their toll on our spiritual health.

Like even the most gifted athletes, we need to give ourselves time to recover and heal. It is foolish and dangerous for us to keep throwing ourselves into the game without taking the time we need.

We sit and listen to sacred stillness to remind ourselves we do not control the outcome of the game. The practice of listening to sacred stillness reminds us there is so much more than we can do alone.

Sacred stillness helps heal us as we rest into the knowledge it is not all up to us, not all on our shoulders. The stillness is at work within us. No matter where it hurts, we listen as the sacred stillness helps heal us.

When will we see stillness helps heal us today?

How will we recognize stillness helps heal us this week?

[Image by TerryJohnston]

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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