Giving Thanks in Stillness
Each of us finds our own unique ways to communicate our own personal gratitude. No matter how we express it, we begin giving thanks in stillness.
Some of us put our gratitude into words, even when we just say thank you. Other people find ways to communicate their gratefulness in images or music or the way they move their bodies. We may express our gratitude with a glance or a laugh or a smile. Sometimes we thank people by giving them a public honor or in a private moment.
I know people who even try to express their thanks by arguing or venting their feelings with someone.
Some of us express our gratitude by listening to what someone else has to say.
People do all kinds of things to give thanks. Some people write thank you notes or letters or emails. Others dedicate their careers to expressing their gratitude to someone else.
There are people who believe they are thanking someone else by sacrificing what they most desire. Sometimes we even believe we need to give up the person we have the potential to become as a way of giving thanks.
We even enjoy celebrating different aspects of Thanksgiving Day. For some of us it is all about the parade while others give the football games top priority. I know people who focus all their attention and care on Thanksgiving dinner. Some people want to go around the table and have each person express their gratitude. Other people seem to ignore all of those things to get started shopping as early as they can.
All of our different efforts to express our gratitude begin the same way. No matter how we express ourselves we start giving thanks in stillness.
Maybe listening to sacred stillness is an essential aspect of giving thanks.
We Begin Giving Thanks in Stillness
Many of us live our everyday lives without giving thanks. It is as if we save our deeper reflection for particular times.
We may not be sure why but we are not comfortable pausing in our schedules to reflect and give thanks. It seems better to let some things go unsaid. Some of us are afraid we will get bogged down in all that reflection, all those feelings. Many of us are more than a little intimidated by stillness.
Stillness is a place we do not spend much time. It may be unfamiliar, unexplored territory for us. We believe it is there, like a country we have never visited, but we do not really know what it is like.
Important things seem to happen, or at least begin, in stillness. To be honest, many of us are not particularly thankful for stillness in our lives.
A contemplative understanding inspires us to listen to sacred stillness. As we become more open to stillness we realize it is us, our true selves, waiting for us in the stillness.
We become familiar with stillness and all the gifts it is eager to give us. Listening to sacred stillness allows us to relax the grip of everything which distracts us. For a few minutes each day we listen to stillness instead of the clamor of competing voices we usually hear. As we experience its immense generosity we begin giving thanks in stillness.
Our practice of listening to sacred stillness becomes a place of rest for us. We do not need to analyze our way to a solution, but can allow spiritual life to sort things for us in stillness. Our practice becomes a source of our deep gratitude and we are drawn into its embrace.
Giving Thanks in Stillness Grows in UsWe find listening to sacred stillness can nourish us in ways we had not experienced before.
Sitting still, breathing deeply, we get out of our own way. Many of us find ourselves giving thanks in stillness as it wraps around us like a blanket. Contemplation carries us beyond thoughts, words, and feelings into spiritual life.
Our way of giving thanks in stillness is expressed with stillness.
When we want to clear a path through everything which distracts us we practice listening to sacred stillness. Our experience of stillness sparks new gratitude within us.
All the trappings and traditions of giving thanks and all our many expressions of gratitude are fine. We begin giving thanks in stillness.
There is a place of calm acceptance in stillness which shapes our gratitude. Some of us find greater depth or satisfaction in the stillness. We find words, as powerful as they are, eventually run out.
Stillness refreshes us as we recognize words often become unnecessary. We find ourselves giving thanks in stillness without needing to resort to words or actions.
The waves of gratitude in stillness carry us forward into new ways of seeing.
Giving Thanks in Stillness Beyond Ourselves
Our practice of listening to sacred stillness teaches us to appreciate life beyond our control.
As we begin to glimpse what we cannot understand we begin giving thanks in stillness. We do not need to organize and catalog what we find in stillness. It does not require us to put it into words or paint its picture. What we learn in stillness does not demand we throw it a parade or prepare a generous meal.
We respond simply by giving thanks in stillness.
Our giving thanks in stillness is more basic, more essential than how we express our gratitude. We begin giving thanks in stillness and then translate our gratitude into other languages.
The purest form of our gratitude is giving thanks in stillness.
When we are giving thanks in stillness our expression of gratefulness is not limited by our abilities and understanding. Stillness gives us another gift by allowing us to go beyond our own limitations.
Our gratitude grows beyond our own abilities to understand or control it. We sit quietly giving thanks in stillness.
How can we be giving thanks in stillness today?
When will we begin giving thanks in stillness this week?
[Image by Nick Kenrick.]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor and 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 StrategicMonk.com, and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.