Be still, and see that I am God. Ps 46:10
In the stillness of the night I have walked in your streets, and my spirit has entered your houses, and your heart-beats were in my heart, and your breath was upon my face, and I knew you all. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, P.84.
"Acquire inward peace," said St. Seraphim, "and a multitude of men around you will find their salvation." Such is the role of spiritual fatherhood. Establish yourself in God; then you can bring others to His presence. A man must learn to be alone, he must listen in the stillness of his own heart to the wordless speech of the Spirit, and so discover the truth about himself and God. Then his work to others will be a word of power, because it is a word out of silence. (...) Shaped by the encounter with God in solitude, the starets ("old man," or "elder" - P.R.) is able to heal by his very presence. Kallistos Ware: The Spiritual Father in Orthodox Christianity. [in:] John Garvey (ed.)(1985). Modern Spirituality: An Anthology. Springfield, IL: Templegate Publishers. P.43.
One of the simplest and most profound things we can do when we talk to God is simply to sit still.....Or simply to pause and "be"(...). Jones, Timothy. The Art of Prayer. P.43.
What holds us back from cultivating quiet?.........Quiet
is rarely handed to us. To find it requires going against the grain of
habit and convention. We may need to remember that ensuring we get it won't
necessarily be easy........we will have to face ourselves in ways we like to
avoid. All of us live with secret fears about ourselves. As long as
my inner and outer worlds stay noisy and
frenetic, I can ignore things I need to confront: my compromises,
self-involvement, misgivings, lusts, guilt feelings, anxieties. When I am busy,
when I don't listen to my deeper self, I can hide. When I am quiet, the
beasts of greed or anger may rear up. It is not that they suddenly appear
out of nowhere; they have lurked there all along. But as long as I talk
or fill my mind with the talk of others, I feel safe. But I miss an
opportunity. For in silence I can confront who I am, not in a
threatening void but in the presence of a loving God. Where better to make painful discoveries than in the presence of One who can forgive us and remake us? Jones, Timothy. The Art of Prayer. PP.46-47
I also try to remember that much of advance in prayer has to do with "waiting." Waiting is not the same as being passive. It is not doing nothing. It is readying ourselves for something more. 'Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him,' Psalm 37 tells us. Sometimes we need to say to ourselves, 'Don't just do something; sit there.' Our goal in prayer is not to make things happen on our timetable; it is to allow God to come to us. We cannot orchestrate his coming any more than we can force someone to love us. Gentle awareness of God comes as a mutual presence between two parties who come in loving expectation. My stillness in God's presence is a way to be ready." Jones, Timothy. The Art of Prayer: A Simple Guide. PP.50-51
When the five senses and the mind are still, and reason rests in silence, then begins the path supreme. This calm steadiness of the senses is called Yoga. Then one should be watchful, because Yoga comes and goes ... Katha Upanishad, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.14.
Just to pass the time in sitting straight, without any thought of acquisition, without any sense of achieving enlightenment - this was the way of the patriarchs. Ascribed to Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253), quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.100.
Repose, tranquility, stillness, inaction - these were the levels of the universe, the ultimate perfection of Tao. Therefore wise rulers and sages rest therein. Chuang Tzu, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.168.
Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look out at the stars. This practice should answer the question. Hua Hu Ching 5, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.172.
So who can be still and watch the chess game of the world? The foolish are always making impulsive moves, but the wise know that victory and defeat are decided by something more subtle. They see that something perfect exists before any move is made. Hua Hu Ching 38, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.173.
(...) in that state of utter silence, no-mind, he is capable of answering any questions with tremendous profundity. (...) He does not answer only with words. He answers you. (...) the enlightened man has no answers, no scriptures, no quotation marks. He is simply available, just like a mirror he responds (...) with intensity and totality. Osho, Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic, P.81.
The spring outside seemed much more sacred. Easter afternoon I went to the lake and sat in silence looking at the green buds, the wind skimming the utterly silent surface of the water, a muskrat slowly paddling to the other side. Peace and meaning. Sweet spring air. One could breathe. The alleluias came back by themselves. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, P.295.
All the evil in the world issues from man's inability to sit quietly by himself for a while. Blaise Pascal, quoted after: Jack Maguire. (2001). Essential Buddhism. P.211.
Let the monk follow this course, especially since he has renounced the materiality of this world in order to win the blessings of stillness. For the practice of stillness is full of joy and beauty; its yoke is easy and its burden light. St. Evagrios the Solitary (345-399 C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.31.
Be like an astute business man: make stillness your criterion for testing the value of everything, and choose always what contributes to it. St. Evagrios the Solitary (345-399 C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.33.
If possible, never sleep outside your cell, so that the gift of stillness may always be with you. (...) For continual absence from your cell is harmful. It deprives you of the grace of stillness, darkens your mind, withers your longing for God. If a jar of wine is left in the same place for a long time, the wine in it becomes clear, settled and flagrant. But if it is moved about, the wine becomes turbid and dull, tainted throughout by the lees. So you, too, should stay in the same place and you will find how greatly this benefits you. St. Evagrios the Solitary (345-399 C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.35.
Stillness helps us by making evil inoperative. (...) St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.128.
The intellect cannot be still unless the body is still also; and the wall between them cannot be demolished without stillness and prayer. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.128.
(...) those who have only recently escaped from the agitation of the world should be advised to practice stillness; otherwise, by frequently going out, they will reopen the wounds inflicted on their minds through the senses. They should take care not to add new images to their old fantasies. Those who have only just renounced the world find stillness hard to practice, for memory now has time to stir up all the filth that id within them, whereas previously it had no chance to do this because of their many preoccupations. But, though hard to practice, stillness will in time free the intellect from being disturbed by impure thoughts. Since the aim is to cleanse the soul and purify it from all defilement, such people should avoid everything that makes it unclean. They should keep their intelligence in a state of profound calm, far from all that irritates it, and should refrain from talking with men of frivolous character. They should embrace solitude, the mother of wisdom. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.230-1.
Solomon continues: 'Be like someone who lies down in the midst of the sea, and like a pilot in a great storm' (Prov. 23:34. LXX). St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.234.
Seal your senses with stillness and sit in judgment upon the thoughts that attack your heart. St. Thalassios the Libyan (VI-VII Century C.E.), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.308.
Stillness, prayer, love and self-control are a four-horsed chariot bearing the intellect to heaven. St. Thalassios the Libyan (VI-VII Century C.E.), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.308.
Stillness and prayer are the greatest weapons of virtue, for they purify the intellect and confer on it spiritual insight. St. Thalassios the Libyan (VI-VII Century C.E.), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.311.
The only path leading to haven is that of complete stillness, the avoidance of all evil, the acquisition of blessings, pefect love towards God and communion with Him in holiness and righteousness. If a man has attained these things he will soon ascend to the divine realm. Abba Philimon (VI-VII Century C.E.), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.349.
I have noticed in the greater quiet that the thoughts for better or for worse are much more perceptible, carrying so many resonances. When we are in the midst of a busy everyday life, so many thoughts go in and out of our minds and our hearts that we do not perceive the effect they are having upon us. But when we come to achieve a deeper inner quiet, then we are much more discerning. Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.64.
How can unsteady mind make itself steady? Of course it cannot. It is the nature of the mind to roam about. All you can do is to shift the focus of consciousness beyond the mind. (…) Refuse all thoughts except one: the thought ‘I am.’ The mind will rebel in the beginning, but with patience and perseverance it will yield and keep quiet. Once you are quiet, things will begin to happen spontaneously and quite naturally, without any interference on your part. (…) Just live your life as it comes, but alertly, watchfully, allowing everything to happen as it happens, doing the natural things the natural way, suffering, rejoicing-as life brings. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.18-9.
Last updated: 2013/05/20