“What you need most in order to be happy is peace.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
God created the universe out of silence. Before creation there was rest; after creation there was rest. (Like a song…rest, tone, rest…) Out of chaos came order. Out of noise came music. Rest and silence give motion and sound their coherence and meaning. If our lives are all motion and all noise, all the time, we become incoherent and chaotic, too.
There is another way. We can mimic the character and process of reality at its source. We can stop, look, listen, stay awhile, and rest. We can be still and know.
It is essential to have a daily practice of entering into stillness and silence. If we can overload our schedules with endless and often overlapping activities, we can schedule a brief period of regular inactivity that is as consistent as the relentless activities that consume our lives. Otherwise, our lives become fragmented and rootless. We are supposed to bend like a tree in the breeze, not be blown around like a leaf on the wind.
There are many ways to stop, look, listen, stay awhile, rest, and to establish roots. My family observes a day of mindful rest, a Sabbath, once a week. I practice silent prayer each morning. Others practice breathing meditation, gardening, art, running, music, reading, writing, photography, cooking…there are many ways to become present and accounted for. Whatever your practice is, it is important to do so on a regular basis. Without a regular practice of stillness and silence we will easily drift astray from the peace we need.
Prayer: God, slow me down. Help me to stop, look, listen, stay awhile, rest, and to establish roots in the ground of being. Turn the chaos and clutter in my life into coherence and meaning. Give me peace. Make my life a song.