Stillness

Stillness.

What a great word.

Stillness

We all have mental pictures of what stillness looks like.  An empty room, a sleeping baby, a high mountain meadow, snow silently falling.

Stillness is also something we seldom, if ever, possess.

In our Red Bull/Five Hour Energy world, stillness is seldom encouraged.

It is sternly avoided and is absent from our business mentality, which is unfortunate because the ability to draw on the benefits of stillness is what sets many successful people apart from the unsuccessful.

Benefits of Stillness

According to Ryan Holiday, author of Stillness is the Key, stillness is defined as:

To be steady while the world spins around you. To act without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. To possess quietude—exterior and interior—on command.

Stillness is that quiet moment when inspiration hits you. It’s the ability to step back and reflect. It’s what makes room for gratitude and happiness. It’s one of the most powerful forces on earth.

We all need stillness, but business leaders and entrepreneurs who are charging ahead with big plans and big dreams need it most of all.

The benefits of stillness are many, but a few that I see as significant are.

  • Reduces stress
  • Able to hear your own intuition
  • Brings clarity
  • Creativity increases
  • Connects you to a higher power

How to Practice Stillness

Stillness just doesn’t just happen accidentally.

Leaders who draw on stillness understand its benefits and intentionally make time to practice being still.  It is also a personalized practice; everyone finds their own path to stillness.

Learning to be still is one of its major hurdles because stillness is the art of doing nothing, which is contrary to those who thrive on being active and productive.

Martha Beck, the author of The Joy Diet, says of stillness that

“doing nothing is the most productive activity you will ever undertake.”

By doing nothing, she means literally doing nothing.

It is not problem-solving.

It is not planning.

Doing nothing is being still, quieting your mind (and the cacophony of voices), and simply being.

Five practices you can undertake that will lead you to stillness are.

  1. See the world like an artist. Try to notice the little things. Look at a tree like you’re a painter. Observe interactions with people like you’re a writer. Be present and see all the small intricate details.
  2. Detach from the outcomes. You can’t think about the awards, recognitions, or future successes. You must focus only on the task at hand. You must learn how to let go and let the process take over.
  3. Ask questions. As in, do I need this? If I get what I want, what will actually change? Why do I care what they think? What am I working on in myself today? Will this matter in five years? What if I did nothing?
  4. Seek solitude. This allows you to reflect while others are reacting. If you’re surrounded by others constantly, you’re likely to think and act as they do. To be original, you have to spend time alone.
  5. Enjoy small pleasures. If you can teach yourself to be grateful for and enjoy the ordinary pleasures, you will be happier than just about everyone.

The Bible

Here are four verses where we see stillness as being part of God’s plan for us

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14  

 

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him Psalm 37:7

 

Be still, and know that I am God Psalm 46:10

 

He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. Mark 4:39

In our world of dreams, ambitions, goals, demands, self-centered desires, temptations, anxieties, and depression, God has advised us to be still.  Put all those earthly influences aside and rely on Him to take care of you.  After all, He has a plan for you, and all you have to do is be still and listen.