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A few days ago, my 4-year-old grandson, Helaman said something extraordinary! He walked up to his mother while I was near and said, “Mom, did you know that when you’re still, you can feel stuff?” (This was a 4-year-old boy whose non-stop running is one of his defining characteristics). She was somewhat puzzled and asked, “You mean like the wind?” He then said, “No, like the stuff you feel in your body!” Later, I cornered him and asked, “Helaman, what is it you feel in your body, – when you’re still?” He matter-of-factly answered, “My heartbeat. And GOD!”
As I’ve pondered those simple but profound words, I’ve realized the depth of truth in them. When we can be still enough to listen and feel our heartbeat and breath, we slow our busy minds down to the point that we can feel the spirit within us. Jesus said “…the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) We just need to slow down in order to feel it; to feel the stuff of God.
Ask the Questions – Notice the Answers
One way to begin this process is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I breathing?
- Can I feel my heart beat?
Did you notice, that the seconds it took for you to check these things out in your mind, – you stopped your normal thinking? You became still. The feelings Helaman was referring to were not only the quiet sensations of his body, but a beginning awareness of an opening spiritual dimension as well.
Open To the Spirit
When you FEEL the spirit, you are actually in the presence of a member of the Godhead who gives you the nourishment you need. It’s the food your soul longs for and it tastes delicious! When you still your mind, even for a few seconds that glowing presence begins to enter. Notice how it helps you relax and be calm. The spirit takes away tension and overwhelm. How does the spirit feel in YOUR body? Experiment with that awareness.
Mother Teresa Explained stillness this way:
“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness…
Jesus is always waiting for us in silence. In that silence he will listen to us, there he will speak to our soul, and there we will hear his voice. In silence we will find new energy and true unity. The energy of God will be ours to do all things well. The unity of our thought with his thoughts; the unity of our prayers with his prayers, the unity of our actions with his actions, of our life with his life. …” (Mother Teresa, In the Silence of the Heart, p. 19)
Our modern lives are insanely inundated with distraction. What is the latest news story? Let me check Facebook! I have 10 emails I need to catch up on! Did you hear the latest intrigue about the President? We frantically choose what is interesting, intriguing or outrageous over that which is peaceful, but it comes at a price. Overly focusing on these things always forfeits stillness. “Interesting” generally gets our attention, but doesn’t often lend itself to peace or clarity.
The Lord has proclaimed His powerful statement: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) I feel that it’s also true to say, “Be still, in order to KNOW God! When you are still and filling up with the spirit, you learn to know Him in ways you never knew before.
In a BYU devotional address, Troy W. Carlton echoes this theme, “Stillness has a purpose. And that purpose is for us to know God and feel the promptings from the Holy Ghost. Stillness,- is pausing with a purpose.” (Troy W. Carlton, BYU devotional address, 2005)
Pausing On Purpose
Virtually all-great inventions have come because the inventors experienced moments of stillness from which the idea or concept they needed was conceived. The mind generally needs to be stilled in order to receive inspiration. This can naturally happen in the pre-dawn hours of the morning or on a walk or in a dream, but we can also create the opportunity for stillness. When we pause our normal physical and mental activity on purpose, there are marvelous realities that await us.
A Way to FEEL Stillness:
1. Sit quietly in a place where you won’t be interrupted
(This is ideal, but not crucial.)
2. Relax and bring your awareness to your body.
Can you feel your heartbeat? Listen. FOCUS on your slow steady breathing as your heartbeat punctuates the unhurried rhythm. Feel the spaciousness of your inner self, and listen to this stillness within you. (If you feel tightness in any part of your body, consciously relax that area and then continue to be aware)
3. Quiet your mind
When you are absorbed in feeling these sensations of breath and heartbeat, your mind naturally calms, and you put yourself in a position to receive light. Notice how your random, frantic thoughts leave as you force yourself to follow your breath and listen to silence.
4. Open to Receive
Maintain this tranquil state for as long as you can. Feel the peace of it. Stillness provides a divine current running through you, which can bring knowledge or comfort. You are now in a good position to begin praying or pondering about a specific issue. Open up space inside to receive. If you’re still long enough, you can begin to have clarity in your being about what you should be doing.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband counseled: “Recognize the Spirit when it comes. My experience has been that the Spirit most often communicates as a feeling. You feel it in words that are familiar to you, that make sense to you, that prompt you.” (Ronald A. Rasband, April Conference, 2017).
5. Witness the Inspiration
Note the profound things that may come to your mind; where you left the keys, how to help your child; or how to solve a particular problem in your life. Write down promptings.
You have the tools to create quiet distilled moments. These God attuning times can be created while sitting, driving, running or even during in a conversation. Pause your body and mind on purpose to experience the “presence” of God.
Get still, – so you can “feel stuff”.
You can contact Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org.