The Power of Stillness

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

woman taking a moment to find stillness

The Power of Stillness

One way of nourishing yourself is through stillness. This is quieting the mind and body by placing your full attention on the present moment.

As you’ve heard me say before, our world is filled with noise and distractions which alienate us from our inner, higher selves. We are continually connected to our cell-phones, tablets, computer screens, television or radio. Of course, we are blessed to live in a high-tech world. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But we are so attached to technology and bombarded by so much noise competing for our time and attention that we fail to listen to ourselves, our own thoughts, feelings, and intuition.

We have grown uncomfortable with silence. If things get quiet, we look at our phones. Or if we’re driving down the street, we turn on the radio. We arrive home and turn on the television or keep ourselves continually busy.

My Bell

A few years ago, I bought a simple bell which I love using with our grandkids. At the end of the day, as we gather in the evenings, I’ll invite our grandkids (and usually their parents) to sit in a circle on a chair or the floor. I ask them to sit tall with their back erect and head up. I then let them know that I’m going to strike the bell and I want them to listen to its sound and raise a hand when they no longer hear it.

The bell sounds for about 60 seconds. When all hands are up, I ask the kids to talk about what it was like, sitting quietly and listening to the sound of the bell.

They like it. The practice brings peace into the room and calm to their hearts. We talk about the noise and chaos of our daily world and the sense of quiet when listening to the bell. Inevitably, they want to do it again. (Of course, the younger ones want to strike it themselves and I’ll sometimes give them that chance, a little later in the evening.)

But I’ll strike the bell again and this time I ask them to listen inside, to what it feels like to sit quietly. Again, they like the feeling. There is something wholesome about finding a moment of stillness in a busy, noisy world.

After doing this for two or three nights in a row, I’ve sometimes not brought the bell to our bedtime gathering, thinking that the kids would grow tired of it. But inevitably, someone asks about the bell. So, I’ll get it and we’ll practice stillness once again.

Practices to Bring Stillness

There are many practices to bring the power of stillness into your life. These don’t have to be big practices that take a lot of time and discipline. In fact, it’s good to find stillness regularly and in little ways. Let me mention just a few.

  1. Take a pause at various times during the day to check in with yourself. How am I doing? What am I feeling? What do I need right now?
  2. Stop and notice your breathing for a couple of minutes. You don’t have to change it in any way. Just notice the inbreath and outbreath. Allow it to center and calm you.
  3. Pause before you respond. We are quick to respond to what someone is saying, whether to agree or disagree or add your two cents worth. Just take a moment to be still and allow your response to come from that stillness.
  4. Take a moment to pay attention to something in your physical space. Anything. Look at it. Study it deeply. Allow it to absorb your full attention.
  5. Really see another person as you’re talking to them. Don’t just look at them but see them deeply. Hear what they are saying. Be present to and for them.
  6. Buy a bell. Strike it and listen to the sound. Or if not a bell, just take a moment to listen to the ambient noise around you. What sounds do you hear that are near or far?
  7. Offer a prayer of gratitude for something good in your life at this moment.

The Benefits of Stillness

Science has proven that such practices bring many emotional and physical benefits such as lower blood pressure and heart rate, stronger immune system, greater calm and contentedness, more resilience and mental focus.

One of the biggest benefits of stillness is richer connections. In fact, most causes of depression can be considered losing our connections—with other human beings, with nature, with higher values, a sense of purpose, and meaningful work. And at the top of this list, I put losing our connection with ourselves. Practicing the power of stillness enables us to reconnect with our inner, spiritual natures.

Stillness Puts You in Touch with Your Feelings

However, I’ve found that lots of folks are afraid of being still, at least for long. The quiet puts them in touch with unwanted feelings—boredom, restlessness, loneliness, sadness, disappointment, frustration, shame, and so on.

I get that. But in truth avoiding those feelings doesn’t make them go away. They go underground and come out in subtle and harmful ways.

Better to feel them, to make space for your uncomfortable feelings. This is a big part of becoming, of nourishing and enlarging your heart or spirit. It is important that you become comfortable with your uncomfortable feelings. Because if you can stay with uncomfortable feelings, you’re reconnecting with something deeper inside yourself, perhaps a message that you need to hear to continue your journey of becoming. I’ve written about this in the past and will do so again in the future.

Personal Application

I do believe that most of us long for greater peace. Finding moments of stillness is a way to find or create that peace. And, as you can tell from my examples, these don’t have to be big moments of stillness. I’ve given you a few ideas. The question is what can you do to bring quiet and stillness to your daily and weekly routine?


About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit www.rogerkallen.com>.

6 responses to “The Power of Stillness”

  1. Excellent article. Very practical suggestions on how to implement stillness into life.

  2. Thank you Roger for this valuable and beautiful article!

  3. sp says:

    I’ve actually caught many moments of stillness, which made me reflect on the human as a whole. It has made me ease my noise, listening to others which confirms we are not alone. Patience with self & others. I finally finished “The Hero’s Choice”. I have taken a few things I have read from you Dr. Allen; for instance, taking time from phone daily & difference between staying positive & being happy (in the moment) – how being in the moment can help. Thank you

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