Psalm 46 includes one of my favorite lines from the old testament: Be still, and know that I am God. Even as a child that appealed to me. It reminded me of forests and pastures. It reminded me that God seemed to go with me everywhere.
It begins with a heartfelt recognition that God is intimately connected to the ground of our being. When we are in contact with God, we cannot be shaken regardless of what tempests rage in the external world.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
It is very much a song about the awesome extent of God’s power. On the one hand, he can bring desolation to the earth. On the other, he can end the wars which storm across it. And it offers one simple directive for knowing this all-powerful God: Be still. That’s all. In stillness, we know God.
A Course in Miracles echoes that theme.
Only be still and listen. You will hear the Word in which the Will of God the Son joins in his Father’s Will, at one with it, with no illusions interposed between the wholly indivisible and true (W-pI.125.9:3-4).
Stillness and quiet: these are the conditions in which and by which we know God. We don’t have to do anything else. No prayer, no ritual, no formal meditation positions. We merely enter that deep silence and listen in faith. We will know God there. Neither the psalmist nor the Author of the Course equivocate on this point.
Stillness and quiet, of course, are more than being sure that the television is off. They mean something different than just not moving. The truth is that we can come to sacred stillness on a busy city street – horns honking, engines blaring, sirens wailing. We can come to it while walking or dancing or kneading bread dough.
It is a quality of attention, a way of being present to what is. It is our ability to maintain a devoted concentration on our desire to know God. When knowledge of God is our sole objective, the externals – be they soup that’s a tad too cold, a breathtakingly beautiful sunset or a violent hurricane uprooting trees – become irrelevant. They cannot reach us. We are in the stillness that is God. We have become that stillness.
He speaks from nearer than your heart to you. His Voice is closer than your hand. His Love is everything you are and that He is; the same as you, and you the same as he (W-pI.125.7:2-4).
This is the secret that renders relationship with God practical and accessible. God is not a mystery to be unraveled by priests and scholars. God is not a gift given to few Holy saints secluded in convents and monasteries. You yourself are the peace for which you long. It is inside you as a condition of your being. You are not – you never were and you never can be – apart from God. In stillness, you remember this. In stillness, you accept it.
It is your voice to which you listen as He speaks to you (W-pI.125.8:1).
Sean isn’t God. The you you think that you are – this body, this personality, this history – isn’t God. Rather, the stillness inside us – the deep center from which all peace springs – is God. It is there waiting for us. It never changes. It saves us from the world and it saves us from the mortal self in which we have so long been deceived.
So practice that stillness. Make it your present reality. Every second in its presence is transformational. The separation ends. You know you are forever Home.