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When Something Is Authentically Observed, It Changes - Part 4

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

How Stillness Gives You Clarity of Purpose


It’s All About Being Still

To be clear about your purpose, you first have to be still, that is the only way you will be able to hear and recognise the ‘still small voice’ of divine guidance.

American author and poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) wrote a play called the New England Tragedies. While still under British control the newly formed American Colonies were a safe-haven for people seeking religious freedom. Although some religions were tolerated, many weren’t, which included the Quakers. They were often persecuted, imprisoned and executed by the authorities. Longfellow’s drama focuses on a group of Quakers who are about to be imprisoned and executed. Six of the Quakers are meeting in the upper room of a home discussing their imminent incarceration. While reflecting on what had happened to other members of their religion the only female member of the group, Edith, invites them consider what they have committed to in their faith.

“Let us then labour for an inward stillness, an inward stillness and an inner healing. That perfect silence where the lips and the heart are still, and we no longer entertain our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions. And God alone speaks in us and we wait, in singleness of heart, that we may know His will, and in the silence of our spirits that we may do His will, and do that only.”

You’ll be relieved to know that as they were about to be executed, a decree arrived from the King of England ordering the release of all religious prisoners. Edith understood that the highest expression of human consciousness resided in stillness. And she clearly states what stillness looks like. Firstly, the lips and the heart are still, which represents our thoughts and emotions. When the mind and feelings are still we are in a state of awareness, we are the witness, the observer. In that place of awareness there is only stillness.

How to Become Inspired

She then talks about singleness of heart. The heart represents those things that we treasure, which for most people represents some form of issue around wealth, power and popularity. Edith is suggesting inward stillness and inner healing as the things to treasure. What we treasure then is stillness. She reinforces this with the recommendation that you have to silence your spirit. Spirit in this context is about what we desire, how we channel our energy, what our goal is, what we want to achieve in life. She says to silence that and be open to being inspired about our grandest purpose. And since she associates that with ‘His will’, you know it will be about some form of service, empathy and compassion expressed through benevolence. This will be your purpose!

Clarity of Purpose

To be clear about your purpose, you first have to be still, that is the only way you will be able to hear and recognise the ‘still small voice’ of divine guidance. The reason so many of us are confused about our purpose, is that we are still only attuned to the ‘small voice’, the voice of the child, the story that we have responded to our whole life. Remember, it was this voice that was responsible for our suffering, our drama. It was the voice that keeps us playing small in the world. In stillness there is clarity, peace, freedom and joy. In stillness there is divine guidance and grace (divine flow). In stillness you are engaged in your purpose and generally will have someone beside you who is also committed to their higher purpose. And what binds the relationship is both your commitments to service, and not just your commitment to each other. In fact, that commitment pales in significance to the commitment each has to their purpose. Stillness isn’t inertia. In stillness much is achieved, all the while, maintaining balance in your personal life experience.

Take a Moment to Consider

Consider times of stillness in your life. Maybe you were somewhere in nature and took the time to be still with that. Maybe you held a new born child in your arms and looking into their eyes you had a moment of stillness. Maybe you found a deep moment in your meditation and you were able to explore the multi-dimensions of stillness. Maybe you were drinking a cup of tea in silence, or were washing up or digging in the garden, and felt that moment of stillness.

  • List your moments of stillness.

  • Describe what would be different in your life if you were to create more moments of stillness.

  • Write about how that would make a difference to you and to other people in your life.

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