quiet and still—allowing God to dwell within

The first stage of this tranquility consists in silencing the lips when
the heart is excited.
The second, in silencing the mind when the soul is still excited.
The goal is a perfect peacefulness even in the middle of the raging storm.”

St. John Climacus

(the beauty of the tiny shelf fungus scattered amongst the debris deep in the woods /
Julie Cook / 2017)

Yesterday I read the following words on an Orthodox blogging site and found them to be
both comforting and soothing…
while I also desperately recognized the need to seek that same sense
of hesychia
the seeking of an inner quiet and stillness…
both of which are of the utmost importance–

This as our times are crying so utterly loudly…screaming at us in such a way that
we are actually failing in our attempts at seeking a quiet inner stillness–
We are so full from the madness of our times, so much so, that the place that God
seeks to dwell within our very being is already so terribly full…

Hesychia, stillness [quietude], is essential for man’s purification and perfection,
which means his salvation.
St. Gregory the Theologian says epigrammatically:
“One must be still in order to have clear converse with God and to bring the nous
a little away from those wandering in error”.
Through hesychia a man purifies his heart and nous from passions and thus attains
communion and union with God.
This communion with God, precisely because it is man’s union with God,
also constitutes man’s salvation.

Hesychia is nothing other than “keeping one’s heart away from giving and taking and pleasing people, and the other activities”.
When a person frees his heart [nous] from thoughts and passions,
when all the powers of his soul are transformed and turned away from earthly
[corruptible / decaying / perishable] things and towards God,
then he is experiencing Orthodox hesychia.
St. John of the Ladder writes that stillness of soul is
“the accurate knowledge of one’s thoughts and is an unassailable nous”.
Therefore hesychia is an inner state; it is “dwelling in God”.

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.

8 comments on “quiet and still—allowing God to dwell within

  1. Lynda says:

    “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
    Being still in the presence of God is integral to our spiritual well-being and therefore, our total well-being. Beautiful quote re hesychia!

  2. atimetoshare.me says:

    Why is this such a difficult thing for us to do? Maybe it has to do with our anonymity. I can spout angry words in a blog, but I have trouble voicing my opinion in the flesh. I think being in silence – hesychia – is almost impossible for us as human beings, but so necessary if we are to survive.

  3. oneta hayes says:

    Good thing about attaining communion with God is that he is the fullfiller. We go to the throne with a scripture such as above “be still and know that I am God” or a song such as “More of you” or “Nearer my God to Thee,” and await his presence. We do not have to “empty” our heads, instead we fill it with thoughts of him. Oh, the joy when we know we have connected. I have heard of saints who have gone through times when it seemed God had removed himself from them (Job like). David prayed Psalm 51:11 “do not take your Holy Spirit from me.” Thankfully I have never experienced such a time. I’m sure that would be an extreme testing of faith. I don’t want that ever!

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