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…and of course, Happy Valentine’s Day.  May you, the interested reader, experience a wholesome and nourishing love that is uncorrupted by commercialized infatuation.
This one addresses peace with self.
A peaceful person can sit still.
I have a really hard time sitting still…which might be one of the reasons why I also have a hard time being a peaceful person.  But this journey is not about being perfect, but rather about moving in that direction.  Therefore, I will endeavor to become better at sitting still and I invite the interested reader to do the same.
Why?  What good does it do to come to a complete stop and, worse yet, be quiet?
Sitting still is an opportunity to think.  Especially if you turn off the music.  Especially if you close your eyes at least a bit.  There’s no distractions, nothing to do, no one to talk to.  It’s you and your thoughts.
Sitting still causes you to encounter yourself.  You’re thinking and you can’t hide from your thoughts.  The deepest bits of you that you are adept at hiding have an opportunity to make themselves known.  Sometimes when I sit still alone with my thoughts, I am a very ugly person.  But I am aware of my ugliness.  Because of this, I can begin to address the uglinesses inside me and, with the help of God, transform them into beautiful things.
Sitting still, if nothing else, is an exercise in awareness.  Sitting can easily be coupled with breathing or stretching.  You become aware of your body.  Muscles, fluids, skin, hair…  Sitting, being an encounter with self, can also evoke tremendous emotion.  You become aware of your feelings.  “I feel anxious, I feel calm, I feel scared, I feel at peace…”  And you discover that you can exist with these feelings and not die from them.
When sitting still, there is opportunity to become aware of the present moment and all that exists right now.  The exercise is wasted if you spent your whole sit planning what you’re going to do next or even if you mull over what you did before.  When sitting, you have a chance to leave those things in the future and the past and cherish the moment of calm in between.  You become aware that life is more than just your “to-do” list.  In the same way that climbing a mountain offers a fresh and broad perspective, sitting still even for a few moments offers a break from routine and a new perspective.
And let’s not forget the spiritual benefits of sitting still.  Sitting still is oddly akin to Rest, an elusive commodity in our culture, but one that God seems to think is important.
Sitting still is an opportunity to pray, to rest, to reflect, to refocus and to breathe.  One might think that such a wonderful practice would be craved like sleep and other substances.  But such is not generally the case.  I cannot say why in every case, but I know the source of my biggest hesitation.  I am so very determined to be productive and efficient with my self and my time.  Sitting still often looks like doing nothing, and this is why I have had a hard time with it before.
What I’ve been discovering, though, is that “Being still” and “Doing Nothing” are not at all the same thing.  Resting is something to be done actively.  Growing in awareness is an inner activity of the utmost importance.  And need I say that communicating with God is an activity well worth any investment of time?  Well, apparently since it’s so hard for me, I need to at least say it to myself…
In summary, sitting still, coming to a complete stop, and quieting your mind and soul is a difficult but highly worthwhile practice.  I invite you to explore the world of stillness and silence.  May God meet you there.  May you be filled with peace.  May you have rest.