The Still, Silent Challenge

Do We Sit With Our Hearts?

I admit it. I have a difficult time being still.

I like background noise, action and movement. This probably explains why I am pathetic at relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and yoga. I just can't seem to settle down. The room may be completely quiet, yet my thoughts, "to do" lists and anxieties are often at record-setting decibel levels.

And this noise is often a part of the addiction package. Why? Because it's distracting. And anything that promises to provide escape from reality is tantalizing.

So, bring on the vices, the noise, the social media, the cell phone apps, the adrenaline rush and the frenetic pace of distraction. We don't want to face unpleasant situations.

"Social networking already accounts for 28 percent of all media time spent online... on average using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

18 percent of social media users can't go a few hours without checking Facebook, and 28 percent of iPhone users check their Twitter feed before getting up in the morning."
"Social Media Addiction: Statistics & Trends," Shea Bennett, http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/social-media-addiction-stats/504131

Yet, often, instead of finding relief, let alone, solutions, to our less than ideal realities, we find ourselves even more anxious.

And so, like any true junkie, we need our "fix" faster, more furious and in larger quantities than when we started our great escape plan.

But we are no closer to health and blessing. And that result often points to the fact we do not want to get searched.

"The unexamined life is not worth living." ~Socrates

Let's go back to the junkie for a moment. Imagine there he is, caught red-handed, with paraphernalia and substances right in his pockets. Now, did that junkie voluntarily desire to get caught and searched? Of course not. He does not want all of the truth, hidden from view, brought into the unflinching light. He doesn't want quiet, stillness and self-reflection. He wants to be distracted by using.

But the benefits which can arise from getting quiet and honest, from voluntarily granting spiritual search warrants, are profound.

  • Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen consumption are all decreased.
  • Meditators are less anxious and nervous.
  • Meditators were more independent and self-confident
  • People who deliberated daily were less fearful of death.
  • 75% of insomniacs who started a daily meditation program were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
  • Production of the stress hormone Cortisol is greatly decreased, thus making it possible for those people to deal with stress better when it occurs.
  • Women with PMS showed symptom improvements after 5 months of steady daily rumination and reflection.
  • Thickness of the artery walls decreased which effectively lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke by 8% to 15%.
  • Relaxation therapy was helpful in chronic pain patients.
  • 60% of anxiety prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after 6-9 months.
  • "Statistics on People who Meditate," Joel Sparks,
    http://www.project-meditation.org/a_wim1/statistics_on_people_who_medita...

This comes from allowing the Divine complete access to our hearts.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. But that's meditation." I hear that response murmured from some of you.

What about those of us who pray instead of meditate?

What about those findings?

Again, there are astounding benefits.

"For the past 30 years, Harvard scientist Herbert Benson, MD, has conducted his own studies on prayer... 'All forms of prayer,' he says, 'evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing. Prayer involves repetition -- of sounds, words -- and therein lies its healing effects.' ..."
"Can Prayer Heal?" By Jeanie Lerche Davis

Whether it is prayer or meditation, it goes beyond mere semantics. Spiritual power is found in the real, raw, honest assessment and heart connection with a Force greater than ourselves.

"...Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

That often cannot happen in noise and distraction. It originates from silence, stillness and a spirit of true yearning. It exists in the moments of probing questions...

    What am I wanting right now?

    Why am I wanting it?

    Where's my heart?

Often, it's not in the spectacle of a morning church service. It's not in the right speech repeated in a many a religious context.

"...This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." Mark 7:6

Instead, many times, it occurs when everyone has gone home, when all activities and business are finished. It happens when everything is quiet and it is just the individual and the Most High, intermingling. It is a sacred, intimate experience, should we dare to tap into it.

We cannot escape this reality; life issues are heart issues. And, applying God's Word to them is the ongoing work we need to engage in. It speaks to the power and meaning of relationship over religion.

Therefore, addiction, often, is a substitute for our Divine connection with the Most High. Addiction wants to circumvent intimacy with a failed, temporary substitute which short circuits our spiritual selves; it interferes with our physical, mental and emotional recovery processes.

Indeed, at any given moment, we are in a position to ask ourselves...

    Am I facing my truth or am I running away from it?

    How close is my heart to the Most High God?

    Am I dealing with who I am?

Are we truly sitting down with our honest answers to those questions?


Copyright by Sheryle Cruse.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Sheryle is the author of
Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.
Visit her web site: http://www.freewebs.com/daughterarise

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