Spiritual Practice

Finding God in Solitude and Quiet

Helen R. Neinast & Thomas C. Ettinger

There is a sacred simplicity in not doing something— and not doing it well.
Robert Fulghum, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It

“Inside yourself, you shouldn’t be running all the time.” That’s Tina Turner, rock superstar, quoting a Trappist monk. Both Turner, a practicing Buddhist, and the monk, a practicing Catholic, had one very basic belief in common: It takes time and solitude and a sense of quiet in order to know God.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a, NIV). A simple verse from the Bible, yet it is one of the hardest to follow.

When was the last time you sat still—perfectly still—for any length of time? Not just your body, but your mind? It’s harder than it sounds . . . harder than it looks . . . and more rewarding than you could ever imagine.

God reaches out to each one of us, all the time—through other people, through circumstance, and in that “still, small voice.” Most of the time, though, we’re so busy, so active, so preoccupied that we don’t hear what God is trying to say.

Kate's BenchThat’s why quiet and solitude are such an important part of the life of faith. It is in solitude and silence that God waits for you. The more often you practice solitude, the more often you will find the God who waits, and the more you will hear the God who speaks.

To quiet the body, to quiet the mind, to sit still and do nothing. Author Robert Fulghum senses the power of sitting still. In fact, he humorously suggests that a new religion could be based on this act. To belong would involve simply sitting still for fifteen minutes a day. “Amazing things might happen if enough people did this on a regular basis,” he says. “Every chair, park bench, and sofa would become a church.”

Quiet the body. Quiet the mind. Be still. Amazing things may happen. Just try it and see.



“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a, NIV)

“There is a sacred simplicity in not doing something—and not doing it well.” (Robert Fulghum)

Is it hard for you to just “be still”? This week, park yourself somewhere for 15 minutes each day and just be still. At the end of the week, write about these experiences in your journal.

—Excerpted from What About God? Now That You’re Off to College. Copyright © 1992 by Helen R. Neinast and Thomas C Ettinger. Used with permission of Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserve

—from devozine (January/February 1999). Copyright © 1998 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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