Five Degrees of Quiet
At times it may seem hard to bring a quiet and calm to our soul. It is not so much finding calm as it is how deep the calm. Here I describe five depths or degrees of quiet and listening.
The first degree of quite is being in a constant state of stillness. This kind of quiet is like a quiet pool of water interrupted at times by pebbles or rocks thrown into the water or by branches falling into the water. These ripples sent across that quiet interrupts it to some degree. These disturbances come from living in a world alienated from God and from that in ourselves which strains against the reign of Christ.
The second degree of quiet means pulling away from this. This is harder and requires greater movement to become part of a more undistrubable quiet. The first quiet can exist even in a crowd. This second degree of quiet is discovered alone.
The third degree of quiet grows from the second. In the second degree there is something inside that longs to go back to the place of activity where ripples often come upon our pond. There is a longing for the world around us with all its activity and distraction. But in the second degree of quiet if we persist long enough or deeply enough we find ourselves transported to another place. This third degree of quiet is one where we no longer wish to leave. We sing of this “In the Garden”;
I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
The fourth degree of quiet is found at that place between the two words; the seen and the unseen. It is the place between life and the life to come. Mostly people only come to this place one time. Sometimes they venture there in a coma or in those hours or days as their body is beginning to lose any ability to return to the place where ripples come. The quiet is deeper here for from it there is no return. This is not a place of quiet from which there is retreat. This is the deepening place of quiet which I have often observed in those dying from illness and lingering nearer and nearer the time of departure to the final, the fifth degree of quiet. Here the presence of even those nearest and dearest to us fades and the presence of those inhabiting eternity, that vast cloud of witnesses who have traveled this road before grows ever clearer.