“Be still and know that I am God.” That is a challenge in this busy, busy holiday season. But at all times there is a reason that we are asked in Psalm 46:10 to still ourselves, to quiet our minds, to simplify our lives: we cannot access the divine wisdom within us, the “still, small voice” of 1 Kings 19, the voice of the Indwelling Spirit of God, until we are able to leave behind a lot of the world’s influence and our own mind’s endless chatter. And how can we hear through the busyness of life in the 21st century, if we don’t slow/quiet the mind?
Measuring brain waves on an EEG is one way to look at how busy or still our minds are. In descending order of busyness, the various states of consciousness are Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. Beta waves(at 12 to 30 Hz or cycles per second) represent our normal waking consciousness with awareness of the five senses. The higher the levels of Beta, the more stress and anxiety we feel.
Alpha waves(7.5 to 12 Hz) represent a relaxed state, possibly day-dreaming. Have you ever driven down a familiar freeway and come to the realization that you don’t remember driving the last mile or so and yet you’re still in your lane, driving the same speed? That’s an alpha state. It is disconnected from the repetitive mind and yet the mind is still engaged and operative.
Theta waves(4-7.5 Hz) show us in a state of deep relaxation, possible light sleep, REM dream state. At this level of relaxation we experience being even more disconnected from our ever-thinking brain. It is at this level of brain activity that we can hear that “still, small voice,” once we have learned to set aside the mindless chatter of our brains. Slower still are the Delta waves(.5 – 4 Hz) found in deep and dreamless sleep.
Usually we have no hope of hearing God’s wisdom within us in the Beta state. His “still, small voice” is drowned out by the agenda of the moment and the cacophony of our repetitive mind. With practice, as we relax more and more, we can hear what God is saying to us in our lives, as we awake or fall asleep, as we go through our days—all because of the practice of being in the Alpha and Theta states of consciousness. The practice of meditation or contemplative prayer has a spill-over effect in us throughout our days. We maintain the access to God’s voice within, the Indwelling Holy Spirit, even when we are not meditating or contemplating.
At first trying to sit quietly in God’s presence can be difficult because our minds never stop. But gradually, we learn to step back from the thoughts and to not get emotionally upset by them. As an observer of the thoughts we are much less engaged in them. As we practice more and more, the thoughts recede to the backs of our minds, leaving us free to be present to God’s presence. A mantra, like “Be still and know that I am God,” can be an aid to the practice whenever a thought intrudes.
We are giving voice to God and to our own deeper self or soul when we can still our minds, allowing those quieter voices to be heard. We are able to hear at any time his suggestions and invitations to do this or say that or even how to tackle our agenda for the day. We are learning to be present to God and, by extension, to everyone we meet. We learn through the practice of stilling our minds not just to listen but to acknowledge and do and affirm what we are hearing.
Another way of thinking about this is that we are learning to live in the mind of Christ, to live by what we hear from him, to see and experience with the scope of Christ’s mind and to leave behind our own small self’s way of seeing the world and ourselves.
When we read the Bible with this new consciousness, too, we are not just hearing what we’ve been taught it means, but we are hearing what Christ is saying to us today in this passage, what he wants us to get, to ponder, to incorporate from his teaching now.
When we have enough practice of the Alpha and Theta states of consciousness, we are no longer bound by the smaller mind, by our ego, by the culture and all we’ve been taught. We can easily see that just because we think something or feel something, doesn’t mean it is true. We become conscious of the drivers of our behavior that are often old patterns set in our childhood as we tried to make up for our faults that were highlighted by our parents and teachers.
Slowly we adopt a way of thinking beyond our small mind’s ways, that is, how the mind of Christ thinks; we have the choice of how we want to be. Are we to continue to be defensive and self-protective? Are we going to act with integrity, with courage to be who we really are, warts and all? Will we turn more and more of ourselves, warts and all, along with our guilt and shame over to God for healing? Will we see the world and our lives from Christ’s perspective? Or will we continue the same old patterns in our lives and not have a chance to really live?
The freedom to be who God created each of us to be, the freedom to live in love and forgiveness and compassion, the freedom to love God and life and others as they truly are—this is the promise for us in opting for a deeper level of consciousness, a much broader way of thinking, in the way we live.
This is the gift of Jesus’ birth, what he brought into the world.
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I hear what God’s “still, small voice” is saying to me? Can I access his wisdom as I go throughout my days? Or is my mind full of chatter that drowns out God’s voice? Am I willing to do the work to quiet the chatter so that I can hear his word to me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who follow his Gospel and his wisdom in our lives. May we allow him total access to our guilt and shame, pain and suffering and depend on his healing power. May we be the people who depend totally on the Lord for our needs met, for direction, support, love and forgiveness.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!” is up on Amazon. Check it out under my full name, Patricia Said Adams or Patricia Adams, if you’re interested. If you’ve already read it, I would love for you to post a rating or comment on Amazon or Good Reads–the ratings bring in readers.
See the 4 videos posted on this FB page about the kingdom; they are meant to complement the book.
Read the whole blog(and archives) at bythewaters.net or await Monday thru Friday’s offerings on FB. I’m also on YouTube at By the Waters with Pat Adams and on Twitter at BTWwithPatAdams.
 There are many websites to consult about brain wave definition. Just Google “brain waves.”