The first half of the eighth line of St. Romuald’s Brief Rule reads: “Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God….” It’s so beautiful and simple I left it alone in my translation.
I don’t know how ‘to empty myself completely,’ but I have learned over the course of sitting in stillness that it gets easier to quiet myself after a while. I’m sure the time takes longer for each of us depending upon our dispositions, outlooks, etc. but I do believe, like most other things, sitting in stillness gets a bit easier with regular practice. And every now and then, I’m joyfully surprised by an experience of being filled with the Loving Presence. Emptiness is the greatest gift a vessel can offer an exquisite elixir like the Love of God.
In a sense, there seems to be a contradiction throughout the Brief Rule in that we are invited to sit in stillness and we are invited to read or hurry back to the Psalms. My personal practice is to use the Psalms as my invitation into stillness, the gate to tranquility, that I must pass through in order to get into the hidden garden of sacred beauty. One of the things I loved about many of the houses I visited in England during graduate studies was how the house was built very close to the road, often without a yard, but many had gardens at the back, unseen from the road and set apart from the busyness of life.
To learn to sit, and do nothing, in stillness, and be content with the grace that God is swirling around you and within you and throughout all of creation is often a bliss-filled experience of the Holy. It is a great way to start the day!