I have shavah and damam my soul.
This past week, I attended a prayer retreat.
One of the forms of prayer we practiced was silence.
The prayer of silence takes great discipline.
We learned there are many voices speaking simultaneously and conversationally with one another at any given time in one's mind.
We can hear the voice we speak. This is usually a very cultured voice which has been properly and culturally filtered.
We can hear the voices of others who are speaking on the outside of us, whether they be actual present voices, voices over the television, radio or other media, or voices from the written page.
But there are internal voices. My mother's and dad's voices speak though both are dead. I can hear their instruction and tendencies on a regular basis.
I can hear friends' voices of encouragement and truth but I can also hear the critical voices of people who have not loved me.
I can hear the voice of my emotions. Sometimes this voice booms forth and demands my attention.
Despite being a believer for quite some time, the voice of my carnal nature exerts itself on a regular basis.
And then there are the voices of darkness which I try to turn off completely.
In the midst of this cacophony of conversation, there is the polite voice of the Holy Spirit. This voice speaks, but often waits for a break in the conversation.
This is a break I must provide as the moderator of the conversation.
Moderating all the other voices so I can hear the Holy Spirit takes shavah and damam---leveling and quieting.
The discipline of shavah is the same discipline Jesus exercised when he calmed the sea. Instead of splashing and tossing about, Jesus commanded the sea to "be still." The choppy-ness leveled out and calmness followed. The sea became a crystal mirror of leveled calm.
The discipline of damam is a shushing of the voices who have had enough air time. It is the discipline of telling them, "Enough! You have taken more than your share of my time. It is now time to listen to the true commander and lover of my life, the Holy Spirit."
The Psalmist declares the best "position" before God is one of a shavah and damam soul. This is a soul that has put aside rebellion, arguing, anxiety and pride. It is a soul open to listening, which, in the Hebrew language implies obedience.