Stillness

“We often seem to value activity above all else, but like all beings we need to rest and recuperate.  I suspect the widespread occurrence of depression in our culture is linked to our refusal to allow ourselves quiet time.  Feeling the need to remain constantly busy – mentally or physically – in socially productive activity can prevent us from turning inward to simply be with ourselves.  Such inward turning requires time and might lower productivity and social standing.  It is not that all activity is bad, but many of us are far out of balance and our activity does not come from a place of stillness and wisdom.” ~ Robert Kull, Solitude

The Art of Stillness [Book]

Book Overview:  Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.

Quotes from Book! Buy from Amazon!

“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating that going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still. You can go on vacation to Hawaii or New Orleans three months from now, and you’ll have a tremendous time, I’m sure. But if you want to come back feeling new – alive and full of fresh hope and in love with the world – I think the place to visit may be Nowhere.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“It takes courage, of course, to step out of the fray, as it takes courage to do anything that’s necessary, whether tending to a loved one on her deathbed or turning away from that sugarcoated doughnut. And with billions of our global neighbors in crying need, with so much in every life that has to be done, it can sound selfish to take a break or go off to a quiet place. But as soon as you do sit still, you find that it actually brings you closer to others, in both understanding and sympathy. As the meditative video artist Bill Viola notes, it’s the man who steps away from the world whose sleeve is wet with tears for it.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“It’s only by taking myself away from clutter and distraction that I can begin to hear something out of earshot and recall that listening is much more invigorating than giving voice to all the thoughts and prejudices that anyway keep me company twenty-four hours a day. And it’s only by going nowhere – by sitting still or letting my mind relax – that I find that the thoughts that come to me unbidden are far fresher and more imaginative than the ones I consciously seek out. Setting an auto-response on my e-mail, turning off the TV when I’m on the treadmill, trying to find a quiet place in the midst of a crowded day (or city) – all quickly open up an unsuspected space.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“Writers, of course, are obliged by our professions to spend much of our time going nowhere.  Our creations come not when we’re out in the world, gathering impressions, but when we’re sitting still  turning those impressions into sentences.  Our job, you could say, is to turn, through stillness, a life of movement into art.  Sitting still is our workplace, sometimes our battlefield.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“When friends ask me for suggestions about where to go on vacation, I’ll sometimes ask if they want to try Nowhere, especially if they don’t want to have to deal with visas and injections and long lines at the airport.  One of the beauties of Nowhere is that you never know where you’ll end up when you head in its direction, and though the horizon is unlimited, you may have very little sense of what you’ll see along the way.  The deeper blessing is that it can get you as wide-awake, exhilarated, and pumping-hearted as when you are in love.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“The idea behind Nowhere – choosing to sit still long enough to turn inward – is at heart a simple one.  If your car is broken, you don’t try to find ways to repaint its chassis; most of our problems – and therefore our solutions, our peace of mind – lie within.  To hurry around trying to find happiness outside ourselves make about as much sense as the comical figure in the Islamic parable who, having lost a key in his living room, goes out into the street to look for it because there’s more light there.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“Not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize.  Stillness is not just an indulgence for those with enough resources – it’s a necessity for anyone who wishes to gather less visible resources.  Going nowhere is not about austerity so much as about coming closer to one’s senses.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“Sitting still with his aged Japanese friend, sipping Courvoisier, and listening to the crickets deep into the night, was the closest he’d come to finding lasting happiness, the kind that doesn’t change even when life throws up one of its regular challenges and disruptions.” ~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

“If we want to be high-functioning and happy, we need to re-learn how to be still. When we feel like there isn’t enough time in the day for us to get everything done, when we wish for more time… we don’t actually need more time. We need more stillness. Stillness to recharge. Stillness so that we can feel whatever it is that we feel. Stillness so that we can actually enjoy this life that we are living.” ~ Christine Carter, Greater Good

“Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.” ~ Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

 

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