Pico Iyer on The Art of Stillness
We lead jam packed lives these days, no doubt. It is so natural to go, go, go that we rarely stop to consider how it makes us feel or what we are missing out on. In his recent TED Talk, Pico Iyer talks about the art of stillness and how you can gain the most by staying put.
Iyer is a traveler at heart and spent many years hopping around the globe discovering new parts of the world. But he came to realize that he benefited most by being still and enjoying the lessons and experiences from his trip. Right from home.
While this notion is not meant to dissuade anyone from travel or experiencing this vast world of ours, it is intended to get us thinking. You’ve heard it before, your thoughts equal your life. Iyer gives the example of taking an angry man to the Himalayas where he only complains about the food. Your perception is your experience. Basically, don’t spend your money and time travelling or bustling about if you are not going to take to the time to relish your experiences.
This is considered a form of meditation. You know how we talked about mindful tasking? It’s giving your brain this down time to reflect, recharge, and come up with new stuff. Stillness is necessary for inspiration and imagination, and, as Iyer puts it, to have anything interesting to offer back to the world.
And this goes for kids too. Ever noticed how a super busy couple of days makes your kids want more activity? Of course, it wears them out. But to their little underdeveloped psyches it feels natural to keep on moving.
And what does that say about adults? Do we crave more activity with each passing busier than ever day? Does a hectic lifestyle lead to a more hectic lifestyle? What would happen if we just stopped for a day and didn’t go anywhere?
As Iyer says in his talk, he used to spend his day off worrying about what he’d have to catch up on rather than enjoying the free time. But is it still better to unplug from the world for a little while, even if you spend part of that time stewing about all you are missing or neglecting?
It just may be.
[Image of woman sitting still via Shutterstock]
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