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The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going…

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books)

by Pico Iyer

Series: TED Books

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A short book based on the author's Ted talk, extolling the virtue of silence and solitude from a secular perspective. Or secularish. The author talks about Merton, Tibetan monks, and other religious practitioners, but he himself claims no creed. He is led to stillness and going nowhere from time spent with Leonard Cohen and this book advocates that the time spent meditating (or simply setting there), attending to your inner life will make you happier, more successful and better able to respond to all the challenges of life. I appreciate his message. This is about 75 pages long (with pictures) and can be read in one sitting. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
"in an age of speed, nothing could be more invigorating than 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" ( )
  weeta | Jan 27, 2017 |
I’m a sucker for the type of books that espouse a little slowing down, that tell us we should take a little more time to stop and not only smell the flowers but admire their beauty too. Iyer advocates that what we need in our modern age of constant connection that we sometimes need to get away from the crowds of human civilisation where we can take stock and notice the beauty in things we take for granted; the god in the details if you like. This is beautifully presented too; the photos complement the underlying philosophy of the book. It’s more an introduction to the concept and the experience of stillness than a deep guide to the philosophy of slowing down but ultimately it’s a thoughtful piece that can give you directions to other, deeper explorations of the concept. ( )
  JonArnold | Oct 28, 2015 |
Heard about on Forum, KQED, July 30, 2015. Ostensibly, a non-religious take on stillness and location (centeredness). Lives in Japan.
Amazon: A follow up to Pico Iyer’s essay “The Joy of Quiet,” The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counterintuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.
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.
In The Art of Stillness—a TED Books release—Iyer investigate the lives of people who have made a life seeking stillness: from Matthieu Ricard, a Frenchman with a PhD in molecular biology who left a promising scientific career to become a Tibetan monk, to revered singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who traded the pleasures of the senses for several years of living the near-silent life of meditation as a Zen monk. Iyer also draws on his own experiences as a travel writer to explore why advances in technology are making us more likely to retreat. He reflects that this is perhaps the reason why many people—even those with no religious commitment—seem to be turning to yoga, or meditation, or seeking silent retreats. These aren't New Age fads so much as ways to rediscover the wisdom of an earlier age. Growing trends like observing an “Internet Sabbath”—turning off online connections from Friday night to Monday morning—highlight how increasingly desperate many of us are to unplug and bring stillness into our lives.
The Art of Stillness paints a picture of why so many—from Marcel Proust to Mahatma Ghandi to Emily Dickinson—have found richness in stillness. Ultimately, Iyer shows that, in this age of constant movement and connectedness, perhaps staying in one place is a more exciting prospect, and a greater necessity than ever before.
In 2013, Pico Iyer gave a blockbuster TED Talk. This lyrical and inspiring book expands on a new idea, offering a way forward for all those feeling affected by the frenetic pace of our modern world. ( )
  clifforddham | Jul 23, 2015 |
The art of stillness by Pico Iyer is a short book. It is a very good book and is a part of the Ted Talk series of books. The book was so short that I was able to read it in one sitting. Not taking an hour but maybe 45 minutes.

The idea of the book is to explore the how essential silence and not doing anything is important to our psyche. The author name drop a bit talking about Celebrities and their urge to be silent , mainly about Leonard Cohen, the Dalai Lama, The writer Annie Dillard, and various others. But this is not just a laundry list of meditating celebrities, it is a little more than that. It is about trying to describe what meditation and being silent, and being away from all the so-called conveniences of modern life to do for us as well as why we need to do this for our own sanity.

Site sometimes find it ironic that book on meditation and how to relax is so pressure packed about the benefits of meditation. It is almost as though the authors were trying to put pressure on the reader to realize the errors of their by adding more pressure, kind of a counterintuitive action.

This book is simple it does a really nice job of describing what the sensation is without actually going into a how-to guide, it allows the reader to use their imagination and allows the reader to come up with their own reality of being nowhere and being silent and being unmoving.

This book has peaked my interest over some of the other tomes on meditation and it has gotten me interested in pursuing this practice. ( )
  pw0327 | Dec 23, 2014 |
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If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't

look any further than my own backyard. Because if if
isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.

--Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
For Sonny Mehta, who has taught me, and so many others,
about art, stillness, and the relation between them.
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The sun was scattering diamonds across the ocean as I drove towards the deserts of the east.
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