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The Art of Stillness

Googlers are doing it. Monks are doing it. Research has shown it has only benefits. And it is so simple - stillness. In this Ted talk, Iyer takes a look at the incredible insight that comes with taking time for stillness in our world of constant movement and distraction. No surprise we feel overwhelmed by the demands of our world. I get it, stillness can be intimidating - all of a sudden you have to deal with yourself and all you're facing right now and bring with you from the past, oh no! But wait, let's keep an open mind, be brave and try it. 'Cause I've heard, it just works, especially when you need it...

His conclusion, " So, in an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still. So you can go on your next vacation to Paris or Hawaii, or New Orleans; I bet you'll have a wonderful time. But, if you want to come back home alive and full of fresh hope, in love with the world, I think you might want to try considering going nowhere [meaning, taking time to be still]."

I've taken some of the main messages for you in the below. If you're interested in the whole story, it only takes 15 minutes to watch.

"As you all know, one of the first things you learn when you travel is that nowhere is magical unless you can bring the right eyes to it. [...] And I found that the best way that I could develop more attentive and more appreciative eyes was, oddly, by going nowhere, just by sitting still. And of course sitting still is how many of us get what we most crave and need in our accelerated lives, a break. But it was also the only way that I could find to sift through the slideshow of my experience and make sense of the future and the past."

"And every season I do try to take three days off on retreat but a part of me still feels guilty to be leaving my poor wife behind and to be ignoring all those seemingly urgent emails from my bosses and maybe to be missing a friend's birthday party. But as soon as I get to a place of real quiet, I realize that it's only by going there that I'll have anything fresh or creative or joyful to share with my wife or bosses or friends. Otherwise, really, I'm just foisting on them my exhaustion or my distractedness, which is no blessing at all."

Source:, by Pico Iyer.

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