Stillness is the key”. This is the title of the American bestselling book by Ryan Holiday (2019). The subtitle tells more about the contents. “An ancient strategy for modern life”. Ancient philosophers and authors have all praised stillness with multiple words. Today we consider people who lived at these times to have an easy time to escape from noisy environments. After all there were no motorways, railroads or other noisy forms of mass transport. However, stillness is more than the absence of noise. Free yourself from external disturbances and you might immediately discover how difficult it is to not have lots of things passing your mind. I enjoyed the shortcut phrase: “stillness is brilliance”. Make stillness the prime time of your day and you will see how it helps you to retreat from the entertainment overload of our everyday life. All religions believe and practice some form of silence as part of their rituals. They all attempt to capture attention and attraction through silent places or cathedrals only to fill them with impressive sounds as soon as many adherents have gathered. Christmas time is a rather sad example of the noisy entertainment function taking over for weeks rather than days. Singing loudly “silent night” is perhaps the most demeaned form.
Take your time to go through the table of contents of the book. Almost all chapters are kept to 6-8 pages before you will find your stillness again. Some examples of chapter titles will suffice to exemplify the road to take: “limit your inputs”, “slow down, think deeply”, “start journaling”, “cultivate silence”, “bathe in beauty”, “say no”, “take a walk”, “build a routine”, “beware escapism”. These are just a few and already too many of the imperatives presented in the book. One for every coming year will do for deep thinking as well.
(Image: what ever comes up when you close your eyes and ears now)