The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere - by Pico Iyer

Sitting still as a way of falling in love with the world and everything in it.

Talking about stillness is really a way of talking about clarity and sanity and the joys that endure.

William James reminded us, "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another." It's the perspective we choose--not the places we visit--that ultimately tells us where we stand. Every time I take a trip, the experience acquires meaning and grows deeper only after I get back home and, sitting still, begin to convert the sights I've seen into lasting insights.

As Henry David Thoreau, one of the great explorers of his time, reminded himself in his journal, "It matters not where or how far you travel--the farther commonly the worse--but how much alive you are."

You don't get over the shadows inside you simply by walking away from them.

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.