The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
By Pico Iyer
Simon & Schuster, 96 pp., $14.99 (cloth)
At age twenty-nine, Pico Iyer had an apartment on Park Avenue, a fascinating job writing about world affairs for Time magazine, and the freedom and resources to take long vacations in any corner of the globe. It was the perfect life, except somehow—with all the frantic busyness—it wasn’t. So Iyer left his job and moved into a small, single room on a quiet Kyoto street. Soon his father started calling to nag him into “going somewhere” in life, but Iyer preferred “nowhere,” which, as he puts it, has more dimensions and corners than he could explain.
In The Art of Stillness—which has a related TED Talk and feature on Lion’s Roar—Iyer explores the importance of slowing down, taking stock, meditating, contemplating, and entering into periodic retreat. “The point of gathering stillness,” he says, “is not to enrich the sanctuary or mountaintop but to bring that calm into motion, the commotion of the world.”