Maybe the pandemic forced you to rethink your life or career. Maybe you had arrived at the point of change regardless. But how to let go of the old and focus on and strategize about the new? According to Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key.
distracted and distressed
This book echoes similar sentiments to those of a popular Rascal Flatts’ song: “Sunday was a day of rest, Now, it’s one more day for progress.” The author states that we “are pulled in countless directions by competing priorities and beliefs. In those battles, in that war, stillness is the river and the railroad junction through which so much depends. It is the key…” Holiday gives several obstacles that present us with so many distractions. For instance: “We are afraid of the silence. We are afraid of looking stupid. We are afraid of missing out. We are afraid of being the bad guy who says, “Nope, not interested.” The author adds a quote from John Cage: “If the mind is disciplined, the heart turns quickly from fear to love.”
finding peace through stillness
Holiday divides the book into three domains: The Mind, Spirit, and Body. The head, the heart and the flesh. It is in these three areas the author encourages us to focus and develop methods for stillness. The author references a wide range of the world’s greatest thinkers to show us what stillness is and how we can achieve it. The objective is to reduce the disturbances that make stillness impossible. To be at peace within ourselves, and to establish a lasting inner and outer peace.
It is critical that the mind domain is mastered in order to find success in stillness. That will involve managing the amount and type of information you allow in and to properly appreciate being present in the moment. Protect yourself and your mind by managing your thoughts. Invest time and mental energy to find truth and solution to problems you face.
tips and techniques
One effective method for stillness is to journal. Journaling allows you to transfer some of the thoughts that are floating around in your head to another medium and to clarify your thoughts. Seeking wise counsel is another proven method for gaining stillness along with receiving constructive criticism. Cultivating a flexible attitude will allow you to grow and experience situations in a whole new light.
Holiday gives a laundry list of goals one must meet in order to find stillness, some of which include…
- Developing a strong moral compass,
- Steering clear of envy and jealousy and harmful desires, and
- Coming to terms with the painful wounds of childhood.
The author instructs us to take responsibility for our own emotions and impulses. To strengthen our bodies as the physical vessel of our minds and spirit by developing a routine and investing in ourselves through personal hobbies. Holiday states that “when the body is busy with the familiar, the mind can relax. The monotony becomes muscle memory.”
Holiday insists that we “Get out from under all your stuff. Get rid of it. Give away what you don’t need. Declutter.
In the midst of stillness, you can find peace. And with peace of mind you can better find your new career or life’s purpose.
This book can be placed on hold from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.
Written by Cynthia Payton