The Art of Stillness : Adventures In Going Nowhere. A Review.

Pico Iyer book_

Pico Iyer‘s pedigree has always fascinated me and I have tried to read as much of his writings as possible. He is half Iyer, the Surname/Caste to which I belong, born and brought up in the UK and the USA and married to a Japanese, living partly in Japan and most importantly his very odd for a man of Indian origin, the name Pico, is enough to intrigue me.

His travel writing has always been rather impersonal and so when I came to know about this book in which he has essentially tried to expound the virtues of meditation, I was intrigued enough to get it imported as the Indian edition is still not available here.

The plus points of the book – Most unexpectedly, short, just 96 pages, and I was able to finish reading and absorbing it in one day’s intermittent reading. The style of writing is like as though the author is speaking to you, which is not surprising as this apparently followed his TED talks on the subject and the book has been published by TED Talks. The language is not shrouded in fancy philosophical or spiritual mumbo jumbo.

The minus points of the book – For me, that is someone who has been a serious meditator for over 36 years, the approach to the subject is flippant, almost as though one can just casually become much less stressed by just sitting around and going nowhere. I must however concede that the book may not be addressed to my kind of meditators. Even for non meditators, a little more depth and seriousness with some critical research would have achieved the end that Iyer seeks more lucidly.

While reading him, he suddenly cited the book The Monk And The Philosopher, which promptly led me to the book which I had read four years ago. Having located it in my library upstairs, and started to read it, I find it difficult to keep it down and now have started to re-read it! Another instance of synchronicity!

Some interesting tidbits about Marcel Proust, Emily Dickinson, Leonard Cohen and Mahatma Gandhi lightened up the presentation and I would recommend this book with a[rating=5] rating, to anyone interested in slowing down his lifestyle just a bit.

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