What’s it about?

A follow up to Pico Iyer’s essay “The Joy of Quiet,” The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counterintuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug. In this age of constant movement and connectedness, when so many of us are all over the place, perhaps staying in one place – and locating everything we need for peace and happiness there – is a more exciting prospect and a greater necessity than ever before.

About the author:

Pico Iyer is a British-born essayist and novelist known for his travel writing. He is the author of numerous books on crossing cultures, including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, and The Global Soul.

All it takes to have a more vibrant life experience is to go nowhere:

The author of The Art of Stillness, Pico Iyer, lived his dream life; he worked his dream job as a writer at Times magazine, had his own place, and got everything he wanted as a boy. Despite all this, he yet failed to find happiness in life and found himself searching desperately for something to close the gap he felt. His pursuit of peace and joy led him to Kyoto in Japan, where he found comfort in a state of solitude and quietness.

Most of the time, you have something to be done. There’s someone you need to meet, some papers that are due, business to attend, and places to go to. It becomes effortless for you to get lost in between all the things you should do, and even if it seems impossible, you need a break.

It’s not always the answer to go somewhere and do something. You should go nowhere; it could be as simple as sitting quietly while doing nothing, or taking a few days off to go to a retreat and unplug. Taking some quiet time will help you know yourself better and strengthen your emotional bonds. Poets of east Asia, philosophers of ancient Rome and Greece, practiced stillness as a way to live, and it’s guaranteed to be effective by the many marks it left in the souls of history.

Your thoughts can change your life:

“There’s nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”


If you seek stress and problems-free location, you’re most likely going to end up empty-handed. The key to surviving life’s problems is to take some time for yourself, in nothing but quietness. 

Admiral Richard E. Byrd lived for nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, where he discovered that most of the world’s confusion comes from the chaos and the lack of quietness.

Once you take some time for yourself, your mind will start to flood with ideas and inspirations. You don’t need to travel to somewhere quiet to achieve quietness. Placing your mind at a state of peace is all it takes for you to recognize the errors in your life and the steps you need to take to make the change.

A trip to nowhere will lead you to yourself:

When you reach nowhere, you will become like an open book; all your thoughts, feelings, and insecurities will be out in the open. The belief that you are not enough and that your effort is below average will start to invade your thinking. But, in that complete stillness, you’ll find all the answers to your self-doubt.

Pico Iyer acquired this lesson once he visited the singer Leonard Cohen, his role model since he was a little boy. Cohen lived an anonymous life in the high San Gabriel mountains and found peace and entertainment by sitting still and doing nothing.

The more you apply meditation, the brighter life becomes, the stronger your immune system will be, and the healthier you will live.

Take a break while you still can:

Creating some time for rest doesn’t necessarily mean you should do nothing for a while. Iyer ensures to have an undisturbed and quiet place by making a secret home in a monastery in Silicon Valley all for himself. There Iyer conceived all his best ideas, books, and thoughts.

You, too, can make, even a room, your secret home, where you can retreat and leave the world. This allows you to take a break from all the stress life puts on your shoulders and think straightly for once, with no interruptions. 


Life problems don’t just stop; all you can do is pick yourself up and do better. Sometimes all you need is a few moments of quietness and stillness to wake up, recover, and go back to your life healthier. Incorporating stillness into your routine doesn’t only change your life, but it can do wonders for other people who follow your influence and choose this path too. At a time where everything is always on the move, we all need to sit still. You can always go somewhere where you can have the most beautiful life experiences, but even then, make sure never to miss an opportunity to go nowhere and practice “The Art of Stillness.”