Sit Still

stephan vanfleteren portrait

“We yearn for silence, yet the less sound there is, the more our thoughts deafen us. How can we still the noise within?…In Vipassana you concentrate on sensation in stillness, sitting down, not necessarily cross-legged, though most people do sit that way. And sitting without changing position, sitting still. As soon as you try to do this, you become aware of a connection between silence and stillness, noise and motion. No sooner are you sitting still than the body is eager to move, or at least to fidget. It grows uncomfortable. In the same way, no sooner is there silence than the mind is eager to talk. In fact we quickly appreciate that sound is movement: words move, music moves, through time. We use sound and movement to avoid the irksomeness of stasis. This is particularly true if you are in physical pain. You shift from foot to foot, you move from room to room. Sitting still, denying yourself physical movement, the mind’s instinctive reaction is to retreat into its normal buzzing monologue — hoping that focusing the mind elsewhere will relieve physical discomfort. This would normally be the case; normally, if ignored, the body would fidget and shift, to avoid accumulating tension. But on this occasion we are asking it to sit still while we think and, since it can’t fidget, it grows more and more tense and uncomfortable. Eventually, this discomfort forces the mind back from its chatter to the body. But finding only discomfort or even pain in the body, it again seeks to escape into language and thought. Back and forth from troubled mind to tormented body, things get worse and worse.  Silence, then, combined with stillness — the two are intimately related — invites us to observe the relationship between consciousness and the body, in movement and moving thought.”

~ Tim Parks, Inner Peace


This essay by Tim Parks is worth reading in its entirety.  You can find it at this link.  Parks references his book Cleaver in the essay.  The book was chosen as a Sunday Telegraph Book of the Year.  It is one of the funniest novels that I have read.  You can read my review of Cleaver at this link.


Credits: Portrait of Phara De Aguirre by Stephan Vanfleteren. Quote: Inner Peace, Aeon Magazine

We average 9.3 hours a day. And it’s lethal.

Chairs - Geraldo de Barros

Sitting is the Smoking of our Generation:

  • I find myself, probably like many of you, spending way too much time in front of my computer.
  • As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping.
  • Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. I’ve come to see that sitting is the smoking of our generation. [Read more...]

Get Up. Get Out. Don’t Sit.

run, running, exercise, diet, fitness, funny, illustration, marc johns


“…New research this month finds that the more time someone spends sitting, the shorter and less robust his or her life may be. The findings were sobering: Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes. Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV.  Those results hold true even for people who exercise regularly. It appears a person who does a lot of exercise but watches six hours of TV every night might have a similar mortality risk as someone who does not exercise and watches no TV…” [Read more...]