Ryan Holiday is someone who loves ancient philosophy. He loves writing about historical figures, leaders, thinkers, and seeing what makes them succeed in whatever they do. He then uses that philosophy and brings it to us in the 2000s. I can’t thank Ryan Holiday enough for sharing his wisdom.
The premise of Stillness is the Key is the idea of taking time out from our busy lives to reconnect with ourselves, in solitude, to be able to regain our composure and go back out into the world.
The three parts of the books are 1. Mind; 2.Spirit; and 3. Body. The chapters, as seen below, are pretty much self-explanatory. The author explains in each chapter on how best to achieve our goal to seek stillness.
“None of us are immune from crisis. All of us are overwhelmed by work and information. We can all use a little help.” Mind talks about how we think presently, how to think in the here and now, how to slow down and think deeply. Spirit talks about how we can reconnect to our belief system, a higher power and at the same time processing your emotions like anger. Body talks about how important it is to treat our bodies well, and we can do that by sleeping well, walking, keeping ourselves busy, and so on.
Interestingly enough, all of us somehow already practice stillness. Whether it’s in the form of praying, meditating, walking, doing something you enjoy doing, we are all practicing a form of stillness. Those Muslims who spend the last ten days in Ramadan at the mosque in solitude is stillness- they are seeking to reconnect with God and with themselves. Stillness involves self-reflection, seeking calmness, and seeking that strength to go back out into the world with a refreshed mind.
A lot of inspiration can be drawn from the way so many of the ancient philosophers, thinkers, writers among others lived their lives. The author does an absolutely fine job of sharing that wisdom with us.
“Most of this book has been about how to live well. But in so doing, it is also about how to die well. Because they are the same thing. Death is where the three domains we have studied in these pages come together.
We must learn to think rationally and clearly about our own fate.
We must find spiritual meaning and goodness while we are alive.
We must treat the vessel we inhabit on this planet well- or we will be forced to abandon it early.
Death brings an end to everything, to our minds, our souls and our bodies, in a final, permanent stillness.” (page 256-257).
During this quarantine/ lockdown period, practicing some form of stillness could not have been more apt. We all have that perfect opportunity to reconnect with ourselves and with nature. I remember during my two weeks of quarantine, I developed so much clarity in my mind because I was forced to slow down and self reflect. I would encourage everyone to do the same before things go back to being chaotic.