Art of Stillness

Writers, of course, are obliged by our professions to spend much of our time going nowhere. Our creations come not when we’re out in the world, gathering impressions, but when we’re sitting still, turning those impressions into sentences. Our job, you could say, is to turn, through stillness, a life of movement into art. – Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness

Matt at river
Matt Weiser of Lodestar Knife & Tool working out a new design along Sacramento’s American River. Photo by Alexa Mergen

Ocean breath

 

beach
Big Lagoon County Park, Humboldt County, California photo by Matt Weiser

Shhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhh. Ocean breath. Inhale and exhale with a shhhhh, lips gently parted. When practiced standing, in tadasana, this breath can lend a feeling of stability and grounding. When practiced seated, on the floor, in a chair, maybe even behind the wheel of your vehicle, the breath may soothe. In constructive rest, the breath could turn into a restful meditation.

Allow the exhalation to extend and smooth, imagining it passing through the soles of the feet or through the perineum. You might find the exhalation lengthening in relation to the inhalation. You may find the inhalation sweeping in effortlessly and evenly as a wave.

My thanks to Meghan Morris who introduced me to this breath.

So very many obstacles…

When the sun comes out, it warms the body through,
And when the wind rises, it cools off the great earth.
The human heart must face so very many obstacles
That only the way of the sages can scatter and dispel.

– from the poem “Living in Seclusion in the Nanyue Mountains” by Xingche, translated by Beata Grant in “Daughters of Emptiness: Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns”

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2009. Photo by Matt Weiser.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2009. Photo by Matt Weiser.