This audio clip is from episode #90 with Ryan Holiday on stillness, stoicism, and suffering less, originally released on January 27, 2020.
The most reliable strategies for developing stillness [1:47:30]
- Meditation is a practice to get to a desired state (or better yet, trait).
- Whereas with stillness… stillness itself is the desired outcome
Ryan says that stillness is tough to define:
“The problem with . . .what you get from stillness or whatever the opposite of ego is, is that there’s an ineffability to it. You can’t really describe what it is because it’s fleeting and ephemeral and also deeply unique to each person and each time you have it. . .I can’t even give you a definition of what stillness is, let alone a magical recipe. But I can give you some tools or strategies that tend to be correlated with achieving that outcome.”
The most reliable strategies to developing stillness:
1 | Walking
- Every day, Ryan walks just to get some sort of low impact, physical exercise outdoors
- But he’s doing the exercise for the mental benefits, not the physical benefits
- On the topic of running and swimming: Ryan does these to but they are for the physical benefits primarily
- And when he’s walking he is simply trying to pay attention to the experience of walking
- When he finds himself distracted, he just reminds himself to bring his attention back to the experience (so it’s very much like meditation in that way)
2 | Journaling
- Many stoics journaled as a way to find stillness
- “I think journaling would be a huge one.”
3 | Hobbies
- Ideally, the hobby is not something that you can “win” at or where more effort equals better outcome
- It should not be a willpower-related endeavor
- Examples: Painting, writing, causal sports,
- Just having some sort of practice or activity that you do on a regular basis.
- For Ryan, it’s the farm⇒ while the farm can be a lot of work, the work feels restorative to Ryan
⇒ Ryan tells a story that he got from the book he recommends called, On Looking by Alexandra Horowitz, where she described how differently kids view experiences
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Stillness is the Key, Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, Conspiracy and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multiplatinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.