Marcus Aurelius, on nearly a dozen occasions in Meditations, speaks of reaching or achieving “stillness.” Most beautifully, he writes of trying to be “like the rock that the waves keep crashing over,” the one that “stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.” We shouldn’t be surprised to hear him use this word—which sounds Buddhist as much as it sounds Stoic—because it meant a great deal to him. The last word from Antoninus, Marcus’s beloved stepfather, as he passed power to him was simply: Aequanimitas. Equanimity.
Intuitively, instinctively, we know what that means. Stillness. Equanimity. Ataraxia. We also know how rare those feelings are. How often are we still? How often are we able to reach that place of clarity and steadiness inside ourselves? Not often enough, considering the incredible feats of focus and creativity and determination we are capable of when in possession of it.
Do you want more of it? Would you like to be cooler under pressure? Would you like to be like the rock in Marcus’s analogy, the one that can calm great oceans and endure the strongest currents and biggest waves? How much better would you be with more focus, more self-discipline, a happier soul?
The good news is that this what Ryan Holiday’s new book is all about. It’s called Stillness is the Key. And the even better news is that you can preorder it right now. Barnes and Noble even has a limited run of signed copies for sale. At Daily Stoic we’re also offering some cool preorder bonuses for anyone that buys one, five or one hundred copies—in any format, anywhere in the world (details here, please follow the instructions!!).
We live in crazy times. Stillness has been the secret weapon of the Stoics and the Buddhists, the Christians and the followers of Confucius, for thousands of years—for a reason. Because it can help us thrive in a world that’s spinning faster than ever.
Stillness is the key to the good life, whatever that looks like for you. It’s the key to career success, to happiness, to enduring adversity, to appreciating the wonders of existence. You know you want more of it. You know how special it is. We have all felt its power.
So let’s go find it together.