Sunday, January 29, 2012

Teach Us to Sit Still
by Tim Parks
-Jacket copy: "Overwhelmed by a crippling condition which nobody could explain or relieve, Parks follows a fruitless journey through the conventional medical system only to find relief in the most unexpected place: a breathing exercise that eventually leads him to take up meditation. This was the very last place Parks anticipated finding answers; he was about as far from New Age as you can get. As everything that he once held true is called into question, Parks confronts the relationship between his mind and body, the hectic modern world that seems to demand all our focus, and his chosen life as an intellectual and writer."

Me: Mindfulness helps Parks get over crotch pain. It was easy and interesting to read and moving and didn't feel like bullshit. The stuff about how a life of writing and thinking affects one's body over the long term -- tensing muscles, stresses -- seemed true and important to keep in mind. As it ended, though, I would have liked to hear more about whether he was able to make peace with the conflict he experienced between mindfulness and the writing life. If at all. Obviously he wrote the book; how did mindfulness inform the sitting down to write? But maybe that's beyond the scope of this book.