Teach Us to Sit Still: A Skeptic's Search for Health and Healing
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Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks
"Riveting . . . Parks' discoveries will fascinate not only writers but all citizens of an information age steeped in and propelled by language."
―The New Yorker
"[Tim Parks'] prose is mordantly funny, self-conscious but never self-pitying, worldly but introspective, attuned to the needs of a soul that he considers thoroughly material and mortal. The result is an absorbing, at times inspiring, narrative of spiritual growth."
―Publishers Weekly, starred review
transformed? As the public began to ask perplexed and indignant questions, I realised that in India people were wonderfully excited by translation, by becoming part of a globalized world where everyone reads everyone else’s books and imagines they’re getting the real thing. They didn’t want to hear my cavils. Perhaps they weren’t obsessed, as I was, by the problem of being inside or outside a particular story. The one about the operating table, for example. Talking to one of the organizers after
and count. Rather it might move along my right wrist, from hand to forearm, then ripple over into the left. Faster than an ordinary pulse. More fluid, mobile. The wave was picked up by a ticking in the stomach. Then a leg too. A sea swell of pulses were crisscrossing the muscles. The tension in my cheeks was exactly superimposed over the tension in my calves. The two seemed to be the same. Both were growing and changing, glowing and noisy. Suddenly, it was all so interesting that the mind found
from the frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom, I was cured. ‘So at some point I can expect the action to move down from thighs to calves?’ ‘That’s right.’ He was confident. ‘Then ankles and toes?’ ‘Ankles, soles and away.’ Ruggero smiled. ‘The meridians terminate beneath the foot.’ ‘And why would meditation help me to stand up straight?’ After he had finished and I had got dressed, Ruggero sat down at a tiny wooden table and made notes of all the things he had done to me. He was
my back pulling upright by itself. It happened over the spring. Taking my familiar run across the hills, I was surprised to find myself aware of muscles at the base of the spine. How odd. Days later I could feel my shoulders. A slight warm presence. Finally my neck. It was as if skeletal spaces had been very lightly penciled in. Becoming aware of the muscles turned out to be one with straightening them. Or letting them straighten me. I didn’t do anything. I just had to pay attention. The only
slumped into the upholstery and was silent. Behind our closed eyes, his presence filled the room, his labored breathing became our breathing. The clock ticked. Sometimes, in the far distance, you might hear a train hooting, or, on one afternoon, very faintly, an ambulance. More often dogs barked, a chained dog barking at others passing by, I thought. Thoughts, thoughts. I made my objective note. The minutes passed. Coleman was silent. There was no hurry. At the same time a fine tension began to