- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing Paperback – 7 Jul 2011
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"His journey will open your mind to the possibilities of mindfulness" (Polly Vernon Sunday Telegraph)
"Teach us to Sit Still made me laugh; it made me cry; and it made me seriously think about taking up Vispassana meditation" (Will Self The Times)
"A searingly honest, viscerally vivid, darkly comic self-examination of the connections between writing personality and health. Once I started reading it, I didn't want to stop" (David Lodge Guardian)
"This is a crazy, wince-inducing, uplifting book... Parks has done a service to the many people who would never look at a cheesy self-help book or try anything with a whiff of spirituality about it" (Financial Times)
"A movingly honest book that is about a great deal more than breathing and meditation" (Susan Hill The Lady)
An inspiring and entertaining true story of a sceptic's journey into the world of meditation and alternative health.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Teach Us To Sit Still will be of great interest to anyone with a chronic medical condition which the doctors seem unable to cure, but also to anyone who is concerned about work/life balance and the long-term effects of ignoring the body's needs. I can't say I'm in any either of those categories but I still found it a fascinating read. But the book is not only about pain and a quest for healing, for Tim, being the writer and scholar that he is, digresses frequently into philosophical and literary themes which break up the stark accounts of medical processes.
Tim Parks developed a set of problems in the region of prostate, groin and pelvis which had a devastating effect on his life. The first part of the book describes the medical explorations which he had to undergo in order to seek a diagnosis. Any man reading the book is going to squirm with discomfort as Parks' recounts the procedures carried out on him, some of which make root canal work sound like a head massage.
I can only admire Tim for his candour in sharing with his readers the daily humiliations caused by his complaint. Nobody wants to hear a doctor say, "It has to hurt I'm afraid", and there is pain in such quantities I found I had to skip quickly through some paragraphs.
The tests he undergoes all show that there is nothing wrong with him. His relief at finding out that he does not after all have prostate cancer is tempered by having to go home to live with the condition, perhaps for ever. However, such is Tim's desperation, that he starts to investigate alternative forms of medicine, visiting an Ayuverdic practitioner who has interesting but bizarre things to say, and then finding a book by Doctor David Wise, A Headache in the Pelvis which seems to be a turning point in his journey towards recovery.
But it is the last third of the book in which we read of a kind of breakthrough - I am torn in writing this review in wanting to say what happens while not wanting to spoil the book. Let me say that Tim's decision to take up Vipassana meditation was fruitful in a variety of ways.
I think most people would recognise the need for more centredness in their lives, and by reading this book they will see how meditation practices could help them with niggling symptoms which inhabit the background of their lives. This is not a self-help book but rather an involving journey with a fine writer through things we all hope we don't have to deal with in our own lives.
I have never left a1 star review before to my recollection and regret having to do so now but I honestly cannot recommend this book.
Author Parks began to look at other options, specifically to consider not just 'the condition' but himself as experiencing the condition. Discovering a book which discussed his condition as a muscular/neurological reaction to hyperpresent tension - an attribute of his own nature - almost against his intellect he began to explore embodiment, grappling with his own inability to be present in the here and now of his body, rather than the constant backwards and forwards cerebral activity of the mind. His desire to understand his own story and narrative, what his body was saying, led him, initially sceptically and unwillingly, to a gifted Shiatsu practitioner, and, later to a deeper experience of meditation. The initial debilitating nature of his condition had been much helped by the specific techniques of `paradoxical relaxation' described in the book, but the alleviation of pain and nocturia were no longer seen as the end of the journey.
Parks' ability to be open to challenge his own perceived notions of reality, and to accept experience completely outside his belief systems is rather wonderful.
I particularly appreciate the fact that he doesn't fall into the convert's trap of saying `THIS is the way', exhorting everyone to follow suit. This was HIS way, his story, his meaning.
There is also much which is fascinating about the possible effect of various illnesses on both the choice of subject matter and the modes of expression used by other writers and artists with chronic conditions
There is so much within this book, not least, an understory about language and translation. As well as writing novels, he also teaches Italian/English translation skills to students in Italy. There is a parallel here to `what is lost in translation' between the experience (any experience) and the description of it. Our species' amazing faculty for language and complex expression both illuminates and obfuscates our experiences, at one and the same moment. Language itself defines and therefore limits what it describes. His analysis of various texts and what will be `lost in translation' from a too literal juxtaposition of one language into another, missing the inner meaning of a thing, is directly mirrored in his attempt to describe `the ineffable', the felt sense of the present which arises when the mind is stilled from its endless narrative. As he notes, in the moment the narrating mind tries to verbalise the experience, we are no longer WITHIN what we are experiencing.
Another book which incorporates the autobiography of illness is Hilary Mantel's equally wonderful Giving up the Ghost: A memoir
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews