For the past couple of years I have been taking photos of the best places to sit in Calgary and posting them on Twitter. I thought it might be fun to organized a few of them into a blog with supporting text on the benefits of sitting, thinking, relaxing, reflecting and talking.
"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." Jane Austen
"I like a view but I like to sit with my back turned to it." Gertrude Stein
focus and forget
rest with the great achievement.
The ancient child asks
"what is the great achievement?"
It is beyond description in any language
it can only be felt intuitively
it can only be expressed intuitively.
Engage a loose, alert, and aware
body, mind, and sound
then look into the formless
and perceive no thing.
See yourself as a sphere
small at first
growing to encompass
the vastness of infinite space.
focus and forget then
in a state of ease and rest
secure the truth of the great achievement.
Employing the truth will not exhaust its power
when it seems exhausted it is really abundant
and while human art will die at the hands of utility
the great achievement is beyond being useful.
Great straightness is curved and crooked
great intelligence is raw and silly
great words are simple and naturally awkward.
Engaged movement drives out the frozen cold
mindful stillness subdues the frenzied heart.
summon order from the void
that guides the ordering of the universe."
The need to be connected is, in fact, very basic in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the psychological theory that explains the largest and most fundamental human desires. Our need for a sense of belonging comes right after physical safety. We thrive on friendship, family, and the constant affirmation of our existence and relevance. Our self-esteem is largely a product of our interactions with others.
It is now possible to always feel loved and cared for, thanks to the efficiency of our “comment walls” on Facebook and seamless connection with everyone we’ve ever known. Your confidence and self-esteem can quickly be reassured by checking your number of “followers” on Twitter or the number of “likes” garnered by your photographs and blog posts. The traction you are getting in your projects, or with your business, can now be measured and reported in real time.
Our insatiable need to tune into information – at the expense of savoring our downtime – is a form of “work” (something I call “insecurity work”) that we do to reassure ourselves.
What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space, Scott Belsky, 99U
Learn More: What happened to downtime...
Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself
Epiphanies may seem to come out of nowhere, but they are often the product of unconscious mental activity during downtime.
Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime Ferris Jabr, Scientific American, Oct. 2013
Change Your LIfe
"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," wrote the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. It's a line repeated so frequently, in the era of smartphones and social media, that it's easy to forget how striking it is that he wrote it in the 1600s.
I'd wager even Pascal would have been disturbed by a study published recently in Science, showing that people detest being made to spend six to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think – even to the extent of being willing to give themselves mild electric shocks instead. It's natural to conclude that there's something wrong with such people.
Change your life sit down and think, Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian, July, 2014
Learn more: Change your life...
These are just a few of my "best places to sit" images. I expect there are thousands of "best places to sit" in Calgary and area. If you have a special place to sit, be it Calgary or elsewhere, I'd love it if you would email a photo of them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will add to this blog or perhaps if I get enough I will create a new blog. Thanks for reading.