by Tim Parks - £9.99 Vintage (2011)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099548881 | ISBN 10: 0099548887
'Just when the medical profession had given up on me and I on it, just when I seemed to be walled up in a life sentence of chronic pain, someone proposed a bizarre way out: sit still, they said, and breathe...’
Teach Us to Sit Still is the visceral, thought-provoking and improbably entertaining story of Tim Parks’ quest to overcome ill health. Bedevilled by a crippling condition which nobody could explain or relieve, he confronts hard truths about the relationship between the mind and the body, the hectic modern world and his life as a writer.
Following a fruitless journey through the conventional medical system he finds solace in an improbable prescription of breathing exercises that eventually leads him to take up meditation. This was the very last place Parks expected or wanted to find answers; anything New Age simply wasn’t his scene. Meantime, he is drawn to consider the effects of illness on the work of other writers, the role of religions in shaping our sense of self, and the influence of sport and art in our attitudes to health and well-being.
Most of us will fall ill at some point; few will describe that journey with the same verve, insight and radiant intelligence as Tim Parks.
Captivating and inspiring, Teach Us to Sit Still is an intensely personal – and brutally honest – story for our times.
(Price & availability last checked: January 2019)