The View from the Couch
One Super Bowl commercial still sticks with me almost a month after the fact. I still find myself thinking of it often. The product was Jeep Cherokee and the point of the commercial was to be bold, take action, and to engage life. These are concepts that I love and try to embrace. More precisely, they are concepts that I embrace but occasionally enact. The bit that sticks with me though it the way they bashed stillness.
In my experience, modern America counts stillness as a sin. It is seen as the opposite of action and therefore bad. The expectation that we drive forward constantly defines greatness. Lack of drive equals failure, worthlessness and, wretchedness.
My sitting on the couch, watching the Super Bowl and the commercial in question lends credence to this point. How much of my life is squandered watching TV? What value do I gain from watching TV? (I actually believe that TV can be a good thing, but that is a subject for another post n another day.) My inactivity on the couch fits the mold.
The truth is that inactivity fits the theme of the commercial better than stillness. Despite naming stillness the enemy, they truly oppose inaction. In my life, that manifests in many forms besides mindlessly watching TV. It may be playing online games. It may come as procrastination that disguises itself as busyness. I definitely despise inactivity, in theory anyway; my practice of this is feeble. Yet, stillness and inactivity are not the same.
Stillness gets disparaged nonetheless. Thus the commercial named stillness as undesirable. Must it be? Can stillness be good? Is there value in doing nothing? In having downtime and just being still and quiet?
Instead of using stillness to power our action, we are encouraged to toss it aside. Which to me is the greater failing in our society; that action is vaunted so highly that stillness is bad. Action, for all its good can’t be the only thing.
I think stillness can be powerfully spiritual if we take time form doing and just be. Of course, I believe there needs to be a solid dose of doing for the being to have depth. The being then brings substance to the doing. I can be an ascending spiral, brining good and great things out of us. I try to make this happen. I try to get some quiet into my life several times a week. It seems to help. This provides me the chance to catch my breath before diving into the next thing.
Shameless Self Promotion:
March 9, 3 PM – performing humorous speech at First Presbyterian Church of Woodstock, IL, It’s a free will offering fund raiser. http://www.fpcwoodstock.org/
March 15, 4 PM – doing a comedy workshop at a Toastmaster s Open House. 4S175 NapervilleWheaton Road, Naperville, IL 60563. http://sos.toastmastersclubs.org