Cronin believes strongly in the power of meditation and views it as a “tool” that allows one to “access this peace and quiet within,” he recently wrote in an email. With so many distractions—social media, television, advertisements—the act of sitting down and tuning into oneself can seem unnatural and perhaps even frightening. Although Cronin acknowledges stillness does not come naturally to us, he believes that the ability to cultivate a stillness practice is nonetheless accessible to all.
“For me stillness is like the difference between the surface of the ocean and the depths of the ocean,” he said. “The former is busy and fluctuating with peaks and troughs and the latter is still and peaceful. We all have that within us.” The capacity to generate stillness, then, can be seen as universal, thereby deconstructing the dualistic worldview Posthumansim seeks to transcend.
Indeed, many people were forced into this realization when the Covid-19 pandemic all but brought the normal pace of life to a halt.
“The impact of Covid is inspiring us to start to slow down and look within,” Cronin said. But he maintains that our tendency toward distraction has only shifted since the lockdown due to sites such as Amazon and Netflix, a trend which highlights Posthumanism's recognition that technology can be a tool or a curse, depending on how one chooses to view and use it. Still, Cronin said he has witnessed “increased levels of inquiry into meditation and mindfulness” and believes we are currently in “the early stages of this transition.”
Cronin is not alone in this belief, as businesses, too, have begun to recognize the importance—perhaps even necessity—of stillness.
“In the grueling, fearful months of this global pandemic, organizations had an epiphany: support for employee wellbeing is a must-have, not just a nice to have,” business author Greg Orme wrote in Forbes in December of last year. “The need for increased focus and resilience, especially by managers, has been obvious.”
Orme reported that the popular meditation app Headspace saw a 500% increase in the number of “companies seeking mental health assistance” for their employees. He also added that the number of prescriptions for digital therapy apps had skyrocketed 6,500%.
The essential link between stillness and improved mental health has apparently become mainstream, but Cronin has deeply understood this link for quite some time.
“When we go into stillness we see greater order and cohesiveness,” he said. “Meditation is a very effective tool to help us remain more present with daily life.”
But this practice still requires discipline, says Cronin, adding that it is “a journey rather than a goal.”
And The Stillness Project aims to help people as they embark on this journey toward a more aware, fulfilling existence. Perhaps this more enlightened existence will enable humans to look beyond our species and instead live with the understanding that we are a part of the living, breathing ecosystem that is Earth. And for Cronin, the “greatest shift” that would benefit the planet as a whole is, of course, “to get more people meditating.”
Tom's film, The Portal, will be coming out soon. Please watch a trailer of the film here: