Balancing rocks

Generate New Ideas with Jayne Riew’s Writer’s Tool: “The Meditation Box”

Jayne Riew is a lovely friend of mine and also a brilliant artist. She makes conceptual books and boxes—intimate spaces that explore intense emotional states difficult to express in words alone.

Here is a piece she made for me—and for all the readers of Quiet! It’s called “Be Still.”

Here’s Jayne’s description of this work:

“BE STILL is dedicated to the idea of the rich interior life. It was designed for a client who has written extensively about introversion. The box opens to a stylus and a tablet made of shifting sand, inviting meditation through play. The box is for the user who prefers writing to speech, is comfortable with the constant evolution of ideas and savors the slowed-down time of contemplation.”

She also says that the piece is based on the following concepts:

  • The preference of writing to talking—hence the stylus and the lid that opens in such a way that it invites only a single user.
  • The idea that, to introverts, certainty can be suspect.
  • If a philosophy set in stone is represented by concrete, then sand might represent ideas still in formation or the possibility of variable outcomes based on circumstances.
  • The beauty of the quote, “A hundred people versus a hundred grains of sand.” (David Winter, in Quiet)
  • Ditto: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” (T.S. Eliot)
  • Natural materials evoke growth, helping you take your time and gain perspective (wood with the grain exposed, the beach).
  • The slowed-down time of contemplation and the granular quality of meditation when conditions are right.
  • Play opens the heart. Writing opens the mind.
  • Finally, the dimensions of the box are based on those of a laptop because the client (that would be me!—SC) observed that she found herself, night after night, opening her laptop instead going to bed.


Readers: Would you be interested in owning a box like this? Jayne is the least commercially-oriented person you will ever meet, but if enough people express interest, maybe we can persuade her to make more Meditation Boxes.

*The above post previously appeared on Susan Cain’s former blog, The Power of Introverts.