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You must be still in the midst of activity, and be vibrantly alive in repose. by Indira Gandhi

“You must be still in the midst of activity, and be vibrantly alive in repose.”

An Indira Gandhi quote

Reading time: About two and a half minutes

What does this quote mean?

In Indira Gandhi’s quote, “You must be still in the midst of activity, and be vibrantly alive in repose,” she invites us to explore two interconnected life philosophies. She places before us a roadmap to a well-balanced and enriched life. To understand this better, let’s dissect the quote into two parts.

The first part, “You must be still in the midst of activity,” serves as an insightful advice on how to approach our active life. In our bustling world, it is easy to get swept away in the whirlwind of activities. However, Gandhi tells us that we should not allow our external circumstances to impact our inner equilibrium. By being ‘still’, she does not mean physical inactivity, rather she is pointing towards a state of inner calm, where we are unruffled by external events. This can be likened to being mentally and emotionally stable, composed, and unperturbed during situations that otherwise have the potential to trigger stress or anxiety.

The second part, “and be vibrantly alive in repose,” provides a counter perspective. Gandhi is highlighting the importance of infusing life into periods of quietness and inactivity. By ‘vibrantly alive’, she does not advocate physical exertion but rather a lively spirit, an alert mind, and an enthusiastic attitude during periods of rest or inactivity. We are encouraged to use these moments to reflect, learn, and grow, rather than treating them as dormant periods.

In essence, Gandhi’s quote lays down a formula for a fulfilling life. It nudges us to rise above the physical states of activity and inactivity, to maintain mental composure and enthusiastic curiosity respectively. Her wisdom prompts us to create a harmonious blend of active involvement in the world around us, and introspective growth within ourselves, which forms the essence of a balanced life.

How can I use this quote in my life?

Now that we understand the meaning behind Indira Gandhi’s words, let’s explore practical ways to breathe life into her wisdom.

One way is by cultivating a tranquil heart during high-stakes scenarios. Picture yourself in a heated meeting at work; while others may be losing their cool, imagine how empowering it would feel to remain level-headed, your calmness a beacon of reassurance for others. This isn’t about dismissing emotions but rather being in control of them, letting your serene core guide you instead of the tumult around.

Moreover, Gandhi’s quote inspires us to invest our downtime effectively. Take your Sundays, for instance. Instead of viewing them as a break from life, think of them as opportunities to enrich your life. Pick up a book that piques your curiosity or delve into a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try. This time should not equate to stagnation but a period of growth, a phase where you recharge your spirit, brimming with life and passion for the upcoming week.

Lastly, consider times when you’re waiting. Perhaps, you’re in a queue at the grocery store or waiting for a friend who’s running late. Don’t view these instances as wasted time but as chances to be productive or to engage in a moment of mindfulness. Even a simple act of breathing consciously can work wonders.

About the Author

Indira Gandhi, born on November 19, 1917, in Allahabad, India, was a prominent figure in Indian politics and a central figure in the Indian National Congress. She served as the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India. Known for her political prowess and decisive leadership, her tenure witnessed significant events including the Indo-Pakistani War and the nationalization of banks. Her most famous works include speeches and writings on political issues, emphasizing the importance of democracy, secularism, and social change.