Reading Books: A Forced Meditation
So, I recently came across this YouTube video which was titled ‘BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content’. The length of the video made it seem like it was some kind of documentary on books or bookstores and being a book-lover, it didn’t take long for me to decide if this was worth the time. Hell, it was!
I have to admit. This happens to be one of the best vlogs/documentary on bookstores ever made. Max Joseph, the creator, took quite a lot of time and effort to research on all that stuff to put together this video. Also, he traveled a lot. And met a lot of influential people. Just for making a video on books. In short, this video is definitely worth your time!
In the video, Max interviewed Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, President of Brown University. So they were talking about how books should be read in present times where time itself is very limited and distractions infinite. Dr. Simmons, here, mentioned these words that caught my attention immediately. She spoke about how reading books is kind of a forced meditation.
31:11 Max: Is that what you feel books are, forced meditation? Dr. Simmons: They can enable it if you’re not disciplined enough to meditate otherwise
Not being a big fan of the conventional way of meditation in the first place. This line hit me hard. Its something, I never thought about. Not at least this way. But it was true.
Books do engage us in a way that makes us forget the worldliness surrounding us. For a time being, you are in someone else’s story, in someone else’s theory, thinking the way the author did at the moment of writing it. You might be Hogwart’s only breathing hope or the Titan’s only enemy. You might be willing to apply someone’s lifestyle or implement their business tack in your start-up. For whatever little golden time you read a book, you have surrendered your mind to it. Just like the way meditation works.
Not to give you too many spoilers from the video, but this another line from Dr. Simmons explains what I said above in a much better way:
31:23–31:52 I remember that, you know Brown students would come and they’d show me their schedule and you know. Everything is so laid out and they’re very intense about it and they’ve got to do this and then they’ve got to do that and so forth and I always always say to them, I want to see you sitting on the green with a book. Stop. Reflect. If you don’t do that you are a lesser human being for sure for sure
These two words say a lot more than I possibly could. This video definitely changed the way how I look at the act of reading books itself. Thanks, Max!
It’s no more just to finish a story I have begun. It’s a way to be in it. It’s no more just about reading stuff that’s “No.1 NewYork Times Bestseller”, it’s more about reading what makes me “No.1 Happiest Human Being on Earth”.
But don’t just stop here. Definitely go checkout the entire video which has cameos of Tim Urban, Eric Barker and many more amazing people and I assure you, it will be the best 37 minutes and 50 seconds you ever spent.
Takeaway: While reading a book: Stop. Reflect. That is the ultimate goal of reading.