There is nothing I enjoy more than curling up with a good book. Add a little lightning, a rhythmic rainfall, and a couple of comfortable pillows and bliss is unavoidable.
I love to read. It is something I did not discover until I was in the Army at age 23. Throughout all the years of school, I had only seen reading as a necessary task; something which had to be done but certainly not anything I would ever want to do with my “free” time.
I became so enamored with reading, during that point in my life, I more or less withdrew from the usual routine, content to work and spend the rest of my time reading. I took a book with me to lunch and dinner. I even took one to work, to sneak in a few extra paragraphs whenever I could.
Eventually, I remembered that while getting lost in reading was fun, it was only another escape from life.
When I first discovered spiritual books, I once again sought to devour everything I could lay my hands on. I invested years of my life gaining knowledge.
I could quote Dyer, Chopra, Myss, and then I moved on to the mystics they quoted.
Finally, I read a book on Zen, (I do not remember which one) in which the Zen Master insisted that it was time to throw away all the books and simply “be”.
While I did not throw away my books, I understood what the master had meant. The reading is great fun. Acquiring the knowledge makes for lively conversation, but the rubber meets the road when I integrate what I have read into my day to day affairs.
We all know this is the truth.
Anyone who has been on a spiritual path for any length of time has probably read all that they would ever need to read about how to obtain peace, but alas, it is much easier to read than it is to apply the lessons.
I will always read, not out of necessity as I am sure I have enough wisdom to learn all that is mine without ever opening another book. I will always read because I love the process. I love feeling the words. I love agreeing or disagreeing with the author. I love feeling my heart flutter when I read something written “just for me”.
So, do not think I am advocating giving up reading (especially reading Secrets to Peace ;-) I am merely suggesting that we balance our read time with integration time. Our inner guidance is always willing to direct us on where to best invest our time.
Unfortunately, the best investment of our time is not always synonymous with the easiest.
I will close with this quote from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “Reading spiritual books is like reading the menu at a restaurant. Don’t forget you must eat the meal.”