I pity the person who cannot and do not read at all. Has it ever occurred to you that the quest for tranquility is rooted in what position you place the importance of maintaining peace in your life that a book can provide? Or perhaps how it’s so necessary to allow whatever it takes to just get away from the normal calamity of your surroundings to read? Both are usually, and should be done alone where your thoughts can be at ease with the type of sanity for an easy transition to a new lease on life. The purpose is to draw inside ourselves and exert a deeper awareness of a still quietude. For me it has given me a sense of wholeness and has given me a better appreciation of what has always been my bailiwick -- books! Reading is both subjective and objective to my being. It’s a sense of accomplished value relative to what I’ve learned over the years embracing the knowledge that reading brings. It gave me chances to experience being between the pages in living color right there at the crux of what was written. Even now, I marvel at the over 3,000 books in my personal library, each being part of what has given me the persona of a well-read patron. I think for instance for the novels that spoke to me when I was eighteen, that I may have regarded as superficial or exaggerated without the proper timing to have lived what was read.
Then I extrapolate to the now and see how far I’ve come because of the patience it took for me to understand authors’ voices for better interpretive value. The latter sentence has given me wherewithal t0 understand why the classics are so viable and valuable to me today...it’s about visiting a classic tome to discover a different, deeper book than the one I read years so. It’s not the books that have changed. It’s me. I realize too, that some of the changes in me have been brought about by the books that I’ve read in the meantime, those books that happened to find their way into my library. It brings me to the stage now to reassess my reading and the environment I do it in. I feel blessed that God has given me all it took to be cognizant of cognitive skill of logic and reasoning., and how the many more subtle ways that my reading has influenced the works-in-progress that I tend to be with new knowledge; or how my reading has led me, one way or another, on the journey I’ve made to become who I am now.
It is this place of tranquility that I’ve conjured in my mind where there’s a need to just sit back and savor the oncoming and anticipated sunsets. I’m not at a loss for words, nor do I yearn for anything that I can’t find in my vast collection. And because I’m a bibliophile I know that as long as I live and read, other books will find me. I’m more inclined to believe now as I’ve gotten older that there’s a connection to spirituality and reading. God intended for us to study His Word and apply it to everyday life. This is where the quest for tranquility should be real. These moments of wholeness, experienced sometimes in reading, sometimes in prayer, give us hints at what can be said about reading with a purpose. I’ve learned a lot since I bridged the gap between reading for knowledge and reading for pleasure. It’s when you can meld the two for balance and STILL read in a spiritual vein is when you are on equal footing with tranquility! For me, spirituality encompasses not only my search for a personal relationship with the Divine, but for ways and means that would allow me to give to others what I’ve learned.
Often I’ve asked people, “what and where are your places for tranquility?” Invariably they cannot give me straight answers, and often no answers at all. From your own life experience you know the the path you follow in any search for peace and serenity doesn’t always lead you to straight lines directly to your goal. You will meander through a labyrinth full of twists and turns, wide swings before you get to your center. The labyrinth is but a metaphor for journeys through life as an offering for us in ways of reflecting on the role of reading spiritually, emotionally and without the ills of the world. At least that has been the pattern and story of my life -- the ability to allow books to be my companion where meaningful intimacy fulfilled every thrill in an orgasmic way. Looking at it from my point of view, the place of tranquility for me is reading and enjoying it as it influenced who I’ve thought I was, who I wanted to be, who I am and called to be. After all of this, guess what? You too, can find tranquility in reading -- but it will most definitely consist of going deep inside of you to find the resolve. In my opinion it’s the first steps of interiority.
Reading is a process. For me it’s my life. I don’t have a regimented program in my reading, or make lists or notes. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I read both for pleasure and knowledge. But I’m a constant reader. And if I tell the truth, I am more likely to miss bible study on occasion than my reading and writing. It’s another experience of total immersion, of a world wider than mine, and a great way to do what I like to do! With it, I have had more time to read and to reflect on the part that reading plays in my spiritual life and in my life as a whole. I know too, that it has made me a better writer. As I approach the twilight of this essay, and before the sun sets bringing to a close another day, it’s my hope that the book(s) of your choice is the beginning or continuity of something that can bring you to a tranquil state, where the spiritual aspect of drawing closer to your center would give you your own new lease on life. Here’s hoping too, that there will be a list of books that will change your life. The sole purpose is to examine the role that reading plays in how you define yourself. I would like for you to consider the influence of reading in your life, how and why particular books stay with you...and how they can shape you. They have the ability to enlarge humanity. Remember: you are what you read!