During a recent discussion about books with a colleague of mine (a fabulous teacher) she mentioned that she only reads books that give her quiet pleasure and joy. “I don’t even read books with dead bodies in them anymore,” she said with a shudder.
I think she was onto something important. We are so careful about what we put into our mouths and bodies. We opt for free-range, hormone-free and organic foods. We shop at the Farmers Market or the best supermarkets. We support local farmers and vendors. We exercise, bike and walk. We teach our children the importance of broccoli and basketball.
But then we sit down and watch mindless shows on television or read a book that is total junk food for our brains. I won’t name any names but you know what books and movies I’m talking about!
Nourishing our body is important but taking care of our soul (or mind) is just as vital.
Lord Buddha figured this out centuries ago when he advised moderation in everything. He took it a step further when he suggested, “Our life is shaped by our thought; we become what we think…”
We know our bodies reflect what we eat and if what Lord Buddha says is true our minds will reflect what we think. Now, that is a mind-boggling thought!
I believe in Buddha’s advice on moderation. This doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice what gives us joy. We don’t have to forgo “Game of Thrones” or “Downton Abbey” or the latest Daniel Craig as 007. But it does mean using commonsense and discretion. You know yourself best, so pamper your body and soul. Enjoy the occasional glass of wine or the latest New York Times bestseller but don’t make it a habit. Our diet can’t consist of only wine or chocolate or pasta. We need a variety of foods and drink to stay healthy.
Well, in just the same way if you only read bestsellers, you are missing out on well-written (but unknown) books that will feed your soul and expand your horizon. Can’t find anything to read? Go back and look at classics. Many of them force you to slow down, read and even re-read passages and bring quiet pleasure.
Try it! You might be surprised.