To receive any kind of benefit from the time spent in reading requires us to be aware of ‘How to read’
There are various types of reading we indulge in on a regular level, like:
Recreational reading, which includes Fiction, magazines…
Reading to memorise like for exams…
Serious, transformative reading, like for Non fiction; spiritual works…
The third type of reading – which is done for some understanding is what I wish to talk about. When choosing to read some spiritual literature it obviously will be to receive some benefit. To be able to receive some lasting benefit and understanding requires the right ways of reading.
For the right meaning to be understood and for this meaning to stay strong in one’s mind, all books basically need to be read at least three times.
In the first reading, one has to read completely from the first to the last page, so that one knows its contents.
In the second time, one needs to go a little slow, spending extra time on each page; marking whatever one thinks is important for one self; and from what you think is the authors point of view.
The third reading would be to read all the underlined matter very slowly, trying to internalize it. During this reading one could also underline once again the most valuable contents for oneself. (To go through whenever, at intervals; like how we make notes for revision on the morning of a school exam!)
This is also called hammering.
Only after one is done with this, can one say that he understands some what, what the author might be saying.
There is never any compulsion to always agree with what one reads.
At the same time one has to be open enough to examine what one reads. It is important going deeper in the search, “reading between the lines’, and then accepting or rejecting what any writer may have expressed.
True knowledge does not mean to just memorise some works, or count the number of books read; important is to have gone in depth of its meaning and taken in some truth for oneself, trying to imbibe some understanding of the truth in one’s daily life.
Innumerable spiritual books today flood the bookshops. Majority is translated knowledge put in new words for the new modern readers. There are very few books who give some new understandings, ‘the authors experienced understandings’.
Then there are some books that talk about the eternal truths in relation to ‘now’ time period.
These books when being read require dedication and the willingness to spend enough time on ‘manan-internalisation’. As soon as one takes some truth from what is read and begins to put it in practice in daily life, will transformation begin. Then one can say that I did read with understanding and I now try to live my day to day life on the new understanding-‘Acharan’. As this happens the need to read the 100’s of other books disappears, as all speak the same truths though in different ways; which might bring confusion instead of clarity.
Continue with reading those lines which you try to imbibe in daily life; as many times as required, it soon becomes like a guideline or prayer. When the particular thought is totally accepted undoubtedly it manifests as action in daily life; it will be time well spent in reading!
This is from a series of lectures on various topics, by
for creating greater awareness ;
lasting satisfaction in our lives.
Written as understood by me
Abha Shahra Shyama