Monday, April 1, 2013

Reading a Book More Than Once

Reading a book again that you consider meaningful, important, or enjoyable for its literary value and its impact on your life rewards you.  In this fast paced, consume once, and consume as much as you can society reading a book a second time and certainly multiple times challenges this mentality.  You consciously choose to experience reading as a luxurious retreat of ideas and narratives through words read in silence to yourself.  You set aside other extraneous errands and shush the noisy world for your reading respite.  Reading becomes a statement against the constant din and constantly doing something exterior.  You go interior, inside the author's imagination which provokes and evokes your imagination.  Reading becomes an act of mindfulness.  You pay attention to the ideas and narrative through the words in order to understand the ideas and narrative.  Mindfulness is always paying attention to whatever you are doing. 

Reading a book twice or several times provides you familiarity since you know the book's premise; and yet, when you read it a second time, you notice different aspects and details you didn't notice the first time. Reading a book once is meeting a person you really like and calling that person a friend, even though you only know the person through the glimpse of meeting them once.  Reading a book a second time is revisiting that friend, getting to know her or him better and noticing new things about that person.  Regarding the person, the person has changed; regarding the book, though, the book is exactly the same.  It is you, the reader, who have changed through your experiences and understandings, and therefore, the book is different to you as you are reading it the second time. 

This is a zen mind, beginners mind.  Although it not the first time you have read it which is when it would seem like beginner's mind, it is still beginner's mind because it is the first time you are reading it for the second time.  You will never have that moment again.  Therefore, that moment can be beginner's mind.  Beginner's mind is zen mind.  Zen mind is beginner's mind.

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