So here's my grand experiment: I'll spend a year reading consciously, and then acting that very day on what I've been reading. All genres welcome. Book group reads and solo reads. Self-help, novels, business books, short stories, essays, poetry. All of it.
Reading doesn't have to be a passive experience, the purely intellectual reception of someone else's words: In truth, it never is. Book conversations don't have to stop at "liked it/hated it" or at gossiping about characters as if they're our neighbors or even at discussing the literary merits of the writer's choices or the symbolic resonances of a text.
Instead, we can choose to move our experience of reading toward richer connections between what we read and how we see the world, and we can then take simple, specific actions in the world, compelled by our own evolving vision.
In other words, my premise is: Attention + action creates the world we experience. Add in compassion and we can create not just any world, but a better world for all beings. And we can use our love of books to spur it all on.
So that's it. A grand yet simple experiment in reading for a better world.
* An hour per day of reading plus writing to reflect
* An action per day that arises from that reflection
I'm bound to read anyway, so I'll simply try to make it count in ways I haven't before.
I hope you'll join me.
p.s. Not buying it? Just a tad curious how all these platitudes play out in a modest life in a small town?
Catch me here tomorrow. I'll begin, and then we'll see.
And, hey! Surprise blessing: A young stag just stuck his nose through a gap in our fence to gaze at me. The slant of sun lit up a foot or so of new velvet antlers above his big muley nose and warm brown eyes. He held me in his sight for a moment or two, then gently pulled back and strolled away. The chickens cackled nervously as they do every time they see a deer. Already life is full.