The great thing about reading, or perhaps even listening, is that you get exposed to different ideas, people, cultures and language styles.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a popular and beautiful story that appears to show the reader that unlimited powers are available to her, if she wills it.
Dan Brown‘s The Da Vinci Code while giving the reader puzzles to solve also brings the divine close enough to touch physically, or so it seems.
Reading or listening to Jiddu Krishnamurti can draw the listener from the mundane to the stillness deep within him.
The Courage to be disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness by Ichiro Kishimi has a very long title that tends to turn people off, yet the book contains powerful ideas that have gained following, especially in Asia.
But we should not be surprised when Paulo Coelho’s second (or third) book does not uplift us or if we have trouble completing it; nor if Brown becomes boring or if after a very still and peaceful evening, we wake up to find that we are struggling with the mundane again. Now you may decide to open The Daily Stoic…., by Ryan Holiday which has a meditation for everyday or remember (as Coelho says) to fight the good fight.
The hidden hazard in being an avid reader, or listener is that if you like an idea a lot, you risk being led by the author to places you may not like. It starts with liking ideas from an author, and saying yes to them all, so that you forget that you still have the power to say no. It is important to remain in touch with your own feelings so that you can quickly turn back whenever you notice that you are at the wrong place.
Better to regain faith in oneself and to avoid leaning for support on the author, who is herself on a journey of search and discovery through life. This journey is one of struggle that changes most, if not all.
We struggle at work, on the road and perhaps also at home. Some of us may struggle on the battlefield at national borders. Notice that often this struggle is for (or against) ideas, people and cultures. These are the kind of things that we are exposed to when we read and listen. When we read, we are receptive to the idea, the person and the culture. The challenge is to remain positive during the daily struggle, as during the reading.