On Reading and Mindfulness
Reading in a distraction-led world is hard. Choosing what to read is even harder.
I associate the concept of minimalism with mindfulness. And I think that reading is a brilliant conduit for conveying mindfulness. It’s this philosophy that drives me to find better ways to continue reading and writing despite living in a world devoted to noise and distraction.
I especially love reading as a method of being mindful and reflective, but I often find myself distracted by my smartphone or the noise of everyday life. I usually only find the time and space to read whilst incubated in the confines of a carriage during a train journey. The rhythmic rattle of the train’s mechanical parts and the ambient chatter of fellow passengers serve as a kind of sonic balm, providing surprisingly decent conditions in which to read.
But even the act of reading becomes stressful when you’re inundated with a near-infinite selection of books that you think you should be reading. I have found myself overwhelmed by choice and actually ended up reading less as a result; why do something that stresses you out?
Over time I accepted that I was never going to read every book that may be worth reading, and that there wasn’t necessarily any satisfaction to be gained from attempting to do so.
I have decided to stop hoarding books with the weak conviction that I would one day read all of them. My new reading routine involves dedicating myself wholly to one book at a time, with no particular timeframe in which to read it, other than ensuring I make a habit of routinely finding time to do so.
I plan to donate any physical books that I finish reading to charity. I’ve also decided to make use of an e-reader. These practical decisions will help reduce the distraction and noise surrounding a predominantly mindful practice.