A suggestion to stop reading

A suggestion to stop reading

The advantages of intuition.

I used to be the kind of person who had an ever-growing list of books to read. Each time I worked my way through a book, I’d tick it off the list. Done. Then I would move on to the next. It was a very satisfying process in the sense that I kept up to date with best sellers and in touch with what others were reading – so that I could keep up with culture and remain relevant in my field.

At a point I started getting a bit suspicious of this practice. I felt as though I wasn’t reading for the pure pleasure of it, but instead that some kind of inner drive was compelling me to keep up with life swirling around me, whispering that if I didn’t keep going, I would be left behind.

After more self-interrogation I decided instead to listen more deeply to what was going on inside of me as books passed my way, and to practice simplicity. Simplicity is not only about decluttering our external environment. It’s about living with an inner sense of contentment and enough-ness.

That means for instance keeping speech simple rather than filling the air with words, keeping any addiction to knowledge elemental and limiting our natural craving for more experiences and learning. It doesn’t mean never learning or growing; quite the opposite, because as we simplify we can go deeper with a few things rather than having surface knowledge and experience of a lot of things. Simplicity means accepting you can’t know everything and so focusing on what rings true for you. I think this means having the skill of listening to, knowing and accepting yourself. And making peace with that.

Now I try to read more slowly and to intentionally make the decision to read only books that truly pique my interest – even if no one else is reading them.

And I think this is also a lot about trusting your intuition.

I was listening to a podcast the other day where an author of children’s books was being interviewed. The interviewer asked the author if she had heard of a famous child psychologist who was saying similar things to what she was writing in her stories. The author resonated and said that, even though she never heard of the psychologist, what he was saying sounded wonderful and helpful. The author then said something like, “A part of me now wants to go and read more of this psychologist to inform my writing. But then another part of me says not to read this because what I do in my writing is so intuitive, I don’t really want to mess with that.”

I found that comment fascinating.

There are a few things in my life I think I do quite intuitively and there is occasionally a strange hesitancy in me to avoid reading or researching more into those things, in case I might lose the skill or somehow taint it through the procedure of acquiring information, using reason and returning perhaps to a “tick the book off the list” kind of thinking.

I certainly don’t want to make reason and intuition binaries. We need both. I still love and practice reading and learning! But I’m wondering what it looks like to tap into something deeper within us through connecting with our deeper intuition, letting some kind of creativity free-flow through us and trust that this is enough for the moment.

Rev. Dr Karina Kreminski, Mission Catalyst – Formation and Fresh Expressions, Uniting Mission and Education. Find out more about the Mission, Growth and Innovation team here. Karina also blogs, this article is reprinted from This Wild and Precious Life.


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