Tag Archives: personal development

On Reading and Pondering Deeply

Second Sokkai Gakkai president Josei Toda urged young people to read good books and to ponder things deeply. Even though Toda died in 1958, this advice is relevant today and is great encouragement for everyone. And, in fact, is a way to stay youthful despite your physical age.

What makes a book “good” to begin with? Is it informative? Inspirational? Energizing? Does it make you see things differently? Laugh? Perhaps good books do all of these things. Perhaps something else entirely.

books-158066_640A good book enriches me. It nourishes me in some way. A good books speaks to me, even if it’s a psychological thriller with a love story at its center.

A good book is not only worth reading, it is worth rereading. You come to it again to unlock new lessons, discover new images, uncover subtle nuances. It may touch you differently because of who you are this year, or what happened to you last season. Or because you’re finally ready to deal with that twenty-year old trauma. But sometimes you just want to check in on your favorite characters and reminisce about old times.

As for pondering deeply, many  refuse ponder at all, much less deeply. Social media platforms are filled with incoherent ramblings from knee-jerk reactions to hearsay. Some who claim to have researched a hot-button issue have limited their reading to the title of click-bait, which is designed to be sensational rather than informative.

Pondering is slow. Much slower than the skim-swipe-share culture of today. It requires one to engage with one’s brain and with a variety of ideas.

Pondering is dialogue, not declaration.

It is inquiry rather than assumption.

It is research and reflection, not regurgitation.

I wonder if in 2015 we can slow down, read good books and ponder things deeply. Let’s engage each other in conversations (on social media and in real life) grounded in wisdom, thoughtfulness, and respect for diverse views.

The Four Agreements

Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk had been on my mind earlier this week, and The Four Agreements have now taken up residence in its stead.

I’ve been actively working on unblocking by committing to write, so I’ll take these little bells as encouragement to keep going.

Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a short book, based on Toltec Wisdom. In it, he elucidates four agreements, or practices, we can implement daily to enjoy a more fulfilling life.

I’m very consistent on agreements #3 and #4, and I easily redirect myself #2. But I must admit, I abandon the very first one when I’m not careful. That’s the one I’m revisiting  now.

It would be a good exercise to (re)read the book and do some extended writing on each of the four principles. But for now, I’m posting them in their simplest form as a gentle reminder to myself:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best