I saw this title in The New Yorker, and was really curious about the article. It was a bit too long for me, so I’ll just pick out one paragraph that I thought interesting.
“Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”
Like so many others, I have been feeling a deep sadness concerning our current world affairs. I’m someone who actually enjoys giving ‘asked’ for advice, finding solutions, and fixing problems; thus frustration added to my suffering. Volunteer work and donating can relieve some of that helplessness, but it can also overwhelm and exasperate — especially when there is no end in sight.
We all need time-outs to gather our thoughts, and ask ourselves what is it we want. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I’m depressed, really damn depressed, I thought.
But then my ‘fix-it-up’ personality shone through. I need a day to cleanse my thoughts, breathe and simply be grateful for all the good in my life. I got out of bed and decided to cleanse my thoughts and body of all toxic harmful substances. First thing I did was skip breakfast; no coffee — no nothing, just a glass of water. And then I set out for a walk. I took in the sunrise, and the glistening morning dew, I looked up at a black bird perched on a tree, staring back down at me. “Hi there! Top of the morning to you!” I said as he fluttered his wings and flew off. Today is soup day. I decided, and listed the ingredients, in my mind, to make a good hearty vegetable soup. And then I thought about which book I would like to read today. I needed something to still my ever churning thoughts, to calm my nerves, to please me, be good to me, and most of all allow me to escape into a better world. But what book could that be?
After my long walk, I looked through my rows of bookshelves. I do have a book to read in my Kindle, however it was too shallow too ‘wimpy’ . It wasn’t the right thing to ‘cleanse’ my mind. But then — way on the bottom of my bookshelf, pushed back, as if in hiding, I detected a long forgotten dusty text-book.
Oh, my favorite very favorite subject! I smiled, and pulled the book out. It was my old college philosophy book, Socarates to Sartre written by Samuel Enoch Stumpf. I snuggled into my cozy chair and began to read. Amazing, I thought… all the problems, the questions the conflicts, the contemplations of then… are the same as today. I found that to be comforting, and I loved the way Aristotle simplified life’s complicated questions, to which I truly found answers to my own perplexed thoughts. Writing about my philosophy book, would take another book, so I just want to say, I’ve found something to distract me, and comfort me. My next book might be more of a novel, to help me escape into another world… I have yet to find the right one… maybe you have a suggestion? What do you read, when you want to feel happier?