A couple of weeks ago I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Whenever I'm asked what I'm reading, I immediately wish the question had come the week before, when I might have been reading something less revealing of who I am. When asked for this post, I considered lying and saying I was currently reading Michael Gruber's The Good Son, a fantastic book that I read twice and from which I learned more about the situation in Afghanistan than from anything I've read in any news accounts. But I read that several weeks ago. Then I looked through my stack of other recent reads to find one that would make me seem especially smart and cool. But only two books actually sat on my bedside table, and the fact that I was reluctant to name them forced me to ask myself a crucial question: why am I so reluctant to be open about the fact that I'm a spiritual seeker? I'm not sure if I want to keep that side of myself private, or if I fear ridicule from those who think spirituality is synonymous with the Bible-thumping, moralistic, self-righteousness that H.L. Mencken called "jealousy wearing a halo."Visit Blaize Clement's website and blog.
The truth is that no matter what else I'm reading, the same two books are always beside my bed. For several weeks now, I've read and re-read Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. That book speaks to me in the same way that Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success has spoken to me for almost twenty years. I read Chopra at least once a year, usually two or three times a year.
Christmas came while I thought about how to explain why those two books are so important to me, and the answer came from the youngest member of my family. The day was difficult for my family because my daughter-in-law died a few weeks after Christmas last year. Christmas had always been especially important to her, and my son and grandchildren did their best to recreate all the decorations and the dinner that she would have made. Everybody was trying hard to pretend they were having a jolly old time, but my little great-granddaughter was too young to be dishonest about her feelings. During Christmas dinner, she put her head on the table and sobbed. Freed of the need to pretend their hearts weren't hurting, the adults immediately cried too.
In the same way, Eckhart Tolle's book frees me of the burden of playing phony roles. It teaches me how to just Be. If I feel like it, I can put my head down on the table and sob like a child because I miss somebody I loved. I can also turn my attention away from all the stupid things and people in the world and let them be what they are. I can even hope to reach a level at which I don't label things and people "stupid." And if I'm asked what I'm reading, I can be brave enough to talk about the spiritual books on my bedside table and not try to come up with a good lie.
The Page 99 Test: Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues.
The Page 99 Test: Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof.
The Page 69 Test: Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs.