Reading Thought #2

I’ve always been a slow reader. With non-fiction books, especially so. I’ve always carried an element of shame over my lack of speed and the desire to be faster at it with me. For a very long time it’s been an uncomfortable shoe-pebble nagging me every time I pick up a book. In some cases, it has flat-out stopped me from even attempting to read some books. I’ll look at the size of them and think, "My gosh, that would take me years to get through!"

Further, this stands in sharp contrast to my wife. She’s an extremely fast reader, especially with fiction. I’ve seen her get through a 300 page book in a couple of hours. She averages well over a hundred books a year. I’ve often found myself quite jealous of her gift and the difference further highlights my inability and frustration.

So, in an effort to be more gentle with myself I’ve come to embrace my reading as a part of my practice. I call it Mindful Reading (more slowly — the opposite of speed reading). The idea that my lack of speed actually allows me to be more present with each word and idea. That, to feel shame and desire around this is causing needless self-suffering when self-kindness and permission are called for instead. So, if I read fewer books or it takes me longer to get through one it might mean that I simply was more present with the books I read. Mindful Reading is OK.

At least it makes me feel better.