Distraction, or Enchantment?
There was a time, when the thing I’d take everywhere with me was a good book: from room to room, on public transport, in my work bag, on my bedside table.
In life’s moments-between, I’d steal a few chapters. Before I got out of bed, on my way to work, on my lunch break, before going to sleep.
I’d emerge from its pages feeling enriched, comforted, or enchanted.
When did I swap that book for taking a smartphone everywhere?
Diving into my phone in spare moments – feeding myself ‘news’ or social media – leaves me feeling (mostly) fear, anger and distraction.
Why do I choose that which impoverishes, rather than enriches?
It’s as if, in seeking an escape from the human experience, I grasp at a more afflicted version of it, and feel obliged to join in.
Something I heard on a weekend retreat (from Paramananda) comes back to me now. A passing comment that there may be more benefit in reading a good novel than a spiritual text.
Personal development books have become the spiritual texts of our times. Having abandoned my beloved novels for a time to fall down that rabbit hole, I feel their absence now.
There is a place for books that take us deeper into ourselves. For me, they’ve supported some truly liberating discoveries.
And there is a place for books that take us outside of ourselves, to different realities and perspectives – whether storytelling or non-fiction. If we are willing to offer up our humble curiosity.
Books that bring us enrichment, comfort and enchantment.
There is a way back to that.
Less ‘fact’, more fiction.
Less familiar, more fascinating.
Less time scrolling through opinions, more time soaking up nourishment.
Perhaps I could start by swapping them back: leaving the phone unattended, and carrying around a good book instead.
I can choose – which to pick up more often: distraction, or the possibility of enchantment.