Reading is a great pleasure and source of inspiration to so many people. In London, it is almost an obsession among the local residents and we see almost everyone on public transport with a book, newspaper or tablet-reader as they try stoically to make good use of their daily commute to and from their workplace.
But how much of what we are reading actually does us any good? Newspapers are full of material that, if taken in without a serious amount of filtering, can leave us with limiting thought-patterns. The media specialise in spreading mind-viruses and creating what is sometimes called a ‘hype’ or ‘spin’ around a story or idea. Yet many of us continue to read these sources of ‘information’ merely because they are readily available and in many cases, thrust in our faces at underground stations.
Newspapers and the popular media may purport to describe or ‘report’ the world to us accurately. But this is not the case. They actually only report anomalies, or occurences that are out of the ordinary. In this way they do not provide us with a reliable picture of what the world is like. Unfortunately many people relate to the media as if they do and this can be a dangerous and limiting occupation.
The good news is that we are not limited to this kind of reading. The internet and the explosion of access to available views of the world mean that there is a real alternative if we can take a little time to seek it out. Become a conscious reader and consider the effect the material you read is having on your awareness and relationship with the world. Is it creating more or less possibility for you? Is it opening up pathways or closing them down?
This doesn’t mean you should close your ears to anything that seems negative, critical or challenging. It’s about the effect it has on you and your actions.
Be brutally honest about this and you may find that your reading habits are changing. Do you have time for material that contains cynical messages or limiting ideas? What mind-viruses are there in that newspaper you are holding?