I read lots of books. I used to do a lot of underlining and note taking in those books—then I would file the books away on my bookshelf as a storehouse of knowledge.
Eventually, I started to notice something: I never went back to any of those books to look at my notes and underlines. In fact, I wasn’t going back to those books at all. They would sit on my bookshelf for years, never to be opened again!
As I considered this, I realized that the information in these books actually wasn’t that important to me. What was important was the author’s consciousness shining through each book—a kind of spiritual transmission. That’s what I was receiving by reading these books—and it required no note taking and no underlining.
Eventually, I realized that receiving this transmission doesn’t even require reading every word! These days, when I read books, here’s what I tend to do. I scan through each page to find the parts that catch my attention—the parts that are the most meaningful to me. I receive the author’s transmission, without marking the book or taking notes. I put the book into my virtual library on Library Thing, and I resell the physical book for someone else to enjoy.
(I do have a shelf of favorite books that I keep physical copies of, and as I start my psychotherapy practice, I plan to create another library of physical books to loan out to clients.)
Photo Concord Public Library (by liz west) is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.