A Spiritual Tool


How often do we think of this as a spiritual tool? Yoga class, meditation, and chanting mantras get all the play. And they’re powerful for real. But what about just READING, like, the thing you learned to do in first grade?

Reading is also a spiritual tool, and a powerful one.

By reading, we can connect with a teacher; someone who remembers more of the truth than we do, and shares it with us. We need teachers, and sometimes they aren’t around physically.

Through reading, we can harness the power of the mind and senses. The mind and senses usually harness us, with ego, judgments, grasping. However, they can be put to positive use. The mind and senses help move information towards the soul. When we give them wisdom to absorb, they become the helpers of the soul, assisting its growth and advancement.

Reading can turn a mundane environment into a holy environment. Whether it’s the office, apartment, parent’s house, airplane, or doctor’s office – we’re often in places that don’t feel wholly nurturing. A good book can serve as an oasis.

So, sometimes my sadhana, or spiritual practice, is just … reading. Book, couch, ginger tea, Molly. Done.

Of course, the next question is: What to read?

True, I’m not reading the Twilight series (anymore… ha). To read as sadhana, we should choose high quality information. But what is high quality and what is not?

When I look for what to read, instead of wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble, I take a shortcut and look to my role models. What are they reading?

By this analytical process, I eventually came to read Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam. I don’t know if I’m qualified to read either of these books, but I’m really grateful for the blessings they’ve bestowed on me.

Perhaps the most attractive benefit of all that comes from reading is: results. Words are powerful; they tangibly affect our lives. I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother would have dessert, and she would sigh and say, “Oy. On the lips is on the hips.” I probably heard this little rhyme 25 times. And still I remember it clearly to this day. Oh yes, words are powerful, they get in there so think about when we hear positive truths and mantras. Life can change! Paradigms can shift! All those pages on the true nature of the soul, the purpose of human life – they too have affected me, like powerful astringent herbs loosening deeply lodged toxins, and mentalities.

Choose carefully what you read. While we still do the yoga, meditation, and chanting, it’s also important to take regular-life-things, like reading, and use them to our spiritual advantage.

Molly is an Oakland native, returned after 8 years in New York City. Molly helps run SF/Bay Area nonprofit RISE Yoga For Youth, aspires spiritually, and dreams of regular pilgrimage to holy sites all over the globe.

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