One of the first things reading taught me was friendship.
Most people I know get excited in a crazy a way in the beginning of anything, then the excitement goes down to zero in few days. For me, It’s totally the opposite. Reading taught me how to have phases of increasing passion and enthusiasm in a very healthy way. As books are like people, you got those books you love from first word, those books it takes time to really get them, those books you don’t appreciate before finishing or digesting, and many other books.
Reading books doesn’t just need passion, actually, it is hard and impossible to have real passion for something you don’t know. It is not even smart. Reading a book needs an expectation for a need. You just feel you need something, and this book will fulfill this need. And with time you learn that whatever how was your expectations, a book will never fit it exactly. Yet, it might fit perfectly! How is that? Well, most of the time you read a book to help you in X, Y, and Z. What happens is that the book would help you in X, 80% of y and A, B, C and a lot more. SO you didn’t really find the Z in that book. Yet, you had partially X and Y and most of all you discovered new needs you didn’t really know you know. As when it gave you A, B and C, it turned out you need them.
So the more you read books, the more you learn to appreciate. The more you learn to not have a lot of prejudgments. The more you learn how each soul got its beauty. The more you are up for exploration. As with time, you learn that there is more than what you expect out there.
Books need time. And this was one of the best things books taught me. I am kind of person who is enthusiastic. I love to finish whatever I start at once. So in the beginning, I always wanted to finish the book I start as soon as possible, few hours,.. 2 days max. Then by reading more, you learn that actually some books need time. And this is not just about long books. Some books are not long, yet in order to change perfectly, you need to read on a long term on purpose. When you read them all at once, all what you might get is information. While you need to just leave yourself to this book to change you, daily for a month or two. So I learned to have patience, this patience with work. Not to just have that crazy energy of enthusiasm, but also to have this beautiful commitment tranquility.
Not all books should be read slowly anyways. Some books are meant to shake you and give you this strike, all at once. So these books you need to just read in few hours or the strike effect would disappear.
So may be the two books are 600 pages, one I would finish in one day and the other would take 2 months. With time, I learn to differentiate. Same to people, you can’t treat everyone equally, some people need this kind of enthusiastic relationship, and others needs patience and long company.
Books never die. When you read a book, you might finish the book words, but you never end it. I am still living by books I read years ago. The ideas mentioned in the book evolve with time to have new expansions and visions. Just like people, when you love somebody, I guess it is impossible to ever unlove. Part of this person would always be there, even if they are not that near anymore. Books taught me to accept this. In the beginning, I would hear about people “unfriending” their friends. Now, I know it is impossible for me to really unfriend someone. Actually what we do, is that we move on. Just like with books, You decide it is time to just have this book in heart and not to read for years. Yet, how you appreciate the book and miss from time to time is another story. So may be, I learned how to be loyal by heart to people through books.
I learned also with time, that many types would fit me. In the beginning of reading, I would read a one type or two of books. Then I try to go into a new type, and surprise, it is awesome. So daily, I try to read in more fields and types and it turned out most of them are fun. Same to people, sometimes we limit ourselves to specific type of people, thinking that only this type would fit us. While you actually need to give yourself a chance to be surprised.
Reading taught me that although we don’t judge and know what a book can have, yet to have a little instinct if it is good or no. So even though, you are open to learn, explore and just read different types of books and unknown treasures, you always have this instinct, that would get wiser daily, to tell you what to read and what to stay away from.
So with time, you run across bad books less. As in the end, bad books exist. Yet now, you can easily identify them before even reading a word. Same to people, You learn to have this instinct that would tell you that this person may harm you, this person is not loyal, this person is not good for you. No in terms of judging, but just in terms of saving your energy for better books. This kind of wisdom takes time though, the more you read, the more you can really decide.
Last, for this post, Books got worlds. It happens that I read a book and I just love it and it would change me in a very positive way, and I meet someone who says this book is really bad. I used to get surprised in the beginning. How can a book be that good for me and bad for him. Yet, with time I learned that a book isn’t one sided relationship, it is the combination of me and the book that creates the real content of the book. The book also got worlds, and each time you read, you discover one world. So same to people, someone would fit you and be the best person you ever met, although he was hell to someone else.
It taught me a lot more about people, yet in the pursuit of short posts, let’s explore more later on.
Feature photo: It is taken from my reading session in Almadinah for Ibn Al–Qayyim’s Madarij Al-Salikin.