For many people, their job entails a lot of reading. However, there is NO pleasure taken in that reading. They are reading facts and figures for data input; customer comments and complaints; technical manuals; online materials; and other similar, largely uninteresting bits.
For many people, all their reading is done to glean info. This includes the aforementioned manuals, news, social media to keep up with friends and family, and similar. Largely not things that do much to stir the mind or spark the imagination.
This, it turns out, is a really easy trap to fall into. You get caught up in reading only for very specific purposes and don’t desire to read anything else.
Reading, however, is a fundamental way to relax, gain new knowledge and information, and get in touch with your subconscious self.
To be fair — there ARE people for whom reading has NEVER been a pleasure. They may suffer from dyslexia, or some other issue that makes reading an unpleasant chore. However — and I’ll get into this later — listening to audiobooks still counts as reading.
For a long time, I wasn’t doing much reading. As a writer, of course, I enjoy reading — but I made a lot of excuses for reading slowly and infrequently. Sure, I consumed a couple of books a year. But when I began to make a conscious effort to read more — the impact has been eye-opening.
I am not just sharing this idea because I’m a writer — but also because I believe the importance of reading impacts the fabric of our society.
Nonreaders set themselves up for misunderstanding
Reading — fiction or nonfiction outside of news and social media — opens the mind to critical thinking. Critical thinking engages the subconscious mind and opens you up to applying logic and reason. It causes you to engage in more than just a single viewpoint. It makes you curious about what else is out there.
When you choose to read — books specifically — you are deciding to engage your subconscious with your conscious mind.
Presently, we’re witnessing some seriously distressing happenings in the world at large. Between anti-vaxxers, a cult following one of the most uninformed people on the planet, and a runaway pandemic, the world appears extra chaotic.
I, for one, believe that a lot of this is due to people not reading enough. Oh, sure, they might read from a singular viewpoint of the world (which claims no bias but is the most biased), but they gain no understanding. They see the world, get the tunnel vision impression, but as nonreaders they apply no critical thought to it.
This is why so many conspiracy theories have gained traction. Despite having almost no basis in reality — people buy them. Why? Because they aren’t putting energy into critical thinking, logic, or reasoning. Reading opens these notions.
As such, we live in a land where the most uninformed are easily manipulated. This ends up applying to otherwise intelligent people — because they chose to be a nonreader. They aren’t engaging their subconscious with their conscious mind — and falling for and buying into some serious false narratives. They’re being set-up for misunderstanding.
I acknowledge that this is my opinion. Further, I acknowledge that I may be wrong. However, based on reading a lot, applying critical thinking, logic, and reason — I’ve come to this conclusion.
But with proof and evidence — my opinion remains changeable.
The importance of reading for engaging the subconscious
Many of the tools we created to connect us are disconnecting us. The internet is overflowing with information — and no filters. What’s more, as a fear-based society, too many of the messages are negative to invoke more feelings of fear.
The subconscious mind has no filters. When you do not check in on it — negativity can dominate. When you engage your mind with reading you open a bridge between your conscious and subconscious mind.
For example — when you read fiction you engage your imagination. In your head you see characters and fantastical worlds to connect with. It’s a form of escapism inside your control — versus TV and movies where you consume what they give you.
This, FYI, is why with my most recent works I tend not to describe the people much. I want you, the reader, to see them how YOU see them in your mind’s eye.
With nonfiction, you’re seeking information. This can take so, so many forms. Like fiction, it can be strictly for pleasure — autobiographies, histories, and so on. But it can also be for enlightenment and deeper understanding — self-help, wealth consciousness, and the like. You are actively taking in material consciously that will engage your subconscious.
When you make this choice, you are opening yourself to filtering out unnecessary or false information. After absorbing all the insanity happening in the world at large you might be feeling depressed and hopeless. But when you choose to read you can alter those feelings and replace them with peace and hope.
Reading is a mindful choice. That’s why the importance of reading is so tremendous.
Listening to audiobooks is still reading
For the record, I firmly believe that listening to audiobooks still counts as reading. This is for several reasons.
First — you’re still the one taking the data in. It’s passing from your ears rather than your eyes but engaging the same parts of the mind.
Second — you’re still the one imagining the characters and situations in fiction — or — how a nonfiction idea applies to you.
Third — you’re “reading” the book even if someone else is speaking it to you.
For people who have reading problems, are blind, or just enjoy hearing someone read to them — listening to audiobooks is still reading.
I love to take long drives. When we were not in the middle of a pandemic, for my medieval reenactment society I often travel from 2 to 6 hours to get to a weekend event. Listening to an audiobook during a long drive is a fantastic way to read it.
That’s how I have listened to all of Jen Sincero’s amazing You Are a Badass series (which I cannot recommend enough). Further, on multiple long drives, I’ve listened to most of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novels. More than once, I’ve listened to my favorite book — Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist — in part because it’s awesome, but also read by the inimitable Jeremy Irons.
Because the effect of listening to an audiobook for engaging the subconscious via the conscious is no different than reading a book — it is the same as reading a book.
Recognize the importance of reading
Reading is how your conscious mind engages with your subconscious mind. It provides you with information, understanding, and tools for reason, logic, and critical thinking.
Critical thinking is how we preserve democracy in the United States. It’s how we see that debunked studies shouldn’t stop us from vaccinating. Ultimately, it lets YOU be in charge of your life — which is the only thing over which you have true control.
When you practice mindfulness, you take control of being conscious of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. That puts you in direct contact with your mindset/headspace/psyche and overall inner being. All this results from conscious, aware choices and decisions.
Reading is a conscious choice and decision. It empowers you because it provides a bridge between your conscious and subconscious mind. That, in turn, opens you to control your life more directly.
Reading is a mindfulness tool. In a fear-based society where the unseen “they” prefer you disempowered — reading empowers you.
To read more, I have set aside time every day. First thing in the morning I get up and go to another room and read at least one chapter of fiction and one chapter of nonfiction. This takes anywhere from half an hour to an hour. And I look forward to it every single day. Applying this practice has made me feel much more centered and in control of my life experience.
Whatever works for you — make the time because it is so incredibly empowering.
It’s all too easy to overlook the importance of reading in your life. But if you desire to live life as fully as possible, this is an incredible, empowering means to that end.
What are you reading currently?
Originally published at https://www.mjblehart.com on January 12, 2021.