Today’s exercise is focused more on reading than writing.
Reading is like eating. In this case, we consume information (not food) and digest it. The whole process might leave us better or worse, depending upon:
- the quality of information we consume
- how we consume
- how much we consume
Poor quality, poor methods of consumption and excessive intakes of information will affect our minds the same way food affects our bodies. This is particularly important for our emotional health. Most of our emotions are merely a response to the information we swallow, and if do not keep a check on that information, we may be in danger of experiencing emotional turmoils. And if it prolongs, serious mental health issues may arise.
So, what is the antidote?
The answer lies in the problem itself:
- reading good quality writing
- finding dedicated time for reading
- regularly reflecting on how much information can we consume
With this in mind, I encourage you to start reading today. And read quality stuff.
Read the below passage. Spend time with it. Read slowly. You are allowed to take your time, reflect, imagine and contemplate. And more importantly, try to immerse yourself in it. Then write a few sentences on what you think about what you just read.
Excerpts from The School of Life by Alain de Bottom:
We tend to reproach ourselves for staring out of the window. Most of the time, we are supposed to be working, or studying, or ticking things off a to-do list. It can seem almost the definition of wasted time. It appears to produce nothing, to serve no purpose. We equate it with boredom, distraction, futility. The act of cupping our chin in our hands near a pane of glass and letting our eyes drift in the middle distance does not enjoy high prestige. We don’t go around saying, ‘I had a great day today. The high point was staring out of the window.’ But maybe, in a better society, this is exactly what people would quietly say to one another.
The point of staring out of a window is, paradoxically, not to find out what is going on outside. It is, rather, an exercise in discovering the contents of our own minds. It is easy to imagine we know what we think, what we feel and what’s going on in our heads. But we rarely do entirely. There’s huge amount of what makes us who we are that circulates unexplored and unused. Its potential lies untapped. It is shy and doesn’t emerge under the pressure of direct questioning. If we do it right, staring out of the window offers a way for us to be alert to the quieter suggestions and perspectives of our deeper selves. Plato suggested a metaphor for the mind; our ideas are like birds fluttering around in the aviary of our brains. But in order for the birds to settle, Plato understood that we need periods of purpose-free calm. Staring out of the window offers such an opportunity.