Reading is not a habit. Reading is a passion. And passions are a few notches above habits. In my younger years I used to rent books from my neighbourhood commercial libraries. I used to save up my pocket money to rent books because I could only buy one book or rent and read 7 from the same amount of money.
Then in my univetsity, Rutgers university in New Jersey I was only allowed to check out two books but I was allowed to take as many books that I want and sit in the library and read. Thus, library became my second home.
Then in the professional life, the entire Wall Street crowd used to run to party on the weekends to the Hamptons, a beach area few hours drive from Manhattan. I used to get in my car and drive 5 hours to Newport, Rhode Island. An island famous for vintage book stores. I would spend every waking hour for almost two days on the weekend sitting in book stores and choosing vintage books and buying them. I would at times buy in tens or even hundreds.
Then I built a library in my apartment In Manhattan and kept filling it up. Every year I would take a two week vacation and get locked up in my library and read as many books that I can. I even took three speed reading courses to learn to read more books in less time.
The moral of the story is that the quest for knowledge never ends. The more you read the more you come to realise how ignorantly you were living before, thinking you knew a lot because you have read a few hundred books.
Books are your silent mentors who quietly speak volumes to you. Books guide you in the darkness of life. Books don’t make you knowledgable, they make you enlightened. Knowledge is secondary, enlightenment is a gift. The only gift in the world that you claim yourself and don’t have to wait for anyone to give you.
Books shape your thoughts. Books make you think when you are alone. Books are your friends when the world is rejecting you and the same books should be your friends even when the world is surrounding you. It is from books that you will learn how to deal with this world. How to be a better person. How to learn to forgive and not live with burden of negative emotions. How to think differently but not act differently. And the last stage comes when you realise that you know more than many but most are not interested in what you know, they are only interested in if you agree with them. And having read so much and having become an open minded person who knows that he knows nothing, you will never be part of the ones who want you to conform and neither you will confront. And at this time you realise that you have reached your destination.
Destination Isolation. A prison of your mind where only your creator understands your thoughts and a very few created know what’s on your mind. At this stage bow down in SAJDA to thank your Allah SWT that out of the billions in this world, he chose you to bring close to him. As closeness to him is only begotten by learning and pondering and learning and pondering comes from the books.
Your process of an enlightened life has begun. Enjoy The Journey
Author: Mir Mohammad AliKhan