Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | May 1, 2018

Reading As Meditation

I decided to learn to meditate this year.

So what is meditation as I understand it?
A way to rest the mind and calm oneself, using breath and focus to pause thoughts of past and future and remain only in present. Meditation also teaches one to understand oneself better.

This Is not a definitive definition. I’m not an expert on this topic and many articles I’ve tapped to further my own understanding are not in complete agreement. This is only my simplistic understanding of meditation.

Instead of meditating, I started spending more time reading fiction. The fact that I was reviving from surgery was helpful in providing time and motivation.
In the past year or so, I’d let myself be taken prisoner by goals and dreams of productivity and had resorted to reading fragments of stories so short that I rarely fell into a story.
As I lengthened my reading sessions, I got curious about whether reading fiction is all that different from meditation.
Reading, similar to making music, relaxes my body. My breathing slows. My mind stops churning it’s busy way through the past or the future. This is most true when reading print books rather than reading from my phone.

Can reading make someone a better person? There are articles out in internet land that claim reading fiction grows empathy. There are studies on this. Reading, some claim, is a reality simulation and can change the reader’s personality over time. I totally believe this based on my own experiences.

So is reading as good as meditation? My answer is “in some ways”. If I think of reading and meditation as tools, you can never have to many good tools in your tool box. I do however resolve to remember that reading fiction is a valuable tool as well as a pleasure.

I’ll probably learn to meditate properly too.




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