Sunday, April 13, 2008

Speed Reading and Eckhart Tolle.

I've just been introduced to Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" and "A New Earth." Am I the last one to hear about these books?

They remind me of Byron Katie's work and also Ram Dass' "Be Here Now." I found both of those authors easier to digest but I'm intrigued by Tolle's books and the Buddhist ideas they revisit. I'm also fascinated by the Oprah-i-zation of "A New Earth" and the cult-like exuberance now surrounding it.

Yesterday I had a mini "aha" moment. I realized a connection between speed-reading and Tolle's ideas. I'm teaching a Time Management course next week and will mention the timesaving uses of speed-reading. I'm not an expert on SR but it has improved my reading rate. I learned that it is vitally important to give up the habit of hearing the words in your head as you read. Your eyes can scan far faster than your ability to articulate words in your mind. Since we learned to read by reading aloud to others, most of us now "sub-vocalize" when we read. If we scan the page without this vocalization, we fear that, since we didn't hear ourselves say the words, we didn't comprehend what we read.

This reminds me of Tolle's ideas. Letting go of "sub-vocalization" is like stopping our constant thinking and ego interruptions of our simple experiences of "being" in the world. We can trust a greater knowing, in our daily experience of the "now," and also when we read. Why not experiment and see if it works for you? Try letting your eyes glide quickly along the page. It may take a bit of practice (I'm constantly reminding myself to not say the words in my head) but soon you may comprehend as much (or more) than in your old reading style. Ironically, because subvocalizing slows down reading it actually encourages our concentration to wander. Trusting that we understand what we see allows us so concentrate more fully as our eyes glide along the page.

Speed-reading can be a mini experiment of letting go of the ego-mind. Try it and let me know what you think. Could save you a bit of time. © Lewis-Barr 2008
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Living the Unlived Life

Today I’m beginning an experiment. I’m moving (in my mind) to a sweet little house on a lake. I’ve always imagined that happier times will begin when my husband and I finally move to a small town on Lake Michigan. Many of my goals revolve around this dream as in, “I’ll work an extra job so we can move to the lake sooner.”

Aside from the view, what’s so special about living near this lake? I’d still be working part time. Even if I needed to work full-time, I’d be eager for this move. Why?

When I imagine walking the beach and staring into the water, I’m at peace. There is no rush. Deep thoughts surface and feed my writing. My rhythms slow down to match a gentle tide. When we live on the lake, I’ll finally let go of my striving (including the strivings of getting to the lake!).

I’m impatient to get to this idyllic part of my life. But this daydream requires selling a home, quitting jobs and moving. Rick isn’t ready. So today, I’m moving in my mind. I’m relocating to the lakeshore and all it represents. I can see the water. More importantly, I can practice the serenity I imagine.

This morning I’ll walk the beach and give myself time to be. It isn’t easy to hold the fantasy in my mind and keep it realistic. But the sound of the waves and the feel of the sand isn’t the most important gift of my move. I crave an attitude toward living. Let’s see if I can cultivate that new awareness. I’ll begin today. © Lewis-Barr 2008
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