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
No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so greatful to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah for turning me onto Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor and her beautiful book ""My Stroke of Insight"". Her story is amazing and her gift to all of us is a book purchase away I'm happy to say.

Dr Taylor was a Harvard brain scientist when she had a stroke at age 37. What was amazing was that her left brain was shut down by the stroke - where language and thinking occur - but her right brain was fully functioning. She experienced bliss and nirvana and the way she writes about it (or talks about it in her now famous TED talk) is incredible.

What I took away from Dr. Taylor's book above all, and why I recommend it so highly, is that you don't have to have a stroke or take drugs to find the deep inner peace that she talks about. Her book explains how. ""I want what she's having"", and thanks to this wonderful book, I can! Thank you Dr. Taylor, and thank you Eckhart and Oprah.