Reading Your Destiny

Dune, by Frank Herbert
Dune, by Frank Herbert (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Though I don’t discuss this often, “reading your destiny” may be just as important as writing your destiny for some of us.  In one of her recent posts, Jenni Corrigan of News of the Times, asked the question what are your five favorite books.  That’s one of those questions most writers have been asked at one time or another in their life.

Another question that I remember being asked on college and graduate school applications has been what books influenced you the most and why. These have always been tough questions for me because I love to read so many different kinds of books.

You can tell I’m a little uptight about our upcoming move to a new home, because I was up from midnight to 2pm trying to answer this question of my favorite books.

Cover of "The Prophet"
Cover of The Prophet

It seems so arbitrary to choose only 5 books, though there were three books that I kept coming back to — The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and the Tao Te Ching and the Bible.  Spiritual wisdom has always been compelling to me.

Yet, there are so many other kinds of books that I have loved at different periods of my life everything from Dune by Frank Herbert in high school to Introduction to Quantum Physics in college to Candide by Voltaire in my thirties and more recently Eaarth by Bill McKibben.

So, having insomnia last night, I started writing lists of all the books that I’ve ever loved, and creating all kinds of ways to narrow the books down to only the top five.  I still ended up failing to find only five favorites.  Still, it ended up being a great exercise that I would recommend to you, especially if you’re having trouble going to sleep.

Daily Contemplation:

What are your favorite books?

Why do they mean so much to you?

Exercise:

If you have some time, enjoy this exercise as a path to self-appreciation for the literary road you have travelled.

Look at the most important/influential books in the different decades or periods of your life.

Alternatively, or in addition, choose books by categories of interest.  In my case, my favorite categories of books are Spiritual wisdom, Magical novels (not necessarily pure fantasy), Classics (a broad category for me that ranges from Les Miserables to Middlesex), Questing Books, Philosophy and Earth-Loving.

A Different Kind of Quantum Leap: Letting Go of Ambition

Tao Te Ching Detail
Tao Te Ching Detail (Photo credit: lyzadanger)

Wise people are not absorbed

in their own needs.

They take the needs of all people as their own.

They are good to the good.

But they are also good to those

who are still absorbed in their own needs.

Why?

Because goodness is in the very nature

of the Great Integrity.

Wise people trust

those who trust.

But they also trust those who do not trust.

Why?

Because trusting is the very nature

of the Great Integrity.

Wise people merge with all other

rather than stand apart judgmentally.

In this way, all begin to open their ears and hearts,

more prepared to return to the innocence of childhood.

Verse 49, Tao Te Ching

Translated by Ralph Alan Dale