Soul Imprints


a liberated life


January 1st, 2016


The written word helps me navigate through beautiful terrains, nourishes my mental faculties and uplifts my soul. Works that speak to me directly, with lucidity, introduce me to information that is gathered with a fresh set of eyes and a full heart. Our—authors and mine—languages can be uniquely different, yet the earnestness and consistency of the authors’ voices appeal to my sensibilities; their world becomes my world, and we become unified through thoughts.

I view reading as a personal responsibility, one that informs my life and transforms my consciousness. The books integrity is critical—the layered elements should empathise with me; invite me into safe places; transport me into different worlds; pique my curiosity in new fields; throw open endless possibilities and urge me to surrender. The journeys of others, documented and expressed through words, should open new frontiers and expose me to different worlds. Like a well laid out book, these resources guide me to organise my world and foster my growth.

Over the decades, on learning, I had not read a particular book, people have been theatrical in their reactions. Unfazed, I asked them to share the books messages, to invariably be offered the same answers: “It’s [referring to the book] a classic. It was on the best seller’s list. It was featured in the magazine. It was a must-read in college.” Tellingly, these readers were incapable of sharing the books essence; they were incapable of educating me. Unfortunately, when man’s inner world lacks depth and complexities, reading or claiming to have read becomes a way to mask insecurities, of yanking out information diligently stored in memory, and displayed in conversation as bragging rights and one-upmanship. When the mind and heart fail to absorb spiritual nourishment, how can one impart anything?

Learning and growing are not about the number of books we own, how quickly we procure them or who signed them. The purpose of reading should be self-improvement, where growth is tied to mindfulness in the act of reading. What matters is how books benefit us and how they move us to think and feel. We can each remember books that nudged us to develop our finer qualities and faculties, be conscientious. Accounts of foreign lands inspire us to travel and discover new places, to challenge our assumptions and culture. Empathetic books comfort and guide us through tough times. Crucial books from young adulthood lead us to develop self-awareness and express ourselves. Occasionally, we come across that rare book that brings us to blossom exponentially. The point of reading is not to miss the point. And the point is to be passionate in the pursuit of embracing informative, arresting and powerful thoughts that strengthen and shape our identity.

If your environment does not supply you with quality reading material, instead you are exposed to low-culture content, it will easily seize your mind space. Oxygen deprivation to the brain can alter a child’s brain functioning; similarly, repeated consumption of toxic material will traumatise your brain. Once you rid yourself of poor habits and commit for the long haul, you can explore new healthy territories.

I have found tremendous value in thoughts and observations articulated through words (and imagery), whether they are profound—on philosophy, psychology and self-help or engaging—on travel, architecture and style. The common thread is the role of authenticity and intimacy in writing. Where a writing specialist, fluent in a language, can fabricate perfect sounding material, it sounds stale, pretentious, distant and easy to forget. In contrast, people gifted with emotional richness and authentic experiences deliver thoughts with honesty that affects you deeply.

In life, as you fill your mind’s library, reach for rich-nutrient thoughts that will confer emotional liberty. Ultimately, a liberated life is one where your material serves you well.