What I Learned from a Book In Pieces


You are very interesting, Internet.  I ask for feedback on what to post about, and you respond by “liking” my post — my post that is a long list of possible posts.

Alright then . . .  I guess the message is to just get posting!

We just started a book club at work.  Each month a different co-worker will choose the book (going in birth order).  I was a bit dismayed when the first book chosen was a fiction book — a fiction book riddled with swear words, potential and actualized suicides, drug & alcohol addiction, and general despair . . . no less.

I debated whether to read the book, then whether to read from the beginning, then whether to finish. . .  but I did.  I finished it.  It was on audio, and I drifted off on some parts, but I did finish.  And I probably wouldn’t read it again.  I likened it to watching the news.  It dampened my mood and darkened my view of the world. . .


Since I did indeed read it, I wanted to find the purpose of it.  Why did so many like it, and what could be learned from it?

I latched onto a few symbols/themes: truth, the Tao Te Ching, and “Hold on”.

Truth was very important to the main character James.  It came up a few times when he was having emotional, traumatic experiences, and it was a concept that centered him.  Truth in words.  Truth in actions.  Truth in relationships.  What was real was very important to him.   What is real for us?

The Tao Te Ching.  A beautiful holy work.  Though James refuses religious influence, he is swept up in the resonance he experiences with this unexpected gift from his brother.  It is another source of calm and centeredness for him.

Excerpt from the 5th verse: (from Wayne Dyer’s Living the Wisdom of the Tao):

Heaven and earth are impartial;

they see the 10,000 things as straw dogs.

The sage is like heaven and earth;

To him none are especially dear,

nor is there anyone he disfavors.

He gives and gives, without condition,

offering his treasures to everyone.

Hold onto the center.

Man was made to sit quietly and find

the truth within.

I think I may start studying this text again.  What calls to us from this text?  For me it is neutrality, humility, unconditional love.  Though the main character has done some perceivably atrocious things, he is given another chance at life.  For Spirit there is no judgement.

“When you don’t think you can, hold on.”  These are the wise words fellow addict Leonard passes on to James, words his own mentor shared with him.  This book has a lot to do with strength.  James survives because he is strong, sometimes consciously, other times unconsciously.  He “shouldn’t be alive”, and yet he is.  He survives the incredible abuse he repeatedly incurs on his own body.  He survives grueling dental surgery sans novocaine and painkillers.  And he’s a fighter.  He fights with his words.  He fights the rules.  He fights with his fists.  In the end, he fights himself. And in the end, he endures. He is a fighter; he is a survivor.  We can all benefit from this, no?  Though you don’t think you can . . .  hold on.

What is inspiring you today? Much love and many blessings. ❤

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