Written for lovers of literature interested in self-actualization, Literature: How to Read and Understand the World teaches readers how to derive principles of wisdom from literature and apply them to their lives. The book achieves this through a series of five essential steps, including identifying with literary characters, aggregating principles of wisdom from their experience, and applying those principles to readers’ lives. Along the way, the author reveals his own transformation through this process. Literature: How to Read and Understand the World will help you to enrich your life and world!
Over the next several months, I will be releasing excerpts from the book along with questions to keep readers thinking after reading the posts. If you are intrigued by what you read, please share with a friend!
When we engage in this process of reading literature, we naturally develop confidence. In fact, we would develop confidence even if conducting only one of the steps in our process; this is because in each of these steps, we accept parts of ourselves which may at first seem negative, thus transmuting ourselves with self-love. Each time I write in the first person about a character who does something I wouldn’t outwardly condone, secretly and at the same time I admit my understanding of this behavior; in this admission, I become able to see the behavior as a part of myself, but a part no different from those of other beings. As such, these acts of writing mount evidence of our common humanity. In loving ourselves in this way, we transcend the need for external teachers and instead become excited with the impulse to teach, to share the wisdom we’ve cultivated.
The process of sharing this wisdom is one I call Community Mapping, a natural conclusion to our process of reading literature that takes us out into the world. Unlike in Psychic Mapping, through which we explore our inner domain, in Community Mapping we explore the outer world, attempting to help others through the contours of their inner mazes. In this evolution, we become measurers and distributers of health, as much like healers as we are like teachers.
To precipitate our Community Mapping exercises, the first three questions to ask ourselves are the following:
- When, where, and with whom will I share my knowledge?
- How will I share my knowledge?
- Why will I share my knowledge?
These questions approximate the full complement of those things we must prepare in order to map our community, tending respectively to our audience and timeline, method, and purpose. For instance, a middle school student answering these questions might respond that she will share her inner knowledge with her younger sister, by the end of the weekend; that she will do so by taking her younger sister on a walk; and that she will do this because she loves her younger sister. In answering these questions prior to the act of Community Mapping, the student at once envisions herself sharing herself and releases expectations by getting clear on her impetus for so doing.
Have you ever seen yourself as a teacher or healer? If so, how did you feel called to share your wisdom or talents? Do you feel that it is useful to reflect upon these things before embarking on a teaching/healing role? For more on these topics, please follow my blog or grab a copy of the book for yourself.