I read about 2-3 hours per day: internet articles, books, magazines, audiobooks, emails, pdfs, you name it.
I’m so into consuming information that I have developed numerous techniques to consume ever more information at an ever more rapid rate: speed reading sites, audiobooks at 2x normal speed, skimming the headlines as quickly as I can, etc.
Because – don’t we get smarter the more we read/consume?
Well I certainly USED to think that. Then, last year, I took a week off of reading as part of a program called The Artist’s Way, and the results were…surprising.
For starters, it was really, really hard to stop reading. It reminded me a bit of when I did a 5 day fast and suddenly found I had all kinds of time on my hands, not having realized how much energy we put into thinking about food every day. I wouldn’t say I was bored…more…disrupted and a little out of sync.
Then suddenly, by day 4, after the constant inflow of information had slowed to a crawl, I woke up with some surprising and deep insights about changes I wanted to make in my life. Career, family, friends – there was a profound shift in how I wanted to be in each of these areas. Huh? I didn’t need to go to a mountain for this to happen. It all just kind of “showed up” one morning.
What I realized is that reading is a distraction for me, a way of “staying busy” – which can mask and prevent the deeper and more intuitive reflection that can lead to real change. I got glimpses of this before on my dopamine fast, and through techniques like the brain dump, and Osho’s brilliant gibberish meditation. The latter two focus less on reducing input and more on getting rid of the garbage that is clogging up your mental pipes.
I’m considering a week where I do all three – media deprivation, brain dumping, and some Osho like release work. If you’d like to join me virtually, message me and we’ll coordinate it.