I am an avid reader. I like to read a lot. Presently I am reading books on Neuroscience, Spirituality, Self awareness. I am also fond of looking for the book recommendations done by distinguished personalities in various fields. My kindle is stocked with so many unread books. My amazon wish list of books is pretty long. But every time I finish a book, my thirst for knowledge is not satiated but it increases. What am I missing? What the yet unpurchased book (which is in my wish list) will offer me? I want to be better. Better than any one else. I would like to improve myself. I feel incomplete. And I think I try to find that completeness through books. At the back of mind there is this constant desire that the next book I am going to read will make me complete. But that never happens.

Where is this feeling of incompleteness coming from? Is it acquired by me through my conditioning which has happened consciously/ unconsciously while passing through life or am I born with it?  I see people around me who are driven to achieve material success. They bask in the glory of material achievements, be it bigger cars, nicer homes, exotic holidays, rare spirits or wines. Nothing wrong in that.  They are focused on one thing after the other.

In my case I find that happens for me in respect of books. I am really greedy about books. Put me in a bookshop and I behave like a child in the toy shop. I enjoy them, browsing,  reading. To get transformed. To become a person who is calm and happy and contented.  Is there an end to this? Even after reading so many books my need for books and for that one particular book which will complete me is still there. Do any of you feel this way in respect of books? Am I overdoing it? Number of questions arise in my mind.

I read somewhere that inside our core there is nothing. This nothingness creates an urge to fill it. Be it material things, knowledge, spiritual things, or even charitable works or volunteering for social causes. Is it good or bad, I don’t know. What you do to face this nothingness? This feeling of emptiness inside. Generally, you keep yourself busy, engaged in various activities, so that you don’t face it. What are the ways to deal with this?  

I remember a story which I have read sometimes back.

Once upon a time there was a beggar with a begging bowl. He was not getting any alms to feed himself. He went to the palace of king and requested the king for some alms. The king asked his servants to fill the bowl with the grains from the store. The servants filled the bowl first with rice, then with wheat and then with other grains, still the bowl could not be filled. The king was astonished to see this. But being a king, he ordered his servants to fill the bowl with precious stones, gold and other wealth he was having. To his surprise his servants told him that the royal treasury is now emptied but the bowl is still not full. A wise man  in the king’s court was seeing this drama. He called the beggar and asked him whether he can see the begging bowl. The beggar handed over it to him. The sage then asked the beggar – what is the material, the bowl is made up of. The beggar replied” I fashioned it from human skull that I found in the crematorium”. At this point the sage realized what was happening. Human greed is such that nothing can fill it.

So, what is the antidote to it? What should be done to keep this in check? Mindfulness or awareness of breath is a way to live consciously. When a person lives with awareness, he realizes that he cannot fill the void or / that nothingness inside with anything. And probably he starts on the journey of inner peace and contentment.

I think I am slowly realizing this about books. I am now consciously avoiding purchase of new books and trying to live a more conscious life. What you do to be aware or live life consciously?

“Mindfulness and awareness is the bridge between reaction and conscious choice.”  Hal Tipper