Growing up in my grandma’s house, where I was the only child, I quickly made friends with books. They soon became my best friends. They were there for me when I was lonely, took me to magical places far, far, away, made me laugh, cry and see things in a completely different light.
Back home in India we didn’t have very good public libraries and every avid reader had to buy their own copies of the latest books. So every birthday all I wanted was books by my current favorite author. One birthday all I got was Anne Rice’s vampire novels. And soon after I got disenchanted with vampires! My favorite genres was fantasy and mystery. I even loved Robin Cook’s medical thrillers.
When I was doing my Masters, I was in a slump. I was just going through the motions. Nothing made sense. I was desperately looking for meaning and something to hold on to. Something solid, safe and comforting. I went to the library looking for some books on journalism. It so happened that these books were in the same aisle as the religion and mysticism books and in a shelf right opposite to them.
Religion was the last thing I needed then so I never bothered to look at those books. But on that particular day, I was just leaving when my eyes fell on a book that was sticking out of the shelf. “Hidden Power” was the title and on the cover sat this half-naked man that I had never seen before. I was magnetically drawn to the book and checked it out. The words in the book were like soothing nectar to my battered soul. I found joy and incredible peace. Everything made sense again. That was the first time a book changed my life.
Now if you have been following my blogs, I mention ‘books that have changed my life’ every once in a while. When I moved to the U.S. I fell in love with the public libraries. Anyone who has lived in a third world country will tell you what a blessing it is to have these treasure troves of books available to everyone. Again books swooped in to save me from loneliness in a foreign country. And then something funny happened.
I kept hearing about this book called “The Secret” from my mother and one fine day I decided to go pick it up from the library. No copies were available and the queue (to place a hold) was incredibly long. This piqued my curiosity. There must be something about this book, if it was so popular and so much in demand. I had to wait a couple of months to get the book. When I read it, it completely blew me away. Until that point in my life I thought everyone was at the mercy of a their predetermined destiny. The idea of being co-creators of our destiny was completely alien to me.
However, I was not happy with my circumstances then and instead of blaming and giving away my power, I decided to take charge and actively improve my life. And what a joy ride that has been. Sometimes things happened so magically that even now I look back in surprise because I can’t believe I pulled it off!
Now it’s all well and good if you lived in a cocoon and didn’t have to deal with the wrong kind of people at all. But the bitter truth is that you cannot escape these people. You have to learn to deal with it all and not get pulled into the drama. I was a drama queen, I admit. Even now you’ll find me over reacting every once in a while. But I have stopped hurting myself and my loved ones through needless drama. And for that I have to thank none other than Eckhart Tolle and his book ” The New Earth”. Five years ago I didn’t know we’d be pioneers of a new age of love, peace and harmony. But I did believe that if every one of us could achieve inner peace then it would contribute to peace on earth. This book helped me see the egoic patterns in myself and others. It helped me detach from that whiny little voice in my head, which was dragging me down.
The most recent addition to my list of “Books that Changed My Life” is a book by Henrietta Anne Klauser. It’s called “Write it Down Make it Happen”. The book talks about all kinds of writing but the one message I took home was writing my prayers down. It’s been a year now since I started writing my prayers in a journal and it has been so rewarding. Every time I feel lost or in despair I reach for my journal and write. First I try to write something that I am thankful for and then I ask for help with whatever is bothering me. I feel much lighter afterwards. I also record any signs, omens, happy events in my journal and give thanks for it. I call it my prayer and gratitude journal.
I am where I am today because I took these books seriously and religiously followed the advice in them. I even recommend them to my friends and I am happy to inform you that I have heard from a few of them telling me that these techniques worked for them. I’m not surprised because most self-help books have techniques that have been tried and tested over the years. Why stumble and fail when you can learn from another person’s life and struggles. Some struggles in life you cannot avoid but most of them can be overcome by learning from another person’s experience or in my case – by opening a book!