Listening With Our Eyes

When I board the bus I make sure that I have a book with me. OK, when I board anything. Sometimes I bring more than one. And if I see some book that catches my attention in the bookstore I buy it and it will be my companion in my ride. It’s amazing really, to be able to read on a moving vehicle.

But like all experiences of reading in public spaces sometimes it’s hard not to ignore the distraction all around. Distractions don’t just happen there, it happens in the library too or when we have to read a book, or for that matter a lot of books, for a paper sometimes our concentrations dwindles and we find ourselves dozing off into the abyss. Or sometimes we get lost in words that do not mean a thing, especially when reading technical books!

Sometimes it’s just the size of the book that shuts our mind before we even open a page to read. That chokes the life out a well written sentence making it fell like we’re actually reading Greek for a change or worse Hebrew! (But I love Greek just that it’s difficult with all it weird sentence structures, God bless the labor of translators!)

Reading is sometimes a chore and it fells like it too.

But I guess maybe it’s because we’re really not concentrating much when we do so. Sure we see the words in the book and we follow from line to line. We finish a sentence and probably a paragraph or a chapter. But it makes no sense. I found this as a problem for me especially reading fiction. Which is really weird.

But I think i’m getting better now. And I’m learning to read other stuff other than Christian academic or other Christian bent subjects. As I was sitting in the bus trying to concentrate with all the clutter and the noisy radio playing it was hard to get a meaningful understanding of the sentence. Then it occurred to me that it was just my mind reading the book, constantly thinking and ruminating and buzzing thoughts and trying to make up what was read. That’s how it feels though.

And it occurred to me that to get the most of reading you simply have to imagine that while you are reading a book treat it like it was speaking to you. Treat it like it was your long-lost friend talking to you. Treat it like words coming out from the mouth of a good story-teller. Treat it like you were actually listening to a real voice.

And with that reading is sometimes the constant discipline of listening not with our ears but eyes. With words and sentences that my ears can’t hear I listen with my eyes.

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