Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Believe in Synchronicity

I can usually be found reading three books at a time.  One, I keep by my beside.  Another is always on the bus.  The third, is in my study (or as Jeff calls it, The Man Cave.)  Additionally, I read The Book of Mormon most every day and try to read The Ensign magazine as regularly as I can.  I try to keep up on the news too.  Early in our marriage when I discovered Sweetie simultaneously reading multiple books I was flabbergasted.  I couldn't imagine how she kept track of which was which.  After trying it though, I found it no different than following several TV series.  While I'm not particularly brilliant, I am able to do this.

There are a couple of pluses to reading different books at a time.  I always have a book near by and don't have to pack one with me.  I have one everywhere I like to read.  I pick a type of book that fits the place I will be reading.  Something with short stand alone chapters is nice for the bedside table.  I don't last long reading in bed, but I do love to go to bed thinking of something inspirational and thought provoking.  I'm currently reading My Grandfather's Blessings, in bed.   I like to read novels on the bus.  Bus driving includes a lot of waiting.  Waiting for departure times.  Waiting while passengers visit this or participate in that.  That sort of thing.  A good novel passes the time quite pleasantly.  With longer layovers, I like to write too.  Like right now.  I'm sitting, and writing, in the bus in Park City, while waiting to return a load of skiers to Vernal after their day on the slopes.

In my study I read something heavier; usually philosophical or biographical in nature.  There I can take notes and check references a little easier.  Though, with my iPhone I do that with novels and other books too.  I love having the internet handy to look things up like locations, definitions, historical accuracy; stuff like that.

Now to the best reason for reading multiple books over the same period of time.  Synchronicity.  Early on I began noticing how very often what I was learning in one volume was enhanced, reinforced or clarified in another.

Here's an example:  A while back I was reading A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny.  Penny is my favorite novelist right now.  She makes me think.  She quietly challenges my perceptions and teaches me a lot about myself.  One of her characters, Inspector Beauvoir, posed a question, "Can people really change?"  Eventually she answers the question, but that comes at the end of the book.  I'm trying to make some changes and Louise helped me see what that looks like.  I've wanted to change some things about myself for a very long time and I, like Louise's character, was wondering it it was really possible.

  At the same time I was reading Glenn Beck's 7 Wonders that Will Change Your Life, obviously that too was addressing the possibility of people changing.  But on that day, I read:  "Your path is to forever evolve into yourself, to be striving to become the person your are supposed to be."  In other words, my job is to change.  But Beck makes it also very plain that it is sometimes a slow evolutionary, or in my case, glacial, process.

The next morning I was listening to a recording of October 2013 General Conference on my phone and heard our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson speak these words:  "We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions."   Who better to answer our question (me and  Beauvoir) than this faithful servant of the Lord.

Now, I'm not writing to persuade you that change is possible, or that I've changed.  I just wanted to show you that synchronicity happens.  And to show you that reading several books during the same period of time makes synchronicity almost common place.  It certainly occurs in other dimensions of my life but most frequently in the books and other literature I expose myself to.

Now you need to understand that I pretty carefully select what I read so that I don't miss out on the best books by wasting time with mediocre ones.  Even so, I do not choose them for theme or subject matter.  In fact the less my books have in common the more frequent the synchronicity!  If everything I read hovered around the same subject matter, I wouldn't call common themes synchronicity at all.

Truth is, I don't usually call it synchronicity.  Glenn Beck calls it Bread Crumbs.  Carol Lynn Pearson calls it Love Notes from Heaven.  Elder David A. Bednar and Nephi call it The Tender Mercies of the Lord.  I like that one best.

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