Back in December I made a reading list for myself. One book a month. Thanks to Leap Day tomorrow, I will be on track.
My January book was 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. This was not on my original list. Somebody handed me this 900 page tome in early January, and I thought: Aw, Shit! I am such a sucker for a long novel, and this was going have to be added to the list. There were no novels on my original list, so, “Here you go!” the universe seemed to be saying.
I totally fell in love with Haruki Murakami and fell down the rabbit hole of this books for weeks. It’s one of the best novels I have read and I recommend it highly. I just found this interview with him, and this is what he said about his work habits:
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long—six months to a year—requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
This is sort of what I am trying to do with all of my daily “fundamentals” and especially with my meditation practice.
My February book is helping me immensely with this. My February book is Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel Ingram and is changing everything I have ever thought about meditation.
I am now, thanks to the clear instructions in this book, training in concentration practice. No more sitting there wondering, “Is this what I should be doing??”
Nope. Now, thanks to this generous, sane, often hilarious, book, I know how to work on the cushion.