I lost quite a bit of weight today. Both mental and physical.
The poundage was in the form of books I culled from the shelves that hold most of my spiritual, philosophical, scientific, and religious titles.
I ended up with three boxes of books that will be donated to the Salem Library Foundation, which holds an annual used book sale.
This wasn't something I'd planned to do today. The urge just became overwhelming after I put a few books back on the shelves and idly looked at their neighbors.
"Why am I keeping this book?," I thought. "I don't believe in this stuff anymore."
Once I started, it was hard to stop. Kind of like eating potato chips. I kept saying to myself, "OK, this is the last shelf... no, might as well see what can be given away on this shelf also."
Some books were easy to put into a box. I remembered not liking them.
But many others had post-it notes and other markers scattered throughout the pages, reminders of passages I wanted to look at again. Along with copious highlighting.
Many of those went into the giveaway boxes also.
Zen books. Advaita books. Nonduality books. Medieval Christian mysticism books. Even a thick Vivekananda book that I'd owned for decades.
It felt good to make my bookcase meld better with my mind, v. December 2013. I realized that I'd been hanging onto a lot of books out of habit, not out of desire.
Picking up a book, usually it only took me a few seconds to tell whether the author and I resonated on a similar reality wavelength.
I'm no longer interested in reading about someone's personal spiritual experiences, which they magnify into grandiose "This Is the Way It Is" conclusions about universal truth.
Of course, this is what almost all religious, spiritual, and mystical books are -- descriptions of subjective awarenesses that are taken to be reflections of objective reality.
Not surprisingly, I kept some books in the "there's nothing to realize" genre.
Only the best ones, though.
Sometimes, like with this book, I'd start off enjoying an author's celebration of the unknowable deepest mysteries of the cosmos, then be irritated to find that, in later chapters, he or she claims to have unraveled the supposedly unravelable mysteries.
I kept all of my neuroscience books. And those dealing with mindfulness and meditation. Plus my physics, cosmology, and evolution books.
When I'd finished filling up the three giveaway boxes, I enjoyed seeing how the bookcase looked now. It had empty spaces on the shelves, rather than being crammed full to overflowing.
Which is how I want my mind to be now in these churchless days.
Open. Receptive. Ready to entertain fresh ideas. Getting rid of the old -- whether books or beliefs -- makes it a lot easier to be receptive to the new.