Key Takeaway: For us who like to read, there will be that one book that seems to have such an impact on our lives it’s become our guidebook to living a meaningful life: our Personal Life Bible. What’s yours?
It’s no secret that I love books, and that I usually take the opportunity to visit a bookstore when out shopping with family, and especially whenever I go abroad to places like Singapore or Taipei, which is not often. Whenever I have quality time to myself, which is a pretty rare occurrence nowadays – and does not count time for myself spent resting, which is becoming more and more of a need for me – I try to read, perhaps over a pot of tea or bowl of popcorn. (Now I want to do this, were it not for the fact that I’m at work, where we have no microwave oven. Huhu.)
(Read more: The joy of reading)
As I previously wrote, books can serve as both a virtual vacation and a social solution. For each of us who loves to read, we may find that one or several books in particular may serve as a non-human mentor or mentors, books that we never want to put down even long after we’ve finished reading them. I call this kind of book a personal life bible or simply personal bible or life bible. Whatever suits your cup.
As a Christian, my Bible is my bible, especially when it comes to books such as the Gospels, the Book of Proverbs, or the Book of Wisdom. But there are so many other books out there that can also serve as one’s guidance for life. For some people with more specialized careers, they may have a bible whose topic is oriented towards said field (for example, some authoritative guide to cooking for someone who loves cooking the most or is a chef).
What I am talking about, however, is a book that can be and is applicable to everyone, containing some kind of philosophy that anyone regardless of background can apply. For example, positive comments and reviews on the late Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People show that for some, the book has become somewhat of a personal bible. It was at one point my personal bible, but this has since been supplanted – which I’ll be talking about in more detail tomorrow.
Or maybe not supplanted, but added to. It could be the case for some that they have more than one book they consider their personal bible. I think I have about three, although one stands out among the rest. Your personal bible could even be a work of fiction with very deep values, such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince – Ursula K. Le Guin’s short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is deeply engrained into my mind and behind what I do. What matters is that you’re open about it and see which books will really have an impact on your life.
I feel that it’s important to have a personal bible. Exceptionally good books with timeless material in particular can prove to be very wise guides in one’s life, especially in times of need. They can teach us, more than how to make a living, how to live, how to see beyond ourselves and broaden up our perspectives. They could potentially provide advice that neither friends nor family could give that would prove to be the most valuable in our lives. (I’m not discounting the importance of good counsel from family and friends, I’m just saying that what we may consider the best advice we’ve ever heard may be found elsewhere, such as in a book.) They could be, in short, the deal breaker in pointing us gently towards our purpose, or rooting us in awareness and/or service.
Sadly, reading seems to be a pastime and an art that is taken for granted today. People would rather watch a movie or TV than read a book because the latter is found boring. True, wisdom may be found on the silver screen or the boob tube, but I think there is a unique and deep form of it to be gained from reading a proper book.
So, not only do I encourage reading, but I also encourage you to find that one special book (or two, or three) that will leave such an indelible footprint on your life that it would eventually be as if it was made for you, or even if you’d written it yourself.
What is your personal life bible? Share below!