Books and Parents

“Me eat book for breakfast. Bookie! Nom, nom, nom, nom.” (My rendition of the Cookie Monster. I hope you’re laughing, that was meant to be funny.)

My mom and dad were so very different. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother read a book. She was a practical reader – reading only when necessary and just enough to get the job done. If she bought something and needed to figure out how to set it up, referral letters from doctors, the TV Guide, booklets you get with prescription pills – that kind of stuff. 

Dad, on the other hand, read everything. As he tells it, if I recall correctly, he started with comic books as a child, mystery/detective novels in his teens to early twenties, finally settling mostly on religion, philosophy, science and history. As a child and well into adulthood, my dad would gift me books. Usually dating and signing them “Love Always. Dad. Sometimes he’d add a short note.

I would get those oversized books with lots of pictures on the human body and animals. Then came choose-your-own-adventure books. Those were fun to read. I like how you’d start at the front, end up at the back, then to the middle. 

As I grew, we graduated to novels, world religions, finance and self-help business books, to name a few. Among numerous others, I received:

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Zen Speaks: Shouts of Nothingness by Tsai Chih Chung 
  • The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins

Conceptually, the Law of Detachment is akin to Buddhist teachings on grasping and non-attachment. Attachment, or clinging, to things, including people, leads to pain because nothing is permanent – neither the thing in itself nor the relationship you have with it.

NOTE: I am no scholar. I am only sharing my understanding based on what I’ve learned over the years.

But by far, the best book was The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra. There’s one law that resonates with me the most – Law number six, The Law of Detachment.

In it’s purest form, the sixth law is about expectations and uncertainty. Don’t force solutions onto problems. By giving up your attachment to a specific result, you remain open to possibilities and in that openness is the uncertainty. That uncertainty, although uncomfortable at first, sets you free. 

“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty … in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.

Isn’t that profound!
Chopra, Deepak. (1994). The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Feature Photo Credit: @Nadia78 via Twenty20

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