Thursday, March 17, 2011

So...Siddartha

Siddartha. One of my favorite books.

I read it for the first time in my high school junior English class. I loved it then.

I read it again in 2007. I loved it then too.

Thanksgiving day, my cousin asked me why I loved it. She had read it because she knew I loved it, and was curious why it was a favorite of mine. I couldn't remember. I just remembered I loved it.

Last week I read it again. And I still love it.

Siddartha is the story of a man's journey to find himself - to find Zen. He realizes that he cannot rely on the teachings of others. In order for him to learn, he needed to experience.

After reading it again, and trying to remember why I loved it so much, I realized that I loved this book for different reasons each time I read it.

When I first read it, I was in the "I need to find out for myself who I am and what I believe" phase of life. I was exploring and searching and trying to find my independence - in action, thought, and belief. Siddartha inspired me. His journey was lonely, but it was necessary. That is how I felt at sixteen.

"Many people have to change a great deal and wear all sorts of clothes." -Siddartha p.114


When I read it for the second time, I again was in a soul-searching stage of life. I had just had Second Daughter. I was suffering from postpartum depression. I was having a bit of an identity crisis. Once again, I was trying to find myself. It felt like everything I knew about myself and about my life had been turned upside down. I was frantically searching for something to grab on to, to pull my head back above water. Once again, Siddartha inspired me. He showed courage and determination on his quest to find peace. He did what he needed to do. He recognized his strengths, and he used them to accomplish his goals.

"Everyone can reach his goal, if he can think, wait, and fast." -Siddartha p.50

This time, I read Siddartha in a different state of mind. This time, I was not so desperate to find any answers. This time, I just read it. And again, Siddartha inspired me.

"When someone is seeking...it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means to have a goal; but finding mean to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal." -Siddartha p.113

For the record, there is one thing I don't agree with in Siddartha. I do not believe that one must experience everything in order to find one's self. Example:: I do not believe that destructive behavior is needed to understand productive behavior. I do not believe that you have to experience in order to learn. Yes, there is a different understanding that comes through experience, but it is not necessary.

Unlike Siddartha, I believe there is much value in learning from the experiences and teachings of others, especially when it comes to avoiding sorrow, pain, and destruction. However, I do believe that there is much value to learn from various lifestyles and from those that are different from us.

Ok, that's all I have to say about that.
I recommend reading Siddartha.
It's a pretty quick read and still one of my favs.



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Thanks for stopping by!

2 comments:

Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

So enjoyed this post, Meg!
I read Siddartha in high school, as well, for some of the same reasons. Read it again later in university.
Glad you included the quotes--they are some of the reasons why people return to this book.
I concur about the experiential aspect on destructive things; we can learn from experience of others.
Have a great day!

Julie J. said...

Thanks for the book report. You know how much I love books and talking about them and hearing what others think about them.
I totally get why you loved it now. Thanks for the recommendation. Have any others?