Recently I’ve been re-reading various books about culture, religion, spirituality and business. Most of these are books I read years ago, and in each instance I’ve been struck by how much more I get from them on the second and even third reading. The awareness that comes is that in every moment of every day I can only take in the knowledge and wisdom within my psyche that I am ready to take, in any given moment.

So the question is, how do I open myself to receive greater levels of understandings? I read Siddhartha in 1985 and the book blew my mind. I can still vividly remember the story and even where I physically was when I read the final pages of the book. There are many other books by great thought leaders I’ve read throughout the years that I remember enjoying, but couldn’t say much about what they said. Therefore the conclusion I’m drawing is that I wasn’t ready to receive their messages at that time.

Today I feel my mind as a thirsty sponge eagerly searching for the water of knowledge and wisdom, no different than it was 20 or 30 years ago save for the fact that today I’m more able to integrate the knowledge I’m taking in. And so the awakening I’m having is that the acquisition of knowledge and its integration and transformation to wisdom is like developing a positive habit.

Most of us, myself included, started out developing bad habits in life that we are required to unlearn. What I think we don’t put enough attention to is the need to replace them with good habits. For example, the habit of self-respect, honoring the self without self-indulgence; the habit of self-affirmation, affirming our grace and dignity in the world on equal footing to all other people as exceptional beings; and the habit of self-nurturing, the willingness to accept and receive love and care while projecting our care and love for others.

These attributes in particular have enabled me to accept and integrate greater levels of knowledge and wisdom, to re-read books of great wisdom written by amazing thought leaders and see deeply into the souls of the writers, while being in a space of willingness to challenge my own personal beliefs and precepts. Through self-respect, self-affirmation and self-nurturing I can build up enough grace in my state of self, that challenging my underlying beliefs and precepts is not just something I can do without fear, but it’s actually fun to do. I can be to myself as Copernicus and Galileo were to the world, and have a great time doing it.