But what I realized from it while I was tuned in, is this: stories that matter, the ones that cause readers to return to them, celebrate them, and want to live inside them, are the stories that make us feel.
In yoga I'm constantly reminding students, "You have to feel to deal to heal." On your mat, as you move from posture to posture and work towards quelling the racing of your thoughts, you are feeling your body. Feeling the peace that resides within you, and releasing the past as you set aside anticipation of the future.
When you're inside a story, when the characters and situations sweep you away, you're doing the same thing. You're allowing yourself the freedom to let go completely and just be. Often times, and a side effect of a truly poignant novel or book, we heal from reading. We discover something about ourselves, apply a situation to our own life, our own character, and discover a new layer of bliss.
Because we're all seeking joy. Even when we get in our own way and bumble things up, we're still looking for happiness.
When I read, I want to connect. To fall in love inside the pages. I want to reach enlightenment of some level, even if it's only for a moment, only a glimpse of "oh yes, I understand that emotion, I feel it, too." The promise of a story is the promise of contentment. Of finding santosa. If only for a moment, an hour, or perhaps, even a lifetime.