Book reading and fishkeeping seem completely unrelated hobbies, but they share a surprising connection when it comes to providing opportunities for zen meditation and mindfulness. Both these hobbies offer individuals a chance for quiet contemplation and reflection in their unique ways.
I have been an avid reader and an aquarium enthusiast for over three decades, now that's a lot of books read and lots of fish kept! I have found my peace and tranquillity between these two islands and realised some surprising commonalities that both hobbies offer. Here are some parallels between the two:
-Fish Keeping: Watching fish in an aquarium can be a meditative experience. Observing their graceful movements and interactions can draw you into a state of mindfulness, where you become fully absorbed in the present moment, much like a meditation session. Aquarium hobbyists will vouch that taking care of the aquarium, and its inhabitants while creating a mini-ecosystem in one's care is a deeply satisfying feeling.
-Book Reading: When you immerse yourself in a good book, you enter a world of words and imagination. Just as fishkeeping requires you to focus on the aquarium, reading demands your full attention on the text. Both activities encourage a mindful approach, blocking out distractions and promoting the presence of the mind. A book is a window to the author's thoughts and can be viewed as if the author is directly speaking to the reader, drawing the reader into their world.
- Fish Keeping: Creating a tranquil and harmonious environment in an aquarium is essential for the well-being of fish. This process involves an ongoing study of the needs of this mini-ecosystem, careful arrangement of plants, and a close eye on water parameters, Co2 and lighting, which can be a calming and meditative exercise in itself.
- Book Reading: Finding a quiet place to read, whether it's a cosy corner or a serene park bench, creates a similar atmosphere of calm. A good book pulls you into its world, where the noise and distractions disappear time slows down as the book engages you in deep contemplation.
Patience and Routine:
- Fish Keeping: Maintaining a fish tank requires a consistent routine of feeding, cleaning, and monitoring water conditions. The repetitive nature of these tasks can be a meditative practice in patience and attentiveness.
- Book Reading: Completing a book often demands patience and commitment. Turning the pages one by one and savouring each word requires a deliberate and measured approach, fostering mindfulness in the process. Then there are those books which one takes a break from, only to pick them up again after some time and start reading again. Each time offers a new perspective.
- Fish Keeping: Studies have shown that watching fish can reduce stress and anxiety levels. The gentle, rhythmic movements of fish can have a calming effect on the mind, promoting relaxation. It is no surprise that waiting areas in hospitals, Doctor Clinics, and Airports feature aquariums.
- Book Reading: Reading has long been recognized as a way to escape from the stresses of daily life. Engaging with a compelling story or informative text can transport you to another world, providing mental respite and promoting mindfulness. For me, it's like having a conversation with the author, reaching across time and space.
In summary, both book reading and fish-keeping offer avenues for zen meditation and mindfulness by providing a space for quiet contemplation, promoting patience, and creating calming atmospheres. Whether you are lost in the pages of a novel or entranced by the movements of fish in an aquarium, these hobbies encourage a deep sense of presence and awareness in the present moment. If you are already in one of these hobbies, it is definitely time that you tried the other one out too!
About the Creator
I am an HR professional with 30 years of work experience, specializing in Talent Acquisition. A certified Life Coach, Tony Buzan Licensed Instructor in Mind Mapping, a professional turned weekend aquarist, avid reader, writer & speaker.