Reading tip: ‘Life lessons’ by Nikolaas Sintobin | Peter

Reading tip: ‘Life lessons’ by Nikolaas Sintobin | Peter
Reading tip: ‘Life lessons’ by Nikolaas Sintobin | Peter

Nikolaas Sintobin is a Jesuit and specializes in Ignatian spirituality. He is looking for how you can find a fulfilling life. In his book he explores and elaborates on 20 themes that everyone encounters in their lives. He writes simply, down to earth and intuitively, with the wisdom he has acquired over the years. He deliberately does not write about the religious basis of his findings, to make the book accessible to everyone. Yet you read between the lines.

He does not give difficult analyses. The question he asks himself is: how does a person become happy? What I like is that he does not moralize but rather puts things into perspective. We are all human. ‘Pride’, for example, is not necessarily a bad quality, on the contrary. Unless it completely transcends reality. And he often writes about the painful side of life, which everyone also knows. And that by daring to face and confront this, you can grow through the pain. That on the other side of that dark path you will experience the light in life again.

Slow reading

Suppose something is bothering you. Or you have doubts about something. Or you want to think about a specific issue. Or you want to rediscover what gives you joy. For many specific questions you can consult this book. Each chapter has its own theme. It provides direction. It is not a book that you read from beginning to end. It is a book that you pick up if you have a specific question, for example about why taking a break is so important or what silence can bring about. Or if you are struggling with something, for example having difficulty trusting (again). Or if you are unable to connect with others. Or if you long to be satisfied with what is already there. The book requires ‘slow reading’, time to penetrate, as a mirror for your own life.

Old and new insights

What I like so much about a meaningful book like this is that I gain new insights as I read. But even more often, old insights that had faded away resurface. Life then gains more depth. You step out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and discover what gives you joy. While reading the chapter ‘Resilience in desire’, an old desire suddenly surfaces: to travel far away. Sintobin writes that during a burnout, the deeper desires are often given more space. Fortunately, I am not experiencing a burnout, but there has been a crisis at work for a long time. Due to budget cuts, long-term illness, changes. While reading, I realize that I don’t want to stop and that I still enjoy the work too much. But that I could make room for a trip that I have dreamed of for so long. That desire alone gives me extra breathing space and resilience.

Attention to your emotional life

An example from the book. By paying attention to positive and negative feelings that you have experienced during the day, you can get back on track to what gives you your strength. Sintobin emphasizes that you should consider both the positive and the negative. If you dare to look at the negative and then let it go, it will not haunt you. But try to pay more attention to the positive, so you can discover what brings you joy. Even if there was a day where gloom or stress predominated, it helps to recall the beautiful things, no matter how small and nonsensical they may seem. That a smile in the supermarket or the blossom breaking through the trees made you happy. Pay attention to the joy. That makes you happy.

May 6, 2024

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Reading tip Life lessons Nikolaas Sintobin Peter


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