One of the bits of advice in Silas House's inspiring essay "The Art of Being Still"
is to put yourself in the mind of a fictional character. Notice what she'd notice; react how she'd react. This exercise can "transform the mundane task of grocery shopping," House writes. (What would Siddhartha do when bumped rudely in the cereal aisle?). When people identify with a character’s emotions, beliefs, and internal responses
—a process called “experience-taking”— they make changes in their own behavior and thoughts, a study at Ohio State University finds (especially when reading books written in the first-person.) Those changes can be positive. If your goal is enlightenment, choose your book/incarnation carefully: Paul Coelho's Aleph
, not Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho