The Treasured Writings of Khalil Gibran is a comprehensive collection of pretty much everything Gibran wrote during his lifetime. As such, it is a very large book—containing 902 pages.
I've been reading this 'on the side', while reading other, lighter books. While the size of the book may be intimidating to some readers, I have found that it is best read one or two short pieces at a time. This is partly because taking it slowly will allow the reader to reflect upon the text, and partly because Gibran's writing is so amazingly approachable that it can be picked up any time without worrying about missing anything.
The book is comprised of several separate sections: Tears and laughter, Between night and morn, Secrets of the heart, Spirits rebellious, The broken wings, The voice of the master, Thoughts and meditations, A self-portrait, Mirrors of the soul, and The wisdom of Khalil Gibran. Among the texts are interspersed Gibran's poems, which I was not familiar with.
How does one define Gibran's writing? Or. rather, the question should be whether Gibran's writing allows definition at all. At times, one feels that he is reading a philosophical thesis on humanity. Other times, it reads like a religious text dictated by a prophet to his followers. And still, the poetry speaks of the soul of a poet in the traditional sense inasmuch as one perceives a deeply understanding soul must have written the lines on the pages.
Gibran's work may sound intimidating, but it is far from it. It is easily the most approachable philosophical text—one written in an eloquent and intelligible way that allows the reader to grasp the master's message and pondering.
Gibran is often labeled a prophet (not only due to his work The Prophet), and the label is strangely befitting. He is not, however, a prophet of doom. Rather, Gibran embraces nature and humanity, and he sees hope in places where I would personally never bothered looking. He is contagiously optimistic, and even when he chastises, it comes across as an encouragement. For he truly encourages people to look not only around them, but also deep inside themselves and seek peace.
Whether one follows him on his musings through the Lebanese cedars, or atop a mountain while hiding from a tempest, Gibran is the light in the end of a tunnel, a guiding hand, and a father who comforts.
"Yesterday we were, and today we are!" Gibran says in one of the many masterpieces. A simple, yet powerful message. We are, we exists, we are aware. "Yesterday we were a toy in the hands of Destiny. But today Destiny has awakened from her intoxication to play and laugh and walk with us. We do not follow her but she follows us."
"Wisdom is not in words; Wisdom is meaning within words."
Gibran's words do not hide wisdom—they spread it right before your very eyes, from the first page to the last.
My words, however, struggle to portray what this book is and what it means. Gibran's writing is universal and dated in a beautiful way that makes it timeless. His words are a blessing, a comforting voice in the darkness of humanity.