How to Make Reading a More Meaningful Experience

“You are not mentally developed by what you read, but by what you think about what you read” – Wallace D. Wattles

Ivan Campuzano

Advanced Reading Skills

It’s no secret that we now live in a society of information overload. Daily, we have thousands and thousands of things fighting for our minds attention. Many of us have come to realize that our minds are increasingly scattered in not knowing what and where to place its attention.

This inevitably leads to anxiety and stress, and makes your daily activities less effective and pleasurable.

Me, like many other people love to spend my free time reading, but I feel it’s becoming harder and harder to make reading a meaningful peaceful experience because of information over load.

It’s extremely easy for us to spend countless hours reading blogs that we enjoy, and after a few days if you ask us about the articles we read, many of us will find it difficult to recall the main points and details of the article.

The main reason is that as your reading the article your mind is trying to head in too many directions. As your reading an article on cooking, you soon start thinking of what you should cook tonight. We have to re-read sentences and paragraphs several times before we are able to process the information in a meaningful way.

Quite simply our attention is everywhere but the thing at hand. Reading should be a love affair, that demands the purity of your attention. Below is an easy technique to help you make the most of your reading experience.

While I appreciate the ease of reading online, nothing beats curling up with a good book in a big comfy chair, sipping a cup of delicious hand dripped coffee. After reading this article I suggest you do the same, let me know how this works out for you.

Making Reading More Meaningful

To make reading a truly meaningful experience you need to learn to tame and calm the mind before you begin reading. Meditation is a great tool in quieting and calming the mind. Below I will give you a technique that incorporates an aspect of meditation to make your reading a good experience.

Technique:

1. Before you start to read get in a comfortable reading position.

2. Begin to pay attention to your breathing, become aware of the air as it gently enters and leaves your nasal passages.

3. As you become more relaxed, increase your awareness to include paying attention to the expansion of your lungs as you inhale and exhale.

4. With practice you will learn to become subtlety aware of your entire body as you inhale and exhale your breath.

5. Now that your mind and body is relaxed, open your book and begin to read. You might need to slow down your reading speed, don’t force anything. This is not speed reading, this is about enjoying your book and absorbing as much meaning as you can.

Quiet your inner voice as you read, take in the text without judgment, but continue to be aware of your breath. You will come to realize that you begin to have a seamless intake of information from the text to your mind. As long you are able to keep your mind focused on your breath you will keep your mind from wondering.

6. By using this technique you will see that your mind is less involved and scattered and you develop a strong connection with the writer’s words. You actually might feel like you intimately know the writer, you will get a sense of how he really thinks.

7. Keep a note book next to you, as soon as you feel your mind becoming more active and involved, pause to contemplate what you have read so far. Jot down the ideas and interpretations that rise up within you. You will notice that by simply taking in what you’re reading with less involvement from your mind, you are able to derive a deeper meaning from what you have read.

Reading with this technique will help you by being able to go below the surface and get a deeper meaning. You will also be able to remember and capture the essence of your books with increased clarity. I suggest you go back and re-read books that you have already read before. See if this technique really helped you get a new understanding on the same book.

This is a simple technique and tried to explain it as best as I could, practice and modify it until you find something that works well for you. The goal is to have a calm mind that takes in information without the minds judgment, while at the same time able to derive the texts meaning.

Hope you enjoyed this article if you have any techniques you would like to share on how to read more meaningfully, please share in the comments below.

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7 Responses to How to Make Reading a More Meaningful Experience

  1. Wow Ivan, this actually made a big difference, thanks so much for sharing. Going to the bookstore now to pick up some new books.

  2. Wow, this actually made a huge difference. I am surprised I was not aware of this before. Thanks Ivan!

  3. I can totally relate to this post. I’ve found that becoming so saturated with media that I’ve lost a lot of my focus while reading. I continually have to re-read passages and frequently can read a whole chapter and try and think back and not know what it was I just read. It’s all because my mind is in a hyperactive state. I am definitely going to try this technique and see if I can change that. This is one of the reasons I am looking forward to my sabbatical. I want to simplify my life and get back to finding my true self. Great post Ivan.
    Matt´s last blog post ..How To Go Abroad In One Easy Step- Get A Freakin’ Departure Date

  4. Hello

    I leave a reply below your article even if you wrote it four years ago, in 2010.
    Reading without judgment is the affair of philosophers. Philosophers have to do the kind of naiv reading, considering the true meaning of the words, namely, the true liberty, the true justice.
    But literary text are made of coloured words : the words can have an argumentative value, the author can try to convince you using techniques to allow to see you just what he wants you to see : this is the case of history books too, in which historians give their point of view, this is the case of politician’s speeches, press articles.

    I currently study how to argue. I use a different approach of yours to tackles difficult texts. While you read the text with no judgment, that is focus on the outcome, I rather focus on the process. This is : deliberate practice. I focus on the effects that words have. In fact, since Wittgenstein said “Meaning is use”, to read meaningfully, I ask how to use these words, or how did the writer use the words for what effects ?

    There, I do not wish to write more, so I close down my comment.

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