Pause. It’s an esteemable act to stop and smell the roses.

For years I diligently and faithfully read my daily meditations. I worked them into my routine activities, just as I shower, brush my teeth, and press my clothes. After each reading, I’d stop and digest the material, allowing myself to interpret each passage’s meaning mentally. It was a great way to begin my day.

But over the years, I became careless in my reading and rushed through my daily meditations. As a result, I missed the essence of what keeps me grounded. Do you take the time to understand the meaning of your daily readings? On average, I’d imagine too few of us do. When we skim through our readings, we miss the real benefit of these powerful, inspirational, mind-altering tools. There is a richness in our reading that has the power to change a day, avert a disaster, calm a nerve, or untwist a mind wrought with anger.

Think of how often a few words from a favorite book have turned a bad day. Think of how often you were stuck on a point or confused by a feeling, and reading just the right words from a daily guide provided comfort and clarity. Think of a time when you needed help making sense of an experience and opened your book to just the right page, seemingly by accident. When we don’t process what we read, how can it help us?

Why don’t we take time to absorb what we read? We’re in a hurry and don’t have the time for the seemingly unimportant. Also, there is work involved in reading—we must interact with the material. It’s an active, participatory process. If there is something we don’t understand, it’s our responsibility to work through it, look up words in the dictionary, or ask for help.

Yet if we invest the time, we will experience more abundance and a sense of serenity. We’ll discover tools for living that previously eluded us. We’ll feel better equipped to handle situations that used to baffle us because we’re participating in our solution. We’ll know a new freedom and new happiness because we’ll know we are not alone.

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