Speed reading is a brilliant skill to learn. Personally, I tend to use parts of it and haven’t fully mastered it. I tend to scan-read information first to quickly assess whether I wish to read and more importantly contemplate the information presented.
One of the elements of speed reading is coming away from the page to allow your eyes to view more words in one go. This works well in my experience; you quickly get a feel for observing several words at once instead of bouncing along word to word. Another technique I use frequently is scanning in a zigzag down the page almost left to right margin extremities. If you try the technique you may notice that key information or keywords attract your attention. I feel this technique helps when mindmapping from text; your brain looks to extract the “meat”.
I don’t profess to be an expert at speed reading yet the basics have helped me enormously.
So what is Space Reading?
I coined a phrase “Space reading” and created a Mind Map to summarize.
It combines some of the speed reading skills mentioned above with a twist. I noticed that by holding words in view and allowing recognition of the gaps between them, the space around them, I could drink in the information, contemplating and absorbing the reading. The feeling is a little odd it has to be said! You almost feel “spaced out” yet I feel it works. The quieter your mind becomes when exercising space reading the better. For more on quieting the inner chatter download my FREE 85 Page E-Book called “Stop Thinking”.
I feel space reading tends to help quieten the mind and allow greater contemplation when reading. I also feel space reading lends itself well to mindmapping because naturally there are areas of space and gaps to rest your eyes to allow contemplation and retention.
How can I Space Read?
Scan read text once and then revisit it using these guidelines:
1. Try sensing the gaps – the space; everything other than the words and then allow the words in.
2. Drink in the words silently and effortlessly in a relaxed unhurried manner.
3. Read a few sentences and then silently contemplate, perhaps closing your eyes and imagining the words appearing on a blank screen, on clouds or in space. Simply ponder them rather than analysing them. This seems to work well with questions, if you repeat the question and imagine the words in space whilst at the same time slowing your thoughts and allowing space around the question. I feel it encourages answers. Even if the question is as simple as repeating “why?” First ask a question then as you seek an answer ask “why?” to encourage answers without pressurising yourself to produce them. Let them come. As you repeatedly ask “why?” allow progressively larger gaps between each question to allow for quietening any thoughts. If you can ask “why?” and make it to silence that is often when answers come or, as a very minimum, you will at least start to feel relaxed!
4. When reading, allow your eyes to drift around the words using the gaps and spaces as areas to rest and to help silence the mind. A simple trick here is to close one eye briefly to allow yourself time to adjust to space reading without feeling weird or uncomfortable. You can also try imagining 360° of space around the words.
5. That’s it! No more guidelines – just try it! See if it works for you?
Combining space reading with seeking answers
I mentioned quietening the mind and waiting for answers to come.
If you are confronted with a number of known choices a method you might find helpful is to jot down options, perhaps using the image below or something similar and allow your mind to drink in the options, contemplating the space as described above. You can see the options in front of you and allow yourself to contemplate them slowly in a similar fashion to choosing from a catalogue. That is, you now have a visual element and a comparison point. If you have many options or potential answers create several copies and become a judge put the best through to the finals!
A quick example here might be choosing the colour of your walls or next car (assuming you don’t know or haven’t settled on the colour you want) Jot down a few options and allow yourself to ponder the possibilities – see if you are drawn to a particular choice of colour without too much analysis. After silent contemplation of the words you may (or may not!) be drawn to the answer you seek.
I don’t get it!
Stop trying to “get it” – there’s nothing to get! Simply allow and you may (or may not!) find that you deepen your comprehension. Imagine it as conscious daydreaming or conscious sleeping. If you combine space reading with mindmapping suddenly ideas may flow quicker than you can catch them! At least I’m finding that to be the case for me. Will it work for you? It might and it might not; experiment. You never know Space Reading could become the next big thing!
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