One thing that my early Christian years gave me was the gift of study. I was raised in a culture that meticulously (though often faultfully) studied the Bible.
In our culture, “quiet times” were encouraged every morning. Which in essence was a scheduled amount of time that you set aside to read the bible and ascertain meaning from it. You’d look up definitions of words. Cross-reference it. Compare it to other scriptures. Apply it to your life. See where it resonates, or how it has changed since last time you read it.
Though I no longer do this with the bible, I love doing it with other texts that I love.
If I love a poem, it is rarely enough for me to read it.. I must write it down it, stick it on my wall (other people’s walls), stare at it, reread it, rewrite it in on my own words, insert into conversations, look up the words (the ones I already know the definitions to), search for the journals of the author and try to see exactly what they were thinking on the day they wrote the poem. Obsessive a bit.
But I think this is the work of contemplation. And/or rumination. It must settle and decompose within in me in order to become fertile ground for new thought.
It’s like soup. Soup is always better the day after you made it.