Lain, I often find myself reading research papers that are over my head initially. I find real-world workshops or classes most useful in filling in gaps within my own working knowledge of a particular theory. If you're struggling to grasp something in particular, my best advice is to try to apply it or teach it to others.
While I find that writing notes on paper has the effect of making the information more memorable and easier to recall, I also find it useful to re-write written notes in .txt files to ensure that I can search and refer back to a section of interest in the future. The fact that I know that I can refer back to something difficult to recall keeps me moving forward. Having more pieces of a big puzzle makes it easier to see how the existing pieces fit together.
You might never fully comprehend another person's writing or research because you're not the person who wrote the book and won't have time to read all of their reference materials or complete the same research they have. That's why we keep information in books and files for reference - why do what's already been done? Learn what's already been done so that you can do what hasn't been done and record your own observations.
Teaching others who don't know what you already know is a great way to improve your own learning due to the questions and observations that you wouldn't have otherwise considered. You probably know a lot more than you think, and questions from newcomers often reveal that.
As you study, distill what you're learning into short, simple guides or exercises that a lay person could perform and put them out there or conduct your own workshops for lay people in your spare time. Even if someone else has already made a guide for the same subject matter, your personal perspective or application might make more sense to certain people due to differences in learning styles and language comprehension.