Let’s imagine… David haMelech gets up, plans to go somewhere, gets in his car and starts driving, but he is so absentminded that somehow he ends up in the beis medrash even though he intended to go elsewhere. If it were me, I probably get back in the car and go to my intended destination, but not David haMelech -- once he got sidetracked and ended up in the beis medrash, there he remained, even though he never wanted to be there to begin with. And every morning this same mistake repeated itself. Could this possible be true? Is it an ideal to emulate?
Obviously, this is not what the Midrash means, explains the Sefas Emes. David haMelech had many responsibilities as king, just as we have many responsibilities that require attending to. A person can go through the day on autopilot, barely awake, and deal with most of the routine tasks in his job (trust me on this) and life. We literally let so much of what happens in a day wash right by us without paying it any heed, all the while thinking that we will find deep meaning elsewhere in life, outside the daily routine. David haMelech had a different attitude. Instead of sleep-walking through the day, David haMelech practiced mindfulness – before acting, he took the time to think about where he wanted to go, what he wanted to do, what he could get out of the experience. When a person has that attitude, he will find that he is always in the beis medrash, learning from every experience; he is always in the beis knesses, lit the “house of gathering,” as all of his energy is gathered and channeled toward a focused, deliberate goal, not mindlessly scattered.