“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
Yet, who understands understanding?
There are millions of books with information on every subject imaginable, not to mention the quadrillions of megabytes online. Some people have great intuition, transcendent compassion and empathy. But does any of this mean they understand? We can read about the conditions of others and even visit and take it in first hand. Do any of those experiences guarantee that we understand? We can have agreements with our loved ones, family members, and best friends. Does that insure we see our shared agreements in the same way? The answer is no to all of these questions.
There is no greater feeling of betrayal than the moment we discover we were conducting a relationship with the wrong understanding. Yet, there is no solvent for disputes, no glue for relationships, no confirmation for discoveries and applications to life quite equal to power of understanding.
Don’t you think this subject, that we just assume we know, that we use casually in our language without a second thought, deserves a thorough examination?
UNDERSTANDING, what is UNDERSTANDING really?
“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” Psalms 49:3
It seems as though “understanding” is the great enigma. How ironic.
How many other ironies and even contradictions will be explained by a closer look and resolving of this eternal question,
“How do we understand?”
Look at what some great thinkers have said about understanding:
You do not understand life. How can you understand death? Confucious
The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say. Kahlil Gibran
A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us. Friedrich Nietzsche
Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly. Richard Bach
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Marie Curie
Everyone hears only what he understands. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to. Kahlil Gibran
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Galileo Galilei
All of these quotes represent different perspectives on understanding, but they all give testament to the importance of it. Is there any doubt that, second only to love, understanding rules our life?
Next we must ask, is it possible to dissect the parts of understanding and piece together a perspective on understanding that lights our way through life? I believe there is.
“In the course of experiencing and living our lives we traverse many bridges. These bridges may appear as the structures that span rivers, or as thoughts that convey meaning, and indeed as expressions that bring confirmation of understanding.” LWE Chapter 8 pg 197
It may well be that understanding is the ultimate bridge we cross over and over again in pursuit of greater love. There are several precepts with which we can start our search for understanding. First, there has to be some interest or affection for the person or object of our desired understanding. We must be dedicated to understanding, and we must first forgive what we do not understand and what has not been understood of ourselves. Secondly, there must be some starting points within shared reality. We will never understand that which is totally strange. Indeed, is that not a common reaction to what we do not understand: “How strange is that?” (this is the problem with mysticism and other similar topics that rarely resolve into understanding.) And thirdly there must be some channel for communication, some link, or some connection. How little do we really care about worlds beyond to which we have no connection? How little understanding do we hope to ever have until we are part of such worlds?
Lesson One will cover the integral parts of understanding and make sure you know the lock codes for the gate. There must be communication, reality, and some degree of affection or interest for your focus of understanding.
Lesson Two will concentrate on the fruits of understanding and how much more it brings than just sharing a common reality that may be seen in very different ways.
Lesson Three will be directed toward the use of understanding for a GPS in life. We will never understand everything (at least not in this world), but what we devote ourselves to understanding says everything about our purposes and priorities in life. Understanding is the most perfect mirror for you to you.
Lesson Four will turned toward all the ways we can make peace with our lives through greater understanding. We will put together everything we have learned and use understanding to build bridges between pragmatic reality and enlightenment. This will turn our lives toward the light in so many ways, which range from helping those immersed in problems to finding our highest goals in life. Only love exceeds understanding in its importance to life. Understanding is most certainly not the same as intelligence or knowledge. Understanding is the light within us that has the ability to bring everything external into a lighted display of what it means, what it is, what it holds for our life.