Knowing and Understanding

Have you heard of the statement Truth sets you free? I will rephrase it to two sentences.

Understanding sets you free.
Freedom arises from understanding this Truth.

Understanding is the hidden bridge between Freedom and Truth. Understanding has the effects of liberation, letting go and wisdom. It is from understanding a situation that makes you let go of the grip – it has the effect of freedom. It is also from understanding that you become wiser. Try observing your anger whenever it arise. You can be sure it is because you don’t truly understand what is happening and thus jump into conclusion of attack or defense. Both have anger in it. If you are observant of someone’s anger, you may realized that he or she has not come to realized the true understanding of a situation. There is a quote from Yeshua: You are never upset for the reason you think it is. If you truly see the reason of your anger, which is at the deep abyss of your mind – something that is very ancient and familiar to you – your anger will dissolve right from your sight. Thus the importance of understanding.

Does knowing has that ability? You know you are angry but do you not understand why you are angry. Well, your normal understanding is that someone is making hurtful remarks about you or someone is against you – but that is not understanding, that is a conclusion your egoic mind makes.

Knowing is a conclusion whereas understanding is a result of recognizing the causal relationship that brings about your experience.  We can say that knowing focuses on the experience whereas understanding give attention to the full processes that resulted in the experience. Understanding is on the journey, knowing is on the destination. Scientist give much attention to the process that finally make them come to an understanding of their observation.

In today’s hectic life, where we are fed with the impression of catching up with the Jones, we give ourselves no room for observation. Having said that, it is because of our attention other than the now, which is either in the past or future, that disallow us to observe, and hence the lack of understanding of each other, including with ourselves. We seldom understand ourselves, save in keeping doing and having more and more.

Do you observe that whenever you put knowing at the forefront you tend to react to situations, whereas if understanding is your forefront, foregoing your experiences (it never leaves you anyway), you will respond rather than react. Reaction targets on the effect, whereas respond gives attention to the cause. Seeing the cause you see the effect but not viceversa. Allow me to quote a statement from the Gospel of Thomas:

The followers said to Yeshua, “Tell us how our end will be.” He said, “Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Fortunate is the one who stands at the beginning: That one will know the end and will not taste death.

Only by understanding the matrix of the mind could I discover the ending of the ego, of existence. That is true freedom.

The Dead are not Alive, and the Living will not Die

You may observed that I have been, of late, quoting the Buddha and Yeshua in my blog, and if you find it offensive, I invite you to recognize that all resistances arise from non-understanding. Where there is understanding, resistance fades away. My teacher frequently reminds me to observe experiences through the perspective of understanding the causal relationships of phenomenon and doing so, allows me to move from being personal to nature – seeing experiences as a natural unfolding of nature rather than “I”.

The title is riddled with deep meaning, taken from the Gospel of Thomas. Coincidentally the Gospel starts with the statement made by Yeshua: Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not touch death.

We both knew that the dead are not alive and isn’t it something so obvious that needs no interpretation? That’s the beauty of riddle – behind the form lies the essence. Form and essence are always in contradiction, like for instance, words. Words are merely words if we do not understand the meaning behind those words. So the statement in the title is merely another statement if we do not probe deeper what Yeshua is trying to convey.

Remember the analogy of Darkness and Light in my previous blog? The former is, the latter exist. Anything that exist has to die, for if there is no birth where is death? So all existences are transient by nature, and if they are transient, it is with certainty that there is no absoluteness in it accept its conditioning.

That reminds me of a statement found in the beginning of A Course in Miracle:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of GOD.

Anything that can be threatened cannot be real brings me to understand that anything that changes has no substantiality, no realness in it. How can I say I exist when existence itself is beyond my control? How can “I” – what I thought is permanent existing on a body that is entirely breaking apart each moment and to be arise again the next moment? And what about the mind? How can I say the mind is me when I would not even know when and what it is going to happen in the next moment? I can only know how it works by observing the causal relationship of the conditionings but I can’t change or fix it. I can only pop in a new cause or a few causes and allow the effect(s) to take its natural course.

So if the body and mind is devoid of “I” how can it be called “alive”?
When I identified with my body and mind I am never, never alive, though I may seems to live and die in the end.
When I finally go beyond the body and mind, beyond the conditioning of all things, in that “space” there is no death. That is when the “living” will not die.

To quote a sentence from the Dhammapada:

Heedfulness is the path to the deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death.
The heedful do not die. The heedless are as if dead already.

Beyond the illusion of Ego lies deathlessness….