Understanding

There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world.

What can be the aim of withholding from children, or let us say from young people, this information about the sexual life of human beings? Is it a fear of arousing interest in such matters prematurely, before it spontaneously stirs in them? Is it a hope of retarding by concealment of this kind the development of the sexual instinct in general, until such time as it can find its way into the only channels open to it in the civilized social order? Is it supposed that children would show no interest or understanding for the facts and riddles of sexual life if they were not prompted to do so by outside influence? Is it regarded as possible that the knowledge withheld from them will not reach them in other ways? Or is it genuinely and seriously intended that later on they should consider everything connected with sex as something despicable and abhorrent from which their parents and teachers wish to keep them apart as long as possible? I am really at a loss so say which of these can be the motive for the customary concealment from children of everything connected with sex. I only know that these arguments are one and all equally foolish, and that I find it difficult to pay them the compliment of serious refutation.

Anger and intolerance are the twin enemies of correct understanding.

We love a girl for very different qualities than understanding. We love her for her beauty, her youth, her mirth, her confidingness, her character, with its faults, caprices and God knows what other inexpressible charms; but we do not love her understanding.

Words of understanding and sympathy are wonderful instruments for unlocking the hearts and minds of men. They transcend all cultures, turning strangers into brothers, blotting out tolerance and discrimination.

Are there things valuable because desired, or desired because valuable?... Desire is not blind. Understanding is not bloodless. Neither is the slave of the other. There is no priority.

A person who does not mix with other people will not know how to help others. Such a person lacks knowledge about the way people think, their wants and their desires. Even if he wants to help others, he will not know what is good for them. When he wants to comply with the wishes of others, he will confuse them with his own wishes. Because he lacks knowledge about other people, he will not be able to say what is appropriate and acceptable even if he tries. His obstacle is not a lack of love for his fellow man, but a lack of understanding of others.

It is much easier to think right without doing right, than to do right without thinking right. Just thoughts may, and often do, fail of producing just deeds; but just deeds are sure to get just thoughts. The clearest understanding can do little in purifying an impure heart, the strongest little in straightening a crooked one. You cannot reason or talk an Augean stable into cleanliness. A single day's work would make more progress in such a task than a century's words.

Do not build up your views upon your senses and thoughts, do not base your understanding upon you senses and thoughts; but at the same time do not seek the Mind away from your senses and thoughts, do not try to grasp Realty by rejecting your senses and thoughts. When you are neither attached to, nor detached from, then, then you enjoy your perfect unobstructed freedom, then you have your seat of enlightenment.

The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of deformity of vice, and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: but where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behavior.

The greater part of mankind are naturally apt to be affirmative and dogmatical in their opinions; and while they see objects only on one side, and have no idea of any counterpoising argument, they throw themselves precipitately into the principles, to which they are inclined; nor have they any indulgence for those who entertain opposite sentiments. To hesitate or balance perplexes their understanding, checks their passion, and suspends their action.

Our perceptions and our understanding are directed, in large measure, by our will. We are aware of, and we think about, the things which, for one reason or another, we want to see and understand. Where there’s a will there is always an intellectual way. The capacities of the human mind are almost indefinitely great.

The duties of religion, sincerely and regularly performed, will always be sufficient to exalt the meanest and to exercise the highest understanding.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

I hold myself indebted to any one from whose enlightened understanding another ray of knowledge communicates to mine. Really to inform the mind is to correct and enlarge the heart.

Who you do not love says nothing about the other person. It only defines the boundaries of your understanding.

What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as to a certain understanding must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.

Reality comes into being only when the mind is still, not made still. Therefore, there must be no disciplining of the mind to be still. When you discipline yourself, it is merely a projected desire to be in a particular state. Such a state is not the state of passivity... Liberation is from moment to moment in the understanding of what is, when the mind is free, not made free. It is only a free mind that can discover, not a mind molded by a belief or shaped according to a hypothesis. Such a mind cannot discover. There can be no freedom is there is conflict, for conflict is the fixing of the self in relationship.

Right thinking, surely, is entirely different from right thought. Right thought is static... Right thinking is the understanding of relationship from moment to moment, which uncovers the whole process of the self.

Self-knowledge brings tranquillity to the mind, and then only can truth come into being. Truth cannot be sought after. Truth is the unknown, and that which you seek is already known. Truth comes into being unsought when the mind is without prejudice, when there is the understanding of the whole process of ourselves.