Understanding

Wisdom is alone, but a lonely path does not lead to wisdom. Isolation is death, and wisdom is not found in withdrawal. There is no path to wisdom, for all paths are separative, exclusive. In their very nature, paths can only lead to isolation, though these isolations are called unity, the whole, the one, and so end is as the means. The means is not separate from the goal, the “what should be.” Wisdom comes with the understanding of one’s relationship with the field, with the passer-by, with the fleeting thought. To withdraw, to isolate oneself in order to find, is to put an end to discovery. Relationship leads to an aloneness that is not of isolation. There must be an aloneness, not of the enclosing mind, but of freedom. The complete is the alone, and incompleteness seeks the way of isolation.

Growing up is after all only the understanding that one's unique and incredible experience is what everyone shares.

As there is a partiality to opinions, which is apt to mislead the understanding, so there is also a partiality to studies, which is prejudicial to knowledge.

It is an established opinion among some men that there are in the understanding certain innate principles, some primary notions, stamped, as it were, upon the mind of man which the soul receives in its very first being, and brings into the world with it. It would be sufficient to convince unprejudiced readers of the falseness of this supposition, if I should only show how many men obtain to all the knowledge they have, without the help of any such innate impressions... Let us suppose the mind to be a blank tablet; how comes it to be furnished? To this answer in one word, from experience.

Reverie is when ideas float in our mind without reflection or regard of the understanding.

The improvement of the understanding is for two ends; first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.

Truth, whether in or out of fashion, is the measure of knowledge, and the business of the understanding; whatever is besides that, however authorized by consent, or recommended by rarity, is nothing but ignorance, or something worse.

Poetry is not made out of the understanding. The question of common sense is always: "What is it good for?' a question which would abolish the rose, and be triumphantly answered by the cabbage.

The mind has more to do with holding the fastnesses of life and has more sovereign sway over it than the power of the soul. For without the understanding and the mind no part of the soul can maintain itself in the frame the smallest fraction of time.

Knowledge is all-knowing, understanding, forgiving; it takes up no position, sets no store by form. It has compassion with the abyss - it is the abyss. So we reject it, firmly, and henceforward our concern shall be with beauty only. And by beauty we mean simplicity, largeness, and renewed severity of discipline; we mean a return to detachment and to form.

I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I am capable of becoming... This all sounds very strenuous and very serious. But now that I have wrestled with it, it's no longer so. I feel happy - deep down. All is well.

Real education belongs to the future; most of our education is a form of tribal conditioning, a pilgrimage in routine and premature adjustment. When education stirs our innermost feelings and loyalties, when it awakens us from the slumber of lethargy, when it brings individuals together through understanding and compassion, it becomes our foremost hope for lasting greatness.

Psychoanalysis has changed American psychology from a diagnostic to a therapeutic science, not because so many patients are cured by the psychoanalytic technique, but because of the new understanding of psychiatric patients it has given us, and the new and different concept of illness and health.

Just as education without humanity is the most dangerous thing in the world, so education in love, human understanding and cooperation is the greatest hope of the world.

I feel that just understanding near-death experiences will be our first step at healing the great division between science and religion that started with Isaac Newton almost three hundred years ago. Educating physicians, nurses, and ourselves about what people experience in those final hours will shatter our prejudices about the ways we think about medicine and life.

We are here to live and love the fullness of God’s presence...God’s presence awaits us everywhere. In the sum total of daily revelations lies not simply a formula for understanding life but an invitation to immerse ourselves in it. The meaning of life is something to be experienced.

What, then, is the nature of the reality that we believe in evidentially? Transiency is the main reality. We appear to live in an ever-perishing world. It seems that our life is confined to a single instant at a time. We see everything passing away - for ever, as we say, without having the slightest idea of what we mean by this expression. Where does everything go - for ever? Where do our lives go? Certainly they are not contained in a space of three dimensions. We witness, apparently, events, people, and things disappearing into total extinction, into an absolute nothingness, as the result of passing-time. This is the reality of appearances as registered by our senses. There goes with it a particular understanding of life.

Every man has just as much vanity as he wants understanding.

Reading, for a man devoid of prior-understanding, is like a blind man’s looking into a mirror.

The more and more you listen, the more and more you hear; the more and more you hear, the deeper and deeper your understanding becomes.