Do I understand what I think I know?

Comment by Carlos Herrero Oses. Navarra, Spain 

I already know that… But… 

Indeed, we know it; but we don’t understand it. I’ve lived it in person and sometimes I still live it, and I’ve seen it in many people, and I think it’s one of the reasons why it’s difficult for us to practice the intentional attention to the present and walk a path of self-knowledge. 

We read books, listen to talks, articles… We understand it, we know that if we tried it, we would be better off, but we are still the same. 

We don’t realize that the part of our mind that “says it knows” is the one that usually generates problems and suffering. In that “knowing” goes implicit not being able to open up to what it is, the judgment, the labelling of the experience separating ourselves from it, not being capable of looking at ourselves honestly, learn from ourselves, not letting the richness of life to fill us up, thus, life turns into repetitiveness, into what it always is… 

For instance, the exercises of attention to the present. They’re simple and easy, with a deepness that goes beyond what our rational mind can “understand”. However, our own mind, believing it knows everything, is the one that says: “what nonsense”, “this is boring”, “this is worthless”, if it doesn’t work in a week, I quit”, etc. Do we recognize ourselves? 

To our dear thinking, rational and conceptual mind, simplicity is boring; it needs to solve complex problems, to be on several issues at a time, and if at any time it has no difficulties, it will look for them. This functioning of our mind is very important in our life and it works for us in many ways, but not to reach calmness, serenity and understanding of ourselves. 

In my experience, I’ve lived it on many occasions as I said, to believe that I knew almost everything and that whatever that didn’t fit into that mold was not useful for me. Thanks to having been lucky enough to meet people who have expanded my vision and my way of relating to life, I have concluded that every day I know less and understand a little more. 

Understanding comes from our thinking; understanding is a certainty that comes from a deeper place, which is felt in the body and in the heart. Just as hearing is not the same as listening. 

As the saying goes, “thinking is a good servant, but a bad master”. 

Can we inquire about this? 

And the funny thing is that everything can start with a breath, with the feeling of the air coming in and with the feeling of the air coming out… 

Does our mind understand what we feel? Does it seem too simple to it? Have you tried it…? 

Even this reflection, I don’t know if it came out of my mind that knows or my mind that understands… 

Happy practice!

Do I understand what I think I know?