Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Meaning of Understanding

An appeal to the analytical understanding is never sufficient to comprehend thoroughly the inwardness of a truth, especially when it is a religious one, nor is mere compulsion an external force adequate for bringing about a spiritual transformation in us. We must experience in our innermost consciousness all that is implied in a doctrine, when we are able not only to understand it but to put it in practice.

D.T. Suzuki in his 1926 essay, Doctrine of Enlightenment explains the separation we experience within the self. Our analytical understanding gets in the way when we explore the nature of the inner self. Religious truths are filled with rational concepts as well as limitations. We innately assume it is impossible to experience something that we believe is impossible within the boundaries of our reality. The intellect is designed to assess the practicality of an action, but spiritual transformation is an individual expansion of the inner self that we physically put in practice without effort. We are taught that all expansion is the result of effort or hard work, but consciousness does not conform to our limited beliefs about the self.

Thoughts, like cells, have their own sort of structure and they pursue their own fulfillment. Thoughts move towards familiar thoughts and as a species we have a mass body of thought that we draw from and as we experience those thoughts cells change and our personal environment is altered in some way. We experience a constant give and take of thoughts and our bodies respond as we believe it should. We accept one specific consciousness as real and ignore others which makes effortless expansion difficult to understand. It also makes the concept of communicating with our inner self a hit and miss experience.

The process of experiencing one aspect of our consciousness and ignoring other aspects automatically causes a breakthrough into other areas of consciousness. Solutions for a wide variety of limited beliefs expand in some way. As Suzuki points out we should allow our innermost consciousness to express itself without effort. We allow our cells to operate without effort and they form a brotherhood even though we ignore the individuality of each cell. We are the same spiritual brotherhood as our cells and when that brotherhood is expressed physically without analytical understanding we put in practice the limitless probabilities and choices that change the meaning of understanding.

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