Comprehension is a correct understanding of an experience, be it sensitive, mental or physical, that provides clarity and open consciousness. When we truly comprehend a situation we experience a special sense of calm, a sense of freedom, and a new way of seeing things. To correctly interpret the things that happen to us, what we feel and how we act, is truly an art, mastered through observation, an intention to deepen who we are, and a contemplation practice and reflection.
Comprehension becomes a virtue when we achieve it for ourselves and are later able to give it to others. Our experience then not only nourishes us again, but it becomes nourishing to others as well. Understanding people are those who have experienced different situations over time and have had the patience to examine themselves. No one can nourish themselves internally if they don’t understand themselves. And it’s not possible for us to understand what our child, our boss, our partner, or the world experiences, if we haven’t first understood our own experiences.
Patterns of judgment
It’s possible, however, that by trying to achieve full understanding of what happens, we become fooled by interpretations or ways of seeing life that justify the experience, in that moment, with judgments that seem appropriate for the situation. However, under more favorable situations, we realize one day how small our vision was, and we realize that in some way we were fooling our understanding by poor judgments or superficial observations. For example, we can try to understand why we hit or treat a child poorly when they don’t listen. We can say: “He deserves it, so he’ll listen”. But if we look a little closer we’ll discover that we reacted that way not only to educate the child, but maybe also because inside we became angry with the child. And if we continue to look at the situation – if we truly want to become conscious of what we do – we might be able to understand ourselves in a way that truly nourishes us on all levels.
If we give ourselves time and patience, and truly scrutinize our actions, we’ll find ways of treating the child just as we treat ourselves. Because when we were children and were growing up, we felt the demands. They talked to us that way, they treated us that way, and we thought – even though it hurt us – that was just the right way to react. That’s the mold we have for our judgments, and what we do now is only a repetition of that. It’s not a behavior that’s authentically ours, because it lacks deep reflection, it’s not made out of our consciousness, it’s just a repetitive pattern that makes us feel safe. (CONTINUED IN PART TWO)