One of Lazaris' suggestions for April  is to work with understanding, and toward this end, I have been pondering the ideas of greater understanding. I have been working with the components to have understanding and to reach into the realm of being an understanding person. I mean, I feel that I am an understanding person in many ways, but I also feel that it is an ongoing process. Are we ever finished with expanding our capacity or our depth of understanding? I don't think so. So I have been pondering and musing about the process.
The process for having greater understanding and for being a more understanding person is the same. "The steps of getting there are the qualities of being there." (Lazaris). It begins with owning our resistance and moving beyond those apprehensions and impedances. Much of this involves being conscious of our fears: fears of change, commitment and vulnerability, and fears of the discomfort of looking ignorant because we lack understanding. Our impedance may involve genuine lacking: lacking awareness of and technique for understanding. Sure, using understanding or the lack of it as a manipulative tool creates resistance as does focusing more on being understood than upon being understanding. Owning and moving beyond our resistance is where it begins, and this first step is a familiar one at this point. It's easy with consciousness and choice.
Forgiveness is the second component. To have greater understanding we need to forgive ourselves and others, and we need to use forgiveness to lift our emotional resonance from wherever it is to the expansive level. We need to rise at least to a level of satisfaction and well-being. When we do, we reach beyond understanding into the realm of greater understanding. It seems to me that we can understand things, even ourselves and others, in the depths of fear and anger and even in states of pity or worry and doubt. But to have greater understanding, a keener depth of understanding, I feel that we need to at least have a sense of well-being. That resonance is critical, I think.
The third step of any process is the one that can bind us, imprison us, or at least slow us down. In this process that third component is awakening compassion. To be more understanding, to have greater understanding, feeling compassion seems obvious. Perhaps it is, but it's no less important just because it's obvious. We can feel caring; we can even feel compassion: however, the component is to awaken it. Hum ... it seems to me that this involves being present and in the moment with our compassion. It seems to me we can't rest upon our previous experiences or expressions of compassion. Instead, I think we need to awaken it in the moment. If we can't do that, I don't think we can take our current level of understanding to a deeper more profound level even if we move beyond our resistance and open to forgiveness. It's not just about having or feeling compassion, it's about awakening it. I am not sure I have seen the difference before now.
The fourth component is an elegant step from awaking compassion to stepping into the Magic of Compassion. It sounds abstract, but instead I think it's mystical: that is, I don't think we can define that magic with words, and I don't think we can get there on our own or in some logical fashion. Lazaris suggests we let our soul guide us. So I think once that we awaken our compassion anew, then we reach out and embrace our souls and allow our souls to lead us into the resonance (beyond form and beyond function) of compassion. That's where the magic is. Oh my, yes. The Magic of Compassion cannot be found within logic and reason. We have to be willing to step into and reach beyond each. We need to move from our realm of certainty into the realm of uncertainty. Thus the fifth component unfolds.
The fifth component of any process is the liberator and in this case it is called awakening uncertainty but it means to awaken knowing without certainty. This step can liberate the entire process. It is awakening uncertainty that can set us free to have greater understanding and to be an understanding person. Lazaris talks about knowing with certainty. It's important. It's valuable. It's powerful. We need to know all sorts of things with certainty. And beyond such knowing there is another kind of knowing: knowing without certainty.
For a long time it was difficult for me to wrap my arms around this one. It all fell into place for me (at least for now) when I realized that knowing without certainty and being uncertain are two very different things. Knowing without certainty is not being unsure or uncertain. Knowing without uncertainty is rock solid. Ironically, it is more solid and more powerful than knowing with certainty. Knowing with certainty relies upon logic and reason. It relies upon facts and memory. Knowing without certainty reaches beyond logic and reason, and it reaches beyond memory.
I think an example of loving works well. When I love someone, I have my reasons. There is logic and reason, and I am certain that I love them. I love people with whom I have varying degrees of intimacy. I love all peoples, humanity, humankind. Of these things I am certain and my knowing and understanding have certainty. However, there are others in my life whom I love, and I know a depth of love that is not uncertain -- no, not uncertain, but without certainty. With Enrique, I love with certainty, and I also love without certainty. Further, I am certain that he loves me, and I also understand and know without certainty that he loves me. The certain knowing is powerful, and the knowing without certainty is powerful. The latter is also unshakable. It is timeless. It is eternal. Therefore, knowing without certainty is more powerful than knowing with certainty. The key is to realize that "without certainty" is not the same as "uncertain." At least that was the key for me. When I can awaken uncertainty (awaken knowing without certainty), I am free to understand at a greater depth. Yes.
Listening is the sixth component. It's mystical listening. It's listening with other than your ears. Listening in this way seems to open us to a richer sense of comprehension, interpretation, discernment, and assessment. It seems to clear the way for inference, appreciation, and valuation (the final, often-forgotten components of basic understanding). When you are willing to know, when you are open to knowing without certainty, such listening comes more naturally. It comes with grace.
The final component: Own the Mantle of Understanding. This involves being still and being conscious of the weight -- of the responsibility -- of understanding. I think this involves honoring the majesty of understanding. It takes a moment, but that moment can, as Lazaris suggests, be forever.
So I work with this during April. The process begins and ends with ownership: owning resistance and owning the mantle. It opens to forgiving and listening. It requires awakening: compassion and uncertainty. It calls upon magic.
Personally, I focus on the third and fifth steps of compassion and knowing without certainty. In these troubled times -- and during this particular time, where it is valuable for us to "be cautious" -- working with compassion and with my knowing with and without certainty feels germane.
Anyway, this is what I've been thinking about. What do you think? I invite you to join me in "my corner" on the Forum to discuss this further if you would like. [s]