Because of the way in which we constantly identify with one or another aspect of ourselves, we find that our ideas, our knowledge, our feelings, and our sensory perceptions pull us in many different directions, without a real sense, a real understanding, of our wholeness. Nevertheless, the great teachings tell us that this understanding, the global perception of the nature and significance of our own being, is always available to us. All that is required is a kind of self-remembering, the instantaneous experience of the immediacy and openness of our own existence.
In principal, this remembering, this return to what we already are, requires no mental or emotional effort. In practice, however, this return can only take place if we reach a certain level of earnestness, which, in turn, is only possible if we truly see the limits of our ordinary, one-sided approach to understanding.
Understanding thus starts with what, for want of a better expression, can be called self-interrogation. In this process, we question everything we think we know about ourselves. But this is not simply a mental interrogation, but rather an “organic” one. Instead of questioning merely though words and concepts, we attempt to include our own sensations, feelings, intuitions, and so on in the questioning process. By allowing these different functions to touch each other simultaneously in the expansive space of our awareness, we better comprehend their qualities, limits and potentials.
We learn, for example, that the awareness of our sensation, especially the overall sensation of our body, helps bring us into the present moment, and provides a kind of perceptual backdrop that enables us to observe our thoughts and emotions as they take place. We see that feeling is what gives value and meaning to the present moment. And we see that thought is what enables us to look into the past or future to evaluate our experiences and understanding and take the necessary steps to achieve our aims. By allowing all the parts of ourselves to contribute their own particular intelligence, their own way of knowing the world, we suddenly experience a new understanding beginning to emerge—an understanding born of wholeness.
Most of us, most of the time, try to understand using only one part of ourselves, either our thinking, our feeling, or our sensation. As a result, our understanding is almost always one dimensional. By attempting to include other parts of ourselves in our understanding of the moment, we not only enrich our experience of the moment, but we also free ourselves from our perceptual slavery.
So next time you think you understand the situation, simply ask yourself “who” understands? If you look at this question honestly you will see that you frequently approach your life from only one part of yourself, and that you have almost no comprehension of what it would mean to approach a situation from your wholeness. And as you try to welcome other parts of yourself into your understanding, you will see that all you really need to do is come back to your own immediacy, your own openness, to the awareness that is always there, waiting for your recognition.