The Intellect and True Understanding
All of us are required to go to school, where our heads are filled with data. We are asked to solve problems that require and emphasize an intellectual understanding; these problems usually involve the manipulation of symbols (language and mathematics). We even take an intellectual approach to psychology and therapy! In life, we are taught to use the intellect to ensure success: "Which of three equally competitive shopping carts should I use for my internet business?" How can you make a decision if all other factors (including price) are equal? Well, you have to make up your mind somehow, and if truth be known, people make these sorts of decisions based upon what feels better.
The intellect is the problem poser, the goal seeker, the statistics gatherer and the data analyst. The results of an intellectual analysis are always statements of probabilities, for the intellect is incapable of true knowing.
Moreover, nothing is this universe is perfect, and so the intellect is never satisfied, for even when it does find a solution with a high probability of success, the intellect can always find fault! The intellect can always pose a new question, or a new aspect of a situation or problem, or postulate something different or something better. No matter how excited I am at the computer store, for example, my intellect always questions whether I could have made a better purchase. “Maybe you should have gotten the other monitor!” it says. "It was more expensive, but it had a bit better picture."
The other hard drive had more capacity, you should have bought it! etc.
Of course you need the intellectual function to perform even basic tasks. And I'm not questioning the gathering of data to make an informed decision. But too often, in my experience, I have neglected that inner nudge which seems always to directed me onto the path of least resistance. One Saturday morning I got up late for a 9 o'clock appointment. I hadn't time for a shower or breakfast, but my inner knowing told me to relax and have breakfast anyway. Well, I ignored that, jumped into the car and drove hell-bent-for-leather, arriving at about 9:04. When I knocked on the door, I discovered a note that said the appointment had been changed to 9:30. It was too late to go back to the house so I had to cool my heels for 25 minutes, kicking myself for not trusting my intuition.
Understanding is a feeling, a knowing. Anyone who has ever just known something can tell you that. Example: You've been working in the basement all day reorganizing. There are no timepieces anywhere. Your friend says:
What time is it?
You say “It's 3:15”
How do you know that?
I don't know .... I just know it!
The question was posed to the intellect and the intellect tries to answer, but it cannot, for there are no logical, factual reasons upon which to base a reasonable response.
How DID you know it was 3:15? You felt it. You knew it with complete certainty.
When your friend runs up the stairs and sees '3:15', he thinks: 'just a lucky guess'. If you try to explain to him your feeling of certainty, he might laugh at you, unless he is one of those people who has a little understanding of his true self.
A gifted car mechanic can 'feel' his way around the machine and identify a problem with no diagnostics. I've seen that, and it's pretty amazing. "How did you know I had a bad solenoid?" I asked. "I don't know, I just knew." Of course this understanding comes from a lot of experience with cars, but this mechanic has learned to trust his 'instincts.' Would you rather have a guy with a PhD. in automotive engineering work on your car, or that greasy mechanic? I'll take the greasy guy any day!
Let us take a few more examples.
The phone rings, you immediately know it’s Uncle Harold. How do you know? You just know. You pick up the phone and say “Hi Uncle Harold!” He says “How did you know it was me?” Now try explaining that to the intellect. You can't do it!
The intellect devises solutions like this: get caller ID, and hope that the person using Uncle Harold's phone isn't Grandma Harold, or their son-in-law, who lives with them. Or, keep a log of phone calls and times of calls. Then when the phone rings, consult your log and your statistics and say 'there is a 63.2% probability that the caller is Uncle Harold'. That's the best the intellect can do, because it deals only with data.
The knowing of something before it is possible to know it is often called intuition. Or a 'gut feeling'. Or 'instinct.' Or a 'hunch.' But this sort of rock-solid understanding is a feeling of total certainty about something without being able to logically or reasonably explain why. Anyone who has ever experienced this understands what I am saying.
I'll use another example from my own experience. I was on the highway behind a truck which was carrying furniture. All of a sudden, I KNEW that one of the chairs was going to fall out of the truck, so I swerved over into the other lane. Not two seconds later, that very chair fell out of the truck into the lane I just vacated. Now, how did I know? Explaining it in terms the intellect would understand is impossible, because the intellect can always find reasonable objections to your 'process', and because, essentially, the intellect just deals in data, and logical extrapolation from that data. The intellect hasn't a clue about true knowing. The kind of knowing I'm talking about is one of the inherent properties of consciousness. Consciousness has the ability to know something before it has manifested. It has the ability to know something as factual before the occurrence of it. This knowing I am calling the understanding, as opposed to the intellect.
The intellect could never have predicted what happened to me, for the intellect, through mere observation of the truck, would not have seen anything out of the ordinary. The truck in question had been tooling down the highway for quite a while without incident, so there was no reason to logically or observationally detect anything amiss.
The point I want to make is that the intellect is detached from all feeling, and therefore, knowing. It is sterile, and operates only upon what it can observe.
All of us understand this. There is a saying that goes “It's one thing to understand something intellectually, but it's another thing to really know it.”
The intellect poses problems or goals, gathers and organizes data, and that is very necessary. However, that's as far as it is capable of going. True understanding is accomplished in the allowing of the thought stream of knowing that comes to you in response to your asking.
When the phone rings, you simply pick up on the thought stream of Uncle Harold. When your friend asks you for the time, you allow the knowing that somehow connects you with all of the timepieces that are displaying the correct time, and all those who are observing timepieces in your area.
How is True Knowing Possible?
How do you know who is calling before the phone is picked up?
How do you know that a chair is going to drop on the highway right in front of you?
How do you know that the proposal you submitted will be accepted before you have heard anything about the final decision ?
Quite simply, it is thought transference, combined with the Law of Attraction (1).
Thought transference occurs when one is aware of one’s connection to the universal field of consciousness. Every time you feel a sense of well–being you are connected to the energy of life, which composes all matter and energy in the universe. The ancients called it chi, or prana. Life force energy is the energy of thought itself, which proceeds from consciousness, and so connection to this stream of thought/energy can provide us with the understanding we seek, upon any subject. (I don’t, however, want you to build my house without a blueprint!)
Every particle in the universe is connected with every other particle, from one end of the universe to the other, all at the speed of thought, which makes the speed of light look like it is standing still.
Thought transference happens all the time, and it is the most natural thing in the world. I would venture to say that everyone reading this has had an experience which could be described as telepathy, or prior knowing; we call this intuition, but the word 'intuition' does not truly describe the utter certainty that accompanies such an event. When you know something in this manner, there is complete assurance of what will happen, before the actual event has occurred.
In the vibrational universe model, everything in the universe is composed of thought, so everything in the universe is conscious, on some level. Every energy, every object, is composed, ultimately, of thought. A conscious being may theoretically -- if he or she does not disallow it -- pick up upon the vibrational signal of objects and people. If you don't believe that, go talk to my mechanic! We have been trained since Day One to deny ourselves this ability, and for anyone to even suggest it invites instant ridicule. But this ridicule comes from the intellect, which is incapable of understanding it.
The Law of Attraction says, ‘that which is like unto itself is drawn.’ (Esther Hicks) And so the driver on the highway who is desirous of a safe trip, may pick up on the vibrations emanating from the back of the truck, and sense that the chair will fall from the truck. And so when the phone rings, a person may know with complete certainty who is calling. And so on.
The Intellect Disagrees
There will be many objections to this discussion, of course:
Of course the intellect can know! The sum of all 3 angles in a triangle = 180 degrees. That is knowing of the intellect, that is certainty.
No, the sum of all angles in a triangle = 180 degrees only in Euclidean geometry. In hyperbolic geometry, the sum of all angles in a triangle is less than 180 degrees and in spherical geometry the sum of the angles is greater than 180 degrees.
Oops! There is really no total certainty, intellectually.
Even if we say 2 + 2 = 4, the intellect can say, “Yes but it has been postulated that there are no discrete boundaries to an object, so the object cannot be said to be a separate thing. Therefore 2 + 2 = 4 is meaningless.”
Yes, says the intellect, But in mathematics, 2 + 2 = 4 is simply a true statement, based upon the consistent and logical system of thought called mathematics.
And that's the point. The deepest the intellect can go into true understanding is, “This statement is true because it is consistent, or follows logically, from that which I have decided previously is valid.” This is not true understanding, for understanding is, at its root, a feeling of complete certainty.
The highest ability of the intellect is it's power of reasoning, but this often gets it in trouble, because it must always run around in a circle, chasing its tail, or follow an endless trail of thought that can have no definitive conclusion. But no matter how many times it is stymied, it always tries to approach the problem from another line of reasoning.
A good example is the intellect's attempt to reason a solution to the problem of the origin of the universe.
Well, let us reason that the universe originated in a singularity from which all energy in the universe came forth.
Where did the singularity come from?
(here the debate may range widely, but it will always fold back in on itself, eventually).
The singularity does not really exist in our universe, it is a portal to another universe.
But where did the energy in that universe come from?
From another singularity in another universe.
Yes but it all had to start somewhere.
It is a circular process.
Yes but who created the circle? There has to be a starting point.
The origin point is God.
But who created God?
God is the singularity, because it contains everything. etc. etc. etc.
Just a big circular argument that goes nowhere.
Or, the intellect tries to find the smallest particle in existence, so it says there are atoms, but then it reasons there may be something smaller than the atom, and so electrons, protons and neutrons are discovered, then it reasons that maybe the neutron and proton are composed of smaller particles, and so the quark is discovered, but maybe the quark or even the electron is composed of even smaller particles; because after all, science admits it cannot clearly perceive anything at the quantum level, and so where does this stop? Is there a 'smallest particle'?
It is typical of the intellectual approach, where one question leads to another, which leads to another, ad infinitum. We can't really know anything from this process, because no matter how much data we accumulate, and no matter how we organize that data, the intellect can always ask another question.
If a smallest particle were found, the intellect would not be satisfied, for it would think 'well maybe there is an even smaller particle than that' and someone would go to work attempting to discover it!
Intellect vs. Understanding
What is true knowing, then? What is true understanding?
If we were to consult our understanding we would find that we are eternal beings and that all is well, and that we are pure positive creative potential with the possibility of creating and experiencing, and we would know this with such certainty, and such exhilaration, that the experiencing of life would be continuous joy.. To know this, one has to feel it. Once you feel it, you can never doubt your own true nature; but, of course, you cannot explain it in an intellectual way.
Such speculation as 'what was the beginning of the universe' or 'how small is the smallest particle' seem unimportant when we understand who we really are. Fun to think and speculate about, yes, but profound and vital? Hardly!
It’s like sticking your finger into the water and concluding that you have discovered all about the Pacific Ocean.
The intellect can only probe shallowly. It does the best it can with the data it has available to it. But it cannot reach the glorious understanding of Self, for it is always looking outside of Self. It cannot feel the energy of life, which is the carrier wave of thought and knowing.
Why is it so important to even mention this? Understanding, knowing, and the intellect are all aspects of consciousness, so why bother to separate them?
Because if we rely solely on the intellect, as we have been taught, we will never be satisfied! Because our technological society glorifies the intellect and castigates intuition as 'unreliable,' 'airy-fairy,' and even 'weird.' It glorifies the fighter and those who make war, and pillories the reasoned voices that call for understanding and peace.
For example, you buy a new house but then you notice that new tile in the bathroom would be a good idea. You go over to your neighbor’s and see how big their living room is, and that their home theater is a lot bigger than yours. Their basement is bigger too, and they’ve got a Brunswick 9 foot professional pool table in there. Now your nice new house doesn’t seem so nice anymore!
This is not a bad thing, it is the intellect's job. The intellect's job is to discern difference.
But the intellect is concerned with that which is outside of Self.
Satisfaction with anything, appreciation of anything, occurs when we turn to another aspect of consciousness, the understanding. The understanding says: “I am an eternal being, a perfect aspect of universal consciousness, and I know that all is well.”
The understanding is always satisfied, because the understanding is concerned with what is within Self. And what is within is pure, positive, creative potential that knows itself, without the slightest doubt, as Divine.
I am not saying the intellect is a bad thing, I am saying the intellect is not the only thing! If we admit that as human beings we may only be utilizing a fraction of our potential, then there must be a part of us that is not fully developed. This undeveloped part I call the understanding.
We develop our intellect like the muscle-bound weightlifter develops his body, but the weightlifter becomes unbalanced in the process. He loses flexibility among all of that overdeveloped muscle, just as we also lose contact with our true self as we overdevelop the intellect.
The Intellect and Society
Society teaches us to abandon true understanding and accept the pitiful substitute of probability and statistics, which are all based upon the experiences of others. Society teaches tells us never to develop the powers that each of us, as conscious beings, possess, the powers inherent in consciousness itself! That is because society believes that consciousness comes from mud. Reliance upon what-is, upon those things which can be seen and observed, is a great way to discover the laws of matter and energy, but a crummy way to go about trying to understand ourselves. Again, the belief that consciousness originates in matter makes the study of matter all–important. It places attention outside of self and denies your basic spiritual and divine nature. The strict reliance upon what-is, and upon data, is the bedrock belief of almost everyone in our society. Complete and total dependence upon the limited abilities of the intellect is what we are taught since the first day of our birth.
Daddy, did you see the angel?
Did you see the angel Daddy? She is really beautiful!
There's no such thing as angels, dear. And even if there are, they're invisible.
I see one right now!
Look, little one if you see angels, people will think you're crazy. The only thing that is real is what is in front of your face. It's time you started to face reality and learn about the real world.
(frowning) “But I saw the angel Daddy!”
'It was just your imagination sweetheart. Forget about it.
Almost everyone, from my generation at least, has experienced a conversation like this one at some time during their childhood. We were taught since the moment of birth that awareness of anything not strictly observable to the five human senses was invalid. And so we have had our natural abilities trained right out of us. We have been taught to rely upon our reasoning, and logic, all the while neglecting the deep well of understanding and knowledge that proceeds directly from our infallible inner voice, our source, which will guide us unerringly toward our highest good.