Thoughts on the process of comprehension

‘The process of comprehension’ is a term I use to describe how one integrates certain truths into themselves.  By certain truths I mean realities about ourselves and the world.  It does not refer to facts, figures, knowledge, etc. necessarily.  I am more inclined to regard them as ‘realities’ than any sort of knowledge, at least in the normal sense of the word.  In my mind, this is true learning.  Most people stop at the intellectual stage.  But this is only to go half way, so to speak.  When something is comprehended it becomes as if a part of you, like your hand.  It becomes as if integrated into your self.  This is not the same as ‘knowing’ something, which is more like wearing jewelry to me.

There are three stages to ‘The Process of Comprehension’:

1. Understanding.  At this point the truth is intellectual.  It is a thought, an idea.  Typically, it is only an awareness or knowledge that some truth is there.  Many times it has the quality of facts and figures.  This is only the beginning of comprehension.  This is where most people, in the intellectual western world, end.

2. Realization.  This is the process of comprehension.  That is to say, it is the transformation of understanding into comprehension.  It’s really nothing but a slow process of integration of a truth into your self.  Realization is the time required for something to grow a part of you.  This can take years, even a lifetime, to perform.  Here many things are bounced around in your head, often seeming like trivial things.   Here things are ‘worked out’, certain facts and truths are bounced around and considered.  It’s not uncommon that realization requires a pain or struggle with this ‘reality’.  Only by the process of realization is comprehension achieved.

3. Comprehension.  This is when a truth becomes a part of you, as if imprinted into your soul.  Often, it will come as a ‘self evident truth’ and you may say, “I never realized it but that’s what I’ve been saying that along.”  At other times you may find that it just ‘fits in’.  At the comprehension phase ‘realities’ become a part of you, not something you observe, watch, think about, or consider. 

The change from understanding to realization is a difficult one oftentimes.  As I said above, most people stop at the intellectual stage.  Taking the next step requires more than an understanding of the situation.  Comprehension requires time and patience.  In effect, it’s like a garden, things must be allowed to grow. 

Many times, though, we need to allow ourselves to go through realization.  It’s true that realization is a process and it requires certain things for it to happen.  These include:

–          A healthy attitude and stance.  A person must be willing to grow.  This may mean facing things about yourself you don’t like.  This means you need a good healthy attitude and stance in life.

–          A preparation.  Being aware that things are going to happen, like conflict or pain, help a lot I think.

–          A willingness.  Above all, a person must be willing to allow the process of realization to take place.  A person must be willing to suffer the consequences of this process and accept its outcome. 

–          A recognition that there’s more behind things than you realize.  This requires a humility.  A person must realize that there is something more than yourself that you are waiting for.  It affects you, not the other way around.

It’s because of the process of realization that it is good to devote yourself to things over a long period of time.  What this also means is that you must get used to the feeling that you are always ‘waiting’ and accept that sometimes frustrating feeling that you will never know.  This is all a part of the process of realization.

Often, comprehension entails nothing but the acceptance of certain realities.  The fact is that many of us don’t want to face certain facts.  In many ways, many of us spend a life of fleeing these realities.  In some sense, a lot of realization is nothing but allowing certain truths to ‘sink in’.

This entry was posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Religion and religious stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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