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All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason (Immanuel Kant). I do not know much of Kant and may not agree totally to what he says here but it sure is a good starting point to share my views on Understanding and its preeminent position as a pivot.

Both knowledge and experiences contribute to our understanding and it seems an obvious statement but looked at closely it would show how easily we undermine one of the two factors when it comes to matters of Spirit or Self Knowledge. It is said that Knowledge is of two kinds direct and indirect. The former does not bind for it is first hand while the later if taken to be the truth binds. Indirect knowledge or pointing out is an important tool and can save us lot of time and effort. Yet the single most important factor is our endeavour to gain direct knowledge without which we would not be able to resolve all the contradictions. Indirect knowledge could itself be the source of contradictions as even sacred scriptures have different injunctions at different places and interpretations differ.

Understanding is then a middle way (third, different from indirect and direct knowledge) which resolves contradictions at least till such time that an individual has a first hand experience. Now if we go a little more into this we find that understanding is a function of experience but not all experiences lead to it or experiences themselves cause the conflict of to be or not to be. Experiences as the past provide a passive background but an active involvement of awareness in the present moment is required for Understanding to develop.

I wish to propose that Understanding is the resultant or the third force which resolves contradictions and itself becomes the basis of future action when the (two) forces of Past (female) meet with the active force of Awareness (male).