It is well said that the meaning of our communication is in its understanding in the hands of the listener. The quality of our life depends upon the quality of our response to what others say or do and the resultant understanding and action. When the teacher says something in the classroom, the level of understanding among the students is not the same precisely for this reason. Sri Sri Ravishankar the founder of Art of Living and one of the masters of art of living and vedantic practices through Yoga and other powerful interventions, classifies ‘understanding’ into three categories. As students it will do well to know what it takes to understand and blossom in life through such understanding.
Intellectual understanding: Most of the times we engage in intellectual understanding in a mechanical manner. We hear something, collect some information and immediately react to it in terms YES or No or DON’T KNOW. While these responses are a little better than not responding at all, they do not help us reach higher levels of understanding and eventually enlightenment. This kind of understanding helps us operate in common place situations but does not take us above a certain level. Just consider what you do, talk to, carry on in a market place. You do the job but there is not much churning taking place in the mind.
Experiential Understanding: When you see, hear something, you begin to feel it at a deeper level of understanding and connect that understanding to a purpose which makes you feel elated, gratified and enthralled. You experience the ‘experience’ of someone as he says. This kind of understanding creates instant vibes in our brain and that we tend to retain such information for far longer time. Here you convert the inputs into insights. A great teacher is one who can take on experiential mode when he discusses in a class room. We own what we experience. Recall some of the movies that saw years back, they still create vibes in you. You are able to re-live it thanks to the power and quality of your viewing, understanding and interpreting.
Existential Understanding: This type of understanding is higher and superior. In experiential understanding you become a ‘seeker’. In existential understanding, you become what you hear and learn. Transformation of this kind could take place. We are therefore how we hear and what we become out of that. Choose therefore what kind of understanding you will settle for in life. You can practice ‘understanding’ on these levels and become what you are capable of.
Dr. N Jayarama Shetty, Ph.D, M.Com, MBA, MA( Psy), LL B, CAIIB, D. TD, PG. DHRM, PG. DMM, Pragya, Visiting Professor, Nitte School of Management, Bengaluru