Wise Understanding is the first aspect of the Wisdom limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. Albert Einstein wisely said “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ yet we experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is really a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires, and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of understanding and compassion, to embrace all living creatures in the whole of nature and its beauty.”
As our silence deepens and mindfulness is more refined, the sense of being a separate and solid self begins to dissolve. We come to each moment with wiser understanding, a greater sense of openness of heart and clear seeing. With wise understanding, we see how every thought, word and deed has consequences. And the Buddha’s profound teaching of suffering, its cause, its cessation and the Path to its cessation is understood as present moment, authentic experience.
Meditation offers us the possibility of learning to be free in the vicissitudes of life, its pleasures and pains, to open and love, unafraid to feel that love and express it fully. We begin to understand our humanity and oneness with all life. When we cultivate mindfulness and foster a sense of stillness, wise understanding dawns. Yet, practice is not such an easy thing. It requires courage to adjust our life and actions to deeper understanding.