3. What is understanding?

Understanding for these purposes is the internalization of an idea into one’s belief system.

While learning a new idea, we necessarily do not initially understand the concept. Once the concept is understood it is considered learned. During the learning phase, we must continually remind ourself that the concept exists and may be accurate. One knows they understand a concept when they do not need reminding of the concept for it to be reflected in their behavior.

An example: When taking a physics exam, a student may be allowed to bring a “cheat sheet”, a list of formulae and explanations to help them remember concepts on the exam. A student can be said to understand the concepts if they do not need to refer to the cheat sheet during the exam, and still score passing marks. Their understanding of the concepts is reflected in their behavior, being able to apply the concepts to produce desired results – a passing score.

It is important to realize the students understanding of the concepts comes from their own testing of the concepts and reflecting that, with proper application, they always work. This is called homework.

In the grander scheme of understanding, it remains that an individual must have an experience of the truth of a concept before they have the ability to believe it and thereby truly understand it.

One’s depth of understanding A Course in Miracles is reflected in their ability to produce and maintain a peaceful state of mind.

I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith. For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself. Let me but learn from my experience that this is true, and faith in Him must surely come to me.

Father, I thank You that Your promises will never fail in my experience, if I but test them out. Let me attempt therefore to try them, and to judge them not.

ACIM Workbook, Lesson 327
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