Understanding vs. knowing


A friend of mine just loaned me her sewing machine. I haven’t sewn in close to 40 years, but I do remember learning how from a home economics class in high school. Sewing was taught to girls so we could sit home by the fire and use needle and thread. It still bothers me the stereotypes I grew up in during the late 50’s and 60’s. I am a product of the culture that existed then. But I want to play with sewing, I want to create something for the holidays to make them feel special.


The freedom to choose what pleases me is an interesting concept. I keep myself company every day with the constant conversation going on in my head listening to my opinions and insights and warnings and replays. It never stops. Like a well-worn piece of furniture, I’ve learned to tune it out.


As a teacher of Susan Jeffers’ work on Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway® I have retrained my inner voice by listening to it. In the past, so much of my inside voice was negative, warning and scared. I never had anything positive to say. Always looking for the worst so I can prepare for it. Always finding what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Everything said on the inside was based on fear.


I remember shortly after I was divorced in the early 90’s and waking up alone in the early morning, most of my inner conversation was foreboding and frightening. I became aware of this negative theme after reading Jeffers’ book and becoming aware of my inner talk. I was surprised everything I thought was dripping with sarcasm or filled with gloom and doom. I made the decision to change it by filling my head with oldies music in the early morning. The radio was set to start softly playing an oldies station when I started stirring in the early morning. At first it seemed ridiculous and I persisted with the practice. Eventually I started hearing the music in my head before the radio turned on in the morning. I changed an old habit.


Awareness is the key to change. Anything I choose to do I have an opinion about. That’s what the ego’s job is, to warn me to keep me safe. Changing my ego’s perception has been a life-long practice. The filter is different now. Cultivating wisdom continues to be my goal using my life experience as the schooling. Time has allowed me to train my ego to open my door to wisdom and they are both existing side by side. I still ignore self-talk positive or negative as it’s an old habit. Sometimes I ignore wisdom that’s offered because my inner door is shut to everything. Learning to trust my ego talking and my wisdom takes daily practice.


"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." - Lao Tzu

From A Course in Miracles T-7.X.5:8-13

"No-one gladly obeys a guide he does not trust,

but this does not mean the guide is untrustworthy.

In this case, it always means that the follower is.

However this too, is merely a matter of his own belief.

Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him.

Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance.

Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance and refuses to follow any guidance at all."


Participants' Reflections:

  • Thank you for that powerful reading. I so remember that voice in my head that endlessly criticized my parents and kept a big barrier between us. I remember the moment I heard my inside voice and I became aware of what I was doing. It was with that awareness that I was able to stop it and start treating them with love. Listening to them through my heart and not through my ears. It was a huge transition and like you said, it opened up my life so that I could be a more loving person and not have this constant barrage of negative thinking going on in my head. It’s interesting to see how different people reach that point and what they do about it. I thank you for your insights.

  • Thank you. After the reading, I was left with the word trust. I focused on trust during the meditation. At first, it was just trusting the broader world. As things come and as things go, trusting the flow, trusting what’s happening. But then I focused on my new client who has significant dementia. Unless I am engaging with her, she resets every minute. She knows I am there to help her, but details are gone. A lot of our relationship is about trust. Me trusting her as well as she trusting me. Two days ago, as I was leaving, she said ‘pray for me’, which I thought was lovely. I held her in my heart. As I was leaving yesterday, she said, ‘I love you.’ Deep trust there. She wants to hug me. I wear my mask, she doesn’t question it and I refrain from hugging her. I hug her in spirit. That was just lovely.

  • The Course in Miracles is very involved, but one of the themes is letting go of resentment. Our path is a path of healing, journeying from less than perfect childhoods where we were punished and criticized. This is a journey that we all have to do, even though those voices are in our heads. There is strength in unity as we share our experiences with each other and our successes, it’s like a whole body of healing. I am grateful we have these places to come and to experience the light.

  • Thank you. I continue to be amazed at the product you give us every morning. During the meditations, I’ve been trying to notice the thoughts that come and let them go. I started keeping a pad next to me so that when something pops in, I write it down and go back into meditating. My to-do list gets started that way. But I noticed today that I went into a little prayer to know something. And immediately, something changed inside, and said let me understand this event that happened. The thought came, let me know it. I thought that was interesting. What is the difference between understanding something, which is in my head, and knowing it, which is somewhere more fully in my whole being?

  • I think I found your words listening to your inner thoughts before you can process them—listening to them. I don’t know how old I was, but I found the most freeing experience in my life was when I stopped hearing what other people thought about me. It was such a freeing experience. I lived my whole life afraid to be me because what if someone gets upset, will people like me? Every thought and action was about what about this one? What about that one - always afraid of a reaction. It’s like I’m a prisoner when I live like that. But I woke up one day and said I don’t care about what anyone thinks. This is best for me and this is what I am going to do. People can get upset but I have to be true to myself and make myself happy. I try to live that way every single day and it is freeing. I sleep better at night. I am a good person. I know I’m doing what is right. The bottom line is that no one is going to be happy. When you make a decision that affects other people, someone’s going to be upset. I have to do what is best for me. So be it if someone gets upset.

  • I was thinking about the heart-head thing too. During the reading, you talked about wisdom talking—that’s your heart—and ego talking—that’s your head. And then understand with your head and knowing with your heart. There’s something about that today. Inner knowing—it’s not inner understanding.

  • For two days, it’s been one of those times when if anything could go wrong, it did go wrong, and I found myself blaming myself—if I did that thing sooner, it wouldn’t have happened. All that talk was going on. But in the background, there was a little voice saying but it will be okay. Trust it will come out okay. In fact, by last night, I had a problem cashing a check. But it worked out, and the little things all resolved. It’s interesting, the conflict between the voice of blame and the other voice of trust. Trust it will come out. Neighbors are taking trees down near my house and I was upset. I was told either the tree will fall into the street and it won’t be a problem, or it will fall on your house and you’ll die. With that perspective, I’ve got to trust.

  • Thank you everyone for showing up for yourself today, taking the time for yourself. That’s what it’s all about. Using the silence and listening. I hope you have a gentle day.

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