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Series 1 - Lesson 1 - Annotation 1

Series 1 - Lesson 1 - Annotation 1

What is the difference between spiritual understanding and intellectual understanding?

1. This subject was covered very extensively in the eighth lesson of Lessons in Truth, especially annotations one, two, five, six, and eight (Lessons In Truth Lesson 8 Annotation 1). We can say that the difference between these two types of understanding is the difference between that which is revealed by Spirit within and that which is apprehended through the use of the senses and the thinking faculty (intellect). Intellectual understanding may present information about God, but spiritual understanding knows God.

When our consciousness is attuned to Spirit we receive ideas direct from Divine Mind within ourself, where all is Truth, order, and perfection. As we learn the value of these divine ideas, and learn also to use them in the right way, we attain spiritual understanding.

When our consciousness is directed only toward the external world we receive information through the five senses, which information is then handled by our intellect, or thinking faculty. It is here that we observe ideas, things, people, even beliefs about God, for the intellect (thinking) is the realm of choice and judgment. Too often through ignorance we judge from the appearance of some manifestation, not from the reality. Intellectual knowledge acquired through the five senses and handled by the intellect may be good as far as it goes, but in accepting such knowledge as final we stand in danger of weakening our conscious contact with Divine Mind and putting our dependence on the external world. Unless intellectual understanding has become blended with Truth, it can fill an individual's life with restlessness and dissatisfaction, giving him a sense of insecurity.

We must come to see the true relation of intellectual understanding and spiritual understanding, and perhaps the following words of Charles Fillmore found on page 155 of Keep a True Lent help to make this clear:

"Intellectual understanding comes first in the soul's development, then a deeper understanding of principles follows, until the whole man ripens into wisdom" (Keep a True Lent 155).

Preceding Entry: How do we seek directly from the "Fountainhead," and how does its supply come to us?
Following Entry: What is God?