Work on the side of knowledge + work on the side of being = understanding.


“There are two sides to the Work where effort can be made, and these are the only two sides on which a man can evolve. The first is on the side of knowledge, and, in the case of this Work, the effort lies in thinking about the ideas and forming one’s own individual intimate and inner connection with their meaning, and nothing is more important to start with. A man must think, speculate and ponder, take into his mind, dwell on in his own way, imagine and form his phantasies, his own sense of the Work, as a genuine starting point in himself. … The Work then begins to shed a light in the mind. The second is on the side of one’s being. Efforts on the side of knowledge are different from efforts on the side of being. It is quite easy to find this out for oneself. Man can develop in two directions and two only – on the side of knowledge and the side of being. Only these must go hand in hand. The resultant is understanding. As was said earlier, this Work must be based on understanding. … Understanding is the most powerful force we can create in ourselves. Nothing better can be sought for in the long run than understanding and in the Work a man is defined as his understanding. A man is his understanding.”

– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, “Commentary on Effort,” Vol. 1, pp. 93-94


“I think the deep instinct to check everything, verify everything, seems absolutely essential. In fact, it is this friction between the instinct to believe and the instinct to question which forces us to that state of Self-remembering where alone things can be truly assessed. …


“We were taught – and I understand it better every day – that understanding is not the product of one function in man, but the resultant of several functions working in harmony. For example, if one appreciates something with the mind, one ‘knows’ it; if one appreciates it with the emotions, one ‘feels’ it; if one appreciates it with the external physical organs, one ‘senses’ it. But if one simultaneously appreciates it with the mind, emotions and physical senses, then one really understands it. This is very rare as we are. It can be developed. But in order to do so, something like ‘Self-remembering’ is necessary – that is, one has to remember all one’s functions and their relations to the thing in question. …


“By understanding everything becomes simple. We see what is, objectively. Where we stand, objectively. What we can do, objectively. Understanding avoids useless friction, pointless struggle. Makes us steady, tolerant, kind, ‘understanding’. Gives us weight. To reach real understanding we must study more, much more, verify in worldly terms all that has been said or felt.”

– Rodney Collin, The Theory of Conscious Harmony