What we understand is determined by everything that went before. It is formed from the totality of our experience. We do not choose what we understand because we do not choose what we experience. We view what we experience through the filter of our level of understanding in the moment. Understanding can and does change but at no point can we control it. What we are and what we experience is not the result of choice. What we ‘choose’ is what we compute we should choose which is based on whatever level of understanding we have in the moment. This is one reason why we find it so difficult to get along with each other. We all have a completely different level of understanding and our level of understanding tells us how to relate and how to act. Each human being has a unique perspective based on the experiences that only that person has experienced. From our particular level of understanding we form conclusions about everything and tend to believe those conclusions. When we disagree or become angry about another persons point of view it is simply because it is different from our point of view. We can only be angry about a point of view if we believe something that is not true. What is not true is that we are right and someone else is wrong. What we believe is determined by experiences we did not choose and could not control. We hold to these beliefs as though our life would end if we found that what we believe is not true. Everything that is not a belief is true because a belief by definition can never be true. A belief is an abstract notion. The word cat is an abstract representation in a word of a creature we all agree to call a cat. Understanding the word cat in no way helps us understand the creature this word represents and this is true of all words. Words and beliefs have the power to make us believe something that is not true and even to fight to the death to protect what we believe. In Zen the goal is not to increase knowledge and belief but to reduce and end our reliance on knowledge and belief. Consciousness is pure intelligence in which belief is absent. Beliefs arise in consciousness but when they do they tend to obscure the pure consciousness that we are. Wanting to be enlightened involves a belief that causes pure intelligent consciousness to be obscured. This is true of anything we want to be or even of what we don’t want to be. We are what we are regardless of what we believe and what we are is pure intelligent consciousness. Effort is not required to be what we are; effort is only required to be what we are not.