Understanding comes in many forms or levels. There is the mental or thinking level with its associated mental form of beliefs. It is very important to understand this level fully. If not it is difficult if not impossible to get to the other levels of understanding. The mental level is an abstract level where ideas and meaning are used and created. Abstract means not actual; something that does not exist in reality, it is usually related to something that does or may exist but still cannot be said to exist in reality. The meaning of the word ‘truth’ in sanskrit gives some idea of what I am saying about the mental level of understanding. Satyam is the word for truth in sanskrit and is composed of two roots words or syllables sat and yam. Sat means being or that which is or that which exists. Yam can mean ‘excellence of’ or my preference which is ‘perfect’. So truth is being or that which is perfect. Perfect means complete nothing can be added or taken away from it. Adding or taking away is what the mental level tends to get involved in. Everything that is not a belief is true is another way of saying everything that is a belief is untrue and does not exist. The next level of understanding is the body and its physical sensations this level came before the mental level and its development took many millions of years longer. All the sensations of the body together are concerned with being in the world. Our senses give us physical contact with the world, not only is it older than the mental level it is much more truthful. When we touch something very hot the understanding is immediate, it cannot be said to be complete but compared to the mental level is vastly superior. I say it is not complete because although we understand immediately that something is hot we still may not understand the truth or all that needs to be understood. I am referring to a much deeper level of understanding that is not just concerned with whether something is hot or not but is concerned with reality itself. The idea of hot (mental) is very different from the reality of hot (physical). Pain is a product of physical sensation (hot) and mental understanding in the form of beliefs such as ‘I don't like it’ or it shouldn't be like this. These beliefs relate to many other beliefs such as who or what is this ‘I’. Suffering or pain is usually the result of mixing and misunderstanding the mental and physical levels of understanding without access to the understanding that goes with consciousness. This access is denied only because we are so fixated on the mental and physical levels of understanding. We are fixated/frustrated because these are the only levels of understanding available to us without consciousness and the understanding that goes with it, we neurotically bounce from the mental to the physical and vice versa getting more and more caught in the web or our own imaginings.
The last level of understanding before the level where understanding is no longer necessary is where consciousness is seen to be the source of all understanding as well as the part where understanding is no longer necessary. To understand the last level of consciousness we need to deeply understand the first two levels of the mental and physical. Truly understanding that belief is abstract and unreal or does not exist is essential. Once this is understood we naturally find ourselves in the physical level, and without beliefs to confuse this level we naturally move to the last level of consciousness.