True Understanding Comes from Experience


If you, as well as many others, impatiently await the publishing of Alan’s book, you may enjoy at least this little gem about the importance of experience. It’s one of the inserts (each transcribed from Alan talking in his Art of Being workshops) that every now and then intersect the extraordinary narrative of his life.

“Never mind your theory, your philosophy, not even your understanding! As I have known it for myself and witnessed in thousands of people, transformation happens through experience, not through intellectual understanding. The value of books is that they can inspire you to seek out the experience. One of the peculiarities of our culture is people believing that they can get what they need just through reading books or listening to talks – believing that if they understand the ideas, they’ve got what they were looking for. Because of the way we were taught in school, it is pretty normal to limit ourselves to our grey matter. “Ah, I’ve got it!”  – as though the mental concept is really it. To go through the barrier of intellectual understanding and dive into the experience is beyond words – literally! The mind is not the way. It’s the barrier. Understanding is something we can enjoy, yes, but it is only real if it emerges from the experience. When it substitutes for the experience it is just skin-deep knowledge. If you live off what you can talk about, you will never discover what you have missed.”

Alan Lowen in his Soul-Life workshop, Kripalu Center, Massachusetts, USA 2009