The first question:
What is understanding and what is misunderstanding?
Mind is misunderstanding – any kind of mind, good or bad, educated or uneducated, cultured or uncultured, Christian or Hindu; it does not matter what kind of mind it is. Mind as such is misunderstanding. Mind means you are carrying a priori conclusions; you are not seeing that which is, you are seeing that which you want to see. You are not seeing but projecting. Your mind is a projector; it uses everything as a kind of screen, it projects itself on the screen.
In the dim light you can see a rope as a snake, the snake does not exist; it is your fear projected, the rope becomes a screen. But for you the snake becomes as real as if it was really there. It can affect you – it will affect you. You may start trembling, you may start running, you may slip on a banana peel, you may fall down, you may have a heart attack – and all these things will be real. One can even be killed! And there was no snake at all. You created the whole thing, you invented it, you projected it.
The world that we know is not actually the world that is; it is the world that we are projecting. This is a misunderstanding. That’s why the eastern mystics have called our world nothing but a maya, an illusion. It does not mean that the rocks are not there, that the walls are not there and you can pass through them. It does not mean that the matter does not exist. It simply means that what exists is not known by you, and what is known by you is something else. Something certainly exists, but it remains unknown to the mind.
The mind is a barrier. It does not allow you to see, to feel, to know, to understand. It goes on creating misunderstanding, it is the source of all distortions. Hence, unless mind is put aside, understanding does not arise.
Understanding means a state of no-mind. That’s what meditation is all about. Meditation is the art of putting the mind aside, not allowing it to interfere, not allowing it to stand between you and the real. When you face the real without any interference of any kind – philosophical, political, religious – when there is no idea between you and the real, when the real is simply reflected in you like a tree is reflected in the lake or the face is reflected in a mirror, then there is understanding.