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Comprehension ≠ Embodiment

Just because you 'get it' doesn't mean you get it.

By ARCPublished 13 days ago Updated 13 days ago 4 min read
Comprehension ≠ Embodiment
Photo by Giorgio Grani on Unsplash

We've probably all been guilty of this at some point in our lives. I know I have.

Someone explains something to me. It's easy enough to understand. So then I think I 'know how to do it' because I know 'about' it.

Surfing comes to mind.

Ever tried surfing? If you have, you'll know there is a Pacific-sized gulf between comprehension of 'how to surf' and embodiment of 'surfing'.

What is it about our minds that makes us think we 'get it' just because our mind 'gets it'?

The purpose of this article is merely to shine the light of awareness:

Comprehension ≠ Embodiment.

Can we agree on that as a team?

comprehension: to seize or take in the mind

embodiment: investment in or manifestation through a physical body; a bringing into or presentation in or through a form

^yea. Quite different, aren't they?

An anecdote

A friend recently came to visit. This is an old friend of over fifteen years. We were different people when we became friends, and our paths have diverged to large extent in the interim, but there is enough good memory in the connection to see one another when he comes to town.

We can usually make it about 'one dinner' before the divergence becomes apparent.

My friend is awakened because he knows Fox News is biased. He also even admits that CNN can be skewed sometimes. Which is why all of his views are confirmed on Reddit before he scientifically thumps others over the head with them.

At dinner, we talked with one another about the corruption in the food industry. He surprised me when he acknowledged the deep crookedness of one more specific entity: Sonmanto (swap the s and the m).

But as the conversation deepened, and the implications of Sonmanto's actions were spelled out in a wider and wider web of effect, my friend began disagreeing. Stone-walling. He did not like hearing that some of his favorite foods were actually also part of this poisonous web.

His reaction? To argue with me. I must be wrong about this very factual thing I was able to cite and support with empirical evidence.

Why would he respond this way?

Because embodiment would be inconvenient.

Comprehension without embodiment is much more comfortable.

Embodiment takes guts.


Because embodiment means change.

When we comprehend a new piece of information in our minds, we often then begin a sort of self-deceptive-sorcery. We 'accept' the new piece of information into our head and scan it for irrationality. If the scan comes back clear/rational, we accept the new piece of information.

^This is comprehension.

The problem happens next:

We then often put the information into a box in our minds labeled: "Identity ✅"

The green box with the check is the self-deceptive-sorcery. The mind thinks, because it comprehends the information presented to it (said differently: because it understood the English words contained in the sentence), the self now is the information.

^This is false embodiment.

The ego is a Level 99 Master at avoiding/not-wanting-to-change. Its job is to keep the id (our biological survival mechanism) comfortable. Change makes the ego's job more difficult. The best/most efficient practice the ego can adopt is this clever mechanism:

If I 'get it', I get it.

In ^this way, the ego can still call itself 'accepting' and 'open-minded' without ever having to actually be open-minded.

The ego can accept all of the information it can comprehend... without ever having to embody any of it! Brilliant!

Comprehension ≠ Embodiment. Remember?

Comprehension is important. A vital 'step 1'.

Embodiment is a qualitatively different Step.


Because embodiment means we have to change who we are as individuals in order to 'become' what we comprehend.

My friend was unwilling to become what he comprehends about the nefariousness of the food industry. A 'becoming', in that moment, would have meant a few big changes in his lifestyle... changes that his ego was not willing/wanting to make.

He got angry with me because the facts I was sharing with him made it harder for his ego to maintain its "If I 'get it', I get it" self-deceptive-sorcery.

My friend was not aware of this, in the moment, but his actions (an unconscious reflex) were an example of his ego fighting to maintain its own delusion.

Are you willing to see this?

Let us acknowledge the difference between comprehension and embodiment in our lives and behaviors as often as we can.

The more we all habitually catch ourselves 'in the act', the more often we give ourselves the opportunity to consciously change and grow!

What a wonderful world that could create... 🌍 🌎 🌏


If the content of this article resonates with you, it may interest you to know I am currently creating and teaching a new course: The Self-Reflective Elective. This live, online, cohort-based course will be in partnership with Maven and will be launching in the next few weeks.

This course will also be the first of several. Level 1 is designed to help you craft the foundation of your unique approach to Self-Reflection. Subsequent cohorts will build from there.

To that end, if you are interested in Self-Reflection, what would intrigue you to take a course on it? What would make it valuable enough to you to inspire you to prioritize yourself and sign up?

There are many starting points or places we can begin. I want to share that which is most wanted by You... that which You will find most valuable to know.

If you would like to share your thoughts, I have a very short survey linked just below. No strings attached. You're not committing to anything. I'm still in the process of shaping the exact content of the course and your feedback would be part of the 'clay' in that process!

Thank you, again, for being here. You make our world better just by being part of it... as You.


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About the Creator


Poems, articles & stories 📓

Expressions of things seen 🌌

Sharing of more subtle things felt ✨

Friends call me Tony. 🌊

If you resonate with some of this content, inner connectivity may be of further interest to you on your Inner Path. 💠

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Comments (17)

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  • Loryne Andawey3 days ago

    Well articulated. It is so hard to truly change one's mind based on new information. It takes so much courage and, though I say it (comprehension) I know full well I haven't practiced that often enough (embodiment)

  • SD9 days ago

    Nice article, ARC! Couldn’t agree more. The ego is very very smart. Probably the smartest “entity” out there, I would say unembodied but that wouldn’t be quite accurate. But it will strongly persist for its existence, making us even believe at times that it is the voice of our conscience, that’s how shady it can be.

  • Babs Iverson11 days ago


  • Sera11 days ago

    Wow. Congrats on your top story

  • lediju azeez11 days ago

    Congratulations on your Top story

  • Congratulations on your Top story❤️💯🎉

  • Kristen Balyeat12 days ago

    YES!!! Congrats on Top Story, Tony! This one- totally relatable! As I mentioned in comments of your last article- I have been that person on the other side, resorting to anger and tears. This is a fantastic breakdown of that process (and love that you used {Sonmanto 👿 } in the example. That is one I have fully embodied. 😂 “embodiment means we have to change who we are as individuals in order to 'become' what we comprehend.” So good, so right! This is goal, always. Fantastic article. So inspired by your writing and SO EXCITED to see it in top story category. You are instrumental in changing the 🌎!!!

  • Gina C.12 days ago

    Awesome article and thoughts! And, I just learned your name is Tony. 😊 Well done and congrats on TS! 🤗

  • Dana Crandell12 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story, Tony!

  • KJ Aartila12 days ago

    This is such important information, and you presented it well! Thank you for. sharing it. :)

  • Em Starr12 days ago

    This is such a succinct and insightful article, Tony. Thank you! Hearted, subscribed... and I've signed up for your upcoming course too.

  • Very well written and actually entertaining to read. I subscribed to you!!!

  • It's like the theory and practice of something. This was very insightful and very well written!

  • Lamar Wiggins12 days ago

    It's amazing trying to figure out how to interpret reactions. I love the way you explained this. I wrote something similar that was centered around equality and acceptance. We have a lot of parallels in our interpretation of how the mind decides what works for us. The lack of experience is a big factor. Experience is a great teacher and helps people let go of long held beliefs. A moment of realization is more powerful than 1000 lies. Great read my friend and my biggest takeaway from this was: 'embodiment means we have to change who we are as individuals in order to 'become' what we comprehend.' Great Stuff. I will remember this. Thank you.

  • Dana Crandell13 days ago

    A very intriguing comparison, Tony. I'd like to throw another one out there: tolerance vs. acceptance. I'll leave it there in case you want to write about it. 😉 I'm still very closed-minded about a very small handful of subjects, but I've reflected on them and will stand by my opinions until one comes along that changes my mind, which is highly unlikely. I also don't throw them out there for discussion. I'll check out the survey.

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