Understanding is not an intellectual process.   Acquiring knowledge about yourself and learning about yourself are two different things, for the knowledge you accumulate about yourself is always of the past and a mind that is burdened with the past is a sorrowful mind.  Learning about yourself is not like learning a language or a technology or a science - then you obviously have to accumulate and remember; it would be absurd to begin all ways in the present and knowledge is always in the past, and as most of us live in the past and are satisfied with the past, knowledge becomes extraordinarily important to us.  That is why we worship the erudite, the clever, and the cunning.  But if you are learning all the time, learning every minute, learning by watching and listening, learning by seeing and doing, then you will find that learning is a constant movement without the past.
 If you say you will learn gradually about yourself, adding more and more, little by little, you are not studying yourself now as you are but through acquired knowledge.  Learning implies a great sensitivity.  There is no sensitivity if there is an idea, which is of the past, dominating the present.  Then the mind is no longer quick, pliable, and alert.  Most of us are not sensitive even physically.  We over-eat; we do not bother about the right diet, we over smoke and drink so that our bodies become gross and insensitive; the quality of attention in the organism itself is made dull.  How can there be a very alert, sensitive, clear mind if the organism itself is dull and heavy?  We maybe sensitive about certain things that touch us personally but to be completely sensitive to all the implications of life demands that there be no separation between the organism and the psyche.  It is a total movement.

 To understand anything you must live with it, you must observe it; you must know all its content, its nature, its structure, and its movement.  Have you ever tired living with yourself?  If so, you will begin to see that yourself is not a static state, it is a fresh living thing.  And to live with a living thing your mind must also be alive.  And it cannot be alive if it is caught in opinions, judgments, and values.

 Krishnamurti - Freedom from the Known